NCHA Super Stakes

Lloyd Cox and Phil Rapp tie in open competition at the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes.

Special to The American Quarter Horse Journal

Lloyd Cox, left, and Phil Rapp shake hands after they tied to become co-champions at the 2015 NCHA Super Stakes. (Bridget Kirkwood photo)

Big runs worth big scores dominated the 2015 Lucas Oil National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes when two of cutting’s highest earning riders of all time, Lloyd Cox and Phil Rapp, both marked 223 points to be crowned co-champions of cutting’s second biggest event.

Lloyd rode 2014 NCHA Futurity open reserve champion, Smooth Talkin Style, while Rapp was atop Dont Stopp Believin.

“When I walked out today and was able to tie Lloyd, I thought ‘This is a true honor.’ I’ve got to see a lot of them (trainers) from the early '80s on, and he’s as good as the best there ever was. That’s the highest compliment I can give Lloyd and if we can tie him on a day like today, then we’re very fortunate,” Phil said.

Phil, an earner of $8.3 million, first won the Super Stakes in 1994 when he was 24 on Tap O Lena, the grand-dam of Don’t Stopp Believin. He won it again in 2006 on Dual Smart Rey.

“That horse has a lot of the quickness of his mother and grandmother,” Phil said of the Waco Bend Ranch-bred Don’t Stopp Believin (Dual Rey-Dont Look Twice by High Brow Cat). “This is his first victory. He’s very calculating. He’s got a lot of his mother in the stop, and he’s got a lot of the animation that the Dual Rey has. He’s just a nice blend of the stallion and all the (female) generations. I think he looks like Dual Pep; he’s double bred Dual Pep and he has a lot of those tendencies too.”

Having worked his first two cows the way he wanted, Phil had to take a big chance during the finals seconds of his run to seal the win.

“The third cow was a crazy brown Swiss,” Phil recounted, “I had about 10 seconds and just needed to cut clean so I cut her and threw my hand down and I thought, ‘We’re either going to win or lose.’ and it just worked out.”

This is the first Super Stakes win for Lloyd who was the 2010 NCHA Futurity open winner on One Time Royalty.

“It’s really a great thing to win this,” Lloyd said. “Phil had a great run tonight too.”

Smooth Talkin Style (Smooth As A Cat-Stylish Play Lena by Docs Stylish Oak) is co-owned by breeder Gail Holmes and Dottie Hill, who bought an interest in the stallion just prior to the futurity.

Lloyd rode Smooth Talkin Style’s dam, Stylish Play Lena, to earnings of $264,473 that included the 2003 NCHA Summer Spectacular Classic Challenge championship.

“His mother was a phenomenal mare. She could stop and move; she was a lot like this horse and she’s had several babies that I’ve rode and they’ve been really great,” said Lloyd, an earner of $6.8 million in the show pen.

Smooth Talkin Style proved that he was creating a legacy of his own during his championship run.

“On that second cow I was thinking, ‘This horse is really good’,” Lloyd said. “He made me feel good, and you have fun when you have a horse is like that. You want to go show them and you feel like you’re in control of things and that he can handle whatever you ask him to do.”

Lindy Burch had the second highest score of the evening, a 221.5, aboard the Oxbow Ranch’s homebred Adelle (Metallic Cat-Play Peek A Boon by