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Black Rock Ranch Horses Top West Texas Futurity Open, Non-Pro – Wrap-up

Grant Setnicka
Marshall Chesrown
Horses owned by Marshall Chesrown’s Black Rock Ranch, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, accounted for both 3-year-old Futurity titles at the West Texas Futurity in Amarillo, Texas.

Chatty Lil Kitty (High Brow Cat), a mare ridden by Grant Setnicka, 24, scored a 222 while working seventh in the 17-horse finals to win the Futurity Open on Aug. 15. Then on Aug. 16, Chesrown, 50, scored a 211 for a 425 total on Smooth Peppy Suneta (Smooth As A Cat x Little Peppys Suneta x Peppy San Badger) to capture the Non-Pro. Black Rock Ranch horses earned $32,064 in the Futurity.

The Open victory was worth $12,000 for Chatty Lil Kitty. Farmer In The Blue, owned by Mark Pearson, Spearman, Texas, and ridden by West Texas Derby and Classic winner Boyd Rice, 43, had taken the lead with a 217 while working immediately ahead of Chatty Lil Kitty.

James Payne
Acres Of Boonlight, owned by Polo Ranch, Marietta, Okla., and ridden by James Payne, 30, also marked a 217 in the 14th spot. Farmer In The Blue (G, Mecom Blue x Frances Farmer x Doc’s Hickory) and Acres Of Boonlight (S, Boonlight Dancer x Not Quite An Acre x Bob Acre Doc) each earned $9,500.

Setnicka had three horses earn a total of $24,240 in the Futurity Open. Black Rock Ranch's horses earned a total of $42,050. The $10,900 earned by Rice’s two mounts sent his event total to $51,200.

Chatty Lil Kitty, who was purchased from Californian Carol Ward as a 2-year-old at a sale during the NCHA Futurity, marked 213-214 in the go-rounds. The little mare displayed her entire repertoire in the finals, showing she could be pretty in front of a cow, and could run, stop and control another cow.

Although the third cow wasn’t a “pick,” Setnicka knew it was fresh and he said it made the difference in their winning score as Chatty Lil Kitty was able to show her prettiest moves in the middle of the pen.

Setnicka also was sixth with a 212 on High Smokin Cat (G, High Brow Cat x Smokin Pepto x Peptoboonsmal) and 15th on Im Sneakin Around (M, Dulces Smart Lena x Sneakin Cee x Maxi Lena), both owned by Black Rock Ranch. Rice also was ninth on Mr Playinstylish (S, Playin Stylish x Tari Chick Gay x Doc Tari), owned by Charlie and Kit Moncrief, Fort Worth, Texas.

Acres Of Boonlight marked 213.5-213–426.5, while Farmer In The Blue had 212-207–419 in the go-rounds.

Setnicka finished first and second in the $200,000 Limited Open on Chatty Lil Kitty ($2,028) and High Smokin Cat  ($1690) and third in the Open Gelding on High Smokin Cat ($882).

Futurity Non-Pro

Chesrown was tagged for a hot-quit penalty when he worked second on High Smokin Cat, the gelding who had carried him to a 212 in the first go-round and was considered to be his best horse. But the 193 score in the second go gave him a 405 total, eventually putting him fourth and earning $1,849.

“I had a good score on my mare going in [to the second go] and I was trying not to take myself out of it,” Chesrown said of his goal while showing Smooth Peppy Suneta in the 10th spot of the draw. “I had three good cows and that was it. I’m pretty excited.”

Smooth Peppy Suneta earned $4,800. Chesrown was first on Smooth Peppy Suneta ($705) and third on High Smokin Cat ($470) in the Limited Non-Pro. It Chesrown's first year to show 3-year-olds and this is Black Rock Ranch’s first crop trained by Setnicka, Chesrown obviously was excited by the smashing debut.

Smooth Peppy Suneta was bred by Joe Ayres d.b.a. A&A Inc., Holliday, Texas, and Chesrown purchased Little Peppy Suneta while she was carrying the filly in 2005.

