Triple Crown Hopefuls Approach Summer Show with Big Dreams in Mind
Author: Lauren Middleton
The thought of greatness in any sport whether it be football, baseball, soccer, and in this case cutting, is always on our minds. There are very few that go into anything thinking “I just want to be average”. We strive to be better and better as time goes on, but still some achievements remain unmet. The challenge of one day accomplishing goals is what keeps anyone with a competitor’s mindset going and focused. What about the pinnacle of any sport though? How many actually can say yes, I have won the Super Bowl, yes, I have put on that coveted green jacket at the Masters, yes, I have won the NCHA Triple Crown? The answer is not many! We are lucky enough to be going into the 2018 NCHA Summer Spectacular with three, yes THREE, Triple Crown hopefuls.
It was not long ago that Armando Costa Neto and his amazing mare Watch Me Whip (Playgun x Look The Look) claimed the NCHA Non Pro Triple Crown. They were the first duo to ever achieve such a feat in the history of the sport joining the very short list of Open riders to have claimed the illusive Triple Crown title. Let’s just say that this does not happen very often even with the best horses being produced each year. It is a hard accomplishment and to even knock on the door of, making it something to be held at high esteem.
Armando Costa Neto and Watch Me Whip
Our first Triple Crown hopeful that we will mention is Chad Bushaw riding Bittersweet (Metallic Cat x Miss Sea Rey). He was the Champion of the 2017 NCHA Non-Pro Futurity then followed that title up by being the 2018 NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Co-Champion with Megan Miller and Carolena Reyn (Dual Smart Rey x Carolena Moon). There is a great story behind this duo as well as them just being an awesome team. Chad sold the horse Summer Shandy as a yearling, who is now owned by Rocking P Ranch and was the sale topper when she was a two-year-old and then bought Bittersweet with the money he made from selling the soon to be show stopping two-year-old. After seeing how well Summer Shandy did in the sale Chad was a little worried about his choice but it turned out to be just as good having his now Triple Crown hopeful! She proved to be very special and his family told him to keep an exceptional one for himself just this once, which turned into the best advice he could have been given!
Chad Bushaw and Bittersweet
Next up in our history making lineup is Rocky Davis and Redneck Creyzy (Dual Rey x Xquizit Cat) who claimed the 2017 NCHA Futurity Unlimited Amateur Championship then went on to win the second leg of the Unlimited Amateur Triple Crown at the 2018 NCHA Super Stakes. This pair has had an exceptional year topping show after show, it seemed meant to be for them. Rocky’s trainer, Salvador Cabral, told him last year that this was the horse for him and Rocky completely trusted his judgment. The gelding is just a good horse through and through, always there for whoever may ride him. Rocky has been pretty speechless after each win and completely overwhelmed with joy. It is fun to see this team do well because you can tell that it means the world to them. We are excited to see what the NCHA Summer Spectacular will bring them!
Rocky Davis and Redneck Creyzy
Last but certainly not least is Nelson Vivas and Playboy Is Smooth (Smooth As A Cat x Mary Has Freckles). This story is slightly different than the others in that the consistent gelding was ridden by David Taurel to claim the first leg of the $50,000 Amateur Triple Crown at the 2017 NCHA Futurity. David later sold the gelding who they affectionately call “Pastor” to Nelson not long before the 2018 NCHA Super Stakes. They then went on to claim the 2018 NCHA Super Stakes $50,000 Amateur Derby Championship. We would say that is not a bad way to start off the duo’s show career! Nelson, like Rocky, was ecstatic for the win and we hope to see these two as well vying for the Champion’s title in the end.
Nelson Vivas and Playboy Is Smooth
We wanted to give a little recognition to one of our favorites in the show pen Lance Cooper! He and his mare Zen And Tonic (High Brow CD x Dual Citizen) were Co-Champions of the Limited Non Pro at the 2017 NCHA Futurity then followed it up with a Championship in the Limited Non Pro at the Super Stakes. If there was a Triple Crown title to be given in this division he would well on his way! They have collected a number of Championships this year they are truly a dream team!
Lance Cooper and Zen And Tonic
The NCHA Summer Spectacular is always full of excitement between the Scholarship Cutting for the kids, the NYCHA World Finals, and it being the last show in the “Big Pen” for many of these extraordinary horses we have had the pleasure of watching throughout their aged event careers. There is also just the general excitement that surrounds a show in Fort Worth but then add three chances to make history into the mix and you have a cutting that is for sure! Good luck to everyone that will be competing from July 15th until August 5th at the Will Rogers, especially these three riders as they take on the ultimate achievement for anyone who has ever cracked the herd on one of these amazing animals!