Colter Todd Will Tap Paul Eaves’ World Champ Mare Docs Gunslinger Chic for Round 1 in 2023
Docs Gunslinger Chic set to come in clutch for Colter Todd in Las Vegas.

The No. 3 heeler in the world Colter Todd is making perhaps the most epic career comeback in team roping history with his 2023 NFR berth—some 15 years after his last appearance in the Thomas & Mack, and that was on the head side to boot.

And Todd, 39, will make his unexpected NFR return on the back Highpoint Performance HorsesDocs Gunslinger Chic, the mare Paul Eaves won his 2020 PRCA world title aboard.

Colter Todd heeling on his bay horse Buddy, winning Guymon.
Colter Todd is best known as an NFR header. But he and a little bay horse by the name of Buddy have been making heeling headlines behind Derrick Begay. Here they are winning Guymon in May. | Dale Hirschman photo

“It worked out just yesterday (Monday, Dec. 4),” Todd, of Willcox, Arizona, said. “I got my horse back from being hurt two weeks ago. But he did not feel good at all. And these steers won’t let you just ease through them. So on the way up here, Paul called me actually looking for a stall. And I kind of laughed. I baited him into asking how it was going, and I told him I was just driving and thinking.”

Eaves, who, with Erich Rogers, buddied with Begay and Todd all summer, asked Todd what he was thinking about, and Todd told him he was thinking about what he was going to ride when the Finals kicked off Dec. 7. (Editor’s note: This story was written before Round 1 of the 2023 NFR was canceled after a mass shooting occurred on the UNLV Campus.)

Colter Todd heeling a steer for Derrick Begay at the 2023 Pendleton Round-Up.
Derrick Begay and Colter Todd won the 2023 Pendleton Roundup. | Click Thompson photo

“I told him I didn’t know what I was going to do, and he said I was more than welcome to try that mare if it was all right with the owners,” Todd explained. “I asked if I could run some on her just to get a feel, and they told him it was perfect.”

The mare is a different feel from the roan gelding of Eaves‘ that Todd borrowed all summer, but by the fifth steer, Todd was in the groove.

Derrick Begay and Colter Todd roping their short-round steer at the 2023 Greeley Stampede to take the win.
Derrick Begay and Colter Todd won the 2023 Greeley Stampede over the Fourth-of-July run to help solidify their Finals qualification—borrowing Coy Rahlmann’s Blue and Chase Tryan’s Friendly. | Tanya Hamner photo

“I didn’t fall off, and there were four of five in my loop by two feet,” Todd said. “I was trying to take in a lot of things all at once. I was trying to feel that horse, feel the run, feel the steers, and being on the heel side. It was almost like heading, because I had a lot of things I was trying to feel.

“Heeling, you don’t want to be late,” Todd continued. “I was late on the fourth one; I was almost too relaxed. The first three went good and I felt good. But I was going to ease through the run, and I was beat out of the chute, in the turn, all the way around there. It was a good thing—it made me realize I better be on point. She’s a tighter, raw-power-feeling horse. Leaving the box, getting my swing up, getting to the turn—I was just trying to get the feel. On some horses, it’s easy to get your swing up and be in your spot. Some horses you feel behind the whole time. I didn’t want to be shell-shocked Thursday night, because I have to be all reaction. I tried to get the thinking out of the way today so Thursday I can just react.”

Docs Gunslinger Chic won the world title with Eaves in 2020 in Arlington, Texas, but Eaves also mounted friend Douglas Rich on her at the 2021 NFR, giving Rich a go-round win in Round 4 with a fastest-of-the-rodeo 3.6.

Douglas Rich
Douglas Rich and Docs Gunslinger Chic winning a round behind Coy Rahlmann at the 2021 NFR. | Jamie Arviso photo

“Jade has been key in so much of my career,” Eaves said. “We’ve focused a lot of her time now on being a top-of-the-line producer, and so far, her babies have been exceptional. She has two by Show Me The Buckles, and we’ve got embryos out of her by Winners Version, Shining Spark and Woody Be Tuff. Colter and I have become great friends this year, and being able to help him out with Jade is a no-brainer. I’m thankful the crew at Highpoint feels the same way.”

Eaves sold Docs Gunslinger Chic to the official stallion barn of the Ariat World Series of Team Roping, Highpoint Performance Horses, in 2021. Eaves won Ponoka in 2023 on the mare, and she’s shared the load with his other mounts, Apolo Oak and TRR Big Hustler. Eaves will start on TRR Big Hustler with Apolo Oak out with an injury. TRJ

WATCH ON ROPING.COM: A Family Legacy: The Todd Family
Colter Todd is a cowboy in and outside of the rodeo arena. As a multiple-time NFR qualifier in team roping, Colter has passed on his love for the Western way of life to his children as his family continues to work and produce cattle on their family’s ranch, and compete competitively in rodeo. 

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