Joseph Harrison Sweeps Both Ends for $42K in Ardmore Oil Can Classic
Joseph Harrison is proving his mettle as a switch-end trainer.
Joseph Harrison heading on Air Force 1.
Joseph Harrison and Air Force 1 won the Open Heading. | Elite Equine Promotions

Over the weekend, a few days after a pair of tornadoes barely split his place in Oklahoma—and took out the power in Ardmore’s Hardy Murphy Coliseum— Joseph Harrison won both the Open heading and heeling futurities, plus the heeling Pre-Futurity, for checks worth $41,658 at the 2024 ARHFA Oil Can Classic.

“The young-horse deal is so fun for me,” said Harrison, who heeled at six straight NFRs before going full-time as a trainer. “To get to spend all that time with these colts and then take them to town and they show off and do good, it makes it that much sweeter.”

The pro who used to win tough rodeos like Reno and Cheyenne says the only part more nerve-wracking about futurities is the helping. 

“I helped Miles Baker, who was second callback in the heading,” Harrison said. “So he’s second-back and I’m high-back and I’m helping him show his head horse. I missed for Miles, for him to win first or second. Just had to knock the cow down; we were both so far ahead. That part of this is so humbling. It don’t matter how good you train or how good you rope or how good your partner is – it still don’t mean you’re going to win. So when you have weekends like I just did, it’s fun.”

With help from the world champ, Kollin VonAhn, Harrison bested the field of 82 head horses aboard 5-year-old Air Force 1, aka “Jet”. They won the first round and average to the tune of $12,193. 

“I didn’t get to take him until late May when he was 4,” said Harrison of the bald-nosed roan. “He’s just eye-appealing. He’s good in the box and runs hard to the cow, gets on that back left leg and drags his butt, then finishes strong on the end of the rope every time. When I do my job, he’s tough to get around, I guess.”

Jet—by One Fabulous Time (One Time Pepto/Cat Mist) and out of Spooks Bellerina (Spooks Gotta Whiz)—is owned by his breeder Diane Beckmann of Gainesville, Texas.

“Miss Diane really loves him and wants him to win,” Harrison said. “She’s more than just an owner to me. I’ve been around her since I was about 15 years old. She’s a super awesome lady and I hope this was uplifting for her. She loves those horses and has really raised some very, very nice ones.” 

The next day under dim daylight leaking into the powerless coliseum, the 113 heel horses in the Open futurity were announced and timed with a generator for judges Justin Johnson and Jason Hershberger. A few horses were pulled out thanks to the darkness. 

“Actually, it was harder for the people in the stands to see us than it was for us to see the cow,” Harrison said.

He went on to win everything it was possible to win on Gucci Equine’s Nu One Time Blues, “Boujie,” scoring 950.2 on four to edge VonAhn’s SS Platinum Cat and bank another $14,185.

“He’s a pretty neat colt,” said Harrison, who tapped World Champ Clay Smith to help. “Winning the first two rounds, I just knew not to stub my toe and luckily, I didn’t. Boujie was really good. That horse has a ton of expression. He’s got a presence about him; just the way he moves. I can even see it watching the video, how he goes into the box and stands there; how he tries so hard, takes such good position, drags his butt and gets on the end of it. Judges like him. Rightfully so. I like him, myself.”

Learn from Joseph Harrison on Roping.com

Harrison, who also placed sixth on Cox & Moore’s Copperton for another $3,643, had already placed 4-year-olds at both ends in their futurities. He finished third in the heading Pre-Futurity aboard Darren and Tara Johnson’s Rebellution for $3,228. Then he made a near-clean sweep of the 47 colts in the heeling Pre-Futurity on Justin Ochs’ 4-year-old Purposely Tagged, “Hashbrown,” earning $8,209 with Shane Philipp at the head end. Hashbrown’s first outing was just two months ago at the pre-futurity in Scottsdale, which he also won for $11,473.

“He just does what he’s supposed to do; he’s a real cold-natured kind of colt,” said Harrison. “So far, the box hasn’t bothered him; nothing really shakes him up. If the cow runs, he just goes as fast as the cow goes. He just takes everything in stride; nothing bothers him.”

Harrison immediately took his helper Philipp and a 6-year-old dun futurity heel horse to Guymon, where they clocked a 7-second rodeo run on a walking-fresh muley. Next, he’ll haul his bad-cat youngsters to three more futurities in his home state this month: the Gold Buckle back in Ardmore, the Royal Crown in Guthrie, and the ARHFA Redbud in Oklahoma City. 

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