The 11 horsemen who competed in DT Horses and HashtagsWorld’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 World’s Greatest Horseman champion was awarded a Custom Sami Fine Silver and Diamond Ring sponsored by Sami Fine Jewelry, Martin Saddlery custom saddle, Gist custom buckle, and CR Morrison trophy all sponsored by DT Horses and Hashtags; Platinum Performance, Nile Crocodile boots from Rios of Mercedes, 30-day supply of UltraCruz Advanced Joint Care from Santa Cruz Animal Health and Classic Equine monogrammed fleece cooler. For the high score in the cow work, Swales was awarded a Gist custom buckle sponsored by DT Horses and Hashtags.
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.
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, plus Bob’s Custom Saddle courtesy of Bob’s Custom Saddles and Garth and Amanda Gardiner.
Saturday morning in John Justin Arena was reserved for both the NHSRA Reined Cow Horse Challenge, as well as the Collegiate Invitational. Emerging as the Collegiate Invitational Non-Pro Champion, it was Gracie Paul riding for Clarendon College who was awarded a Gist buckle courtesy of SDP Buffalo Ranch for winning the title. Paul scored a 279.5. Collegiate Invitational Limited Champion Kadin Hernandez scored a 287.5 and was awarded a Gist buckle courtesy of SDP Buffalo Ranch. 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. Tye was awarded a Gist buckle courtesy of SDP Buffalo Ranch. 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 were awarded ribbons and NRCHA tote bags courtesy of SDP Buffalo Ranch. For the past 10 days, the NRCHA has put the cow horse in cow town and we look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s Celebration of Champions.
Visit www.NRCHA.com for the latest results and free, live broadcast of select NRCHA events provided by NRCHA Official Videographer Equine Promotion.