The National Reined Cow Horse Association World’s Greatest Horseman competition is considered the crown jewel of reined cow horse with a gauntlet of four events including cutting, reining, fence work and steer stopping challenging even seasoned horsemen—and those with a team roping background might just have a leg up on the field.
And every year, plenty of cowboys with deep roping ties throw their hats into the ring with hopes of claiming the coveted title, and that tempting $100,000 purse.
The event takes grit, the ability to read a cow, handle a rope, flow through a reining pattern and most importantly—a horse that can hold up to it all. Becoming the World’s Greatest Horseman is no small feat—think Cinch Timed Event Championship but for the cow horse world.
The horsemanship required to navigate one horse through the four events in one bridle is difficult enough without having to outpace more than 70 other riders vying for the same goal. Team ropers have stepped up to the plate to try their hand at the event—which plays to the strengths of full-time cow horse competitors and cutters. But ropers have the steer stopping on their side, which is often the barrier of entry for a cow horse competitor.
Check out the standings with three events to go in the preliminary portion of the World’s Greatest Horseman.
Standings Following Preliminary Herd Work
#1 Boyd Rice – Quahadi – 225
#2 Jesse Lennox – Metallic Curveball – 224
#3 Adan Banuelos
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 222.5
- Horse: Pedel To The Metall (Metallic Cat x Twice As Reycy)
- Team Roping Tie: Accomplished cutter Adan Banuelos entered the 2022 USTRC Finals as a #7 roper and swaps horses with Lari Dee Guy and turns back on some of her rope horses when they need another job.
#3 Phillip Ralls – Call Me Mitch – 222.5
#3 Erin Taormino – Seven S Hesa Cat – 222.5
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 222
- Horse: Hesa Dual Bet (Bet Hesa Cat x RJJ Miss Viagra Pep)
- Team Roping Tie: Corey Cushing is the National Reined Cow Horse Association President, 2022 World’s Greatest Horseman Champion and competed in the 2022 ARHFA Sun Circuit in the Limited Header Division.
“I was lucky enough to grow up roping,” Cushing told Team Roping Journal in 2022. “I didn’t go to a bunch of them when I was younger, but got a lot of good advice and did it mostly for fun. With the great horses being bred these days, by the time I get done with my cowhorse training, they take to roping like a duck to water. The only thing that gets in the way is my catching percentage.”
- #6 Cayley Wilson – Shining CD Light – 222
#8 Clayton Edsall
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 221.5
- Horse: Bet He Sparks (Bet Hesa Cat x Sparking Train)
- Team Roping Tie: Clayton Edsall grew up doctoring and branding calves in Montana. The $1-million rider won the event in 2016 on Skeets Oak Peppy (Skeets Peppy x Oak Ill Be). For years, california rope horse trainers considered him the source for rope horse prospects.
#9 Kelby Phillips – Kreyzy Horse – 220.5
#9 Abbie Phillips – Peptos Stylin Time – 220.5
#11 Clay Volmer – Like Shine Wine – 219.5
#12 Shadd Parkinson – Whose Tuff – 219
#12 Jay Holmes – Smooth Merry – 219
#14 Tyson Benson
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 218.5
- Horse: Wooodya (Woody Be Tuff x CR Dees Boon Meow)
- Team Roping Tie: Tyson Benson starts a lot of future rope horses, including Billie Jack Saebens’ ARHFA Finalist The Notorious B I G (CD Lights x DT Sugar Chex).
#15 Jake Telford
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 218
- Horse: Northern Metallic (Metallic Cat x Little Cow Hound)
- Team Roping Tie: Telford’s earned more than $24,000 in the roping pen as a heeler since 2017, including a top finish at the 2017 Ariat World Series of Team Roping Finale in the #12.
#15 Ty Brown – King Of Anything – 218
#15 Justin Wright – Scooter Kat – 218
#19 Ascencion Banuelos – Purrn Likeasmoothcat – 217.5
#19 Jared Jones – PRF Peptos Smart Cat – 217.5
#19 Lance Scheffel – Hal Rey Lou Ya – 217.5
#22 Luke Jones
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 217
- Horse: Mr Comin In Hot (My Playinstylish x Lil Sally Cat)
- Team Roping Tie: Iowa heeler Luke Jones earned $4,850 at the 2022 Riata Buckle Futurity in the #10.5.
#22 Todd Crawford – One Time Legend – 217
#22 Todd Bergen – Smartly Starstruck – 217
#25 Tyler Merrill
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 216.5
- Horse: Bet Hesa Boon (Bet Hesa Cat x Flo N Blu Boon)
- Team Roping Tie: Roping.com coach Tyler Merrill was born into a cutting family and considers roping to be his outlet. The North Texas roper is neighbors with Ryan Motes and Winston Hansma.
