Hott Rod and Corey Cushing in the rein work portion of the Cow Horse Challenge at The Run For A Million. • Photo by Molly Montag

Hott Rod Fires Big in Vegas

When Hott Rod won the World’s Greatest Horseman early this year, trainer Corey Cushing was thinking the sorrel stallion would be a great horse to ride in The Run For A Million.

Turns out he was right.

Competing against a field of some of the best reined cow horses in the business, Hott Rod and Cushing won the $170,000 Cow Horse Challenge Championship with a composite of 454 (225.5 rein/228.5 cow). It was a popular win for the crowd, which roared its approval when Cushing and Lynne Wurzer’s sorrel son of Hottish showcased his reining and fence work.

“The power that comes from underneath me when I’m out there telling him to go get it – whether it be down the fence, in the reining and the cutting, whatever – he will truly try to give it his all every single time,” Cushing said.

Wurzer, of Tacoma, Washington, was on hand to see her horse showcase his talent in the finals held Friday, Aug. 19, at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“It’s all unbelievable,” she said as she prepared to walk out the tunnel into the arena for post-show photos with Hott Rod and the Cushing team. “I’m speechless.”

This was the second major championship Hott Rod had won this year.

Earlier, he and Cushing won the prestigious World’s Greatest Horseman event in Fort Worth, Texas. Back in 2020, they won the Tres Osos Cow Horse Derby at the NRCHA Celebration of Champions.

Hott Rod went into the event ranked as EquiStat’s fourth all-time money-winning reined cow horse with earnings of $300,749 recorded in the statistical database. He trailed only Olena Oak ($376,636), Topsails Rien Maker ($371,472) and fellow Run For A Million Reined Cow Horse Challenge competitor Scooter Kat ($318,378).

Thanks to the $50,000 first-place check, Hott Rod now ranks third on EquiStat’s all-time list with $350,749 in earnings. Scooter Kat, who placed ninth, bumped his lifetime earnings up to $325,378 and ranks fourth all time on the EquiStat reined cow horse list.

Cushing was excited to have success for Wurzer, saying she deserves it.

“She has been so special to me and my family from the moment we first talked on the phone and she’s trusted me …. all the horses that we’ve had, she’s trusted my program. And, it takes a customer like this that listens and understands [and] that only wants the best for horses,” he said. “That’s the only way that we can go down the road and truly get everything that these horses have to offer.”

Bred by Austin Adams, of Logandale, Nevada, Hott Rod is out of Sugars Smart Kitty (by High Brow Cat). He is his mother’s only money earner in the EquiStat database.

The Reserve Championship went to CSR Lay Down Sally and Chris Dawson, who marked a composite of 451. The runner-up finish earned $20,000 for owner Meredith Graber.