A Tale of Two Horses: 2023 Cornhusker Classic Futurity Champs
CFR Decada 052 and Casey Hicks and Sevens Star Glo and Cade Rice came out on top in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Cornhusker Classic Futurity 2023 Takeaways:

  • CFR Decada 052 and Casey Hicks won the ARHFA’s Cornhusker Classic Futurity’s 2023 Open Heading worth $9,040 which included a second place finish in the opening round for a total of 914.60 points.
  • Sevens Star Glo and Cade Rice won the Cornhusker Classic’s 2023 Open Heeling, worth $9,525 for a score of 927.64, including a first-place check in Round 1.

American Rope Horse Futurity’s Cornhusker Classic Details

It’s been the best of times for one of the 2023 ARHFA Cornhusker Classic champion horses, and the worst of times for the other.

Under the saddle of his trainer Cade Rice, Sevens Star Glo captured the Open Heeling title, bringing the 2017 stallion’s lifetime earnings to $58,253 and adding another title to his illustrious resume which already includes the 2022 ARHFA World Championship.

For Open Heading champion CFR Decada 052, the championship was her first and a long time coming according to her trainer Casey Hicks.

“She’s been kind of snake bit,” Hicks said of the mare known as Rhonda around the barn. “I have messed up a bunch, either on the first one or the second one everywhere. So, through no fault of her own, she hasn’t won one before.”

CFR Decada 052 and Casey Hicks winning the 2023 Cornhusker Classic. | Audrey Hart Photo

“I’m really excited for her to get a win, FINALLY,” he continued. “She won second at this futurity last year—I actually won it on another horse so I won first and second—but this is our breakthrough win.”

Held June 17-18, 2023 in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Cornhusker Classic is the fourth stop on the ARHFA’s 2023 calendar. 

Behind PRCA World Champion Colby Lovell, Rice and Sevens Star Glo won the first go en route to accumulating a total score of 927.64 points, just .77 of a point ahead of second place Metallic Brave Heart, also shown by Hicks for owner Jack Bogart.

Sevens Star Glo, or Hank, is owned by Marshall Wier and earned $9,525 in Lincoln. The buckskin stallion is a son of CSR Dual Glo, the AQHA World Champion also owned by Wier. His dam is Sevens Tootsie Time, a granddaughter of Hall of Fame reiner and sire Hollywood Dun It.

“He is special,” Rice said. “When the chips are down, he comes to the table.”

“He scores so well, never misreads a cow coming down the arena, and when you drop your bottom strand down there, his butt is down on the ground.”

“I don’t ever recall when taking the jerk, him taking a step forward.”

The positive adjectives fly when both trainers talk about these two horses.

“She is a great horse,” Hicks said of CFR Decada 052. The six-year old mare, who is also buckskin, is by Whizs Chic a Dee and out of Sucha Cowgirl Kid. She is owned by Jared Crain. “She really wants to stop and slide and use her body. She is truly an athlete.”

Hicks has had Rhonda for almost two years and began showing her at a few futurities and AQHA shows last season. She’s earned the AQHA Superior in Heading and Heeling.

“She’s truly a team player,” Hicks added. “She never gets upset or bothered by anything. She is always overly willing.”

With a high level of consistency, Rhonda is not one who needs a lot of riding and tuning in between shows and her attitude has endeared her around Hicks’ stable.

“She is such a sweetheart to be around all the time,” Hicks said. “She’s definitely a barn favorite.”

That is also what makes the Cornhusker win so special.

“I’m happy to get four runs put together because she really deserves it,” Hicks said. Rhonda earned 914.60 points for the win, edging out Jordan Allyn and Karens Smart Shiner by 2.22 points. The win was worth $9,040 which included a second place finish in the opening round.

Hicks thanked Steve Orth for his help getting the win. 

“Steve is also my rodeo partner and he does a pretty good job cleaning up whatever mess I leave back there for him,” he joked.

Rice and Hank have clicked from the beginning of their time together.

“He was ranched on his whole life and I got him later in his four-year old year,” Rice said, adding he won a round at the pair’s first futurity and qualified to the finals after less than two dozen rides. “He’s been a magnificent horse since I’ve got him.” 

“If you show him one time, he’s got it,” he continued. “I know if I catch two feet, we’re going to win. He’s very style-y—he feels good, he looks good and the judges like the way he does things.”

Cade Rice and Sevens Star Glo winning the 2023 Cornhusker Classic heeling title. | Audrey Hart Photo

“He does everything pretty and you can’t train that,” Rice said.

Both horses are heading down the home stretch of their futurity careers with a couple of ARHFA events left in 2023 but their connections have big plans, both within their competitive careers and also through their progeny.

“We’re working to get her the AQHA Honor Roll. I think she’s ahead in the heading now so hopefully we’ll get that goal accomplished,” Hicks said. 

Babies out of CFR Decada 052 will also hit the ground in the near future.

“We flushed her this year, one was to CFR Arete Gun which is a stallion that Jared also owns, he was the [2021 AQHA] World Champion in the [Junior] tie down with [Cody] McCartney,” Hicks noted.

Hank will go to the breeding shed once his competition days have ended but first he went to Logan Harkey right after the Cornhusker to add more events to his repertoire.

“Marshall and I talked about the deal and he asked me if I thought it would mess him up [to go into tie down roping training]. I said, ‘I don’t think you can mess him up,’” Rice said. 

The goal is to have Hank shown in tie down, breakaway as well as heading and heeling, halter and ranch riding at the 2024 AQHA shows in pursuit of the AQHA Super Horse title. 

“I know he’s the horse,” Rice said.

The next American Rope Horse Futurity Association event is the Cowtown Classic in conjunction with the American Paint Horse Association World Show in Fort Worth, Texas, July 7-9.

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