The Definitive List of 2018 NFR Horses and Their Bloodlines
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.
Cory Petska Rope Horse No Tie Down
Cory Petska winning the 2017 gold buckle on his horse Chumley. | Impulse Photography

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 ProRodeo’s 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)

and Mito Codys Star (Jazz)

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)

and Mairs Poco San (Dre)

and Streakin Sun Dew (Ole Son)

and Bar Z Nickel Olena (Yahtzee)

3. Dustin Egusquiza’s Timber’s Dude

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

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

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

7. Chad Master’s Madison Oak (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)

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

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

12. Tyler Wade’s Down Home Dash (Fonzie)

13. Erich Rogers’ Son OLena Steel (Boogieman)

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

15. Rhen Richard’s Pepinic Buck 


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

and Apaches R Hali (Hali)

2. Paul Eaves’ Smart Little Cab (Casino)

3. Kory Koontz’s Mr. JB 0839 (Remix)

4. Joseph Harrison’s Lula Dual (Lula)

5. Trey Yates’ Romancing the Chicks (Dude)

and In the Nic of Shine (Tux)

6. Travis Graves’ Dual Chip (Chip)

and BBF Barely Fancy (Manny) Breeding Stock Paint

7. Cory Petska’s BoomChuckABoom (Chumley)

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

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

10. Brady Minor’s Leos Highbrow (Sug)

and Rey Shines On Top (Rey)

11. Clint Summers’ Sparks Peppy Doc (Smurf)

12. Chase Tryan’s Col Triangle Gold 

13. Buddy Hawkins’ Roses Might Do (Daisy)

14. Cole Davison’s Apollo Oak (Apollo)

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

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