Where Did That $200K Head Horse Come From?

Brooke Wilson sold the 2013 gelding Sportin Roscoe to Colorado header Shayne O'Hotto at the Horse Sale at Rancho Rio for $200,000. Here's how that chestnut gelding came to bring near-record money.

When Steve Friskup dropped the gavel on 8-year-old gelding Sportin Roscoe March 11 at The Horse Sale at Rancho Rio for $200,000, Texans Brooke and Rodey Wilson celebrated the biggest horse sale of their cowboying careers. And Colorado businessman Shayne O’Hotto took the reins of one of the best head horses he’s ever swung a leg over. 

Sportin Roscoe—known and promoted now as South Point—was bred by Jim Rounsaville’s top-notch ranch horse program in Olney, Texas, by Rounsaville’s High Brow Hickory stud Sportin High Brow and out of a ranch horse mare Rounsaville rode named Ellie Mae Sandino. 

“He’s a big deal from where we’re from,” Brooke said. “They might not be known worldwide, but in our part of the world those are the kind of horses you want to have. I’d rather have ranch bred horses than the cutting or cow horse or reining bred horses. Jim was one of the first guys at the Fort Worth Stock Show to sell one for $35,000 20 years ago. He told me a story that when 9/11 happened, he sold one in Fort Worth for $41,000 in the midst of that nightmare.”

The Wilsons had long been friends with CNFR heeler Casey McCleskey, who’s relative Tulia, Texas roper Clint Lewis started and owned the horse as a 4-year-old. 

“Casey called me and said, ‘Brooke I’ve got a horse that you’ll love,'” Brooke said. “We’d just bought a few horses, and we weren’t really doing this as much as we are now. I told him we didn’t need a horse right now, and we’d just bought our place in Amarillo. He said, ‘No I’m bringing him to you. You’ll love him.’ Casey he brings him all the way to our house, and I loved him instantly. Rodey knew Clint, so he asked if we could take him to a jackpot to town. We wanted to see if he’d mind the announcers and the banners and everything. He didn’t—and we were high call at that first roping. Casey gets a lot of credit in this story, but he did rope a leg at high back at that first roping.” 

McCleskey, who’d ridden horses for the Wilsons since he was 18, knew Brooke liked a big, ratey, smooth horse who can really move his feet, and right away the gelding they’d come to call South Point fit the bill. 

“He was my horse from the start,” Brooke said. “Rodey never swung a leg on him in the three years we owned him.” 

Wilson and Sportin Roscoe brought down the house in the white tent at The Horse Sale at Rancho Rio. Jamie Arviso Courtesy Yost Events

Brooke, who spends her days as an environmental consultant the oilfield, rode him to doctor wheat-pasture cattle, and she roped on him at World Series ropings big and small. Two-time World Champion Clay Smith even took him to the NFR in Arlington, Texas, in December 2020. 

“When he leaves, you know he’s running and has a lot of power,” Brooke said. “You never feel like he’s rough or will hurt. It doesn’t matter how you want to handle the cattle, it’s always very consistent. I always felt like he was the best horse to ride in the lower-number stuff because he set it up for the heelers. They always wanted him to ride South Point. Everybody loved to heel behind that horse. He’s 1,500 lbs. He looked like one of the saddle bronc horses, but didn’t move like one.”

The Wilsons keep 80 head of geldings at any given time, and they go to 14 sales each year across the U.S. But they keep the horses they sell for years at a time between buying and selling so they can really get to know and use them. And, so they can get them fed well on Zesterra lick tubs and free-choice alfalfa. 

“We know exactly what horses we’re putting in Rancho Rio a year ahead of that sale,” Rodey said. “I bet 90% of people who will put a horse in a sale next year don’t even own the horse yet. We put a lot of work into the ones we’ve got, and when it’s their turn, it’s their turn, whether it’s time to go doctor wheat pasture cattle or brand or go to a team roping.”

Sportin Roscoe stood out at the March 10 preview for The Horse Sale at Rancho Rio. Jamie Arviso Courtesy Yost Events

Though South Point stood out where ever he went, not many people had ridden him in the three years Brooke owned him. 

“My friend Tauna Alcorn rode him because I wanted to see how he’d work with someone else, thinking we’d have a lot of people come and try him before the sale,” Brooke said. “Kelton Hill who works for us, he’s roped on him a few times too. Clay Smith and True Lacina heeled on him for the videos. So when Shayne came and roped on him, I was a nervous wreck. I just wanted it to be good and didn’t want anyone disappointed.”

Turns out, the horse—who’s never worn any boots because the Wilsons’ horses know how to use their feet from all the outside riding they get—was a perfect fit for O’Hotto. 

“Truth be known, the horse probably worked better for Shayne than he does with Brooke,” Rodey said. “He run five head on him and scored them out so far and that horse was getting it. That horse deserved the credit he gets.”

O’Hotto looked up Brooke after seeing her on the horse earlier in the week at the NTR National Finals VIII presented by Ariat. He tried to stop Brooke to talk to her about her horse, but she was up in the coming short round and cut him off. She didn’t know him, and she didn’t think much of it. 

“My girlfriend Brittany and my friend Larry Ness were looking through the sale catalog last month, and they were talking about the horses but I wasn’t paying any attention to them,” O’Hotto, who’s got a place in Cave Creek for the winters, said. “But I saw Brooke riding him at the NTR Finals and I tried to take a video of him to send to Brittany. She couldn’t tell anything from my video, but I came home and saw a post on Facebook about the horse so I showed it to Brittany, and she said that’s the horse she’d picked out from the catalog.”

O’Hotto called Brooke to set up a time to come and ride the horse, but first he offered $30,000 cash and said he wouldn’t even try South Point first if they’d take that. Brooke politely declined, and O’Hotto came to ride the horse anyway. 

“He’s really broke, and he runs to the cow strong and can super face,” O’Hotto said. “He scores amazing, and he’s a freak.”

O’Hotto’s favorite place to stay and rope in Las Vegas is the South Point, adding to the allure of the purchase. 

They had to have him. O’Hotto had his friend Larry Ness bid for him, and they jumped in on the live bid at the $160,000 mark and got him bought for $200,000. 

“I ran a few practice steers on him Sunday,” O’Hotto said Monday morning. “I’m on my way to a jackpot now. He’s rock solid.”

For the Wilsons, parting with once-in-a-lifetime horses is all in a day’s work.

“We’ve had so many people in the last 10 days or two weeks ask why we’re selling him,” Brooke said. “But it’s what we like to do. I’ve got horses at home I’m excited about. If you see what I have coming up, it helps ease the pain. I’m ready to get started on the next one today.” TRJ