The Open Hackamore title of the National Reined Cow Horse Association World Championship Show presented by John Deere came down to the very last horse. Jay McLaughlin and Shiney N Sporty had the lead with a 437, and it looked like they would finish as Champions.
But Ron Ralls and Solano Cat had other ideas, and marked a 215.5 in the rein work and a crowd-pleasing 225 in the fence work - resulting in a 440.5 total.
"That cow came out and he came way out from the gate and took me hard left to right several times - but my horse was right on stopped and turned every time," Ralls said. "As soon as that cow released me and we got on him. We got what we needed - and that was a tough cow to get in the lead. It turned out perfect."
Ralls and Solano Cat won $8,645, a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by Shannon and Hershel Reid, a Gist Silversmiths buckle sponsored by Kevin and Sydney Knight, Rios of Mercedes boots, a World Finals vest sponsored by Gist Silversmiths, a C.R. Morrison trophy and a C.R. Morrison commemorative medallion.
Ralls and Solano Cat were the 2008 Kalpowar Reined Cow Horse Open and Intermediate Open Champions, and later made the Open and Intermediate Open Finals at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. In November, the 6-year-old stallion earned the American Quarter Horse Association Junior Working Cow Horse Reserve World Championship. To date, Solano Cat, by High Brow Cat out of Smartest Solano, has won close to $100,000.
Solano Cat, who will be standing at Cinder Lakes Ranch, is owned by Shannon and Hershel Reid. Ralls has ridden several horses for the Reids, including his third place horse, Ima Smoking Mister. "I am so blessed to have Shannon and Hershel as owners because they are so supportive of me. They are happy to have their horses here," he said. "Win, lose, or whatever - they stay the same. They are great owners."
McLaughlin and Shiney N Sporty finished as the Reserve World Champions, winning $6,793, a Gist Silversmiths buckle sponsored by Kevin and Sydney Knight, a pair of custom spurs from Tom Balding Bits & Spurs, a pair of Rios of Mercedes boots, an ESP saddle pad from Classic Equine, a commemorative World Finals vest from Gist Silversmiths, and a C.R. Morrison commemorative medallion.
Shiney N Sporty, by Shining Spark out of Starlight O Lena, is owned by Salt Fork Cattle Company of Clarendon, Texas.
The NRCHA Celebration of Champions, held at the 1st Community Credit Union Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas, features the Circle Y Ranch Derby, the NRCHA World Championship Show presented by John Deere, and the NRCHA World's Greatest Horseman. The show in its entirety can be seen free of charge thanks to NRCHA Official Videographer Galloping Video. To view the live webcast, visit the NRCHA website or Galloping Video's website at www.gallopingvideo.com.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, now in its 62nd year, is the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Adequan, Bob's Custom Saddles, Cinch, Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, John Deere, Markel Insurance Company, Nutrena, Pfizer Animal Health, Platinum Performance, Quarter Horse News, Rios of Mercedes, Running W Designs, the Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino, and Merial products UlcerGard and EQUIOXX, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today's equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at www.nrcha.com.