A Family-Style Cutting Win

Stevie Rey Von and AQHA Professional Horseman Ed Dufurrena take home the open title at the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

A homebred rocked it out December 12.

With $200,000 on the line, Stevie Rey Von stepped up to the challenge and cut his way to the open title December 12 at the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity for the Dufurrena family of Gainesville, Texas.

It was a win that took generations of horses and humans to make.

The futurity started with its usual excitement and introductions. After all the special presentations, the cattle were settled, the judges climbed into their boxes, and the cutting began. First into the herd was Lindy Burch on Bet Shes Smooth, a 2012 sorrel mare owned and bred by Oxbow Ranch of Weatherford, Texas. Bet Shes Smooth is by Smooth As A Cat and out of Bet Yer Blue Boons – a mare Lindy has a long history with – by Freckles Playboy.

Lindy and Bet Shes Smooth’s score, a 221, held for just four more rides.

That’s when AQHA Professional Horseman Ed Dufurrena rode into the herd on Stevie Rey Von with a game plan.

“We had four cows that we thought were an option, and we were able to identify them and find them and cut clean and once I was able to do that, I just turned it over to that horse,” Ed said. “I cut the cow and the rest was all him. He took over and he not only excelled as an athlete, he controlled those cows – the level of skill I wished he had but didn’t know he had until he proved it.”

Stevie Rey Von is a 2012 red roan stallion by Metallic Cat and out of Miss Ella Rey by Dual Rey. He was bred and is owned by Ed’s son, Brandon.

“Obviously you can’t have any success in this game without your help. My herd help was R.L. Chartier and Michael Cooper, and they studied cattle with me,” Ed said. “Mr. Phil Rapp and my son, Brandon Dufurrena (who turned back), they gave my horse the opportunity. My wife Shona, my daughter, Rieta, who prepared him – none of this would have happened without all those people in place.”

Earlier in the week, Ed’s daughter, Rieta, rode Stevie Rey Von to the win in the limited non-pro class.

“To win this venue is a dream that every trainer and every person in this building aspires to have the opportunity,” Ed said. “I was blessed tonight by the way the cards fell. We had a good horse. He was prepared, he was sound, he was healthy. I had the right draw. I think that played a role in it. Like always, we try to make this as level a playing field as possible, but that first herd I was in was outstanding.”

Stevie Rey Von is special to the Dufurrena family, he said.

“These horses are not horses to us,” Ed said. “They are part of our family. They’re our friends. We respect them and we do every possible thing we can to make their lives better. This one is special, just like the great human athletes.”

When Stevie Rey Von isn’t cutting, though, he has a different personality.

“He’s extremely laid back,” Ed said. “You kinda wonder if he’s going to have spark or not until you see him in front of a cow. You walk up and separate a cow, and he is a different individual. He knows when it’s time to perform. He knows when it’s time to excel. He’s quick, he’s electric and he’s dynamic. When he’s back here, you’d think, ‘Ed, that’s a puppy dog. There’s no way that one’s going to cut.’”

The final score was 225.

“As a showman, all I can do is cut a cow as good as I can and give my horse the opportunity to perform,” Ed said. “From years and practice and making lots of mistakes and by luck, I was able to give him an opportunity to be the best he could be. Those cattle were obviously amazing. They posed an amazing challenge to him and he was able to step up and meet those challenges. I think he did it with the class and the style that the judges liked. They rewarded us well.”

Stevie Rey Von’s dam, Miss Ella Rey, was AQHA world champion in amateur cutting in 2014 with Rieta and in 2013 with Brandon. She has more than $372,000 in NCHA earnings.

“(Stevie Rey Von’s) a second generation that we’ve raised,” Ed said. “He’s out of our good mare Miss Ella Rey who is part of the family. She’s the mother of NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year Purple Reyn, and then for this to be her second baby – I mean, you can pinch me and I wouldn’t believe it was true.”

Purple Reyn is a full sister to Stevie Rey Von, and Brandon bred her as well. The two of them were also the AQHA world champions in amateur cutting this year.

“I couldn’t have scripted it any more amazing,” Ed said. “This is so special for me with the Horse of the Year, the limited non-pro championship and now this open futurity championship. It will never happen again, so I’m going to cherish every breath.

“Now it has been a challenging year. We lost a great mare, Nievas, truly part of our family, earlier in the year. I lost my father a month and a half ago. It’s funny how karma takes care of itself. We felt at times extreme tribulations and then we have received some great rewards. We’re going to take it in and appreciate it.”

Lindy and Bet Shes Smooth end the evenings as reserve champions in the 24-horse finals.