Fickle cattle held the edge in the first set of the 25-horse Finals, until Smooth Talkin Style and Lloyd Cox took control with a 225-point run that would hold for the reserve championship.
Classy CD Cat drew seventh to work in the second set, where only one of the six previous horses had scored above 210.
“Both herds were pretty darn tough,” said Hanson, who shows Classy CD Cat, by High Brow Cat, for her breeders, Bobby and Dottie Hill, Glen Rose, Tex. “They were really hard to read. Everyone was cutting what they thought were the best cows, but you just couldn’t get a feel for them.
“I can’t tell you I thought the cows we cut were the best in the pen, but it all just fit and fell into place. And the mare was phenomenal.”
Classy CD Cat had been consistently solid during the three go-rounds that got her to the Finals.
“In the first go-rounds the cattle would run and float away and she was very correct and did all the right things, but never got the opportunity to just lay down and do her thing,” said Hanson. “I knew she could handle it, but I just walked down there (in the Finals) wanting to have a good, clean run and get the biggest check that I could get. And it turned out to be the biggest check.”
Austin Keys started Classy CD Cat for Hanson, who took the reins after the first of this year.
“She always showed that she had a really pretty style, but for the longest time, she never really showed that she was quick and explosive,” noted Hanson. “I thought for the longest time, even into the early fall, that I needed to speed her up. But I tried that and she would miss a cow. So I quit doing that and just let her work the cow.
“Now she gets to the bottom of that stop and the first thing she does is rock that inside hind leg back and is prepared to make the turn really before she even completely gets stopped, and it really works.”
This is the first NCHA Futurity win for Hanson, 54, who showed 2010 NCHA Horse of the Year LHR Smooth Jamie May and is an NCHA Hall of Fame Rider with lifetime earnings of $3.75 million.
Classy CD Cat is the third NCHA money earner out of Classical CD, by CD Olena. Paul Hansma showed Classical CD, who placed sixth in the 2000 NCHA Futurity, to earn $221,413 for breeder-owner Bar H Ranche.
Smooth Talkin Style
Lloyd Cox was also dubious about the cattle, when he rode to the herd Saturday on Smooth Talkin Style.
“In that first bunch, I just cut better cattle than most people, which was just dumb luck, I guess,” said Cox, who won the 2010 NCHA Futurity with a record 230 points on One Time Royalty, owned by Matthews Cutting Horses. “We had some picked out and they worked.
“My horse was really good and I was proud of him. He stops good, he moves good, and he’s very smart about what he does and how he handles himself.”
Smooth Talkin Style, by Smooth As A Cat, is owned by his breeder, Gail Holmes, owner of Double Dove Ranch, Fort Worth, Tex. His dam, Stylish Play Lena, by Docs Stylish Oak, earned $264,474 under Cox, who has ridden many of her offspring, including Hottish, LTE $286,109, and Halreycious, LTE $227,459.
In addition to his 2010 NCHA Futurity championship win, this is the third NCHA Futurity reserve championship for Cox, cutting’s number three all-time leading money earner, with over $6.7 million.
R.L. Chartier, who won the Reserve World Championship on Gary and Karen Fields’ A Little Bossy a week earlier, finished third in the Futurity on Sueper Kitty, also owned by the Fields. Chartier was the next-to-last rider and marked 221.5 on the mare by High Brow Cat out of Meradas Little Sue.