Chris Lawrence, 50, Seymour, Texas, was Futurity Non-Pro Reserve Champion with 210-206–416 on Chulas Hickory Rose (M, Chula Dual x Hickory’s Rosebud x Doc’s Hickory, and earned $3,200.

Rice’s double

Boyd Rice
Rice, 43, Spearman, Texas, has been hot as a firecracker at the West Texas Futurity, going one-two in the 5/6-year-old Classic Open on Aug. 13 and then winning the 4-year-old Derby Open on Aug. 14. Oh Cay N Short, the 2007 National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion owned by Kevin and Sydney Knight, Peoria, Ariz., won the Derby Open with a 221.5.

Haida N Cat, owned by Alexa Stent, Ada, Mich., and ridden by Eddie Flynn, was the Derby Reserve Champion with a 219.

ARC Cat Her Please, owned by Kurt and Angie Harris, Whitesboro, Texas, and ridden by Rice, captured the Classic Open with a 223. Sophisticated Catt, owned by Feister and Koller, Gainesville, Texas, was ridden by Rice to a 217.5 for the West Texas Classic Reserve Championship.

Rice placed three horses in the Derby finals and three in the Classic finals.

Oh Cay N Short (S, Oh Cay Quixote x Bit Of Shorty x Shorty Lena), scored 213 and 217.5 in the Derby go-rounds before registering the winning run while working fifth in the second group of the finals. The victory was worth $9,800. Oh Cay N Short had prior earnings of $133,972, primarily in reined cow horse competition. He earned $101,500 for winning the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity and was Reserve Champion at the Kalpower Summer Circuit Futurity ($7,979) in 2007 and in February 2008, was Reserve Champion in the NRCHA Circle Y Derby ($11,376).

They were finalists in two cutting contests earlier this year – the Abilene Spectacular and the Bonanza Cutting.

Haida N Cat (S, Haidas Little Pep x Tot O Gin Again x Freckles Playboy), had 214-219–433 in the go-rounds at the West Texas Derby. The second-place 219 score earned $7,800.

Rice also was fifth with a 214 on Sails Lil Solano (S, Sweet Lil Pepto), owned by Black Rock Ranch, and picked up $6,200. The pair finished third in the National Cutting Horse Association Classic/Challenge, which concluded in Fort Worth, Texas, two weeks prior to the West Texas event, and earned $33,457. My Little Abra (Abrakadabracre x The Better Choice x SR Instant Choice), a mare owned by Carl and Shawnea Smith, Jacksboro, Texas, was ridden by Rice to a 212.5 and an eighth-place tie at the West Texas Derby.

ARC Cat Her Please (Chic Please x Moonstruck Cat x High Brow Cat), a 2003 mare, followed a brilliant NCHA Classic/Challenge finish by winning the class and $10,300 at Amarillo.

At the NCHA Summer Spectacular, ARC Cat Her Please and Rice scored a 220.5 for second place in the Classic/Challenge Open, which was worth $29,062. The mare had earnings of $49,911 prior to the Summer Spectacular.

Rice showed ARC Cat Her Please without success at the National Reined Cow Horse Association World Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity, where he got the impression she really liked the cutting aspect of competition. The mare has been a strong mount for him and the NCHA Super Stakes was the only time they have missed qualifying for the finals.

Sophisticated Catt (2002 S, High Brow Cat x Shania Cee x Peppys Boy 895 earned $8,600 for the West Texas Reserve Championship..

There was a tie at 217 between Buckaroo Boon (Peptoboonsmal x Smarter Than Most x Smart Little Lena), a 2002 mare owned by Casey and Codie Green, Weatherford, Texas, and ridden by Casey, and CRR Smart Little Cat (2003 S, Cats Rhett x Aristo Kate x Smart Aristocrat), owned by Howard and Donna Webster, Burton, Texas, and ridden by Kathy Daughn. Rice also finished 11th on Your Turn To Play, owned by Burnett Ranches LLC, Fort Worth, Texas.

