When the National Cutting Horse Association Summer Spectacular began on Saturday, Adan Banuelos and a gelding named Cat Diesel were up for the challenge.
They were the first duo to compete, kicking off the 22-day show. They competed in the Classic/Challenge Open Division and turned in an attention-grabbing score of 218.
In the sport of cutting, riders sometimes are a little apprehensive about being the first to make a 21/2-minute run against a new bunch of cattle because the cows might still be little jittery as they face a cutting horse under the bright lights at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
But none of that seemed to deter Banuelos and Cat Diesel.
“You pretend that this show has been going on for a week and you go in and do what you’ve practiced,” Banuelos said.
Banuelos, 26, who is from Weatherford, said he has lots of confidence in Cat Diesel, a 5-year-old second-year competitor.
“He’s really seasoned,” Banuelos said. “He’s kind of a war horse. He’s the type of horse who will help you out when you get in a jam.”
After turning in the 218, Cat Diesel is expected to advance to the open division second round, which is scheduled for Monday. The final round is Friday.
Two horses are tied for the lead in the first round after turning in 220s. They are The Boon (owned by Alice Walton of Millsap and ridden by Jesse Lennox), and Highrey Cat (owned by Andy and Karen Beckstein of Uniondale, Ind., and ridden by James Payne). The first round concludes Sunday night.
The Summer Spectacular will conclude Aug. 2 with the Derby Open Division finals, which is the last jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series.
Calgary rodeo update
At the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, the championship performance is Sunday, and each standard event winner will receive $100,000 (Canadian).
Trevor Brazile, a 19-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion from Decatur, moved into Sunday’s performance after earning $13,000 in tie-down roping throughout the prelims.
Brazile, who is among 10 tie-down roping competitors who have qualified for the closing performance, has never won the Calgary rodeo.
In order to clinch the title Sunday, he will first have to finish among the top four after making a first-round run. After that, he will have to win the final round time to collect the coveted $100,000 check.
“It’s going to take good runs,” Brazile said. “I’ve been [to the Calgary rodeo] before and I’ve pushed too hard. So I’m going to go make good runs and see where the chips fall.”
Mike Lee of Fort Worth, the 2004 Professional Bull Riders world champion, made the cut after earning $10,500. He won the Calgary rodeo in 2008.
Fallon Taylor, a former Ponder resident who lives in Whitesboro and competed in the 2013 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, qualified in barrel racing after winning Calgary’s wild-card round on Saturday. She turned in a time of 17.21 seconds, the fastest time of the rodeo.
Bareback rider Richmond Champion, who recently competed in the College National Finals in Casper, Wyo., for the Tarleton State rodeo team, qualified in bareback riding after earning $8,250.
Cutting in Calgary
Two defending world champions from the Fort Worth area won titles at a Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting tour stop that was conducted Wednesday at the Calgary Stampede.
Chubby Turner of Weatherford and One Time Choice, the 2013 NCHA Open Division World Champion, finished No. 1 after turning in a 226. The victory earned $8,933 for the J Five Horse Ranch of Weatherford.
In the non-pro division, eight time world champion Mary Jo Milner of Southlake finished No. 1 after turning in a 219 aboard Smooth Asa Zee.