The 11 horsemen who competed in DT Horses and Hashtags World's Greatest Horseman finals treated the standing room only crowd gathered in John Justin Arena at Will Rogers Memorial Center to an evening of epic performances on Saturday, February 22, in cow town.
Closing out the 10-day National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions in Fort Worth, Texas, the World’s Greatest Horseman is one of the equine industry’s most highly-sought titles and on this night, victory belonged to John Swales of Millarville, Alberta, Canada, and Metallic Cat Rose (Metallic Cat x Teletrona x Little Trona) owned by Jerry and Nicole Myer, Foothills, Alberta, Canada.
Swales and Metallic Cat Rose—who doubled her previous NRCHA lifetime earnings of $41,577—advanced out of the prelims to the finals ranked fourth with an 879 (216 herd/ 217 rein/ 223 cow/ 223 steer) from the prelims. The final leg of the sudden-death, four-event finals is where Swales and Metallic Cat Rose soared to the No. 1 spot. Their high score of 227.5 in the cow work combined with their 217.5 out of the herd, 218.5 in the reined work, and 215 in steer stopping for an 878.5 and $42,000.
Swales, who had amassed $693,143 in NRCHA lifetime earnings prior to the Celebration of Champions, has joined an elite group of only a few horsemen to have earned the title of World’s Greatest Horseman twice. He first earned the honor in 2017 riding Heza Diamond Spark.
The high scoring herd work of the DT Horses and Hashtags’ World’s Greatest Horseman finals went to Sparktilion (Shining Spark x Cattilion x High Brow Cat) owned by Michelle Cannon and ridden by Jake Telford to a 220.
With an incredible performance in the finals reined work, Smartly Starstruck (Very Smart Remedy x Katie Starlight x Grays Starlight), ridden expertly by Todd Bergen for owner McSpyder Ranch, achieved the high score of 227.
The high score in the finals steer stopping was a 220 by Wranglered (Starlights Wrangler x Snow White Dun It x Hollywood Dun It) ridden by Luke Jones for owners Dell and Terri Hendricks.
Champion of the World’s Greatest Horseman Youth Horseman, presented by MARS Equestrian, was Trail Townsend riding TRR Lucky Playgun (Pepcid x TRR Ms Lucky Gun x Playgun) owned by Tripp Townsend. Trail achieved a cumulative score of 727 to earn $2,262, wowing the enthusiastic crowd in John Justin Arena during the World’s Greatest Horseman Finals with a 148.5 on his cow work.
The National High School Rodeo Association Reined Cow Horse Challenge champion was Gage Gardiner riding Mr. Stylish Cat (Mr Playinstylish x Lil Sally Cat x High Brow Cat) owned by Garth and Amanda Gardiner. Gardiner scored a 292.5 and earned $425.
Emerging as the Collegiate Invitational Non Pro Champion, it was Gracie Paul riding for Clarendon with a score of 279.5.
Collegiate Invitational Limited Champion Kadin Hernandez scored a 287.5. Hernandez rides for North Central Texas College.
Shadee Tye, who rides for Tarleton State University, was the Collegiate Invitational Novice Champion with a score of 277.
The winning Collegiate Invitational Team was North Central Texas University (NCTU) with 47 points to edge reserve champions Tarleton State University by one point. Ten teams competed in the Collegiate Invitational. NCTU Team members Joshua Briggs, Kadin Hernandez, and Cailyn Simonis.
Kelly Warner and her horse Metallic Pearl (Metallic Cat x Precious Lil Pearl x Travalena) earned the $1,000 Non Pro Limited world championship thanks to scores of 210.5 in the reined work and 216 on the cow for a 426.5 composite.
Emerging as the Youth Limited world champion, it was Alex Rose riding Kim Jividen-Rose’s Cruz Mode (Wimpys Little Step x Smart Lassie Chick x Smart Chic Olena) to the top of a talented field of riders. Rose scored a 430.5 (214 rein/ 216.5 cow).
In the Non Pro Hackamore, a strong performance by Hope Miller and her horse Sparking Metallic (Metallic Cat x Sparking Train x Shining Spark) produced scores of 220.5 in the reined work and 218 on the cow for a 438.5 composite.
Champion of the hotly contested Youth Bridle division was Emily Kent riding Callme Mister Mister (Mister Dual Pep x Travelin With Sass x Travalena), owned by Leslie Kent. Emily marked a 216 in the reined work and 222 on the cow for a 438 composite worth $625.
Working from the final draw position of the Non Pro Finals it was Wendi Lund and her 2006 gelding Smooth As Tamulena (Smooth As A Cat x Miss Tamulena Thermo x Tamulena) who earned the Non Pro Bridle world championship. Lund was a 210 in the reined work and rock-solid 221.5 on the cow for a 431.5 composite worth $5,299.
The crowning of NRCHA World Champions culminated today with the Open Bridle. A stellar performance by Shiney Outlaw (Shiners Nickle x Mereyda x Dual Rey), ridden by Jay McLaughlin for Michelle Cannon, produced the winning composite of 444.5 (221.5 rein/ 223 cow), worth $9,350.