Rice, who rode Peptos Stylish Sue to the NCHA Derby Championship on Aug. 3, didn’t reach the West Texas Derby finals on the mare, which is owned by Barry and Kim Syra, Veguita, N.M. They scored 214-213–427, one point below the cutoff point.

Jonathon Rogers, who tied for sixth in the West Texas Derby Open on Merada Mirage, owned by Ray and Jane Jones ($5,100), was one-two in the Derby Limited Open, earning $1,959 on Merada Mirage and $1.616 on Peppys Dual Play, He was eighth in the Open on Peppys Dual Play ($3,850).

Craig Newman won the Classic Limited Open ($1,646) with 213.5-215–428.5 on Holly Whoe Lightly, owned by Kelly Warner.

Derby Non-Pro

Adan Banuelos
A last-minute entry and a tough first-round draw failed to slow down Adan Banuelos, 20, Jacksboro, Texas, who captured the Derby Non-Pro with a 219 while working fifth of 12 in the Aug. 17 finals.

Purr N Magic (Abakadbracre x Purr N Like A Lena x Smart Little Lena) was purchased from Kate Gaughn and Cookie Banuelos just a few months earlier and the mare wasn’t entered until just before the first go-round at Amarillo. Because the draw already had been made, Purr N Magic was placed as an add-on at the end of a group in the first go.

Ascencion Banuelos, Adan’s father, said he was worried about the outcome of the last-place draw, but the mare recorded a 210 score and then marked a 217 in the second go to qualify for the finals.

Lindy Ashlock
Adan Banuelos and Purr N Magic took the Derby Non-Pro title by 1 ½ points over Lindy Ashlock, 26, Baird, Texas, riding Quejanaisabelle (M, Quejanaisalena x Peps Lil Belle x Peps Rooster). Banuelos earned $9,100, plus $1,852 for winning the Limited Non-Pro, more than doubling the $5,000 previously earned by the mare. Ashlock picked up $7,500. Quejanaisabelle had prior earnings of $9,060.

Although he had shown at the West Texas Futurity in prior years, Banuelos said he thinks this is the first derby-age horses he has shown. He also rode Dual With Christy without success at Amarillo.

Classic Non-Pro

Elizabeth Queen
The Classic Non-Pro was just that, so much of a classic finish that Elizabeth Queen, 32, Lipan, Texas, riding the great gelding Sister CD (G, CD Olena x Little Baby Sister x Dual Pep), shared the championship with Kyle Manion, 32, Aubrey, Texas, riding Im Countin Checks (S, Smart Lil Ricochet x Autumn Boon x Dual Pep). The two riders marked a 222 and chose not to have a work-off. Each earned $8,750. Queen and Sister CD also won the Non-Pro Gelding ($1,646).

Queen said she was just happy to make the finals after marking 222-216–428 in the go-rounds and she had a great draw, sixth of 13. Sister CD now has career earnings of $673,643. They tied for third in the NCHA Classic/Challenge, earning $18,249, prior to showing at the West Texas Futurity.

Kyle Manion
Manion said there was a slight communication problem between him and his help as he worked last on Im Countin Checks. He thought they said “10 seconds,” when in fact, he had only one second remaining when he quit his second cow.

Cutters prefer to be working a cow when the buzzer sounds, so they can leave a positive impression on the judges’ minds, but Manion said he was glad he had gotten enough points racked up on his first two cows to keep it from being an extremely negative situation.

Im Countin Checks was trained and shown by Matt Gaines with great success in the Open division and since purchasing the stallion from his father Tommy, Kyle Manion also has done well. However, he has had a series of pilot errors cost him dearly in recent events, so he was pleased to get back on track. Im Countin Checks now has career earnings of $425,609.

Derby Amateur

Ray Baldwin
Ray Baldwin, 30, Fort Worth, Texas, recouped what he missed while working next-to-last and last as he captured the Derby Amateur with a 218 on Lil Super Sweet (M, Sweet Lil Pepto x Hearts O Lena x Doc O Dynamite)

He came up with the winning score just moments after a “miss” cost him and resulted in a 204 score on Mylanta Lano.

