The American Rope Horse Futurity Association has already paid out some $506,450 to ropers of all levels in 2022 across just four events, with a predicted purse of over $850,000 at this month’s ARHFA World Championship.
With entries up 15% across the association’s regular season events in 2022, the futurity game is inarguably growing, with even more futurities planned in 2023.
Thanks to the American Quarter Horse Association’s QData Performance Tracking, we’re able to tell you which horses have earned the most at the association’s regular season shows and which horses lead the all-time ranks. These are the elite few who stand out.
2022’S TOP HORSE
Dual Oak E
PEDIGREE: Olena Oak x Jasons Rey Of Light x Dual Rey
OWNED BY: Sara Hudson
SHOWN BY: Steve Orth
Dual Oak E tops the ARHFA earnings charts in 2022, having won $25,805 at the rope horse futurities this season alone with Oklahoma trainer Steve Orth on board.
Orth and Dual Oak E’s first show was the ARHFA Sun Circuit in March 2022, winning $10,320 for their composite score of 920.42 with heading by Casey Hicks. They also won the first round, worth $1,300, with a massive score of 230.54 for the horse’s first run in ARHFA competition.
Dual Oak E also won third at the RedBud Spectacular and second at the Cornhusker Classic, as well as multiple go-rounds along the way.
“We really had no expectations going into the rope horse futurity business,” owner Sara Hudson said. “I’ve known the Wadhams through the Quarter Horse shows. We feel so blessed, to come in with Dual. He’s made a huge impact for us.”
Dual is a son of Olena Oak, a two-time World’s Greatest Horseman Champion, two-time AQHA World Champion and NRCHA Derby Open Bridle Champion. Raised by Nichole Branquinho and Mel Smith, Dual is out of Jasons Rey Of Light, by Dual Rey, and was started by California trainer (and Nichole’s husband) Casey Branquinho in the cow horse.
Smith showed Dual Oak E as a 3-year-old in the reined cow horse, adding $2,120 to his earnings. But the sorrel got more size to him than the average cow horse, so he went to Texas trainer Blake Toliver, and then sold to his current owners, Sara and Bubba Hudson. The Hudsons brought him to Orth to show last November.
“He’s not one that you just have to over-correct all the time, and he’s just him,” Sara said. “Not much gets him excited and he wants to do his job and make everyone happy.”
Notably, Dual Oak E is the only horse in the top five ARHFA 2022 money earners with all of his winnings exclusively in the heeling. Nearly all of Dual Oak E’s earnings came in the Open division, with Bubba winning third in the RedBud Spectacular’s non-pro division, worth $2,320, which counted toward the horse’s lifetime earnings in QData.
“I’ve had good help, and that’s a good horse anyway,” Orth said. “He wants to really stop, and he’s got a lot of cow. He’s really solid. I’m looking forward to the futurity in Fort Worth. And we’re going to continue to show him in 2023, and then we’ll let him go on to be great. He’s got the size to be a rodeo horse, but he’s a heel horse size with his shoulders up and a big hip. He’s easy to rope on, so he would dang sure be a great World Series horse but a rodeo horse in the future, too.”
2022’S TOP HORSES
2. CFR Arete Gun
By Gunnatrashya out of Tribeca Tucker by Lenas Wright On
OWNED BY: Jared Crain
SHOWN BY: Dakota Kirchenschlager
3. Jamming On The Lake
By Laker Doc out of Rey Gay Music by Dual Rey
OWNED AND SHOWN BY: Colby Lovel
4. Play Some Metallic
By Metallic Cat out of Another Playgirl by Freckles Playboy
OWNED BY: Monica Duflock
SHOWN BY: Dustin Rogers
5. Make Ita Double
By Whizkey N Diamonds out of Starlights Sugarwhiz by Little Bay Starlight
OWNED BY: Eric Dunn
SHOWN BY: Dakota Kirchenschlager
2022’S TOP SIRE
PEDIGREE: High Brow Cat x Chers Shadow x Peptoboonsmal
No surprises here. Metallic Cat is the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s first $5 million sire, a 2005 stallion by High Brow Cat and out of the Peptoboonsmal mare Chers Shadow.
Owned by Bobby Patton Jr. of Rockin P Ranch, Metallic Cat’s colts have won an impressive $40,891 in 2022 alone at ARHFA events.
The highest money earner of all High Brow Cat offspring, Metallic Cat is the sire of Play Some Metallic, the No. 4 horse on the ARHFA’s top 10 earner list, shown by Dustin Rogers and owned by Monica Duflock, out of the Freckles Playboy daughter Another Playgirl.
