Yes, the headline is correct—Wesley Thorp won a $40,000 check for his win in the Roping Futurities of America Heading Slot Roping in Abilene, Texas, on February 14 on a head horse that looks decidedly like a barrel horse on paper.
French Streakin is a 2018 gelding by A Streak of Fling and out of Silky French Pie—the No. 1 money-earning futurity horse in the barrel racing industry in 2006—who is by Frenchmans Guy. That’s not even where the shock factor stops. French Streakin was a gift to Thorp for his birthday a few years back from his wife, Susanna’s parents.
“It was always a big deal for me to make him something good and help him reach his potential,” Thorp, 27, said. “I really spent a lot of time on him.”
That time spent paid off in spades at the RFA. The slot roping was exclusively for 4-year-olds who had never been entered before the event kicked off, so the gelding’s got a pretty good start out of the gate. However, Thorp had his doubts when he backed in the box during the first round of the roping.
“There were nice horses here today getting smoked out there,” Thorp said. “I was a little bit nervous—you think they’re fast at home, but you don’t know until you take them somewhere. I got a mediocre start on the first one, but he caught up good. On the second one it’s like the lightbulb came on. When I dropped my hand, he ran. He doesn’t ever feel like he’s running, but I could feel another gear hit on the second one. He caught up.”
After the second round, Thorp and French Streakin looked like a different team. Thorp was aggressive and went at every steer, catching up to take over the roping on the last run. He faulted himself for pushing the horse outside its comfort zone slightly and not giving him the best opportunity to face, but he sang his praises for the gelding’s handling of the event. It was a far cry from the gelding’s maturity level when his roping training began.
“For a while, the first 30 minutes would be a brand new day, every day,” Thorp said. “He would be seeing butterflies. I would ride him, tie him up for 30 minutes, try again. But, if you could outlast him, he would always end on a great note. I couldn’t get much done if every horse needed that much time, but I’m glad I did it.”
The RFA was definitely a setup where it proved an advantage to be aboard a horse bred to run—evident in Coy Rahlmann’s Heading Derby win earlier in the day.
Roping Futurities of America Heading Slot Roping Results
- Coy Rahlmann on Dulin Prescription, 6.93 seconds, worth $4,000
- Britt Williams on Juicy Cat, 6.97 seconds, worth $2,000
- JoJo Lemond on Boomer Suener, 5.34 seconds, worth $4,000
- Jake Cooper on Wally, 5.59 seconds, worth $2,000
- JoJo Lemond on Boomer Suener, 4.55 seconds, worth $4,000
- Garrett Tonozzi on Babe On The Prowl, 6.21 seconds, worth $2,000
- Luke Brown on Lowry JR Galloplaygun, 5.41 seconds, worth $4,000
- Chad Masters on The Red Epic, 5.51 seconds, worth $2,000
Aggregate (On Four Head)
- Wesley Thorp on French Streakin, 28.25 seconds, worth $40,000
- Luke Brown on Lowry JR Galloplaygun, 29.69 seconds, worth $25,000
- Britt Williams on Juicy Cat, 30.52 seconds, worth $20,000
- Colby Lovell on CR Dualin Dainty, 31.49 seconds, worth $15,000
- Kaleb Driggers on Metallic Hardwood, 33.13 seconds, worth $7,000
- Coy Rahlmann on Dulin Prescription, 33.14 seconds, worth $6,000