After nine days of non stop reined cow horse action in Fort Worth, Texas, the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions wrapped up on Saturday, February 17 with the DT Horses World’s Greatest Horseman Finals in front of a sellout crowd at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.
A showdown developed halfway through the very first event, the herd work. Draw five, Kelby Phillips, riding Hickory Holly Time (One Time Pepto x Hickorys Holly Cee x Doc’s Hickory), jumped up and marked the high score, a 220. Then, the very next to go, Phillip Ralls and Call Me Mitch (Metallic Cat x Miss Hickory Hill x Doc’s Hickory), earned a 220.5.
These two continued neck-and-neck at the top of the leader board after the second event ,the rein work. Kelby and Hickory Holly Time were first to go, earning a 222.5 from the judges. Then draw two was Phillip Ralls and Call Me Mitch, just a point behind, with a 221.5
The third event, the steer stopping, is notorious for shaking things up but the two leaders continued on a roll. Kelby gained an advantage when he scored 224.5 – but Phillip remained a huge threat with his steer stopping score of 221.
Going into the fence work, Kelby and Hickory Holly Time had a four-point advantage. They were second in the draw, and earned a 223.5 from the judges. However, Phillip and Call Me Mitch were last to go down the fence and still had a shot. While this team had the high fence work score of the World’s Greatest Finals – a 225 – it was not quite enough to take over the lead. Phillip and Call Me Mitch finish as Reserve – and Kelby Phillips celebrated his first World’s Greatest Horseman Championship.
The DT Horses World’s Greatest Horseman title came with a $40,000 paycheck, which elevated Hickory Holly Time’s lifetime earnings past the $200,000 mark. Phillips also collected a custom ring from Sami Fine Jewelry; a custom saddle from Martin Saddlery, Gist buckle and CR Morrison Trophy sponsored by DT Horses; a watch from Catena Watches USA; Nile crocodile boots from Rios of Mercedes; a $500 gift certificate from NexGen compounding; a fleece cooler from Classic Equine; and product from Platinum Performance and San Juan Ranch/Santa Cruz Animal Health.