Throckmorton cowboys Gary Ray sees NCHA Futurity as training ground

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Gary Ray is a big believer in saddling up for the National Cutting Horse Association World Championship Futurity.

The Throckmorton cowboy first competed in the sport’s most prestigious show in 1970, the same year that the legendary Doc O’Lena and high-profile rider Shorty Freeman won the open division title. Since then, Ray has missed competing in the Futurity only twice and one of those times was because he helped judge the event.

One reason Ray, 62, continues to enter the Futurity is because it serves as a superb training ground for a promising horse. The Futurity traditionally features the sport’s most promising debuting 3-year-olds who have gone though hour upon hour of training for the big event.

“A horse needs to go through the Futurity to make sure he’s developed for the rest of his life,” Ray said. “If a horse misses the Futurity, it misses out on being taken through all of the pre works and the practices to great ready. Horses just need to go through the Futurity to grow up.”

Ray is in Fort Worth this week for in the NCHA World Championship Futurity. While competing in the first round Tuesday night, Ray and a stallion named Little Star Dually turned in a respectable score of 216.5 at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

The duo will advance to the open division second round, which begins Wednesday morning and runs through Friday. If Ray and Little Star Dually can turn in at least a 216.5 in Round 2, they probably will advance to the semifinals, which is scheduled for Dec. 13. And a semifinals score of 216.5 probably will be enough to advance to the finals, which is Dec. 14.

Ray is a former Futurity open division finalist and he’s hoping to be among the field of finalists this year. After turning in the 216, Ray is optimistic about competing on Little Star Dually, which is owned by Gary and Lynda Paxton of Mangum, Okla.

“He’s got a lot of try and a big heart,” Ray said. “He’s a pretty physical horse. He gets pretty low to the ground when he’s working a cow.”

Ray and Little Star Dually competed within the last bunch of cattle Tuesday, which was the closing day of the first round. A field of 609 horses competed in Round 1 over six days and Ray said it was advantageous to compete very near the end.

“I feel like the good Lord blessed me by putting me in the very last bunch,” he said. “When I rode this horse in here last Wednesday, it was apparent that he had not grown up yet. He was immature. But since then, I had a chance to ride him a lot outside and in the alleys around here and that really helped me to know what he was thinking.”

By contrast, Ray received a no score when he and a filly named Spooky Janie competed in the first bunch of the first round Thursday morning. He said they might have fared better if they had been slotted to compete later in the round.

“I had almost a week’s advantage with [Little Star Dually] than I did with my other horse [Spooky Jane],” Ray said. “If [Spooky Jane] also could have drawn up later, I think I could have gotten her more mentally ready.”

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Monday, September 22Full Scoreboard
Cleveland «4Final(10) | Box
Kansas City3Ballpark Replay
Kansas City «2Final | Box
Cleveland0
Baltimore0Final | Box
NY Yankees «5
Seattle4Final | Box
Toronto «14
Chicago WSox «2Final | Box
Detroit0
Pittsburgh «1Final | Box
Atlanta0
St. Louis «8Final | Box
Chicago Cubs0
Houston3Final | Box
Texas «4
Arizona «6Final | Box
Minnesota2
LA Angels1Bottom 6th | Box
Oakland6@theBallpark | TV: FSN-W, CSN-CA
San Francisco2Top 8th | Box
Los Angeles2@theBallpark | TV: CSN-BA, SportsNet LA, MLB
Colorado0Bottom 7th | Box
San Diego1@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-RM, FSN-SD, MLB Net
Full Scoreboard
Monday, September 22Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Monday, September 22Full Scoreboard
Ottawa2Final | Box
NY Islanders «3
Ottawa 9/22 6:00 PM ET
NY Islanders 
Toronto «3Final(SO) | Box
Philadelphia2
Washington4Final | Box
Philadelphia «5
New Jersey «5Final | Box
NY Rangers4
Detroit «2Final | Box
Pittsburgh1
Minnesota1Final | Box
Winnipeg «2
St. Louis3Final | Box
Dallas «4
Anaheim «5Final | Box
Colorado2
Los Angeles33rd Prd 6:37 | Box
Arizona4
Colorado03rd Prd 3:57 | Box
Anaheim4
Arizona03rd Prd | Box
Los Angeles2
Full Scoreboard