Score Masters with Kaleb Driggers
Kaleb Driggers has had a collection of the best horses of his generation, all with one common denominator: they could score.
Kaleb Driggers riding Cuervo
Cuervo—Remis Gays On Ofadoc—is the horse that got Driggers back-to-back gold buckles in 2021–2022. | PRCA/Click Thompson photo

Kaleb Driggers has had a collection of the best horses of his generation, all with one common denominator: they could score.

I have learned to overcome a lot with my rope and my riding, but one thing I have needed across every horse in my career is the ability to score. Each horse has brought special elements to the table beyond that, but from my rookie year in 2009 to today, these great horses are what have shaped my career. 

1) Champ

Driggers’ original great Champ was grade—the only one of his notables not to have papers. | PRCA ProRodeo Photo by Greg Westfall

Champ was the OG, and I wonder to myself all the time if he was as great as I thought he was or if I just didn’t know then what I do now. I’ve had several people tell me how good he was, so I’m going with that. He scored amazing every time. There was only one time that I remember him not, and that was after Colby Lovell got home from the Finals with him.

Once, we went from the Mike Cervi—a long score, let-them-out-there-and-go-get-them setup where we won first and split second and third—to San Antonio the next night and set what was then the arena record, all on Champ. 

[READ MORE: The Best Grade Horses in Team Roping’s (Recent) History]

That horse kickstarted my career. He showed me exactly what kind of horse I needed to be able to make the NFR. Even though I only had him for a couple years, he changed everything for me. I wish I had more time with him, but that’s just part of it. No part of owning him would have been possible without his previous owner, Tano Tijerina. I’ll forever be indebted to him for working with a 19-year-old kid from Georgia. He had no idea who I was and he taught me a lesson. Now, when I have the opportunity, I try to pay it forward.

2) Dre

Champ died unexpectedly in the summer of 2012, and that led to Dre. I had tried to buy Dre multiple times to be a backup horse to Champ. Not long after Champ died, I saw Jake Barnes with Dre at the Spicer Gripp and asked if he would sell. And as luck would have it, I bought him that day. He was 16 years old, but he hadn’t been hauled hardly at all. He had nice big bones and feet on him. (He’s 27 years old this year and probably one of soundest horses on the place.) 

Dre was as honest as a day was long. He always scored great and tried his hardest. He had a great move and a good finish. In the fall of 2013, Drew Horner approached me about buying Dre, and I was wanting to buy a place and needed the down payment, so I sold to him. 

Pedigree chart for Mairs Pocos San

3) Fast Time

Sugar Bar Gold Dust was by Gold Maverick Mac out of Miss Dusty Sugar Bar, born in ’04. | TRJ File Photo

When we got back to Stephenville that fall, I bought a long-maned, flashy palomino I called Fast Time. 

I’m not going to lie: after I bought Fast Time, the first place I took him to he didn’t score, and I thought to myself, “What have I done? I had this great horse that I traded in for this pretty palomino and a down payment for a house.”

[READ MORE: Clay O’Brien Coopers Top Three Horses]

As bad as I wanted a house, I like winning more. Well, as fate would have it, I flew back to Georgia for a week and, when I came back, I rode him at a jackpot where I ended up doing really well with both partners. And from that day on, he was as honest as could be. He scored great, tried hard, ran right toward the steer—didn’t have the prettiest move—but would finish really, really fast.

Pedigree chart for Sugar Bar Gold Dust

4) Yahtzee

Yahtzee’s a 2004 gelding registered as Bar Z Nickel Olena, by Doc Elite out of the Colonel Hotrodder Mare Bar Z Hotrods Floozy. | Gabe Wolf Photography

Fast Time got hurt that next winter, and that’s when Yahtzee came into the picture. I remembered Yahtzee when Trevor Brazile owned him, and I always thought he had great footwork. Brandon Webb owned him at the time and was gracious enough to sell to me since mine was hurt. I rode him most of the summer at all the rodeos and, during that time, I was changing a lot of things in my roping. I had started going to Speed Williams’ quite a bit trying to figure out timing of the handle and how to use my feet better.

With that horse having such good footwork, it allowed me to speed up my learning curve because he knew what I was asking of him when I did it the correct way. By the next summer, I had Fast Time back, and I rode those two all that summer. Going into the fall of that year, Drew said he would sell Dre back if I was interested in him, so I jumped at the opportunity. When I got him back, we were vying for a spot to the NFR. But when that fall was over, we were in the top five going in.

Pedigree chart for Bar Z Nickel Olena

5) Dre & Doc

Doc’s a 2015 gelding named Leo Tiger Two Socks, by Two Socks Tiger out of Charcoals Pride. | Ric Andersen Photography

The following year I heeled for Webb, but since I was already qualified into the winter rodeos heading, I went to those. On Dre, I won both San Antonio with Travis Woodard and The American with Travis Graves. 

The next year, 2016, is when I started roping with Junior [Nogueira]. Dre was starting to get a little older—20 at the time—so I knew I needed something to help him out. That’s when I bought Doc from Clay Smith. I never even swung a leg over him; when he told me he would sell him, I just handed him a check. I already knew I liked the horse from the year before when he was still pretty green; he did a lot of the things that I liked in my horses. That was the ERA year, so we didn’t get to rodeo until the end of May. We started out going to smaller rodeos that I had never been to before. We did that partly because we needed to catch up, but also to kind of get Doc seasoned. He scored perfect every single time. He would never go early. He was by far the biggest horse that I’ve ever owned and was long-strided. He didn’t have a fancy move or face, but you could depend on him every time to make the exact same trip.

[READ MORE: The 2023 Team Roping Journal Breeder’s Guide]

From the end of May to the end of September, Junior and I won $125,000 on him and Hali (Apache R Hali) to win the regular season for the first time in my career. We won the Spicer Gripp jackpot on them, too, that year, which is a longer-score jackpot, and we won second at Cheyenne. He wasn’t the fastest one there, but you could always depend on him, and I loved him for that.

Pedigree chart for Leo Tiger Two Socks

6) Cuervo

Remis Gays On Ofadoc is a 2007 gelding by Reminic N Dunit out of FLS Oaks Classy Lady. | ProRodeo photo by Hailey Rae

The next great horse I bought came in 2021, when I bought Cuervo from Jeff Flenniken. He was an instant match. I loved everything about him and was very excited to buy him. Then came the dreaded vet check that didn’t go in my favor. So I sent him back and started trying more horses, but nothing fit like he did. I’d try horses for five times as much money as Cuervo was, and nothing came close to the way he felt. 

Finally, my wife said, “Why don’t you just buy him? You love everything about him, if something happens, it just does, but all you can talk about is that bay horse.”

Pedigree chart for Remis Gays On Ofadoc.

Well, that’s all I needed to hear. I called and bought him and had him shipped back from Idaho instantly. He scores great, he has great timing and finishes strong. We started winning on him from day one. We won back-to-back world titles on him, and the rest is history. He doesn’t get one jackpot steer ran on him. He gets the big-money rodeo steers, and that’s it. He lives at Danita Walker’s house and they say he’s sounder today then he was when I bought him, so I’d say she does an amazing job with him. TRJ

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