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Third Edge and Wesley Galyean are a fan favorite going into the first The Run For A Million Cutting Challenge* Photo by Molly Montag

Who Will They Ride? TRFAM Cutting Challenge

It’s an exciting year for cutters. First, they competed on a massive stage during The American Performance Horseman at Globe Life Field, and now for the first time ever, they are headed to the South Point Hotel and Casino to compete during The Run For A Million (TRFAM) Cutting Challenge.

Only one qualifier was held this year for cutting. The riders put down thrilling runs on their best horses during Bosque Ranch’s Brazos Bash to vie for the 11 qualifying places out of more than 200 riders. Matt Gaines topped the qualifier with score of 225 aboard Driven Miss Sally (Hydrive Cat x Mylanta Lano x Mylanta Lena).

Here are the mounts the 11 qualified riders chose to take to Las Vegas, Nevada for The Run For A Million:

Wes Galyean

Third Edge

Pedigree: 18S (Metallic Rebel x Lil Rattler x Dual Rey)
Earnings: $328,115
Career Highlights: 2022 NCHA Horse of The Year, 2022 NCHA Open Derby Champion, 2022 NCHA Super Stakes Open Derby Co-Champion, The American Performance Horseman Cutting 3rd
Galyean: “We’ve shown in this pen before, it’s a lot smaller than Globe Life so we should be marking a lot higher scores than The American as long as the cattle are good.”

Nineteen 42

Pedigree: 19G (Hottish x Lil Rattler x Dual Rey)
Earnings: $153,480
Career Highlights: Brazos Bash 2022 Futurity Reserve Champion, PCCHA Futurity Finalist, West Texas Futurity Open Champion

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Kelsey Johnson, Clay’s wife, riding Rosalitta in the 2023 NCHA Summer Spectacular * Photo by Amy Olson

Clay Johnson

Rosalitta

Pedigree: 16G (Metallic Cat x GS Counting on Kitty x Im Countin Checks)
Earnings: $133,298
Career Highlights: Abilene Spectacular Classic Open Reserve Champion, Brazos Bash 2022 NonPro Derby Reserve Champion, PCCHA Futurity Open Derby Finalist, 2022 NCHA Summer Spectacular NonPro Derby Reserve Champion
Johnson: “She’s the one that got me there and I just wanted to show her.”

My Little Denver

Pedigree: 18M (Metallic Cat x My Little Abra x Abrakadabracre)
Earnings: $89,266
Career Highlights: 2022 Brazos Bash Non Pro Derby 3rd, 2022 NCHA Summer Spectacular NonPro Derby Finalist, The Cattlemens Open Derby Finalist

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Micheal Cooper plans to ride Ripping Ichi (horse pictured) at The Run For A Million * Photo by Lillian Kent

Micheal Cooper

Ripping Itchi

Pedigree: 12G (Cat Ichi x Kodoboomba x Kodo)
Earnings: $329,526
Career Highlights: 2016 Brazos Bash Non Pro Derby Amateur Champion, Cotton Stakes NonPro Amateur Reserve Champion, The NonPro Reserve Derby Champion, NCHA Super Stakes 5/6 Open Finalist, NCHA Summer Spectacular 5/6 Open Finalist
Cooper: “He’s kind of a war horse, he can handle anything thrown at him.”

Starry Eyedd

Pedigree: 18M (Im Countin Checks x Catrina Starlight x High Brow Cat)
Earnings: $64,618
Career Highlights: 2023 NCHA Summer Spectacular 5/6 Open Champion, Abilene Spectacular Derby Open Finalist

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Monty Buntin * Photo by Scootem N Shootem Photography

Monty Buntin

Kat Play

Pedigree: 16G (Kit Kat Sugar x NQH Shadow Play x Playgun)
Earnings: $198,539
Career Highlights: El Rancho Spring Classic Reserve Champion, PCCHA Reyzin The Cash Derby Badboonarising Open Champion, Abilene Spectacular 2022 5/6 Open Intermediate Champion
Buntin: “I’ve had a lot of success on him lately, he’s really fit and he wants to win everywhere I go.”

Metallic Dual Rey

Pedigree: 15G (Metallic Cat x Dualena Rey x TR Dual Rey)
Earnings: $79,815
Career Highlights: USCHA National Finals Derby NonPro Champion, NCHA Summer Spectacular Open Derby Reserve Champion

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Kenny Platt qualified for The Run For A Million Cutting Challenge * Photo by Scootem N Shootem Photography

Kenny Platt

Moms Smart Babe

Pedigree: 18M (WR This Cats Smart x Just U Babe x Lizzys Gotta Player)
Earnings: $137,632
Career Highlights: NCHA Futurity Open Finalist, 2022 Brazos Bash Derby Finalist, 2022 Idaho Cutting Futurity Open Derby Champion, PCCHA Derby Finalist

