neck and neck

Match Race: Baker and Allyn Neck and Neck in ARHFA Trailer Race
Miles Baker and Jordan Allyn remain neck and neck in the 2023 American Rope Horse Futurity Association's Trailer Race heading into Fort Worth.
Miles Baker heeling a steer on The Darkk Side.
Miles Baker and The Darkk Side.

The ARHFA’s Trailer Race for Intermediates (capped at 6.5 headers and 8 heelers) is neck and neck between two Texas trainers. 

Heading into Fort Worth in October, Miles Baker of Decatur sits first with $28,169 earned this season, just ahead of the $26,461 won by Jordan Allyn of Brock. The leader after Fort Worth will go home with a big stock trailer from Superior Trailer out of Amarillo, Texas. It has two swing-out saddle racks in a tack room with doors on both sides. 

That would be handy for hauling the Relentless Remuda around Decatur. Baker is numbered too high to head, so he heels as a 7 in the Intermediate sidepots. He hit pay dirt on seven horses this season and won four of the five Intermediate sidepots. 

His biggest money came aboard the syndicated stallion The Darkk Side (by Once In A Blu Boon out of DT Sugar Chex Whiz), and 2D Rope Horses’ A Big Vintage Buckle (by Show Me The Buckles out of Tuckers Vintage). But he won’t be riding them at Fort Worth. 

“We’re low on heel horses right now, with a couple getting hurt and we’ve sold a few,” said Baker, 30. “I’ll probably only show two in the heeling in Fort Worth, so it’ll be pretty tough for me to get around Jordan, who can enter both ends. Luckily, my regular season was good enough that if I go down and do have a good day, I stand a chance.”

Baker’s heeling has improved significantly in the past two years that he’s trained out of Decatur, as opposed to living in his native Oklahoma where roping was secondary to ranching. He’s excited about this year’s payout at Fort Worth. 

“Hopefully Jordan will take it easy on me,” Baker said. “He’s got some really good head and heel horses.”

Those include Nic Zobel’s Karens Smart Shiner (by Smart Nu Shiner out of Karens Song) in heading and Slick Robison’s Bama Montana (by Bamacat out of Short Candy) on both ends. 

“Karens Smart Shiner placed at the World Show heading as a 4-year-old, and she’s done nothing but get better,” said Allyn, a 39-year-old native of Reno, Nevada, who moved to Texas three years ago. “She’s a super nice mare, and I’m lucky to get to ride her. The other one, my good friend Slick trained and once we got into this trailer race, I asked if he’d let me show him.”

Allyn, numbered as a 6/8, won money on seven different futurity horses this season, placing five times heading and four heeling. Fort Worth is no picnic, he said, considering 200-plus good horses are entered and the entire Top 15 is riding them.

“I was mostly heading the last couple of years, and you can bring a young head horse along and make a few mistakes and still be okay,” he explained. “But those heel horses? When you get the best headers and best heelers in the world together, they make those horses look so good.”

He added that, as an 8 heeler in the Open, he needs a very, very good horse to compete. In the Intermediate, he can ride a greener horse that’s pretty nice, and place. 

The Intermediates this year at Fort Worth for the first time will rope in their own short round, and only half the dollars earned will count toward the Trailer Race. So, pressure’s on.

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