AQHA Horses of the Year announced
October 7, 2015
Five first-time winners were chosen for the AQHA Horses of the Year, which were announced Oct. 6.
Three horses were named in each of the six categories, with the lone repeat champion being team roping heeling horse Rey Shines On Top (Rey), owned by Brady Minor.
Aboard Rey, Minor was able to move from 19th to 14th in the world standings in the final week of the regular season to qualify for his seventh Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
"This horse has been 90 percent of my success the past three seasons," Minor said. "Great horses are hard to come by these days, and you can't really just go out and buy one. I rodeoed on him at 70 of the 75 rodeos I went to this season, and he makes my job a lot easier.
"There are so many good horses on the list, and they only let you vote three times, but there are several horses worthy of votes. Rey is 11, and he's right in the prime of his career and is going to be at his best in the next couple of years."
While the horse on the heeling side is entering his prime, the horse that won the award for top team roping heading horse has been at it for many years.
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Clay Tryan's Dew the Dash (Dew) is 16 years old and has never been named the top horse in his event – until now.
The horse has helped Tryan and heeling partner Jade Corkill to the last two team roping world championships, with the duo in good position to make it a three-peat at the 2015 WNFR after finishing first in the regular season.
"You can't be dominant in this sport – and be in the lead a lot – without riding one of the best horses around, and I think Dew is one of the best horses there has ever been," Tryan said. "I'm glad he won it now, because he was getting to the age where I didn't think he'd ever win it. He's been good since the first day I cracked him out six years ago."
Ty Erickson's steer wrestling horse KR Montana Shake Em (Shakem) is tops in the event. Erickson – who heads into the WNFR third in the world – and traveling partner Clayton Hass – the world standings leader – both had great success on Shakem this season. The horse is co-owned by Erickson and the Kyler Ranch in Cascade, Mont.
The tie-down roping winner is the horse that carried Marcos Costa to his first WNFR qualification this season. The horse, Sweet As Time (Flea) is owned by Brazilian businessman Renato Antunes, and is also ridden at times by 2008 World Champion Tie-down Roper Stran Smith, Costa's mentor.
Troy Tillard's steer roping horse, Weavers Diamond Bar (Rowdy), was third in the voting last year, and picks up his first win in 2015. The horse is owned by Troy's father, Tim Tillard, and carried Troy to his second consecutive Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping (Nov. 6-7) qualification, and third overall.
Here are the full results of each event:
1. KR Montana Shake Em (Shakem), owners Ty Erickson and Kyler Ranch
2. Lenas Little Dasher (Charlie) owners Hunter and Bristi Cure
3. Landrys Cadillac (Cadillac), owner Frank Sterling Wallace
1. Dew the Dash (Dew), owner Clay Tryan
2. Freckle Wilson (Bull), owner JoJo LeMond
3. Madison Oak (Clint), owner Chad Masters
1. Rey Shines On Top (Rey), owner Brady Minor
2. CD Starbucks (Starbucks), owner Ryan Motes
3. Freckles Taz (Taz), owner Kinney Harrell
1. Sweet As Time (Flea), owner Renato Antunes
2. MFO Harvey (Colonel), owner Timber Moore
3. Popular Lil Lena (Squirrel), owner Monty Lewis
1. Weavers Diamond Bar (Rowdy), owner Tim Tillard
2. White Hot Ike (Bullseye) owner Chance Kelton
3. Tonk Champ (Champ), owner Chris Glover
1. French First Watch (Custer), owner Jill Welsh
2. An Oakie With Cash (Louie), owners Grady and Lisa Lockhart
3. Blazin Ta Fame (Blaze), owners Annette and Rachel Hendrix