call-me-mitch-phillip-ralls
Call Me Mitch and Phillip Ralls are shown winning the 2023 World's Greatest Horseman competition. • Photo by Primo Morales.

Top 15: World’s Greatest Horseman All-Time Leaders

The title of World’s Greatest Horseman is considered one of the toughest achievements for Western performance competitors. It involves four events: herd work, rein work, steer stopping, and fence work, all done by one horse and rider.

Although not many have won it, lots of skilled riders and horses come back each year. Some have even won more than once, and many horses have been in the finals multiple times.

For the 2024 competition — which starts on Wednesday with the preliminaries — Quarter Horse News looked at the stats to find the top horses, breeding stock and people involved in the event’s history, according to EquiStat.

Horses

1. Call Me Mitch

Pedigree: 11S (Metallic Cat x Miss Hickory Hill x Doc’s Hickory)
Earnings: $232,917
Rider: Phillip Ralls, Paso Robles, CA
Owner: Estelle Roitblat Living Trust, San Luis Obispo, CA 
Breeder: James Eakin, Hondo, TX
Top Finishes:

  • Champion (2023)
  • Reserve Champion (2018, 2022)

2. Topsails Rien Maker

Pedigree: 99S (Topsail Cody x Jameen Gay x Toby Gay Bar)
Earnings: $131,667
Rider: Russell Dilday, Wynnewood, OK
Owner: K. Cantrelle/R. Dilday
Breeder: Stellato Revocable Trust, Redding, CA
Top Finishes:
• Three-time champion (2008, 2009 and 2011)

3. Katie Starlight

Pedigree: 93M (Grays Starlight x Colonel Gunsmoke x Colonel Freckles)
Earnings: $105,450
Rider: Ted Robinson, Oak View, CA
Owner: Paula & David Hunsicker, Solvang, CA
Breeder: Nick & Julie Arismendi, Bridgeport, TX
Top Finishes:
• Two-time champion (1999 and 2001)

4. Hott Rod 

Pedigree: 15S (Hottish x Sugars Smart Kitty x High Brow Cat)
Earnings: $102,000
Rider: Corey Cushing, Weatherford, TX
Owner: Lynne Wurzer, Tacoma, WA
Breeder: Austin Adams, Logandale, NV
Top Finishes:

  • Champion (2022)

5. Olena Oak

Pedigree: 02S (Smart Chic Olena x Fritzs Oak E Doakie x Doc’s Oak)
Earnings: $95,900
Rider: Ron Emmons, Ione, CA
Owners:
+ Scott/Emmons, Ione, CA;
+ Smith/Branquino, Dunnigan, CA
Breeder: David Nogle, Palatine, IL
Top Finishes:

  • Two-time champion (2012 and 2013)
RankHorseYOB/Sex/PedigreeEarnings
6Gunna Be A Smartie12M (Very Smart Remedy x Gunna Be Mine x Gunna Smoke)$78,500 
7Rubys Radar10S (One Time Pepto x Ruby Bagonia x Peppy San Badger)$78,000 
8Reyzinette14S (Dual Rey x Sheza Shinette x Shining Spark)$76,000 
9Oh Cay N Short04G (Oh Cay Quixote x Bit Of Shorty x Shorty Lena)$63,375 
10Miss Plain Plain92M (Just Plain Colonel x Miss Master Blaster x Master Remedy)$60,750 
11Paid By Chic93S (Smart Chic Olena x Oaklynn x Doc’s Oak)$58,650 
12Smooth N Cash05G (Smooth As A Cat x Dox Gavacash x Miss N Cash)$56,950 
13Just Plain Cat99S (High Brow Cat x Shes Alenaglow Rio x Doc O’Lena)$54,125 
14Smartly Starstruck12S (Very Smart Remedy x Katie Starlight x Grays Starlight)$49,000 
15Dom Dualuise07G (Dual Rey x Smart Little Xx x Smart Little Lena)$45,950 

Top World’s Greatest Horseman Riders

The leading rider in the history of the World’s Greatest Horseman is Phillip Ralls, of Paso Robles, CA. His top mount is Call Me Mitch, who has a championship and two reserve championships to his name.