#25 Chris Dawson – Reyzinette – 216.5
#25 Trevor Carter – MC Cowhammer – 216.5
#28 Brad Barkemeyer
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 216
- Horse: CR Tuff Taffy (Woody Be Tuff x Peptocandy)
- Team Roping Tie: Brad Barkemeyer is a jack of all trades, training horses and teaching students in team roping, reining and reined cow horse. Barkemeyer is a Horse&Rider On Demand coach and regular at the Ariat World Series Team Roping.
#28 Nick Dowers – Time For The Diamond – 216
#28 John Swales – Cats King Badger – 216
#31 Luke Hammerness – Miss Dun Shined – 215.5
#32 Casey Branquinho
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 215
- Horse: Dressed In Oak (Olena Oak x Shiney And Dressy)
- Team Roping Tie: Wife Nichole owns stand-out rope horse sire Olena Oak with partner Ron Emmons. Casey rides Olena Oak offspring across disciplines across disciplines in the heading, heeling and reined cow horse.
#32 Matt Koch – Smart Ladies Sparkle – 215
#32 Lance Johnston – Here Comes The Boon – 215
#35 Ben Baldus – Play Rey Sugar Baby – 214.5
#36 Taylor Peters – CR Tuff Secret – 214
#36 Zane Davis – Metallic Cajun – 214
#38 Ryan Gallentine – Suens Little Cat – 213.5
#38 Veronica Swales – Annies Playin Cat – 213.5
#40 Clayton Anderson – Rooster Cogboon – 213
#40 Jesus Roman – Half Past Boon – 213
#40 Brandon Buttars – Cuttin Wright Up – 213
#44 Kelsey Thomas
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 212.5
- Horse: Kit Kat Jerrie (Kit Kat Sugar x Jerries Dual Legacy)
- Team Roping Tie: Thomas brought home the 2023 World’s Greatest Horsewoman title in Queen Creek, Arizona, in January. Thomas regularly heads—and wins—in the all-girl and Ariat WSTR competitions.
#44 Heath Cox – With Or Without U – 212.5
#46 Trey Pool – Gunna Be Striking – 212
#46 Parke Greeson – Hesastylin – 212
#46 Terry Riddle – South Wichita – 212
#49 Brady Weaver – SJR Reygun – 211.5
#49 Roy Rich – SJR Smooth Cadilac – 211.5
#51 Sarah Dawson – Wanna Be A Pepto – 211
#51 Jeremy Knoles – Its That Time Shiner – 211
#51 Matlock Rice – Cat N Boon – 211
#51 Jay McLaughlin – Gotittogive – 211
#56 Mark Sigler – Its Time To Smokum – 210.5
#57 Winston Hansma
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 210
- Horse: Bossy Brother (CD Lights x Diamonds Sparklette)
- Team Roping Tie: Winston Hansma is the stepfather to five-time-NFR-Qualifier Ryan Motes and picked up team roping in 2020 for the new challenge. In 1994, Hansma rode CD Olena to the National Cutting Horse Association Open Futurity Championship. CD Olena has gone on to sire a slew of rope horses including Motes’ PRCA Horse of the Year CD Starbucks.
#57 Shawn Hays – Moonshineandtwoadvil – 210
#57 Orren Koontz – Deeper Shade Of Blu – 210
#62 Brad Lund
- Herd Work Prelim Score: 209
- Horse: Taggline (Metallic Cat x Dual Rey Tag)
- Team Roping Tie: Brad Lund trains high-end rope horses and is a regular at ARHFA, Royal Crown and Riata Buckle competitions.
#62 Dave Thacker – Cutting With A Gun – 209
#62 Sarah Murphy – No Sense Walkin – 209
#65 Waylon Davis – Reydium Cat – 208
#66 Jess Morgan – Stylish Boss Hawg – 206
#67 Lavert Avent – Down With The OBB – 205
#68 Emily Kent – Call Me Mister Mister – 204
#69 Dustin Turk – Wright On Holly Time – 203
#70 Chet Martin – One Time Up North – 202
#70 Darren Lawley – BS Tripps Jaybird – 202
#72 Robert Davis – Bobbys Playgun – 201
#72 Alex Alves – Smart With Chicks – 201
#74 Beau Hutchings – GDR Sugar Bar Shine – 198
#75 Matt Bento – Lidos Miss Dual Play – 197
#76 Dale Clearwater – Regiddy Ann – 189
Check out the event schedule here.