Baldwin won the title by two points over Chris Lawrence, 50, Seymour, Texas, riding Holi Pretty Kitty (High Brow Cat x Holidoc Lena x Holidoc). Baldwin added $3,000 to the $46,783 already earned by his mare, while Holi Pretty Kitty, who had prior earnings of $42,262, picked up $2,400 for Lawrence.

It was a sentimental journey for Baldwin, who purchased Lil Super Sweet from the estate of Jim McNulty, a saddlemaker who died several months earlier.

McNulty had trained and shown the mare with great success and Baldwin noted he was using a McNulty saddle on his winning run.

“It is unfortunate that Jim passed away and I got the horse that way,” Baldwin said. “The mare is so pleasant to ride and I wanted to make Jim proud.”

Classic Amateur

Ty Moore
Ty Moore, 17, Madill, Okla., said he just wanted to play it safe when he worked sixth of 12 in the Classic Amateur finals on Hey Georgy Girl (M, Wild Thing DNA x Miss Sarah Solano x Doc’s Solano) and the result was a 217 which won the title by a point.

“I didn’t get to cut the cattle I wanted,” he said. “I tried to be smooth and clean with no penalty points.”

He won the go-round with a 219.

Hey Georgy Girl, who had prior earnings of $88,753, earned $3,000 for Moore.

Colleen Holt, Weatherford, Texas, was Reserve Champion with a 216 on Hyadualin Darlin (M, Dual Pep x SR Hyacinth x Doc’s Hickory).

Moore, a former NCHA World Champion, missed the first three days of the current school year to attend the show, but he said it was worth it.

Non-Pro Masters

Jimmy Kemp
MH For The Money (G, Bodee Boonsmal x WSR Cat San Chick x High Brow Cat) earned more cash, $1,200 to be exact, as Jimmy Kemp, 63, Eastland, Texas, won the Non-Pro Masters Championship.

Andy Michael, Channing, Texas, was Reserve Champion with a 209 on Playing Lucky (G, Pegis Playboy x Royal Budha Star x Lucky Budha), owned by Michael and his wife, Janelle. He earned $700.

“It was a good, clean run,” Kemp said. “The horse was good. I never had to kick him.”

The Non-Pro Masters was for riders age 60 and over. 



Tom Holt, Weatherford, Texas, the well-traveled public address announcer now can be like legendary television commentator John Madden – he will have a home-away-from home as he travels in to cutting horse events in a “bus” purchased by him and his wife Colleen. However, unlike Madden, Holt says he is not adverse to flying and there are occasions when he will have to fly rather than drive to events.

Tom and Colleen Holt with their new bus
Holt purchased a 38-foot motor home during the National Cutting Horse Association Summer Spectacular and was in hog heaven as he and Colleen (who arrived late in the week) parked alongside some of the sport’s elite competitors at the Amarillo (Texas) National Events Center during the West Texas Futurity, which was held Aug. 11-17.

Holt will announce at 21 cutting events and one barrel horse event from coast to coast during 2008 and he estimates he will travel around 50,000 miles.

“I’ve been thinking about it a couple of years,” he said. “At Will Rogers (Coliseum in Fort Worth), in two minutes I will have access to all my clothes; I have enough stuff to stay through the show. I can run the diesel generator and stay self-contained in any parking lot for three or four days, but it’s cheaper to run off an electric plug.

“I went to Indiana to look at them. Jim Nichols, who lives in Batesville, Miss., and sells motor homes, RVs and trailers, helped me find this one. I’m living the dream in a Travel Supreme (name of the manufacturer). It’s 38 feet with two slides, a queen-sized bed, a full-width closet, a good-size bathroom, a washer, dryer, two recliners and a hideaway bed.”

The only thing lacking, at this point, is a satellite hookup where he can watch numerous national television channels. However, he was able to pick up 16 stations off an external antenna in Fort Worth.

That brings up a fact of life. He’s either working or recovering from a long day at many shows – there’s not much time for TV.

Please read complete story in Sept. 15 issue of Quater Horse News.