Here are the top riders in the event by earnings, according to EquiStat:

RankRiderTop MoneyEarning MountTotal Earnings
1Phillip RallsCall Me Mitch ($232,917)$281,867 
2Corey CushingHott Rod ($102,000)$203,767 
3Russell DildayTopsails Rien Maker ($131,667)$193,417 
4Bob AvilaPaid By Chic ($58,650)$143,333 
5Ted RobinsonKatie Starlight ($105,450)$140,333 
6Jake TelfordSparktilion ($40,000)$132,933 
7Chris DawsonReyzinette ($76,000)$130,750 
8Ron EmmonsOlena Oak ($95,900)$124,442 
9Boyd RiceOh Cay N Short ($63,375)$124,063 
10Zane DavisRubys Radar ($78,000)$114,875 
11Todd BergenSmartly Starstruck ($49,000)$109,017 
12John SwalesMetallic Cat Rose ($42,000)$108,500 
13Kelby PhillipsHickory Holly Time ($41,250)$102,750 
14Jon RoeserChex Out This Remedy ($40,495)$97,287 
15Todd CrawfordPlay Dual Rey ($24,875)$96,617 

Sires

The list of leading sires in this four-event competition is EquiStat Elite $66 Million Sire Metallic Cat, who is the father of 2023 Champion and all-time money earning horse in the event, Call Me Mitch.

RankSireYOB/Sex/PedigreeEarnings
1Metallic Cat05S (High Brow Cat x Chers Shadow x Peptoboonsmal)$339,512 
2Smart Chic Olena85S (Smart Little Lena x Gay Sugar Chic x Gay Bar King)$320,461 
3Dual Rey94S (Dual Pep x Nurse Rey x Wyoming Doc)$257,525 
4Grays Starlight84S (Peppy San Badver x Doc’s Stqrlight x Doc Bar)$236,170 
5One Time Pepto01S (Peptoboonsmal x One Time Soon x Smart Little Lena)$169,408 
6Very Smart Remedy99S (Smart Little Lena x Remedys Response x Doc’s Remedy)$158,200 
7Shining Spark89S (Genuine Doc x Diamonds Sparkle x Mr Diamond Dude)$145,616 
8Topsail Cody77S (Joe Cody x Doc Bar Linda x Doc Bar)$131,667 
9Bet Hesa Cat06S (High Brow Cat x Bet Yer Blue Boons x Freckles Playboy)$120,167 
10Hottish08S (Spots Hot x Stylish Play Lena x Docs Stylish Oak)$102,000 
11Smart Little Lena79S (Doc O’Lena x Smart Peppy x Peppy San$81,845 
12Just Plain Colonel83S (Colonel Freckles x Grey Nelly x Blue Whammy Cat)$78,892 
13Oh Cay Quixote86S (Doc Quixote x Oh Cay San x Peppy San)$63,375 
14Smooth As A Cat99S (High Brow Cat x Shes Pretty Smooth x Wheeling Peppy)$61,548 
15High Brow Cat88S (High Brow Hickory x Smart Little Kitty x Smart Little Lena)$58,950 

Top World’s Greatest Horseman Dams

1. Miss Hickory Hill

Pedigree: 97M (Doc’s Hickory x Whatyouthink x Son Ofa Doc)
Progeny Earnings: $232,917
Money-winners: 1

2. Sheza Shinette

Pedigree: 98M (Shining Spark x Chicks And Chex x Smart Chic Olena)
Progeny Earnings:  $142,433
Money-winners: 4

  • Reyzinette ($76,000, by Dual Rey)
  • 2017 Champion Heza Diamond Spark ($35,500, by Diamond J Star)
  • Hes Shinettes CD ($21,533, by CD Olena)
  • Once A Von A Time ($9,400, by Von Reminic)

3. Jameen Gay

Pedigree: 87M (Toby Gay Bar x Vegas Lynx x Doc’s Lynx)
Progeny Earnings: $133,667
Money-winners: 1

  • Three-time Champion Topsails Rien Maker ($133,667, by Topsail Cody)

