The Buckskin That Lets Junior Nogueira Heel Like Junior Nogueira
Six rounds into the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Junior Nogueira has won 56,115.39 world standings points, all aboard a buckskin roan gelding named Timon.

Back East, Kenny Brown has dominated the heeling scene for years.

He’s won the First Frontier Circuit and every major rodeo on the coast along the way. He and his wife, Mary Ann (who’s made the First Frontier Circuit Finals herself in the heading), own and operate Lightning B Rope Horses in Keedysville, Maryland, and that’s where Junior Nogueira found Timon—the 10-year-old buckskin gelding registered as Kiehne’s Frosty Pepto. 

[Related: The Power of Goal Setting with Mary Ann Brown]

[Related: Snow and Nogueira Strike in Round 6]

Aboard Timon, Nogueira can do what Nogueira does best: heel two feet, no matter the circumstances.

Nogueira heeling his first steer of the 2020 NFR aboard Timon in 5.7 seconds with 4,231 world standings points. PRCA ProRodeoPhoto by Roseanna Sales

“He’s good in little buildings like the Thomas & Mack, and he’s good here in Arlington, too,” Nogueira said. “He stands in the box like a statue. I rode him the whole year, the whole summer, everywhere I needed a win. He’s one of the really good horses out there.” 

Brown found Timon—bred by New Mexico’s ropey Kiehne family—tied to a fence in Arizona a few years ago, while he and his wife were on their way to the Ariat World Series of Team Roping Finale in Las Vegas.

“He was in his work clothes, as I like to say,” Brown said. “He had a long coat, and he didn’t really have a finished look. But there was a lot of potential there, and he was cool-looking. He was green and hadn’t really been hauled, but I wanted to try him.”

Brown liked him so much he started jackpotting on him right away in Arizona, then he loaded him up and rode him in Las Vegas at the Finale. 

“When I got back, I went to rodeoing on him, and I rode him at the First Frontier Circuit Finals that January, too,” Brown said. “I rode him everywhere. He was the total package: sweet, easy and athletic.”

But Brown broke his ankle, and he had another couple good ones coming on. Cory Petska had already bought a bay horse—who Petska renamed Lightning B—so Petska’s good friend Kaleb Driggers (then Nogueira’s partner) had heard of the East Coast rope horse trainer. 

“Kaleb had seen him,” Brown said. “And he called and said they were looking for a horse for Junior, so I sent over some videos.”

Nogueira on Timon at the 2019 Cheyenne Frontier Days. Hubbell Rodeo Photo

“We were in Estes Park and Kaleb called me and said he saw this horse that looked pretty good and he’d been hauled a little bit,” Nogueira said. “He was pretty smooth, good color, long tail, he dragged a little bit. I like good color. When we buy younger horses, I want to buy things I like.”

At the time, Nogueira had Green Card, Hali (aboard whom he just won the 2020 AQHA’s senior heading world title) and Harry (who Travis Graves now owns). Hali was a little off, and Nogueira had left her home for the summer. 

“We were doing good and we pretty much had the Finals made,” Nogueira said. “I just decided to buy him and not even try him. Kaleb set everything up, and I talked to Kenny Brown and I found a big old truck and sent him to Kaleb’s house. When I got home from Cheyenne that was the first time I saw him.”

Timon was easy from the start, and both Driggers and Nogueira rode him as a backup horse at jackpots when they had a leg on their good horses. 

Driggers and Nogueira take a victory lap at the 2019 NFR. Jamie Arviso Photo

By mid-summer 2019, Nogueira was hauling Timon alongside Hali and Green Card, and he hopped on him to win his first rodeo in Wolf Point, Montana. Later that summer, Nogueira got the win at the Spicer Gripp on him, and then he rode him at the 2019 NFR in Las Vegas. He placed in six rounds, including splitting the win in Round 8 and winning Rounds 9 and 10 outright. 

“He’s turned into a really good horse. He does good pretty much everywhere,” Nogueira said. “But he’s not fun to practice on. It’s something kind of crazy about him. He always does something different. I just skip practicing on him and lope him. When you’re rodeoing, you don’t have to do nothing to him. He’s perfect and very serious. At home, he’d just move in the box. Back and forth, squat, squat when the gates open, all the time.” TRJ

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