A filly named Junie Wood clinched the non-pro title with Craig Crumpler as her rider at the National Cutting Horse Association World Championship Futurity in December.
Four months later, Junie Wood’s rider is veteran pro trainer John Mitchell of Weatherford. While competing at the NCHA Super Stakes on Thursday, the 4-year-old, first-year horse turned in an open division first-round score of 218.5 at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
The duo advanced to the second round, which is scheduled Friday and Saturday. They will attempt to finish with a two-ride aggregate score that’s high enough to advance to the April 18 semifinals.
During the semifinals, where no previous scores will count, riders will attempt to advance to the April 19 finals, which is the middle jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series.
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Mitchell is optimistic about showing Junie Wood.
“She’s an individual, meaning that she stands out in a crowd with her own special talent,” Mitchell said. “At the Futurity, she stood out like a shiny penny. Her strong point is she’s very cow smart.”
During the Futurity, Junie Wood was owned by Crumpler, who is from a Wichita Falls family that’s competed for many years. Junie Wood is currently owned by the Weatherford-based Slate River Ranch, which acquired Junie Wood at the Futurity.
Saturday will be a meaningful day for brothers Roach and Tuff Hedeman.
On Saturday morning, Roach Hedeman, a former bullfighter who worked the Professional Bull Riders World Finals in Las Vegas in the late 1990s, will be inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.
The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and runs until about 3 p.m. at Cowtown Coliseum. On Saturday night, Tuff Hedeman, a four-time world champion, will produce the Tuff Hedeman Championship Challenge, which is a stop on the Championship Bull Riding tour. The CBR show begins at 8 p.m. at Cowtown Coliseum.
Champ rides tough
After tying for sixth place in bareback riding at the Western Texas College Rodeo last weekend in Snyder, Tarleton State’s Richmond Champion is ranked No. 1 in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Region 2013-14 bareback standings.
Champion has earned 1,010 points, 210 more than No. 2 ranked Linden Woods of New Mexico Junior College.
Champion also is ranked fourth in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association 2014 bareback riding world race with $25,783 as he attempts to earn his first berth to the December Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
On March 2, Champion grabbed national attention when he earned $1.1 million after clinching the bareback riding title at the RFD-TV The American at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.