On a Roll

Driggers & Nogueira in Record-Setting Form Over ’24 Cowboy Christmas with Help of Last-Minute Head Horse Addition ‘Hot Freckled Leo’
Driggers and Nogueira are on a roll, with the help of some fresh horsepower.

Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira are having another Fourth-of-July run to remember in 2024, on pace to break their 2022 Cowboy Christmas record thanks to a new mount—Hot Freckled Leo—that he found just weeks before leaving for the summer run.

In 2022—Driggers’ and Nogueira’s last world championship season that set nearly every earnings record in team roping—they earned $35,152 a man over Cowboy Christmas. With their Ponoka win included (on borrowed horses), Driggers and Nogueira are on pace to outdo themselves in the Cowboy Christmas team roping record books. They have won $29,972 before they rope at Prescott July 6 and before they collect their average and go-round checks at St. Paul and their one-header check in Eugene.

“We needed to do some good,” Driggers, 34 and a new dad to Ledger as of the end of May, said. “We hadn’t been going too much, though. We went and got our circuit rodeos in, and we went to the winter rodeos and did just average. Junior was out for a couple of them, and the summertime rodeos suit us better to kind of get the ball rolling and running steers everyday.”

The horse responsible for much of Driggers and Nogueira’s success on the head side is a 2009 gelding by NCHA Hall of Fame stallion Spots Hot out of the Freckles Playboy daughter Freckled Leo Girl, bred by Houston’s Falcon Seaboard Ranches and ridden the last two years by Texas switchend-hand Ty Arnold and owned by Justin Hammond.

On the horse Driggers calls “Cowboy”, he’s already won the second round in Greeley, Colorado, with a 3.6 worth $4,206 a man, and won second in Red Lodge, Montana, with a 4.0, worth another $4,230 each. As of July 5, Driggers and Nogueira were leading the first round at St. Paul, Oregon, with a 4.8-second run, were fifth Round 2 with a 5.4, and leading the average with a 10.2 on two head with one set to go.

Driggers and Nogueira, with Cowboy on the head side (and Nogueira’s trusty Timon and Lucky Bucky on the heels), won second at Basin City, Washington, with a 4.1 (the payout hasn’t posted yet), and they’re winning fifth at Eugene, Oregon, with a 4.4. They have Prescott, Arizona, left on Saturday, July 6, to end their Fourth-of-July run.

Hot Freckled Leo Kaleb Driggers

Cory Kidd told me I needed to try this horse,” said Driggers, the 2021-2022 PRCA world champion. “I went down, ran five steers and spread the ink.”

That was June 11—just a week before Driggers pulled out of his Stephenville, Texas, driveway for Reno.

Driggers and Nogueira weren’t perfect with the new mount in Reno, but by the time they got to Greeley, Colorado, Driggers had it dialed in. They took a no-time on their first steer there, but when they made their viral 3.6-second run in Round 2, they’d gotten things figured out.

“I’ve got with him better,” Driggers said. “I talked to Ty Arnold a lot about how he rode him. We just talked about how he scored him mainly in different scenarios. He scores good, can run, has good foot speed and he handles cattle well, plus he’s like a kid’s horse to be around.”

—TRJ—

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