Brady Minor‘s two-time Heel Horse of the Year “Rey” is back on the ProRodeo road after recovering from what looked to be a career-ending injury at the 2016 NFR.
A stout, deeply colored sorrel, Rey captured the Nutrena Heel Horse of the Year in 2014 and 2015. By Minor’s estimates, the horse has earned more than $800,000 between ProRodeo and jackpots since he purchased him in 2010, and he carried Minor to four of his 13 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifications from 2013 to 2016.
“The great ones are hard to come by and I really lucked out when I bought him,” Minor, 38, said. “He’s one of the greats and everybody knows him. He’s sort of famous, and I used to let several people ride him. Everybody that rode him did good on him.”
In short, Rey’s got the goods. But in 2016, the NFR left Rey with a nagging left stifle injury that altered both his and Minor’s courses.
The healing road for Rey
Minor believes Rey’s hard-stopping habits contributed to his injury, and the healing process has been lengthy.
“I hurt him at the 2016 NFR and gave him some time off,” Minor explained. “He came back a couple of years later and I rode him off and on. In the meantime, I bought my current good horse “Sug,” and I’ve been riding him ever since.”
Minor officially retired Rey, who is registered as Rey Shines On Top, in 2019 due to continued stifle issues. Then, Minor’s son, Maverick, 8, began riding Rey at home in Ellensburg, Washington.
“He did limp a little bit, but he got better the more we rode him,” Minor said.” In the summer of 2022, Rey was looking pretty good. I needed two horses because of rodeos in different places, and I cracked Rey out.”
With a little bute and Banamine at the Gem State Stampede in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Rey was 100% sound. From there, the pair competed in Ellensburg Rodeo in Ellensburg, Washington, and at the Walla Walla Frontier Days in Walla Walla, Washington, where they rounded up a total of $2,379.
Unfortunately for Minor, Rey came up sore again in October of 2022, and he sent him back home to be Maverick’s mount.
Rey’s rodeo renaissance
In February 2023, Minor’s main horse Sug strained a left hind suspensory at a roping in Arizona. Without another horse in the trailer, Minor’s mind went to Rey.
“I didn’t have [anything else], so I went home and put special shoes—aluminum PLRs—on Rey, injected his stifles and started buting him,” Minor said. “He was just sound enough to ride. I wasn’t going to ride him if he wasn’t sound enough. To maintain him, he gets Previcox and bute at rodeos.”
With do-or-die mentality, Minor and Rey headed back out onto the rodeo trail, tackling the winter rodeo lineup. They competed in the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo and found success in Tucson, Arizona, where he and brother Riley Minor earned more than $7,000 between the go-rounds and a third-place average finish at La Fiesta De Los Vaqueros.
At RodeoHouston, they earned $9,000 with Minor saying, “The more I rode him, the sounder he got.”
“My plan was for Sug to be back by the first of June,” Minor explained. “I was hoping I could get by for a few months on Rey but, if he keeps feeling as good as he feels, maybe he can be my second horse for the summer. The end result is to be determined. I may only get two more rodeos out of him, and I may get 20 more rodeos out of him.”
While Rey’s time in the rodeo arena is uncertain, Minor isn’t taking a single ride for granted. And regardless of Rey’s rodeo future, Maverick will be waiting to take him for a leisurely stroll back home in Washington.