Riley Minor's RK Tuff Trinket—better known as Bob—is once again the PRCA's Purina Head Horse of the Year.
Bob won the award back in 2018, and he also won the Head Horse of the BFI title in 2016 and 2019. He's perhaps one of the defining head horses of this generation, even in the twilight of his career at 19.
"I think I'm going to throw his papers away because I don't want him getting any older," Riley laughed. "I was really hoping he wasn't 19. He's got a little arthritis somewhere, but he's tough. I give him Previcox in the summer, and Adequan when I think about it. He just gets Renew Gold and a little Formula 1 Noni, and he's really low maintenance."
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While Minor finished the year 23rd in the PRCA's world standings, he and brother Brady finished the season with a win at the Gold Buckle Beer Tour Finale in Rapid City, South Dakota, and they kicked off 2021's rodeo year with a win at their Columbia River Circuit Finals. Riley rode Bob at all 40 rodeos he went to this season—a departure from a normal year when Bob would split time with Riley's backup horse.
"The only hole in Bob is that he doesn't score perfect," Riley said. "He’s amped up in the box, and you have to know how to ride him as far as scoring him. Guys have gotten on him and broke the barrier. When you let go, he’s going fast. I think he just wants to get to the steer so bad he just won’t sit there REALLY quiet. That horse has a mind of his own."
Perhaps that's all thanks to the horse's background. Riley always knew the horse was good when friend and fellow Washington roper Bob Moriarty was heading and heeling on him at amateur rodeos around the state. So one day back in 2014, Riley stopped Moriarty to ask if he'd sell him.
“He said, ‘Well they have to haze on him in the perf here.’ They were hazing bull doggin steers on him,” Riley said. “I stuck around there and it turned out to be a life-changing deal for me.”
Now just months shy of the two-decade mark, Bob isn't losing a step. But that doesn't mean Riley isn't trying to figure out what life-after-Bob might look like.
"It’s hard when you’re riding the best horse you’ll ever get to ride. I wouldn’t say he’s Walt or Scooter because they were unbelievable for so many years. But money can’t go buy another Bob. I was lucky that I got him, and our styles fit each other. He might not be a great horse for a guy who reaches a lot because he’s running hard. He’s better for me or Charles Pogue or Turtle Powell. Every good header is looking for horses at all times. My backup is still Tupac, who came from Dustin Bird. I ride him at some ropings and win on him. Compared to Bob you won’t just love anything else you get on. I haven’t been in a panic because I still have a good backup horse. But it’s not like a Ford pickup that you can go down to the lot and tell them you want the King Ranch edition. You can’t do that in the horse game." TRJ
2020 Purina Horse of the Year presented by AQHA Awards
The 2020 Purina Horse of the Year presented by AQHA awards were unveiled Oct. 12. The top three horses in each category are listed below.
Team Roping Heading
1. RK TUFF TRINKET "Bob;" ridden and owned by Riley Minor
2. GYPSY SAILOR "Sailor;" ridden by Charly Crawford, owned by Charly & Jackie Crawford
3. IMA FRESNOS DEE "Annie;" ridden and owned by Cody Snow
Team Roping Heeling
1. (Tie) NITA WIN PLAYBOY "Drago;" ridden and owned by Logan Medlin
LEOS HIGHBROW "Sug;" ridden and owned by Brady Minor
3. LITTLE HICKORY BOON "Ray J;" ridden and owned by Wesley Thorp