The stories about the horses that are quirky outlaws always seem to get the attention. Fans love them—the unlikely tales of broncs-turned-great-ones.
But too often the stories of the rock solid, great ones like Sug—Brady Minor's no-nonsense 14-year-old gelding—are overlooked.
[Read More: 2019 NFR Team Roping News]
Registered as Leos Hickory, a son of Scooter O Highbrow out of the Prices Kris Leo mare Leos Last Pokey, was bred in Oklahoma by DJ Mefferd, and eventually sold to heeler Kyle Crick.
"I bought him off the internet and met the people in Dalhart, Texas," Crick said. "Jim Ross Cooper is one of my best friends, and he and I were trying to dabble in the horse business."
They'd already run a lot of steers on him in the practice pen by the time BFI champ Travis Woodard came across him when Crick decided to slow down his roping schedule.
"He had a short tail and was kind of ugly looking," Crick said. "So I didn't really think anybody would want him. I just didn't really have any use for him. But Travis came and looked at him, and he liked him."
Woodard took the horse home for a few weeks to try, and decided he needed to have him.
"I thought he was a good colt and I bought him," Woodard said. "He was gentle and he was smart. I rode him for a couple years, and they used to have those college rodeos at the Lone Star in Stephenville, and you could go twice at this little Open rodeo. I didn't like my good horse at the time, and I was really really liking that colt. He wasn’t scared of the banner or the announcer or the music. I don’t think everybody else realized he was great until a couple years later, but when I started taking him there is when I realized he was going to be great."
Woodard made the National Finals Rodeo on Sug in 2016, and with that goal accomplished, Woodard planned to slow down his rodeo schedule and spend more time with his family.
"I had another horse I really liked at the time," Woodard explained. "So I decided I could sell him. I'd let Brady ride him at The American, and they ended up winning it."
That was 2017—the year the Minors won $100,000 at The American.
"I was going to have to pay $25,000 mount money," Brady said. "So I would have had to pay that if I didn't buy him one way or another. It's a good thing I did win that rodeo and was able to buy him, because I'd be regretting it now if I didn't own him."
That year, Minor estimates he won $400,000 on Sug, including $138,000 at that year's NFR.
"He’s just been so solid," Minor said. "He stands in the box perfect every time. He doesn’t make many mistakes. He’s got an average stop. It still seems to come tight fast. He’s real easy to come tight on. Somebody told me he moves his feet real well when they watched him at the NFR steer run-through the other day."
Over two rounds at the 2019 Finals, Minor has stopped the clock twice in 4.7 seconds.
Minor, for his part, knows a thing or two about good horses. He's had two previous AQHA/PRCA Horses of the Year in CDS Quixote a.k.a. "Dugout" and Rey Shines on Top a.k.a. "Rey".
[Learn More: Brady Minor's Rey]
[Read More: Dugout's Retirement]
"I just lucked into it," Minor said. "I’ve rodeoed on three horses, and they’re all different. Rey was big with a big stop. Dugout was short and cowy and cheaty. This one is cowy but in a different way. He doesn’t lay his ears back and cheat you. I want one still running down the arena that won’t take your throw away. Sug can be too free, and I need to shorten him up. They’re all different for different situations. I said the other day, if I had him and Rey at the same time and I had to ride one at the BFI, I’d rather ride Rey. He was easier to catch every steer."
Minor has turned down more than what he gave for the horse quite a few times over the last three years, but he won't rule out selling him if he decides his rodeo schedule should slow down with his son Maverick getting older.
"It’s year by year as far as rodeoing. I’m not threatening to quit, but I would say a couple more years, if the right guy came with the right money, I don’t know if he’ll die at my place." TRJ