After winning his hometown rodeo in Ellensburg, Riley Minor’s head horse RK Tuff Trinket “Bob” got an abscess. He gave him some time off and then ended up sending him to their winter home in Arizona early to get him out of the wet, cold weather.
Up until about ten days ago, the 17-year-old chestnut gelding hadn’t ran a steer in a couple months.
“I just pick the better steers," Minor said about their current NFR preparation. "I don’t do a lot–just score a few and run three or four and put him up."
Their journey started about four years ago.
“He came from like 45 minutes from my house,” Minor began the story of how he got Bob.
He always knew the horse was good, so one day at an amateur rodeo he asked Bob Moriarty, who headed and heeled on him, if he would sell.
“He said, ‘Well they have to haze on him in the perf here.’ They were hazing bull doggin steers on him,” Minor said with a laugh. “I stuck around there and it turned out to be a life changing deal for me. I’ve had more success on that horse than any horse I’ve ever owned.”
Minor is now headed to his ninth Wrangler NFR after roping at 72 rodeos this year, 50 of which he estimates he roped on Bob.
“He gives 110% every time he leaves the box," Minor said. "He seems like he’s always trying to help you, not work against you."
After finishing as the runner-up the past two years, Bob was awarded as the 2018 PRCA/AQHA Heading Horse of the Year.
“Obviously there are a lot of good horses so it’s an honor to think you have the best horse going," Minor said. "I ride him at a lot of rodeos and he’s pretty good in any setup you put him in.”
The current World Standings leader, Kaleb Driggers agrees that he can excel in any setup.
“Bob is a unique horse for Riley–he can win on him from Cheyenne to the NFR, that takes a special horse,” Driggers said.
Kolton Schmidt, who won the Horse of the Year honor in 2016, added some input on Bob.
“He’s a little speed demon and he’s a powerhouse–he’s special," Schmidt said. "It’s been cool to see him bring Riley and his family lots of wins.”
And Chad Masters, who won Horse of the Year in 2017 agrees that Bob is very deserving of the honor.
“He’s by far one of the best ones I’ve ever seen," Masters said. "He can run–he’s really fast. He’s a real special horse.”
Minor describes Bob as “easy”.
“I like his size–he’s shorter but built real stout," Minor added. "He’s what you want in a head horse in my mind.”
Outside of the arena Bob might not be what you’d expect.
“We’re buddies, but he’s a strange animal,” Minor said. “Some days he’ll snort at you. He never bucks, luckily. But he’s dang sure kind of wild."
Bob even kicked him one time when he walked up to put a splint boot on.
“I scared him and he dang sure nailed me in the leg and dropped me," Minor said. "So he’s not just the sweetest, kindest horse. I think that’s what makes him tough and good–he’s watchy and catty.”
Minor says that he “got lucky” with Bob, and he’s hoping and praying that he gets at least get a couple more years to compete on him.