It’s one thing to win a title in the Will Rogers Coliseum, but to win two titles back-to-back the same day — one of which was a repeat from the previous year — takes talent, determination and two good horses. Ryan Rapp had all of the above when he first piloted Next Stopp Cowtown to a 221.5, winning his second National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) NRR Cat King Cole Super Stakes 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro Championship, then rode Jiggin Lil Joe to a 223 to win the 4-Year-Old Non-Pro Championship.
“I’m very lucky to have two good horses that are different ages,” Rapp said after his second win. “It feels very surreal. I never thought in a million years that I’d do that at any aged event, let alone here at the Super Stakes. It’s very special.”
Rapp banked $19,951 for the 5/6-Year-Old title and another $39,177 for winning the 4-Year-Old. He was particularly happy to repeat the 5/6-Year-Old title on Next Stopp Cowtown as the gelding, who was bred by Waco Bend Ranch Ltd., is out of bloodlines with close ties to Rapp’s family. The horse’s sire, Dont Stopp Believin, was ridden by Rapp’s dad, Phil, and mom, Mary Ann, to $463,794 in earnings. His dam, Manytimes (by One Time Pepto), banked $110,784 during her career, nearly all of which was won with Phil.
“He got a lot of [his dam’s] speed,” Rapp said. ‘He’s very athletic, and he has a very bright look on a cow. Now that he’s getting older and he’s gotten much smarter, it’s really what’s kind of helped him excel.”
The cows in their finals run were tough, but Rapp said Next Stopp Cowtown handled them with finesse, reading them intelligently and staying wise to their tricks. He added that this year’s run was better than last year’s, where he tied with Megan Miller for the title. The gelding has only improved with age, he added.
Jiggin Lil Joe Makes It Two Titles on the Day
Rapp’s 4-year-old, Jiggin Lil Joe, is also by Dont Stopp Believin. The gelding, who was bred by Joe Howard Williamson and is out of the Cat Ichi mare Miz Savanah Ichi, was purchased by the Rapps during the 2021 NCHA Futurity. Jiggin Lil Joe has gone through a lot of ups and downs since then, from illnesses to injuries to being off while Rapp was at school, but everything came together at the Super Stakes in the Non-Pro.
“I figured if he was going to be ready, it was just going to be him because you can’t make him do anything,” Rapp said. “I knew I just had to cut the cows and hope he showed up, and he did. He’s very cowy, and he’s very physically capable.”
When the pair rode into the arena as draw 19, the high score on the board was a 215.5. Even though he knew it wouldn’t take much to bring home another win, Rapp said there was more pressure to just get through the run.
“I didn’t go in there thinking at all about the score before; it just went from, ‘I need to have a big run,’ to ‘I just need to have a good, clean run and let that horse take care of the rest of it,’ because he has so much eye appeal,” Rapp said. “The cows were good, and the horse was really good. The style he has is what added to those points in the end.”
Rapp thanked his help: his dad and Clay Johnson, who helped him pick cows, along with Sean Flynn and John Mitchell, who turned back for him. He also mentioned loper Brett Stiles; his mom and sister, Emma, who also both showed in the 4-Year-Old class; and everyone who has helped him through the years.
In the 4-Year-Old Non-Pro, Brad Wilson and Steely Rey (Stevie Rey Von x Remedys Fancy Chic x Smart Chic Olena)’s 215.5 took home Reserve. The mare, who was bred by Winthrop and Judith Aldrich, and Wilson garnered $34,999.