Pretty Likeable

Pedigree: 17M (Hottish x Smart Like Reba x Smart Little Lena)
Earnings: $21,184
Career Highlights: 2022 PCCHA Futurity Open Classic Novice Horse Champion, West Texas Futurity Classic Finalist

Matt Gaines * Photo by Emily Coffeen

Matt Gaines

Smooth As Mercedes

Pedigree: 16M (Dual Rey x Mercedes Smoothe x Smooth As A Cat)
Earnings: $190,053
Career Highlights: NCHA Futurity Finalist, El Rancho Derby Champion 2020, Idaho Cutting Futurity 2020 Derby Champion, Cascade Cow Cutters Derby Champion, The Cattlemens Derby Finalist, Arbuckle Mountain Derby Finalist

Itz Getn Hott N Here

Pedigree: 19M (Hottish x Andreya x Dual Rey)
Earnings: $18,364
Career Highlights: The Cattlemens Derby Open Finalist, Arbuckle Mountain Open Derby Finalist

Adan Banuelos and Beautiful Lies at the 2023 PCCHA Derby* Photo by Scootem N Shootem Photography

Adan Banuelos

Beautiful Lies

Pedigree: 19M (Hottish x Suen You Will See x Boon Too Suen)
Earnings: $83,762
Career Highlights: NCHA Futurity Intermediate Open Finalist, PCCHA Derby Open Co-Champion, Breeders Invitational Open Derby Finalist, Arbuckle Mountain Open Derby Finalist, The Ike Open Derby Finalist, Abilene Spectacular Open Derby Finalist

Cinca Cat

Pedigree: 17M (High Brow Cat x Cinca Im Hot x Spots Hot)
Earnings: $119,191
Career Highlights: PCCHA Deby Finalist, APHA World Champion, Breeders Invitational Non Pro Derby Finalist, The Ike Open Derby Novice Horse Reserve Champion

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Metallic Smart Cat & Matt Miller will be competing at The Run For A Million Cutting Challenge• Photo by Kristin Pitzer

Matt Miller

Metallic Smart Cat

Pedigree: 13G (Metallic Cat x Smart Jerri Lee x Smart Little Jerry)
Earnings: $240,126
Career Highlights: PCCHA Futurity Open Derby Finalist, Cotton Stakes Derby Finalist, NCHA Summer Spectacular 2017 Open Derby Reserve Champion
Barn Name: Superbud

Hit Tha Flo

Pedigree: 16S (Dual Smart Rey x Miss Woody Two Shoes x High Brow Cat)
Earnings: $209,366
Career Highlights: 2020 Bonanza Open Derby Champion, NCHA Super Stakes Non Pro Classic Co-Champion, Cattlemens Non Pro Classic Champion
Barn Name: Kion

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Catolena Cashin in & Tarin Rice • Photo by Emily Coffeeen

Tarin Rice

Catolena Cashin In

Pedigree: 17S (Reyzin The Cash x Dual Catolena x High Brow Cat)
Earnings: $388,013
Career Highlights: 2021 NCHA Super Stakes Open Derby Champion, The Ike Open Derby Champion, West Texas Derby Open Champion, Brazos Bash Open Classic Champion
Barn Name: Axl

Timeless Lil Cat

Pedigree: 17M (One Time Pepto x CR Little Cat x Dual Rey)
Earnings: $90,545
Career Highlights: NCHA Futurity Open Finalist, Brazos Bash Open Classic Finalist, PCCHA Futurity Open Classic Finalist, PCCHA Derby Classic Finalist

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Wood She B Magic, pictured selling as a yearling in the 2019 NCHA Futurity Preferred Breeders Sale, reached a seven-figure price tag at the 2020 Western Bloodstock sale. Shepard plans to ride her in The Run For A Million • QHN File Photo

Austin Shepard

Wood She B Magic

Pedigree: 18M (Woody Be Tuff x Magic Metallic x Metallic Cat)
Earnings: $290,008
Career Highlights: NCHA Futurity Finalist, Southern Cutting Derby Champion, Cotton Stakes Derby Reserve Champion, NCHA Summer Spectacular Open Derby Reserve Champion
Barn Name: Magic

Fancy Deville

Pedigree: 17 (Once In a Blu Boon x Louella Deville x High Brow Cat)
Earnings: $120,780
Career Highlights: Southern Cutting Open Derby Finalist, Cotton Stakes Open Derby Finalist, NCHA Super Stakes Open Derby Finalist

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Blackish & Lloyd Cox • Photo by Dawn Baxstrom

Lloyd Cox

Blackish

Pedigree: 14M (Hottish x SS Blacks Lil Kitty x Blue Bayou Boon)
Earnings: $307,286
Career Highlights: PCCHA Futurity Open Derby Finalist, Breeders Invitational Open Derby Finalist, 2018 The Ike Open Derby and Novice Horse Champion, The Cattlemens Open Derby Champion