The National Reined Cow Horse Association has named their latest million dollar rider. Corey Cushing has been added to the list and according to the NRCHA, he is their youngest member ever to establish this significant accomplishment.
It’s been a great year for Corey Cushing. He fulfilled the promise of his considerable talents most visibly when he rode CD Diamond (CD Olena x Shiners Diamond Girl x Shining Spark), owned by San Juan Ranch, to a $100,000 victory at the 2012 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. He qualified four horses for the Open finals and walked away from the event with over $158,000 in earnings.
That’s enough excitement for anyone – but there was more to the story for Cushing. The numbers are now in, the money is counted and credited to his account, and his Futurity earnings, added to winnings from previous late-season shows, have pushed him over the Million Dollar milestone – making him, at 32, the youngest rider in National Reined Cow Horse Association history to ever become a Million Dollar Rider.
For Cushing, reaching the milestone was a goal. “I knew I was getting close; my wife Kristen and I were keeping tabs from the first of the year. I’ve been having a great year with the Derby horses – at the Stakes and NRCHA Derby. We knew when we left for Reno, we were close.”
Corey was quick to credit part of his accomplishment to the contributions of others. “Our family, friends and customers are outstanding. They’ve supported me and I’ve been blessed with good horses – the kind that everyone dreams of.”
He added that he thought the most important thing – at any point in a career – was to never, ever stop learning. “I was up at Benny Guitron’s before the futurity getting his opinion on some things and putting on some finishing touches. Earlier in the year, Phillip Ralls helped me with my herd work. Last year Don Murphy helped me down the fence – gave me some things to do differently – new ideas. That helps me pay more attention to the little things that can cost me points.”
His best advice to other riders. “Don’t be afraid to go ask for help or advice. Everyone out there has been in that position of needing help so don’t hesitate to ask. Respect that older generation, too. They had horses that were harder to train than some of the horses we have these days and the different ways they approached that and trained can help us today. We might be missing something that one of them, from experience, has seen before. Try to use that knowledge.”
So what will the new Millionaire Rider do to celebrate? “When we heard the news we kind of joked around about having a party. We probably will – but I’d rather it be a situation where I can just enjoy my friends instead of so much about me – it’s more fun to hang out than to be the highlight.”
And the biggest celebration for the Cushings will likely come about January 6, when Corey, his wife Kristen and son Caleb, will welcome their new baby to the family.
Corey and NRCHA Hall of Fame Rider, Doug Williamson, who passed the Million Dollar mark at the Snaffle Bit Futurity, will be honored at the 2013 Snaffle Bit Futurity with the signature Carol Owens bronzes. A poignant event – to be sure – as Williamson, at 70, will be the oldest to ever achieve the distinction!