For the red roan gelding known as Its Pepto Time, it was celebration time . . . again.
Since Janice Eaton bought her prized cutting horse in June from Top Notch Performance Horses Ltd. of Stony Plain, Alta., and turned him over to celebrated trainer Dr. Denton Moffat of Armstrong, B.C., the steed has been entered in three shows — and advanced to five finals.
The latest conquest? The 30th annual Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity presented by Wrangler, held at the Stampede Corral, where on Sunday afternoon Eaton and Its Pepto Time teamed up for the title in the Non-Pro Futurity class, scoring 216 and pocketing $8,869.74.
It’s been a whirlwind summer for Its Pepto Time, which carried Eaton, of Merritt, B.C., to the Non-Pro co-championship at the Idaho Futurity and partnered with Moffat for a third-place finish in Open Futurity at the Canadian Supreme in Red Deer.
Did she have any idea this horse had it in him?
“I don’t think we ever do,” she chuckled. “We’re just lucky when they turn out this way.”
The Stampede’s five-day Cutting Horse Futurity, which wrapped up with weekend category finals, is the premier cutting event in Canada, offering more than $300,000 in prize money and attracting about 100 riders and 200 horses from as far away as Texas and Ontario this year.
While the trainers and professional riders wowed the crowd in the Open finals on Saturday night, the spotlight turned on Sunday to the four Non-Pro classes — Futurity for three-year-olds, Derby for four-year-olds, Classic Challenge for five- and six-year-olds, and 7 Up for horses aged seven or older. Non-Pro riders make no part of their income training cutting horses, and can only compete on horses owned by themselves or immediate family members.
Eaton and Its Pepto Time had finished third overall through two preliminary rounds in Non-Pro Futurity, but let it all hang out in Sunday’s six-team final, that 216 outdistancing the reserve champions, Grant Aykroyd of Wainwright, Alta., and Mac N Rey, by nine full points. Aykroyd collected $6,335.53 for second place.
“He was there for me every step of the way,” said Eaton, who praised her all-star cast of turnback riders and herd holders (Moffat, Les Timmons, Doug Reinhardt, and Scott Hanson) for their help in the ring Sunday. “It’s pretty nice to have a three-year-old that works that hard for you.
“He reads the cow well. I love the fact that he’s there for you all the time; no matter how tough it gets, he tries. He’s got nice, big stops, and he’s just a really sweet horse to be around.”
Eaton, a former Stampede Futurity champ in the Non-Pro Futurity class in 2003, very nearly pulled off the daily double Sunday — finishing as reserve champion in Non-Pro Derby aboard No Pinchin This Cat, while
Sandy Reid of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Lil Pepto At The Bar were crowned category champions.
Reid and Lil Pepto At The Bar notched a winning score of 220 during the six-team finale, taking home a cheque of $6,877.50. Eaton and No Pinchin This Cat posted a 216.5, for a runner-up payday of $4,912.50.
“Denton’s trained him from the beginning,” said Eaton of No Pinchin This Cat, her four-year-old gelding. “He’s a horse I raised out of my mare Pinch of Doc. She won the Open Classic Challenge in Calgary in 2004, and she and I were reserve champion in the Non-Pro the same year.
“So he’s definitely carrying on the genes.”
Lucy Streeter of Nanton, Alta., authored victory aboard Peptos Playtoy 005 in the Non-Pro Classic Challenge division. The pair beat out 12 other teams in Sunday’s final with a 219, claiming $7,294.56. Teri Paradis of Okotoks, Alta., and Lil Scoot N Peppy were a close second, earning a 218 from the judges for a reserve champion’s bounty of $5,758.86.
Dawn Hanson of Mountain View, Alta., and Always Stylish Jean prevailed in the Non-Pro 7 Up category’s 10-team final by the slimmest of margins. The horse-and-rider duo turned in a two-round aggregate score of 439, just nosing out the 438.5 turned in by Amanda Smith of Okotoks and Whirl N Play. Hanson tucked $2,365 into her Wranglers, while Smith took home $1,720.
The Stampede’s annual Futurity event showcases the pure athleticism, instinct, agility and intelligence of the cutting horse. With horse-and-rider teams attempting to cut at least two, and most often three, individual cows out of a herd within 150 seconds, cutting has evolved into one of the most exciting equine events in North America. Contestants are evaluated by a panel of three judges and assessed a score based on the horse’s instinctive reactions, the challenges made by the cows cut, and errors in judgment.