“I think the Metallic Cats are laid back enough that they’re not so wirey as some of the hotter-bred horses,” Rogers said. “For the most part, I’ve rode a couple of them now, and they’ve all been laid back, gentle and easy to get along with but have the athleticism to stop and can move their feet good. My horse is bred good enough on the bottom side that it works both ways for him. He’s a full brother to Kaleb Driggers’ gray stud, too, so it’s a cross that really works.”
He’s also the sire to Relentless Glory, the mare Trevor Brazile, Miles Baker and Treston Brazile all successfully showed to $10,108 in ARHFA earnings across the open heading and heeling and limited heading and heeling. (Not to mention another $26,797 in Royal Crown earnings, which doesn’t count in these ARHFA rankings, but is worth noting. She also has been a premiere jackpot horse for both Braziles and Baker, winning tens of thousands at the US Finals alone in 2022.)
“Metallic Cat has been such a great stallion in the industry,” Trevor Brazile said. “Besides the obvious reasons you’d want a Metallic Cat, Glory’s mom was a little bit hot, and that seems to be the perfect cross on those types. It’s worked out so far.”
The elder Brazile has also won his fair share in 2022 aboard Relentless Big Shot, a full brother to Relentless Glory.
“Metallic Cat’s place in the roping industry has slowly happened,” said marketing agent Debbie Roberts. “I wish I knew more about it. It didn’t really start coming into light for me until these new futurities started where they’re really tracking the sire and dam.”
Metallic Cat is the only sire with two offspring on the list of top 20 earners in 2022.
“This is very exciting for us,” said Roberts, who’s represented Metallic Cat since his futurity year. “He’s a cutting horse, and he was bred to be a cutter. But with his second foal crop he transitioned into the cow horse, and he just keeps going. It excites me that the stamp he’s putting on all of these horses across the board is his athleticism and his mind. I can’t wait to see where it goes.”
2022’S TOP DAM
Jasons Rey of Light
By Dual Rey out of Meas Poco Starlight
A Dual Rey daughter out of a Grays Starlight mare, Jasons Rey of Light is 2022’s top dam, the dam to Sara and Bubba Hudson’s Dual Oak E. Owned by Scott and Darnell Trueblood, Jasons Rey of Light has produced top rope horses and cow horses. Casey Branquinho will show a full brother to Dual Oak E in the 2023 World’s Greatest Horseman.
ALL-TIME LEADING SIRE
PEDIGREE: Dual Pep out of Dolittle Lena by Shining Spark
MONEY EARNERS: 13
OWNED BY: Bobby Lewis (then sold to an owner in Brazil, where he died in 2021)
Dual Spark himself won Reserve in the World’s Greatest Horseman competition with then-owner Bobby Lewis, and he proved to be a prolific cow horse and cutter before moving to the breeding barn where his offspring have amassed $186,230 so far.
By Dual Pep and out of the Shining Spark daughter Dolittle Lena, Dual Spark is a three-time AQHA High Point Cutting Champion (2008–2009, 2012) with $61,669 in earnings and 197.5 AQHA points.
Dual Spark notched aged event earnings in the NRCHA as a futurity and derby horse before securing prestigious cutting championships like the Senior Cutting win at the 2010 San Antonio Livestock Show.
He is the sire to top-five earner Dual Patron, the 2019 ARHFA World Champion heel horse, as well as J Lows Glo, Dual Patron’s full sister who also won $44,079 in ARHFA competition alone.
“I’d like to thank Bobby for letting me ride Dual Patron,” Joseph Harrison said, when interviewed after winning the ARHFA’s heeling title in Fort Worth in 2019. “He’s such a great horse and I’ve had a chance to ride a lot of great horses thanks to Bobby. He’s got a great breeding program and great training facility.”
Not accounted for in these earnings, obviously, is the more than $1 million Travis Graves has won on Dual Chip and the money Harrison has won on Lula Dual in ProRodeo competition.
“Travis has to have won close to $1 million on Chip, and that’s not counting the year I rode him rodeoing hard,” Harrison said. “And I’d say Lula has won most of 2017, 2018 and 2019. She hasn’t won as much as Chip has, because I ain’t won as much as TG has, but Lula’s close, too.”
