Southlake resident rides big lead to cutting horse title

Posted Thursday, Dec. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Over the past four decades, Mary Jo Milner of Southlake has competed in many cutting horse shows and has ridden many great horses.

But she likes what she sees in Smooth Asa Zee, an 8-year-old gelding who carried her to the National Cutting Horse Association 2013 non-pro world title.

“He’s a very sound and honest horse, and he’s very athletic,” Milner said.

Milner and Smooth Asa Zee entered the NCHA World Finals Round 3 performance Thursday night at W.R. Watt Arena with the title clinched.

She and the gelding have earned $100,357 this season and they finished Thursday’s show $20,571 ahead of No. 2-ranked Joe Howard Williamson and a gelding named Acatbequick.

Milner will receive the gold buckle for winning the 2013 world title Saturday when the World Finals concludes its run of four performances.

Milner avidly competes in the non-pro division, which allows competitors to ride more than one horse throughout the year. But this year, she’s ridden only Smooth Asa Zee, who has proven to be very durable as they competed weekend after weekend across the nation.

Throughout 2013, Milner and Smooth Asa Zee competed in more than 100 shows in communities ranging from Fort Worth, to Jackson, Miss., to Columbus, Ohio. No matter where they were competing, Smooth Asa Zee had the athletic abilities to stop and make the explosive turns needed to hold a challenging cow at bay.

“He’s a horse that has a really good stop and he reads a cow well,” Milner said. “I really like a horse that stops well.”

Milner began competing in cutting horse shows in 1972 and she has NCHA career earnings of more than $2.35 million.

“I really like the challenge of cutting,” she said. “It’s a character builder. Every time you show, there’s always something different.”

The World Finals is being held in conjunction with the NCHA World Championship Futurity, which began Nov. 21 and runs through Dec. 14 at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

The Careity Foundation Celebrity Cutting is scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m. at Will Rogers.

For more information on the World Finals, the Futurity or the Celebrity Cutting, visit or call 817-244-6188.

A cash cow

The 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo began its 10-day run Thursday night in Las Vegas.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s championship show is in Vegas for the 29th consecutive year. When the PRCA’s championships moved to Las Vegas in 1985, after a 20-year run in Oklahoma City, the purse was $1.8 million. This year, it’s $6.25 million.

Throughout the 2013 NFR, the winner in each event in each of the 10 rounds will earn $18,630. The average winner in each event (the rider who turns in the fastest aggregate time or the highest aggregate score after competing in 10 rounds) will receive $47,776.

The NFR features this year’s top 15 in each event.

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