As the first cutting of the year, the Abilene Spectacular, held at the Taylor County Expo in Abilene, Texas, is known for kicking the show season off in a big way, and this year’s event, which boasted $206,000 in added money, was no different.
The show’s first finals, the 5/6-Year-Old Open, took place Jan. 6, and last year’s champions, Baby Talk and Lloyd Cox, defended their title with a score of 224.5. Cox said the championship was a little more difficult to grasp this time due to the trickier cattle.
“I felt like this was a little harder. Last year, the cows I cut when I won on her were really good and just got a hold right there,” Cox said. “We had to do some traveling and moving in this one a little bit, but she was really good. The cattle were a little tougher that I cut, but she did a good job.”
Cox and the 6-year-old mare (Smooth Talkin Style x Special Nu Baby x Dual Rey) banked $11,000 for owner Trey Fricke of Zipper Valley Ranch LLC, located in Dallas. Fricke purchased the mare in September from her breeder, Gary Barker of Barker Ranch Cutting Horses LLC. Prior to the Abilene Spectacular, Barker and Cox had navigated the mare to more than $230,000 in earnings.
“She’s been pretty consistent,” Cox said. “If I do my part, she usually tries to do hers, which that always helps a guy out. The plan is to continue on. Trey bought her for a horse for him, too; I’m just happy he lets me show her also.”
Cox thanked his help — Clay Johnson, Eddie Flynn, Sean Flynn and Kory Pounds — along with Lauren Henning, who got the mare ready.
After marking a 222 on two different horses, Clay Johnson garnered two Co-Reserve championships. The first was on Badaboomsmall (Metallic Cat x Reyboomsmall x Dual Rey), who is owned by Curtis Weeks, of Cotulla, Texas. The second was with Rosalitta (Metallic Cat x GS Counting On Kitty x Im Countin Checks), a 2018 mare owned by Johnson and his wife, Kelsey. Each horse garnered $8,000.