By Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse JournalFebruary 23, 2014
After taking a commanding lead in herd work, Oh Cay N Short and Boyd Rice never looked back in the 2014 World's Greatest Horseman competition. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) Did you take a photo at the event? Send it to Becky Newell at email@example.com, and the best photos might appear in the Journal.
In 2007, Oh Cay N Short won the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity.
On February 22, he followed that up by winning the World’s Greatest Horseman competition with the same rider – his owner-trainer Boyd Rice of Spearman, Texas.
In 2013, Boyd and “OK” were reserve champions in the competition, and this year, they beat reserve champion Dual Spark and AQHA Professional Horseman Bobby Lewis by half a point.
“(We) got pretty close last year and it was pretty close this year, too,” Boyd said. “There are so many good horses.”
The World’s Greatest Horseman competition consists of four contests: herd work, similar to cutting; reined work, similar to reining; steer stopping, similar to heading in team roping; and fence work, similar to the cow work portion of working cow horse. The preliminaries stretch across several days, but when the field is whittled to the 10 finalists, all the events are contested in one day. The rider must use the same horse and the same bridle throughout the highly anticipated competition.
After Grammy-winning artist Lyle Lovett sang the national anthem in the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, the herd work began, where Boyd took a commanding lead with his 226 score.
“I didn’t do anything with him all year, just rested him until about two months ago (when) we started legging him up and getting him ready,” Boyd said. “He’s so seasoned in the four events I don’t have to do much with him. I got up this morning, worked him on two cows, come in here and cut, went over there and stopped him one time (before) the reining and came in here and showed and that’s all I do with him.”
Oh Cay N Short is a 2004 bay gelding by Oh Cay Quixote and out of Bit Of Shorty by Shorty Lena. He was bred by Patricia A. Frerichs of Ogden, Illinois. In 2012, he was a finalist at the AQHA World Championship Show in heading and fourth in senior working cow horse.
“He’s pretty solid in all four (events),” Boyd said.
The competition got tighter when Bobby – an AQHA judge known for his roping skills – smoked the steer stopping with a 223 to Boyd’s 221. After three events, Bobby and Dual Spark were sitting on a 654 composite, while Boyd and OK were at 661.5. The World’s Greatest Horseman title came down – as it always does – to the fence work. The cow was pushed into the pen.
Usually, the cattle used for the fence work are the cattle that have been cut during the herd work. Boyd’s cow had been in the herd, but hadn’t been cut.
“That cow was a yellow,horned cow that had acted plenty juicy in the cutting and that’s the reason it never got worked,” Boyd said. “I got it boxed pretty good and I figured it was going to run but when I went down the fence, it didn’t run as hard as I thought it was going to. I got two good turns, and then when I went to circle, it got away from me a little bit, and I didn’t get it circled good the first way, but then the second way I did.”
Then he could only wait.
“I watched (Bobby in his fence work),” Boyd said. “Bobby’s got a (heck) of a horse, and he shows good and you never know what’s going to happen.”
Dual Spark is a homebred for Bobby. He’s a 2004 buckskin stallion by Dual Pep and out of Dolittle Lena by Shining Spark. In the fence work, he matched his steer score with another 223.
After NRCHA officials made their calculations, Bobby had a score of 877, while Boyd was at 877.5 – the half-point needed for the title.
After the hard-fought battle, Boyd has plans for Oh Cay N Short – he’s going to turn the horse back out until it’s time for the 2015 World’s Greatest Horseman competition.
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