Idaho trainer Dax Hadlock and Gatito Rojo showed fellow Open finalists how it was done in the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Futurity, winning by nine points.
Hadlock and the mare marked a 227 to earn the title on Sept. 27 at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I really wanted to advance [to the finals]. She’s the only one we brought,” Hadlock said. “In the finals I was thinking ‘Don’t mess up, don’t miss the cow.’”
Hadlock and the daughter of Metallic Rebel pushed the run hard, nimbly blocking cattle at each turn and earning every cent of the $20,992 payday.
“I bought her from Hayden Upton in March,” Hadlock said. “She was pretty easy because Hayden did such a good job. She was already so cowy, and that’s why I really liked her when I bought her. She’s been a cutting horse from the start and she’s been simple to train and go on with.”
Owned by KT Ranch of Roosevelt, Utah, Gatito Rojo was bred by Buck Creek Quarter Horses of Nemo, Texas. She’s out of 2013 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Champion and fellow PCCHA Futurity Open Champion Dual Smart Kitty (by Dual Smart Rey).
According to Hadlock, coming to the PCCHA Futurity was a last-minute decision. He’d been at the Cascades Futurity when peer Tom Long told him about a Western State Incentive the PCCHA was holding. That was the initial draw, but Hadlock said now, he’s definitely more attuned to the opportunities at the Las Vegas show.
Hadlock thanked his help Monty Buntin, Brent Erickson, Chris Johnsrud and Kenny Platt along with Gatito Rojo’s owners, Todd and Kathy Bro, wife Kenzie and parents Lawson Hadlock, Chad Evans and Heidi Evans.
Reserve Champions in the PCCHA Futurity Open were Morning Buzz (Smooth Talkin Style x Cat Believe It x High Brow Cat) and Michael Cooper, who scored a 218 for $18,500 in winnings. Morning Buzz was bred by Dottie Hill and is owned by Patrick and Denise Bendele.