Eight years ago, Kory Pounds shared the open division title at the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes when he and a talented horse named Playin N Fancy Smart turned in a remarkable finals score of 227.
This weekend, Pounds has qualified for the final round of the NCHA Futurity, the Super Stakes’ sister show. The Futurity is the NCHA’s premier show and the first jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series. The Super Stakes in April is the second jewel.
Pounds, who is from Lipan, will compete in tonight’s Futurity open finals aboard a young horse named Two Bits N Countin. Pounds qualified for the finale after turning in a 219 during the semifinals on Friday night at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
The owner of the Futurity’s champion horse will earn more than $200,000 during tonight’s finals.
Pounds said Two Bits N Countin does not have the same type of exceptional talent as Playin N Fancy displayed in the late 2000s, but he added that the young horse has determination.
“She does everything she can,” Pounds said. “At times, you’re not sure that she’s going to get there, but she always seems to.”
Pounds said one reason Two Bits N Countin excels is because she’s highly intelligent.
“She’s been a tough gritty mare all year,” Pounds said. “She’s not a big strong horse, but she’s strong enough. She’s really smart.”
The Futurity features the sport’s most promising debuting 3-year-old horses. Though he had never competed on Two Bits N Countin before the 2016 Futurity, Pounds said he had a good feeling about the horse when they arrived.
“I knew I had a good mare, but there are a lot of variables,” Pounds said.
Pounds also has competed on a standout horse named Cats Quixote Jack in recent years. That horse’s NCHA earnings are $276,695. Playin N Fancy Smart has earned $338,336.
Though Pounds said Two Bits N Countin does not have the same type of high caliber talent as Cats Quixote Jack and Playin N Fancy Smart, he has a lot of respect for the young horse.
“My little mare is not a Cats Quixote Jack or a Playin N Fancy Smart, two horses that I won $250,000-plus on,” Pounds said. “Those two horses were like driving a Ferrari. You felt like you could go do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. By comparison, this little mare does not have that extra gear. But she’s so smart and tries so hard.”
Austin Blake of Canyon and Stuffin My Pockets won the NCHA Futurity’s non-pro title after turning in a 224 on Thursday night. Blake earned $53,089.
Greg Coalson of Weatherford and Catywompus finished second with a 221.5. Coalson earned $46,407.
In the Futurity amateur finals on Tuesday, Barnwell Ramsey of Huntersville, N.C., and Reyzurbetsonthiscat clinched the title with a 222. Ramsey earned $12,323.
Mary Burger of Pauls Valley, Okla., will enter tonight’s closing performance of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas with the opportunity to become the oldest competitor to win a title on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women's Professional Rodeo Association circuit.
The 68-year-old Burger was ranked No. 1 in the WPRA’s barrel racing world standings after competing in the NFR’s Round Nine performance on Friday night at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. Ike Rude holds the record of the oldest competitor to win a gold buckle on the PRCA/WPRA circuit. Rude clinched the world steer roping title at age 59 in 1953.