4. Colonel Gunsmoke

Pedigree: 81M (Colonel Freckles x Sweetbreeze x Mr Gun Smoke)
Progeny Earnings: $105,450
Money-winners: 1

  • 1999 Champion Katie Starlight ($105,450, by Grays Starlight)

5. Sugars Smart Kitty

Pedigree: 09M (High Brow Cat x Billies Smart Lena x Smart Little Lena)
Progeny Earnings: $102,000
Money-winners: 1

  • 2022 Champion Hott Rod ($102,000, by Hottish)
RankDamYOB/Sex/PedigreeEarnings
6Fritzs Oak E Doakie92M (Doc’s Oak x Will Dustbritches x Will Roll)$95,900 
7Gunna Be Mine97M (Gunna Smoke x Seductivio x Sensitivio)$78,500 
8Ruby Begonia94M (Peppy San Badger x Playboys Ruby x Freckles Playboy)$78,000 
9Bit Of Shorty96M (Shorty Lena x Freckles For Sure x Colonel Freckles)$63,375 
10Miss Master Blaster84M (Master Remedy x Hobby Cat x Hobby Horse)$60,750 
11Oaklynn78M (Doc’s Oak x Go Go Princess x Royal Poco Dell)$58,650 
12Dox Gavacash89M (Miss N Cash x Docs Vaiota x Doc Bar)$56,950 
13Shes Alenaglow Rio86M (Doc O’Lena x Freckles Aglow x Freckles Playboy)$54,125 
14Katie Starlight93M (Grays Starlight x Colonel Gunsmoke x Colonel Freckles)$49,000 
15Smart Little Xx93M (Smart Little Lena x Hickoryslittlepepy x Doc’s Hickory$45,950 

Top World’s Greatest Horseman Owners

RankOwnerLeading EarnerMoney Won
1Estelle Roitblat Living TrustCall Me Mitch ($232,917)$232,917 
2Holy Cow Performance Horses LLCReyzinette ($76,000)$138,058 
3K. Cantrelle/R. DildayTopsails Rien Maker ($126,667)$126,667 
4Paula and David HunsickerKatie Starlight ($105,405)$105,405 
5McSpyder RanchGunna Be A Smartie ($51,000)$105,250 
6Lynne WurzerHott Rod ($102,000)$102,000 
7Michelle CannonShiney Outlaw ($43,500)$83,500 
8C Ranches IncRubys Radar ($78,000)$78,000 
9Anne ReynoldsVery Smart Remedy ($31,417)$65,917 
10Scott/Darnell TruebloodMiss Plain Plain ($60,750)$61,750 
11Roloff RanchSmooth N Cash ($56,950)$59,450 
12M. Smith/N. BranquinhoOlena Oak ($59,000)$59,000 
13Paid By PartnersPaid By Chic ($58,650)$58,650 
14Beverly ServiBet Hesa Boon ($45,000)$53,750 
15Forty-Seven IncOh Cay N Short ($51,500)$53,188 

Top World’s Greatest Horseman Breeders

RankBreederTop EarnerTotal Earnings
1James EakinCall Me Mitch ($232,917)$233,917 
2Holy Cow Performanec Horses LLCReyzinette ($76,000)$145,743 
3Stellato Revocable TrustTopsails Rien Maker ($131,667)$131,667 
4Arcese Quarter HorsesRubys Radar ($78,000)$124,000 
5Jim BabcockPaid By Chic ($58,650)$118,529 
6Joyce PearsonGunna Be A Smartie ($78,500)$113,500 
7Ward RanchMiss Plain Plain ($60,750)$105,783 
8Nick/Julie ArismendiKatie Starlight ($105,450)$105,450 
9Carol RoseBlind Sided ($33,250)$105,203 
10Gardiner Quarter HorsesBet Hesa Boon ($45,000)$102,129 
11Austin AdamsHott Rod ($102,000)$102,000 
12David NogleOlena Oak ($95,900)$95,900 
13Polo RanchLight N Fine ($39,875)$81,875 
14Clear Lake Land & CattleChex Out This Remedy ($43,245)$77,662 
15Eric StoreyShine By The Bay ($32,125)$67,125