ARHFA TOP 2–5 All-Time Money sires
1. Metallic Cat
by High Brow Cat out of Chers Shadow
MONEY EARNERS: 33
OWNED BY: Bobby Patton Jr. of Rockin P Ranch
2. Shiners Lena Chex
by Shining Spark out of Lil Miss Smarty Chex
MONEY EARNERS: 11
OWNED BY: Rancho Sky in Brazil
3. Cat Ichi
by High Brow Cat out of Laney Doc
MONEY EARNERS: 10
OWNED BY: EE Ranches
4. Whizkey N Diamonds
by Topsail Whiz out of Princess In Diamonds
MONEY EARNERS: 6
OWNED BY: Rhodes River Ranch
ALL-TIME LEADING DAM
Jacks Royal Ginger
By Zan Parr Jack out of Honey Five Stampede
The late Jacks Royal Ginger, raised and owned by Jack Bogart and sold to an owner in Brazil before her passing, has two offspring in the top 10 all-time leading money earners—top horse Shesa Royal Cat and 10th place’s Two Eyed Meterman. In total, her foals earned $138,752 in the ARHFA, and she herself was an AQHA Reserve World Champion in the amateur heading with Paul Bogart.
ALL-TIME LEADING HORSE
Shesa Royal Cat
PEDIGREE: Cat Ichi out of Jacks Royal Ginger by Zan Parr Jack
OWNED BY: Jack Bogart
SHOWN BY: Casey Hicks & Paul Bogart
Shesa Royal Cat amassed $77,136 in ARHFA earnings in her career, consistently placing in the average and winning go-rounds from 2018 to 2021, when she aged out of the events.
And she’s the only mare in the top five all-time leading ARHFA money earners.
“She is one of the greatest horses I’ve ever had come through my barn,” Oklahoma trainer Casey Hicks said of the mare he calls Irene. “She’s always willing, she never tells you no, and she’s always trying to go above and beyond. She’s never trying to out-think you, but she thinks at the same speed you are. She’s never in front of you, but when you ask her to do something, she’s already doing it.”
Jack Bogart brought Irene to Hicks in January of her 4-year-old year, and he was underwhelmed at first.
“I struggled with Irene because she was high-headed and didn’t ride the best,” Hicks admitted. “The other filly he brought rode better and felt better. After they’d been here three or four months, Jack asked me which I liked better, and I said, ‘The sorrel mare is making a better horse way faster, but the yellow mare will be a way better horse in the end.’ As time went on, we figured that out.”
Irene’s first futurity was the Oil Can Classic, then held in April. Hicks made the short round on her in the heading, and they didn’t enter the heeling because she wasn’t yet far enough along. From there on out, they’d made every short round of every futurity they entered throughout her 4- and 5-year-old years.
“She’s always been easy to show, and she makes everything look effortless,” Hicks said. “And I mean, as a trainer, I’m constantly looking for her to come along again as a 4-year-old.”
In 2022, she even added $535 to her lifetime earnings by placing with Paul Bogart in the non-pro at the ARHFA’s Oil Can Classic.
She spent most of this year in the breeding barn, flushing embryos to One Time Pepto, Sanctus, CD Wooden Heart (who won the junior heading with Brad Lund and Amateur Heading with Paul Bogart, a colt Jack also raised by CD Lights out of Gay Wooden Heart) and Metallic Cat. She had one colt by CD Wooden Heart in 2021, too.
Shesa Royal Cat is also the top non-pro horse of all-time in the ARHFA, having won $18,153 for the Bogarts in her career. She’ll return to the show pen for the 2022 ARHFA World Championships in the non-pro heading with Paul, and she’s qualified for the 2022 AQHA World Show.
ARHFA TOP 2–5 All-Time Money Earners
2. Dual Badger Cat
By Reys Dual Badger out of Cats Golden Lynx by High Brow Cat
OWNED AND SHOWN BY: Cade Rice
3. DT Air Jordan
By Shiners Lena Chex out of Margies Lil Jessie by RC Command
OWNED BY: Greg Hause
SHOWN BY: J.D. Yates
4. Dual Patron
By Dual Spark out of Look At Her Glo, by CD O Cody
OWNED BY: Bobby Lewis (now owned by Jose Milare Garcia)
SHOWN BY: Joseph Harrison and Bobby Lewis
5. Boomboom Firecracker
By Firewaterontherocks out of Taras First Note by Taras First Love
OWNED BY: Trevor and Shada Brazile (now owned by Jason Richey)
SHOWN BY: Trevor Brazile
ARHFA BY THE NUMBERS
• In 2008 the ARHFA paid out $76,475 to 46 money earners.
• In 2021 the ARFHA paid out $1,199,180 to 233 money earners.
• The 2021 ARHFA World Championship paid out a total of $728,250 of the $1,199,180 for the year.
• Since the start in 2008, ARHFA has paid out a total of $4,713,985.11.
• THE TOP 20 SIRES constitute $1,659,093.49 or 35% of the total payouts.
• THE TOP 20 DAMS constitute $1,045,353.60 or 22 % of the total payouts.
• THE TOP 20 EARNERS constitute $857,915.30 or 18% of the total payouts.