Jungle Cat is King after “Bad Luck” Streak Broken in Arizona
Jungle Cat and Cade Rice hang tough to earn his first “big” Open Heeling title at the ARHFA Sun Circuit Futurity, winning $13,300.
Cade Rice delivers a heel loop on Jungle Cat at the ARHFA Futurity in the team roping.
Cade Rice and Jungle Cat earned the ARHFA Sun Circuit Heeling Futurity win. Image by Elite Equine Promotions.

Navigating a strong field of open heelers, stallion Jungle Cat and Cade Rice rose to the occasion, capturing the Open Heeling Championship at the American Rope Horse Futurity Association Sun Circuit Futurity, scoring a 924.48 on four head and earning $13,300.

“He was great,” Rice said. “He scored good, nice big open turns, read the cow well and when I laid my bottom strand down, he swallowed his butt. This is the first event that everything went his way. He drew good, roped good, and he was good.”

With Andy Holcomb on the head, the team scored a 229.85, 230.28 and a 229.76 in the first three rounds, respectively. A 234.59 in the finals secured Rice and Jungle Cat the win, outpacing Reserve Champions JKC Smart Playen Sis and Shay Carroll by less than a third of a point.

Another competitor in the open heeling field was Big Time Movie Star and Miles Brown, who’s Limited Title, Intermediate Title and third-place open finish pushed Big Time Movie Star to all-time leading mare status.

The Biggest Cat in the Jungle

“This is his biggest win so far because that horse has had a streak of bad luck,” Rice explained. “He’s always had a miss or a leg. The first steer at Oklahoma City futurity, I heeled the steer, dallied and the back billet broke on my saddle, raising me up almost over him. He’s always had something like that happen.”

Even at the Sun Circuit, Jungle Cat’s success wasn’t without near misses, too. Ridden by Nash Nelson in the non pro heeling, Jungle Cat picked up $1,300 in go-round money before Rice fumbled the head loop for Nelson in the finals.

Prior to the Sunday win, Jungle Cat’s biggest payday had come at the Waco Royal Crown in the 6 & Under Heeling, where a second-place finish earned him $5,760.

Jungle Cat Pedigree
Jungle Cat is sired by all-time leading AQHA sire High Brow Cat.

Origin Story

The 6-year-old stud bred by Beechfork Ranch of Weatherford, Texas is owned but Brian and Amy Bush, who originally purchased him out of a Solo Select Sale as a stallion prospect for their barrel-bred mares. He was trained as a cutter by National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Famer R.L. Chartier and came to Rice with a lot of buttons.  

“I just had to teach him the ropes — pun intended,” Rice said. “He’s a nice, quiet stud. You don’t know he’s a stud. He doesn’t have a temper, he doesn’t argue with you and if you show him one thing, that’s what he does. He’s a very perceptible horse and wants to get along.”

How to Manage a Show Stallion

Jungle Cat may be a gentleman all the way around, but Rice has delt with stallion’s who have been mishandled in the past.

“I grew up around studs, my dad and grandpa always had them around,” Rice said. “That horse I won the futurity on, Sevens Star Glo, he’s a stud. But you can’t be a stud horses’ friend. The stud horse has to respect you — they’re kind of like a kid. They have to know yes, and they have to know no. They’re an animal, and if they’re handed in the wrong way, they can be a real pain.”

Check out the ARHFA’s Sun Circuit top winners here.

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