Miss Callie Cat Wins NCHA Open Derby

Owner Jim Crawford scores with a homebred full sister to his Futurity-winning horse.

Special to The American Quarter Horse Journal

Miss Callie Cat's connections Tarin Rice, his wife Katie and their daughter, Charlie, and owners Jim and Marilyn Crawford celebrate their 2014 NCHA Derby win. (Bridget Kirkwood photo)

In his 25 years, Tarin Rice has notched up wins in the cutting pen that trainers twice his age are still dreaming of.

On August 2, the trainer from Centerville, Texas added another win to his name: the 2014 National Cutting Horse Association Derby open aboard Miss Callie Cat, a 2010 sorrel mare bred and owned by Jim Crawford of Lexington, Nebraska.

Miss Callie Cat is by High Brow Cat and out of Mae Bea Marie by Freckles Playboy.

Last out in the first set of 11 horses, Tarin and Miss Callie Cat needed to surpass the 220-point run laid down by 2014 Super Stakes open champions Junie Wood (Nitas Wood-Tuffs Junie x Tuff Lena) and John Mitchell, who were the first pair to compete in the finals.

“Johnny put so much pressure on us. His mare was great, he showed aggressive and had an awesome run. I thought he was going to mark more than he did,” Tarin said. “Having that great of a run ahead of you puts pressure on everybody, so before I went down (to the herd) on my mare, I tried to tell myself, ‘Don’t ask too much. Don’t overdo.’ I tried to ease up on the first cow and maybe not ride so much and then, after that, it was going good, and I probably went to riding a lot more than I intended to.”

Tarin and Miss Callie Cat walked out of the pen with 224 points and after another 11 horses competed in the final set, Miss Callie Cat and Junie Wood retained their champion and reserve champion positions.

“It’s very exciting,” Tarin said of winning the Derby, the third jewel in cutting’s triple crown that comprises of the NCHA Futurity, NCHA Super Stakes and NCHA Derby. “All of these events in Fort Worth don’t happen very often, so it is very exciting.”

Miss Callie Cat made the semifinals of the 2013 NCHA Futurity with Tarin but colicked following her run. During her recuperation, which forced her to miss the Super Stakes, she produced two embryos by Dual Rey. Since then, she has won money at every show she has been entered at including winning a go-round and then making the finals of the Breeder’s Invitational in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“She’s been spot on every time we’ve showed her. She’s so fast; her speed is unbelievable. She stops good and has so much eye appeal. Her ears are always up and she’s just always good,” Tarin said of Miss Callie Cat. “My cows were all good (in the finals). The second cow took off a little bit more and left the center a little bit more than you would of hoped, but every time I asked the mare she went and got on her butt and stopped the cow and stayed right in its face. Even though it left, she gave me her all and tried to trap it again.”

Winning the Derby paid $35,547 to Miss Callie Cat’s owner, who operates a commercial feedlot. Jim nearly missed seeing the win in person due to the high number of cattle entering his facility but decided to make the trip to Fort Worth at the last minute.

Tarin trains all of Jim’s 3-year-olds and competitive horses. In 2012, Tarin won the NCHA Futurity open for him on He Bea Cat – a full brother to Miss Callie.

“Their demeanor and everything about them is different. He Bea Cat is laid back; you can walk him around and go show,” Tarin said. “Miss Callie Cat is hotter; she’s a mare, and she gets hot and works herself in to a worry.”

Tarin made it in to the Derby finals on two horses. He split 11th and 12th place, which paid $14,924, on CR Tuff Doc Olena (Woody Be Tuff -Miss Sprat Phillips by Shorty Sprat) owned by the Center Ranch in Centerville, marking 213 points.  

Tarin’s brother Tatum scored a 215 on Johnny Reyngo (Dual Rey-Hissy Cat byHigh Brow Cat) for The 51 Partners of Weatherford, Texas, to win  $16,875 while his father Boyd split 16th/17th ($11,674) on another Center Ranch-owned horse CR Docs Woody Rose (Woody Be Tuff-Gypsy Rose Rey by Dual Rey), marking a 210.