Riding Hott Rod, Corey Cushing won his third World's Greatest Horseman championship in Fort Worth, Texas. • Photo by Molly Montag.

Hott Rod & Corey Cushing Rocket To World’s Greatest Horseman Title

Hott Rod and Corey Cushing started the Western Bloodstock & Hashtags World Greatest Horseman finals with a stylish herd work that had the crowd buzzing. They finished with a mighty fence run that had the crowd roaring and earned the Arizona trainer his third title in the prestigious event.

It also earned Hott Rod a massive $100,000 paycheck.

“He deserves this,” Cushing said afterward. “And it was Hott Rod’s night.”

Owned by Lynne Wurzer, Hott Rod marked a composite of 893 during the four-event finals on Saturday, Feb. 19 in Fort Worth, Texas. He and Cushing marked a 224 in the herd, 218 in the steer stopping, 226 in the rein work and a 225 in the cow run.

Though Hott Rod’s steer stopping score was his lowest mark of the night, Cushing appreciated the horse displaying some true teamwork to get through the run.

“I about fouled him, you know, on the steer, stopping when I missed my dally. [But] he let me kick him up there and still get stopped,” Cushing said. “And that’s just the kind of horse he is — he’s forgiving, but he also takes it real serious.”

That seriousness is a big part of why it meant so much to Cushing for the horse to win. Hott Rod cares about his job.

“Truly, because he cares so much about what he’s doing,” he said.

Corey Cushing & Hott Rod in the World’s Greatest Horseman herd work. • Photo by Molly Montag.

The horse now ranks as one of Cushing’s favorites.

“I had complete faith in him,” he said Saturday night. “I just wanted to present the picture in the best possible way.”

By the late EquiStat Elite $7 Million Sire Hottish and out of Sugars Smart Kitty (by High Brow Cat), Hott Rod is a 2015 stallion bred by Austin Adams, of Logandale, Nevada.

Saturday’s win pushed his lifetime earnings to $288,013.

The victory with Hott Rod was Cushing’s third World’s Greatest title. He previously won in 2015 with PRF Spoonful of Gold and in 2019 with Sonita Lena Rey.

On Saturday, he and Hott Rod finished four points ahead of Reserve Champions Phillip Ralls and , who earned a composite of 889 (221 herd/222 steer/222 rein/224 cow). The runner-up position — the second time the duo has placed second in this show – paid $50,000 for the Estelle Roitblat TTE Living Trust.

Call Me Mitch (Metallic Cat x Miss Hickory Hill x Doc’s Hickory) now has more than $250,728 in lifetime earnings. He was bred by James Eakin, of Hondo, Texas.

Next up for Hott Rod could be the big fence work class at next year’s The Run For A Million. Last year, riders were invited and could pick any horse. They can still ride any horse this year, but have to qualify in order to compete. Qualifiers are planned in conjunction with the NRCHA Stallion Stakes and the NRCHA Western Derby.

Cushing, who competed in last year’s The Run For A Million Cow Horse Challenge, is thinking Hott Rod might be a contender should he qualify this year.