kelsey-johnson
Kelsey Weeks Johnson and My LIttle Denver * Photo by Suzanne Sylvester

Kelsey Weeks Johnson and My Little Denver Continue Winning Streak in Graham

As draw No. 1, Kelsey Weeks Johnson rode My Little Denver into The Cattlemen’s 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro finals, held March 6 at the Young County Arena in Graham, Texas, feeling confident. She knew her mare would be there if she called on her, so she focused on driving her up out of the herd. My Little Denver answered the call and carried her to a 223, winning the class and a $7,000 paycheck.

“I chipped my last cow, and it was a tough cow right underneath her. She handled that really well and was really smart on it, definitely gained some points there,” Johnson said. “It’s a pretty amazing feeling to just go show your horse and know she’s going to take care of you. Everything is so easy for her. She doesn’t have to overly exert herself for it to look good because she’s got so much eye appeal.”

The pair went into The Cattlemen’s fresh off a win in the same class at the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity. Afterwards, the mare was bred, then flushed shortly before arriving in Graham. Juggling breeding with showing hasn’t been easy — the pair missed several shows last year while trying to get the mare in foal — but Johnson’s goal is to show My Little Denver as much as possible since it’s her final limited-age year.

Johnson’s parents, Curtis and Brenda Weeks, own My Little Denver (Metallic Cat x My Little Abra x Abrakadabracre), who was bred by Fults Ranch Ltd. The Weekses purchased the mare from the 2019 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Western Bloodstock Preferred Breeders Sale Session III based on Brenda’s hunch about the mare.

“She was the last day of the sale so we waited around for her,” Johnson said. “My mom wanted her really bad, and there was another horse my dad wanted, but he didn’t end up buying it because he knew my mom wanted this mare. It worked out really well; she was right about her.”

Johnson thanked her parents for letting her and her husband, Clay, ride My Little Denver. She also thanked her brother-in-law, Chase Hermes, for doing a great job starting her as a 2-year-old, and her help in the show pen: R.L. Chartier, James Payne, Sean Flynn and Clay. She expressed her appreciation to the mare for taking care of her and her family.

“She’s such an easy horse. I have a 4-year-old son, Crane, and he can ride her,” Johnson said. “She does not like going fast, doesn’t like other horses coming by her and pins her ears at every horse, but then you put a kid on her, and she’s the sweetest thing.”

The Reserve Championship went to Ryan Rapp, who rode Fingers In The Reins to a 220. The 2018 gelding (Dont Stopp Believin x Metallic Tuff x Metallic Cat) was bred by Glade Knight and is owned by Rapp’s parents, Phil and Mary Ann, who banked $5,500.