As Matt Koch rode SDP Blue Blood (Laredo Blue x I Got Good Genes) in the NRCHA Stakes finals in Las Vegas, Nev., Saturday night, he followed the advice and encouragement of his friend, Chris Dawson – a wise choice, as Dawson ultimately won the Stakes Open Championship. Koch also finished in fine fashion, piloting SDP Blue Blood, owned by K & H Performance Horses, to a total 653 score (219 herd/216.5 rein/217.5 cow), good for the Stakes Intermediate Open Championship and a three-way tie for Reserve in the Open.
“Chris kept saying, ‘It’s the finals, just let it all hang out!’ So, in the herd work, I cut my first cow and just put my hand down and cut one-handed, all three cows, and he was really good. Same thing in the rein work. I watched Chris go first, and he was wideopen and going, so we tried the same thing and it worked. We survived the cow work and ended up here! Chris has been here before, and I’m pretty new to it all, so I’m just listening and taking lessons,” Koch said, smiling.
The Intermediate Open Championship paid $5,400 and came with a Gist buckle and CR Morrison trophy from the NRCHA. The nominator of SDP Blue Blood’s sire, Laredo Blue, to the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion Program will receive a $1,000 NRCHA Sire Award check. Koch collected another $19,358 for the Stakes Open Reserve placing.
Koch, 28, a Kansas native, started working for NRCHA Breeder Sponsor Wagonhound Land and Livestock, Douglas, Wyo., in February. SDP Blue Blood made the move with him; the stallion does a substantial amount of roping, ranch work and outside riding in addition to his show training.
“My girlfriend rides him outside on days I don’t get to him. It lets him get out and be a horse. For me it helps out because you can leave him off. Today, I didn’t ride him until an hour or two before the show started,” Koch said.
He thanked Dawson and his other herd help, Brad Lund, Robbie Boyce and Todd Crawford. The next stop for Koch and the roan stallion is the NRCHA Hackamore Classic in May.