* Photo by Primo Morales.

8 Cow Horse Riders Qualify for The Run For A Million

More than eighty riders saddled up for a chance at a spot in The Run For A Million Qualifier hosted at the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s (NRCHA) Stallion Stakes in Las Vegas on March 31. 

The competition was gritty, with a run-off occurring for the eighth and final spot between Phillip Ralls and Justin Wright. When the dust settled, Nick Dowers and Santiago Time had nabbed the championship title and the top qualifying spot, earning $8,835. 

Dowers and the other seven top finishers in the qualifier earned the right to compete at the Fence Work Challenge at The Run For A Million. Another eight spots in the field for the class, which last year had a purse of $150,000, will be awarded at a second qualifier held at the NRCHA Western Derby.

“It was the best of the best. Looking at the lineup of horses, there was a lot of great horses here yesterday. I feel fortunate to get in there,” Dowers said.

Santiago Time

Bred by the late Jeffery Matthews and owned by Clinton Marshall, Santiago Time is by One Time Pepto and out of Dual Rey mare Reymansing. Together Dowers and the gelding marked a 221.5 in the rein work and 222.5 down the fence for a composite of 444. 

“He’s a great fence horse, I have a lot of confidence when I go in on him. He’s a really gritty circler and I’ve had a lot of good runs on him. I know what he’s capable of and he tends to meet the challenge. I was glad I drew a cow that had some challenge,” Dowers said.

To sweeten the deal, the pair also won the Open Bridle Championship, which was held in conjunction with The Run For A Million qualifier. That was good for an additional $5,700. 

There was a four-way tie for the second spot in the qualifier between Todd Crawford, Kyle Noyce, Luke Jones and Dowers riding his second horse High Stressin Cat. All four scored a composite of 441 for a prize of $3,225 each. 

Riders could ride any horse they wanted in the qualifier. They do not have to ride the same horse in the Million Dollar Competition at The Run For A Million. In past years, trainers who earned a spot in the event had a running list of possible mounts. 

The Run For A Million 2022 Qualifying Riders (first 8)

Qualifying rider, horse rode in qualifier, score

Todd Crawford

Bet Lucky 13 (Bet Hesa Cat x Miss Lucky Starlight x Grays Starlight) 
Score: (Rein 222/Cow 219) 441

Kyle Noyce

SJR Smooth Lil Oak (Smooth As A Cat x Shiners Little Oak x Shining Spark) 
Score: (Rein 220.5/Cow 220.5) 441

Luke Jones

Mr Comin In Hot (Mr Playinstylish x Lil Sally Cat x High Brow Cat
Score: (Rein 218/Cow 223) 441

Corey Cushing

Hott Rod (Hottish x Sugars Smart Kitty x High Brow Cat
Score: (Rein 222/Cow 218.5) 440.5

Randy Paul

CD Highlights (High Brow CD x Go Little Starlight x Grays Starlight) 
Score: (Rein 217.5/Cow 223) 440.5

Shawn Hayes

Moonshinandtwoadvil (Metallic Cat x Little Short Stuff x Shorty Lena) 
Score: (Rein 217.5/Cow 223) 440.5

Phillip Ralls

Short N Catt (Sophisticated Catt x Shortys Sugar Sue x Shorty Lena) 
Score: (Rein 220/Cow 220) 440 – won runoff with Justin Wright and Scooter Kat for last spot.