Tatum Rice’s Hashtags is the NCHA’s 2018 open division #worldchampion

Tatum Rice rides Hashtags during the National Cutting Horse  Association Super Stakes Open Finals in April 15, 2017.
Tatum Rice rides Hashtags during the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes Open Finals in April 15, 2017. Special to the Star-Telegram

Hashtags, a blue roan colored stallion, became a big hit last year on the National Cutting Horse Association’s aged event circuit, which features horses ages three through six.

Hashtags grabbed attention when he and rider Tatum Rice of Weatherford won the NCHA Super Stakes open division title in April 2017 and other aged events last year. When horses are on the aged event circuit, they might compete only once a month and make three or four runs during a show.

But this year, Hashtags has won big on another important NCHA circuit: weekend shows. The stallion was crowned as the NCHA’s 2018 open division world champion horse on Saturday night at Fort Worth’s W.R. Watt Arena after competing in the NCHA World Finals, the sport’s equivalent of the World Series for weekend warriors.

Rice said he began showing Hashtags at numerous weekend shows last spring. He said the stallion fared so well that the decision was made to make a run for the world title.

Rice and Hashtags clinched the world title after earning $134,960 throughout 2018. Hashtags earned $21,967 after competing in four rounds during the World Finals. Dont Stopp Believin and rider Phil Rapp of Weatherford finished second in the open division world race with $81,214 after earning $19,553 at the World Finals.

Rice said Hashtags consistently wins because he’s very athletic and determined.

“He’s just so strong and so cowy and tries so hard every single time,” Rice said. He’s got a lot of endurance and he’s extremely athletic.”

When Hashtags is holding a cow at bay after he and his rider have separated the cow from the herd, Rice said the stallion stays in sync with the cow very well.

“First of all, he doesn’t miss a cow very often, but if he did, he can recover very quickly because he’s so strong,” Rice said. “He reads a cow so well and he tries so hard.”

Rice praised Hashtags for faring so well in both aged events and the weekend circuit (which involves making lots of aggressive 2 ½ minute runs throughout the year). Historically, the NCHA’s weekend circuit has been dominated by older, more seasoned horses who are ages seven and older.

But Hashtags is a 5-year-old, second year competitor who can win big on both the aged event and weekend circuit.

“It just comes so natural to him and because he’s so strong and has so much endurance,” Rice said.

In the non-pro division, Elizabeth Quirk, who rode a horse named Cat Sheree during the World Finals, clinched the world title after earning $100,551 throughout 2018.

Close all-around race

Throughout this month’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, fans can look forward to another compelling world all-around race on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. It was close race last year between Tuf Cooper and Trevor Brazile throughout the WNFR, and it could be close this year through the 10th and final performance.

Trevor Brazile earned $45,477 at the Nov. 2-3 National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Kan., and moved within close striking distance of 2017 world all-around champion Tuf Cooper in the 2018 world all-around race going into the Dec. 6-15 National Finals in Las Vegas. Cooper, who earned $23,730 at the NFSR, is ranked No.1 in the 2018 world all-around standings with $239,857. Brazile, a 23-time world champion, is ranked No. 2 with $234,154.

Both Cooper and Brazile have qualified for next month’s WNFR in tie-down roping. Brazile is from Decatur and Cooper has residences in Weatherford and Decatur.