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‘Potter’ Busy Doing Petska and Cervi Proud
MP Dineros Woodpatch is easygoing and versatile.
Cory Petska heeling on "Potter" at the 2024 Royal Crown Warm-Up Roping in Buckeye.
Cory Petska and Potter doing work at the 2024 Royal Crown Warm-Up Roping in Buckeye. | Lexi Smith photo

Cory Petska has earned a career-long reputation for riding good horses. The 2017 world champion heeler, who roped at 15 Wrangler National Finals Rodeos between 2003 and 2018, has a wife who shares his passion for raising, training and riding great horses in four-time World Champion Barrel Racer Sherry Cervi. They rope and run barrels on all their horses, and one of the current stars of their program is a 9-year-old grey stallion they call Potter. 

MP Dineros Woodpatch is Potter’s registered name, and his sire was PC Frenchmans Heyday. You’ll remember him best as Dinero, the big palomino Sherry rode at the NFR in 2005-06, who sired both Sherry’s superstar mare Stingray that she rode at the Finals every year from 2009 to 2015, and Hailey Kinsel’s sensational Sister. 

pedigree for MP Dineros Woodpatch aka Potter

“Dinero was a good fit for the breeding program my dad (Hall of Fame timed-event cowboy Mel Potter) already had,” Sherry said. “Potter’s mom was MP Rosewood, who was by Lone Drifter, who’s the foundation of my dad’s whole breeding program and came from (1946 World Champion Team Roper) Chuck Sheppard. Potter’s mom goes back to Lay A Patch, which was Troubles’ (the grey Sherry won the world on) breeding, and Stingray’s mom was a three-quarter sister to Hawk (Sherry’s great bay she rode early on in her career).” 

Mel actually sold Potter as a yearling, and his second owners gave him his barn name. Australian-born horse trainer Lee Deacon showed Potter as a reined cow horse, before Cory and Sherry bought him back two years ago, when he was 7.

“Dinero (who was a full brother to Kristie Peterson’s great barrel horse Bozo) had passed away not long before Mel sent Sherry and I to Oklahoma to look at Potter as a possible replacement stud,” Cory explained. “This horse had never been heeled on. I heeled on him one time—three steers—and he already knew what to do. I told Sherry right then, ‘We need to buy this horse, he has something special.’”

Here’s a little-known fact for you: Cory also made the Finals on Dinero twice, but didn’t ride him there because of how ropers are stacked in tight, head to tail, in the lead-up lane behind the boxes at the Thomas & Mack Center in Vegas. 

“Dinero was a great stud to be around, but putting him in that position as a stud would not have been fair to him,” Cory said. “A lot of guys step off of their horses and leave them back there loose, and he’d have been so fired up by the time we got to the heel box that it just wouldn’t have been fair to ask him to focus on his job.”

Potter has his dad’s easygoing disposition, and carries this program’s trademark DMP brand on his right shoulder. I asked, and that brand stands for Wendy Potter (Mel’s wife, Sherry’s mom and Cory’s mom-in-law) if you turn it upside down. Potter took Best Heel Horse honors at the 2024 Mike Cervi Jr. Memorial Pro Classic Team Roping, which was held in honor of Sherry’s late first husband in Casa Grande, Arizona, in February. 

“Potter is my dad’s whole breeding program in one horse,” Sherry said. “All the horses I’ve ridden and been successful on show up in his papers, including Dinero and Troubles. He has the foundation of the Potter Ranch program on both sides. Cory and I bought him back to use, like we did Dinero, and I was entered on Potter in the barrels within a couple months.”

“Dinero was amazing, and Potter’s so much more broke than Dinero was,” added Cory, who’s won more than $2.5 million roping steers. “They’re both really fast, but because of his cow-horse training, Potter is up in his shoulders and uses his butt so much more. That’s a big advantage for him.”

@teamropingjournal

MP Dineros Woodpatch and World Champ Cory Petska winning the pre-Futurity Jackpot in Buckeye with Pedro Egurolla 👊 @High Point Performance Horses #heelshot #teamroping #royalcrownroping @resistol1927

♬ original sound – The Team Roping Journal

Cory says Potter is absolutely rodeo-caliber, and he and Sherry do plan to rodeo this summer, as she’s been having success in the barrel race on a couple of Stingray babies.  

“It would be the coolest to get to ride Potter at the NFR,” Cory said. “I still to this day regret not getting to ride Dinero there. It would be awesome to ride his son there. But with the way that alley is, I don’t know if I’d ever be able to ride a stud there.”

There are five studs in the Potter Ranch program right now, including Potter, Alone Drifter, MP King George and two 2-year-olds out of Stingray by Epic Leader. Like Potter, most of the babies from these Marana, Arizona-based bloodlines are sold as yearlings. 

“Mel rode horses with bloodlines at the base of this program his whole career,” Cory said. “He stayed true to his beliefs in his foundation, and what those horses could do. We’re raising good-minded horses that are sound and make great rodeo horses that can do any event you want. Potter and his cow-horse training proved they can also be great beyond rodeo. 

“Sherry and I rope and run barrels on all of our horses, because we feel like it makes them better horses and keeps them better-minded. We ranch on all of them also, and doctor cattle on them in the pasture when they’re 3 and 4 before we put any pressure on them. Our goal is just to raise great horses that’ll do whatever you want to do.”

—TRJ—

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