July 26, 2014

Champions of first two Triple Crown legs advance at NCHA Summer Spectacular

The Derby Open Division of the NCHA Summer Spectacular is the third jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series.

The Derby Open Division of the NCHA Summer Spectacular is the third jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series.

The first two National Cutting Horse Association jewels are the Futurity in December and the April Super Stakes. All three jewels are at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

A horse named Dual Smart Kitty and rider Clay Johnson of Stephenville won the December Futurity. At the NCHA Super Stakes three months ago, Junie Wood and John Mitchell of Weatherford finished No. 1.

At the Summer Spectacular this weekend, both horses turned in higher scores in the opening round. Junie Wood and Mitchell finished second in the first round with a score of 221.5. Dual Smart Kitty tied for third at 221.

Mitchell praised Junie Wood for the way she held the cows at bay Saturday afternoon.

“We cut tough cows, and she was very accurate,” Mitchell said. “The cows were difficult, but she never missed a step.”

Counting Cats, ridden by Matt Gaines of Weatherford, won the first round with a 222.

All three horses advanced to the second round, which is scheduled for Sunday. A field of 137 horses with a score of at least 213 made the cut.

The semifinals are scheduled for Friday, and the finals are Saturday.

Cheyenne rodeo update

Though he’s earned three world titles in tie-down roping, Trevor Brazile of Decatur has never won the title in that event at the renowned Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming.

When he competes in Sunday’s finals, Brazile could finally clinch that elusive title after 19 years of trying. His run of 12.6 seconds Wednesday, combined with his 12.1-second run Thursday, gave him the overall lead in Cheyenne.

Brazile, the defending world all-around champion, is ranked No. 1 in the tie-down roping title race with a two-run aggregate time of 24.7. Ryan Watkins of Bluff Dale, a 2009 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, is ranked No. 2 with a time of 25.6.

Brazile, 37, has won multiple titles in Cheyenne, including the team roping (2012), the steer roping three times (2000-01 and 2013) and the all-around twice (2000 and 2002). This year, the tie-down roping is his only chance at a paycheck since Brazile did not qualify for the finals in steer roping or team roping.

Brazile is attempting to earn a record 12th world all-around title on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. In the PRCA world standings, he is ranked No. 1 in the 2014 all-around race with regular-season earnings of $149,420, $46,345 ahead of his brother-in-law, Tuf Cooper.

Honoring a legend

Near the entrance of Cowtown Coliseum, many tourists and rodeo fans view a statue of the late Bill Pickett, an African-American cowboy who thrived in the early 1900s.

Pickett is credited for founding steer wrestling and he will be honored Sunday in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The Fort Worth-based National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum will celebrate Pickett’s legacy during the Hall of Fame Rodeo, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Cowtown Coliseum.

Proceeds will benefit the museum. Tickets are $40 reserved box seats, $25 adult general admission and $15 for children. For more information, call 817-625-1025 or 888-269-8696 (888-COWTOWN) or visit

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