A breakdown of the breeding of each of the 2018 WNFR qualifier's main horses papers, and what trends that uncovers in top-level rope horses.

Horses, once just a sidebar in the tale of team ropers' in-arena success, is now a major storyline. With at least 75 setups throughout ProRodeos regular season that demand ropers never back off, no matter the start, conditions, or cattle, a good horse is a must. We spent the last 48 hours figuring out how each of the horses who helped make the top 15 ropers on each end great, and we even broke down some big takeaways from their pedigrees.

Some quick takeaways: 

  • Two words: Doc BarNo way, right? The 1956 AQHA Hall of Fame stallion is on the pedigrees of some 26 of the 35 horses responsible for getting the top 15 headers and heelers in the PRCA into the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. 
  • The average age of head horses carrying guys to the Finals is 13; same for heel horses. 
  • The oldest horse is Dre–Kaleb Driggers' Mairs Pocos San–a 1996 gelding that goes back to Doc Bar twice, Leo, and Poco Bueno. 
  • The youngest horse who played a leading role this year is Miss JB 117, ridden by Quinn Kesler and raised and owned by Joe and Dee Lynn Braman of Refugio, Texas' JB Quarter Horses. She's a 2011 model and helped Quinn in his last-minute bid into the number-15 spot. 
  • Two studs have two offspring on this elite list. One Hot Jose is the sire of both Miss JB 117 ridden by Quinn Kesler and Mr JB 0839 ridden by Kory Koontz. The Bramans and JB Quarter Horses raised both horses. Dual Spark sired Joseph Harrison's Lula Dual and Travis Graves' Dual Chip. Both horses came from Bobby Lewis' famed horse program. 
  • There are five mares who went up and down the road this year and played a big part in team ropers' success: Cody Snow's Annie (Ima Fresnos Dee), Junior Nogueira's Hali (Apaches R Hali), Joseph Harrison's Lula (Lula Dual), Buddy Hawkins' Daisy (Roses Might Do), and Quinn Kesler's Alice (Miss JB 117).
  • Bubba Buckaloo's Prowler (Dash Ona Drifter) is bred to fly, with both Driftwood and On A High on his papers. He's also the only stud on the list. 
  • Easy Jet graces the pedigrees of Kaleb Driggers' Ole Son (Streakin Sun Dew) and Tyler Wade's bay Fonzie (Down Wind Dash).
  • Three grade horses made the cut: Clay Smith's iconic Marty, Derrick Begay's Swagger, and Buddy Hawkins' X. 
  • Travis Graves' Manny is the only Breeding Stock Paint on the list. 


1. Clay Smith's PK Starlight Chick (Ransom)

HD_1_Clay Smith - Ransom

and Mito Codys Star (Jazz)

HD_1_Clay Smith - Jazzy

Sorry! Clay Smith's gray horse Marty is one of the few grade horses that made a big impact this year. Alas, his pedigree is unavailable. 

2. Kaleb Driggers' Leo Tiger Two Socks (Doc)

HD_2_Kaleb Driggers - Doc

and Mairs Poco San (Dre)

HD_2_Kaleb Driggers - Dre

and Streakin Sun Dew (Ole Son)

HD_2_Kaleb Driggers - Sun

and Bar Z Nickel Olena (Yahtzee)

HD_2_Kaleb Driggers - Yahtzee

3. Dustin Egusquiza's Timber's Dude

HD_3_Dustin Egusquiza - Dude

4. Clay Tryan's Cee How Nifty (Johnson)

HD_4_Clay Tryan - Johnson

5. Cody Snow's Ima Fresnos Dee (Annie)

HD_5_Cody Snow - Annie

6. Bubba Buckaloo's Dash Ona Drifter (Prowler)

HD_6_Bubba Buckaloo - Prowler

7. Chad Master's Madison Oak (Clint) 

HD_7_Chad Masters - Clint

8. Derrick Begay's Swagger 

Just kidding. Swagger doesn't have papers. But, Derrick told us his story on this episode of The Score podcast. He's a Frosty Top bred gelding, from the program Kendra Santos wrote about in our September issue. Read the story on their breeding program here

9. Aaron Tsinigine's More Fire N Smoke (Yeller)

HD_9_Aaron Tsinigine - Yeller

10. Luke Brown's Sugar Bar Gold Dust (Fast Time)

HD_10_Luke Brown - Fast Time

11. Riley Minor's RK Tuff Trinket (Bob)

HD_11_Riley Minor - Bob

12. Tyle Wade's Down Home Dash (Fonzie)

HD_12_Tyler Wade - Fonzie

13. Erich Rogers' Son OLena Steel (Boogieman)

HD_13_Erich Rogers - Boogieman

14. Lane Ivy's One Smokin Reminic (Cuervo)

HD_14_Lane Ivy - Cuervo

15. Rhen Richard's Pepinic Buck 

HD_15_Rhen Richard


1. Junior Nogueira's Peppers Homespun Kid (Greencard)

HL_1_Junior Nogueira - Greencard

and Apaches R Hali (Hali)

HL_1_Junior Nogueira - Hali

2. Paul Eaves' Smart Little Cab (Casino)

HL_2_Paul Eaves - Casino

3. Kory Koontz's Mr. JB 0839 (Remix)

HL_3_Kory Koontz - Remix

4. Joseph Harrison's Lula Dual (Lula)

HL_4_Joseph Harrison - Lula

5. Trey Yates' Romancing the Chicks (Dude)

HL_5_Trey Yates - Dude

and In the Nic of Shine (Tux)

HL_5_Trey Yates - Tux

6. Travis Graves' Dual Chip (Chip)

HL_6_Travis Graves - Chip

and BBF Barely Fancy (Manny) Breeding Stock Paint

HL_6_Travis Graves - Manny BSP

7. Cory Petska's BoomChuckABoom (Chumley)

HL_7_Cory Petska - Chumley

8. Wesley Thorp's Million Dollar Lexus (Lexus)

HL_8_Wesley Thorp - Lexus

9. Jake Long's Zans Colonel Shine (Colonel)

HL_9_Jake Long - Colonel

10. Brady Minor's Leos Highbrow (Sug)

HL_10_Brady Minor - Sug

and Rey Shines On Top (Rey)

Screen Shot 2018-10-03 at 1.25.38 PM

11. Clint Summers' Sparks Peppy Doc (Smurf)

HL_11_Clint Summers - Smurf

12. Chase Tryan's Col Triangle Gold 

HL_12_Chase Tryan - Col Triangle Gold

13. Buddy Hawkins' Roses Might Do (Daisy)

HL_13_Buddy Hawkins - Daisy

14. Cole Davison's Apollo Oak (Apollo)

HL_14_Cole Davison - Apollo

15. Quinn Kesler's Miss JB 117 (Alice)

HL_15_Quinn Kesler - Alice