Dakota Kirchenschlager and the Metallic Cat stallion Test My Metal finally hit pay dirt after a year of bad luck at the futurities, banking the biggest check of the week at Buckeye, Arizona’s Royal Crown, worth $17,360 for their efforts on their aggregate score of 502.70.
Test My Metal, by Metallic Cat out of the Dual Rey mare Lila Ray and owned by Neal and Jody Wanless, had won $27,331 in the rope horse futurities before the Royal Crown in February 2023, but this win in Buckeye is his first major championship to date.
“We bought him as a 2-year-old at the NCHA Futurity Sale,” Kirchenschlager, 31, said. “I rode him at the Snaffle Bit and did horrible going down the fence to do pretty good on him in the Level 1 stuff. Then we started roping on him, and he’s won quite a bit. We had good success on him as a 4-year-old, but at the end of the year we didn’t do that great. I just took him home and scratched my head, because I just needed to do better with him.”
@teamropingjournal Battle. Tested. Dakota Kirchenschlager and Test My Metal did BIG things at the Royal Crown in Buckeye to win the 6&Under #heeling. #heelshot #aqha #stallionsoftiktok #teamroping #ropers #cowboy @fastbackropes ♬ Grove St. Party (feat. Kebo Gotti) – Waka Flocka Flame
Kirchenschlager spent the last four months back to the drawing board with Test My Metal, doing his homework like perhaps nobody but Kirchenschlager can.
“I’ve been trying to get his thought process where I can control it,” Kirchenschlager said. “He can run, he can stop, and he’s a phenomenal horse. I’m blessed to have him and I want to do good on him. He’s out of a Dual Rey mare, by Metallic Cat, the number-one cross for cow horses. But they are hard to get through to. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of long days. Me and that horse have spent so much time with each other. The amount of hours that it takes to get a championship, it’s not even feasible. But we’ve put a lot into that horse.”
Kaleb Driggers went two-for-two in the Royal Crown heeling events Feb. 12, helping Kirchenschlager to the 6-&-Under win and Andy Holcomb and Fine Vintage Cash to the All-Ages win.
“When you have a great header like Kaleb in front of you, you don’t want to mess up,” Kirchenschlager said. “You’ve gotta keep the steers in the left lead, and be aggressive. These futurities are so tough, and everybody ropes so good and everybody is so competitive, it’s ridiculous.”