The 2020 World Champion Header Colby Lovell and 2017 stallion Reys Of Pep continue to win at the rope horse futurities in 2023, now claiming the first-ever American Rope Horse Futurity Association’s Fort Worth Cowtown Classic title July 8, 2023, worth some $12,504 for owner Jake Cooper.
The horse marked a first-round-winning score of 234.75 on his way to the aggregate score of 938.74, five full points ahead of second-place Trevor Brazile and his standout gelding, Bama Fury. The switch-ending stallion also won $4,480 in the same building June 9 for fifth place in the Cowtown Classic’s heeling futurity with Lovell, too.
It’s not the first time Lovell and Reys Of Pep have showed off in Fort Worth. In 2022, the duo made the short round in the heading and were reserve champions in the heeling the same building at the ARHFA’s World Championship, worth $29,500 for two day’s work. In total, the horse has earned $113,099 at the rope horse futurities alone.
“Before Fort Worth, I got to ride him for the first time I got to compete on him somewhere in a year,” Lovell said. “With having so much time into that horse, going through the steps of getting ready to show when I used to own him, getting to go back and do that helped a lot in having confidence in each other. He’s just a good horse.”
The field was stacked with great horses all vying for a chance to gain experience in that building three months before October 18-21’s ARHFA World Championship, but Reys Of Pep’s experience in the building showed with the help of Dakota Kirchenschlager on the heels.
“He’s got so much eye appeal, and he’s a people’s horse,” Lovell said. “It’s hard not to like him. It doesn’t matter who owned him or who’s on him. There are a lot of horses to breed to, but to raise the best horse you can, from my experience, if you’re going to try to do that, you want to start with a product from Pepper to hand-develop a horse. He could almost win a halter class. The way he hooks up to a cow, the expression he has, the way he stands in the box—everybody has got to see him perform, do what he does, and it’s not just been a couple of times.
“He’s been the top horse for two years. With that said, there’s not very many studs out there you can enjoy, go watch and see what you’re getting to be a part of if you breed to him. I was just lucky I stumbled onto him. I help, I ride and I show different horses. I’m very fortunate I get to show good horses. But when you sit on him after you’ve been riding another horse, you won’t believe the experience. Everybody who ropes and rides oughta be able to experience that horse once in their life.”
This is the Dual Rey son’s third win of 2023, having claimed the title at the Roping Futurities of America time-only heeling derby with Lovell and the Texas Best Rope Horse Futurity’s judged heading derby with World Champion Kaleb Driggers.
“He’s placed everywhere he’s gone,” Cooper said. “Whether you like a fancy horse or a gritty horse, you can’t miss him because he just flat works and has the expression and talent you’d want at the highest level, but Colby’s daughter can warm him up because he’s just that easy to get along with.”