On the National Cutting Horse Association circuit, it’s fairly common for a female rider to win a major Fort Worth show in the non-pro division.
But it’s a rarity for a woman to win in the open division, which primarily is dominated by pro riders who train cutting horses for the public as their livelihood.
That’s why all eyes were on California rider Morgan Cromer when she and a 5-year-old mare named Maid of Metal won the Super Stakes Classic Open Division title after the duo turned in a finals score of 223 on Saturday night at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
The other female Super Stakes Classic Open winner was Barbra Schulte, who clinched the title in 1992 on Boons Pizzazz.
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It was the first time in 24 years in which fans have watched a woman clinch the Super Stakes Classic Open Division. Cromer is the second woman to accomplish the feat. The other female Super Stakes Classic Open winner was Barbra Schulte, who clinched the title in 1992 on Boons Pizzazz.
Shortly after clinching the title, Cromer, 33, received a hug from Lindy Burch, who in 1980 became the first woman to win the open title at the NCHA Futurity, which is the sport’s most prestigious show.
Asked about her unusual success as a pro rider/trainer, Cromer said: “I’ve looked up to Lindy and Kathy [Daughn, the 1985 and 2000 NCHA Futurity champion rider]. And so to win a title in here [Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum] is pretty special.”
The victory earned Maid of Metal’s owner, Judy Siebel of Ross, Calif., the $66,816 prize.
John Mitchell, who won the Super Stakes’ Classic open title last year on a prominent mare named Junie Wood, finished as the reserve champion at the 2016 edition this weekend on CR Tuff Lucy after the duo turned in a 222.5 late in the final round. The second-place finish earned CR Tuff Lucy’s owner, the Slate River Ranch of Weatherford, a $35,432 check.
The second cow was a big challenge, but it was able to give me a little bit more points.
Morgan Cromer on her victory
Cromer and Maid of Metal worked three cows during the 2 1/2 minutes on their way to clinching the title. She said the middle cow was mainly responsible for helping her earn the higher score.
“The second cow was a big challenge, but it was able to give me a little bit more points,” Cromer said. “When we worked our last cow, I felt her getting a little bit tired, but she just trying her guts out. That mare just does everything real physical.”
Cromer praised Maid of Metal for her athleticism.
“She does everything super physical,” Cromer said. “Even when the cow is not going that fast, I get after her about it because she does too much and she over-tries.
“In the past, that’s gotten her in trouble, her overdoing. But in this deep ground, and when the cows are farther away, it looks good and it makes it [the ride] feel good.”