Rhen Richard didn’t plan on bringing Reys Sunset to town just yet, but his dad watched him run a few on the green 4-year-old a couple before the futurity and decided the colt needed to go show off the A&C Racing and Roping program in front of the big crowd at the American Rope Horse Futurity Association World Championship.
The big gamble paid off to the tune of $20,000 and the 4-Year-Old Heading World Championship, for a score of 923.89 on four head, as well as big notch in the belt of Richard’s stallion, Reys Smokin Dually.
“He feels like a real deal horse,” Richard, 34, of Roosevelt, Utah, said. “He’s a freak athlete. He really run. That short-round steer was by far the most I’ve ever asked out of him. He felt nervous, so I thought he was going to leave on that last one, but when the gates banged he just stood there, so I had to make up ground.”
Richard—who will clinched his sixth Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification this season—only starting riding the colt last fall when he got home from the rodeos.
“He was so green, he was like a 2-year-old,” Richard said. “I camped on him this winter, and Trinity Haggard put 120 rides on him in a snaffle before that. When I was leaving for Houston, I sent him to Tavis Walters to ride, and then I picked him up after the Oklahoma City futurity.”
Richard was on the rodeo trail all summer, so the horse didn’t get many reps in the practice pen this year either.
“I bet he’s had less than 100 steers turned on him,” Richard said. “But even when Trinity was riding him last summer, he wanted to just drag it and be good.”
Reys Smokin Dually is also the sire of Rubys Rollin, the mare Richard and rodeo partner Jeremy Buhler won the California Rodeo Salinas with in 2022.
“Smoke can really throw some size,” Richard said. “We owned the colt’s maternal grand dam, Corona Sunset, by Corona Cartel. And we actually sold this colt’s mom—Brookstone’s Sunset by Brookstone Bay—to a good friend of ours, Jerry ‘Big Ras’ Rasmussen. He bred her to our stud. But we bought him last year because he was just so cool. Jerry still loves this horse.”
The mare died young, so Reys Sunset will be the only one like him. Unique? Yes, because the horse is also high call in the Open Heading Friday night. That’s after winning Round 2 with a score of 233.89, worth $4,000, and Round 3 with a 230.99 for another $4,000. Entering Friday’s finals, with the help of Wesley Thorp on the heel side, the horse has $28,000 won.