TEXAS TECH TWO-PEAT
The Texas Tech University Ranch Horse Team defends its title as Stock Horse of Texas Collegiate Champions.
The 2023 Kalpowar Quarter Horses Celebration of Champions kicked off with a showcase of some of the up-and-coming talent in the reined cow horse industry in the Stock Horse of Texas Collegiate Championship on February 11. Coach Justin Stanton’s Texas Tech University Ranch Horse Team arrived in Fort Worth determined to defend its championship title against the field of 14 teams. After 41 entries displayed their rein and cow work skills across three divisions, it was once again the Red Raiders who reigned victorious in Cowtown.
Stanton’s three riders each turned in solid performances for their team. In the Non Pro division, freshman Tylor Todd rode Mr Stylish Cat (Mr Playinstylish x Lil Sally Cat x High Brow Cat) to a 290 composite and second in the division. Coming in second in the Limited Non Pro (Box Drive) division with a 291 composite for the Texas Tech team was longtime team member and graduate student Iris Baker aboard Fletching The Cat (Royal Fletch x Lil Sally Cat x High Brow Cat). These half-sibling mounts were both bred by Kit and Charlie Moncrief. Rounding out the Texas Tech team was sophomore Lakayla Phillips who earned a 273.5 composite on I Bet Hesa Cat (Bet Hesa Cat x Cinderellas Levis x Smart Little Levi) to place third in the Novice division.
New to the team this year, Stanton said Phillips’ level-headed performance after a last-minute horse change was key to the team’s overall success.
“The biggest difference between horse showing as an individual sport and the collegiate team is that you combine all the [team members’] scores,” said Stanton. “Of course, you always shoot to win [each division], but consistency is what I look for in a team member as a coach. When you have different teams placing above in the individual division, consistency becomes more important.”
While consistency was key in helping Texas Tech University win the team title, division-winning rides highlighted the talent on three other collegiate teams. Winning the Non Pro division was 2022 World’s Greatest Youth Horseman Cutter McLaughlin aboard SCR King Of The Road (Sannman x SCR Crackin Light x Boonlight Dancer), a freshman at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. Finishing on top of the Limited Non Pro division was Niamh Sexton of the University of Wyoming aboard Ima Metallic Shine (Metallic Cat x Isabellena x Quejanaisalena). Winning the Novice division for second place team, North Central Texas College, was Tana Butts aboard I Have The Chex (Chowchilla Peppy x Tiny Little Trona x Little Trona).
The Collegiate Championship represents a partnership between the National Reined Cow Horse Association and Stock Horse of Texas and provides an opportunity for riders to try their skills in a new arena.
“Iris qualified for Celebration of Champions this year but didn’t enter because she didn’t think she was competitive enough, and Lakayla had never been to an NRCHA show before,” said Stanton. “This partnership gives people the chance to see that they can be competitive in NRCHA, and it’s important for growth in both associations.”