Patrick Smith’s Kadabra King is the 2022 Nutrena AQHA/PRCA Heel Horse of the Year, as the 12-year-old gelding by Abrakadabracre out of the Holidoc mare Quixote Jessie carries two-time World Champ Smith to his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification in seven years.
“I think he’s a standout kind of horse,” Smith, 42, of Lipan, Texas said. “I think he’s one of those horses that’s special—that’s good anywhere, Salinas or Cheyenne. He hasn’t been to the Thomas & Mack yet, but I know he’ll perform there as much as anywhere.”
The dun gelding Smith calls Turbo was bred by Wayne and Carolann Hodges of Weatherford, Texas, but he spent his early career under the ownership of South Point Hotel & Casino owners Michael and Paula Gaughan. National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Famer Cookie Banuelos had been riding him, but he wasn’t making it in that arena so Banuelos sent him to Lari Dee Guy. Smith’s old partner Trevor Brazile saw the horse under Guy’s training partner Hope Thompson in 2015, and he told Smith he oughta try him. Smith ran a few steers on him and bought him.
“I sent him to Ben Gambrell for a whole year,” Smith said. “Because he wanted to buck every time I saddled him. He spent almost a year on him, with no live cattle, only the machine. When I got him back, he was ready to apply the pressure. It took him a while.”
Turbo’s first high-pressure situation was the Wildfire in 2017, where Smith, behind Aaron Tsinigine, split the win with Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira.
“He was unpredictable, but by the time he was 9, he was finally mature enough to focus,” Smith said. “Before that, he was a little kid with the attention span of a gnat.”
Finally having figured things out, Smith was ready to sell Turbo and look for another great horse. Then in the spring of 2021, Turbo got hurt. But by July of that same year, Rooster and Smith’s third-string horse were hurt, too. Smith borrowed horses over the Fourth of July, and then had Turbo—freshly rehabbed at Outlaw Equine—sent back out on the road to finish the season.
“I couldn’t sell him anymore, because he was all I had for a whole year,” Smith said. “I’ve always said I’ve had two great ones and a lot of good ones. But Turbo is close to being a third great one.”
In 2022, Smith stayed on Turbo to earn the majority of his $107,368.21 in ProRodeo earnings, including placings at Nampa and Salinas and wins at Mandan, North Dakota, Gooding, Idaho, Burley, Idaho and Missoula, Montana.
“Joe Beaver just told me he won a lot of stuff, but winning Horse of the Year means more than almost anything,” Smith said. “This is special to me—it was the same as Amigo. I got him young, and I learned so much and stuck it out. It means a ton to have a great horse in this game. He’s perfectly sound, and with his mentality he’s the kind of horse that can go for another decade. He’ll probably outlast me.”
Team Roping Header
- JESS A MOOSE, “Grey,” ridden by Lightning Aguilera – owned by Jim Donnan (Stand by for story on Aguilera’s Jess A Moose!)
- COLE E MAN, “Biscuit,” ridden by Andrew Ward – owned by Andrew Ward
- RK TUFF TRINKET, “Bob,” ridden by Riley Minor – owned by Riley Minor
Team Roping Heeler