Featured Riders!

Howdy everyone! This page is being set up to show the horse and rider duos that had their pictures taken by D'Albor Photography. These articles are posted on my Facebook page as well. I hope you enjoy reading the articles from everyone! Check them out below!

The link to our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/dalborphotography

Brad Alexander


Happy Monday everyone! Hope everyone had a great weekend. This Monday we get to hear from my good friend Mr. Brad Alexander. Check out what he has to say:

“My name is Brad Alexander. I have been married to my wife, Jeanne Alexander, for 23 years. We have a 20 year old daughter who is a licensed esthetician and an 18 year old son who is currently a Sr in high school. We live in Denham Springs, La. I am a small electrical contractor and most of my work consists of wiring new construction homes. I have been in business for 21 years. My daughter and I have been competing on horses for about 12 years.

I started having a desire to show cutting horses five years ago. This year, I was able to begin in the cutting horse events, and I love it. I was able to have Angie Duncan to start teaching me, and I became a part of her team. She has had a lot of patience with me because I had no cutting horse show experience.

What I like about a cutting horse, is how trained they are and how the horse responds to every cue you give whether it's with your seat or your legs. I like how it feels to be in the saddle and your horse is so tuned into the cow that it is reading every move that the cow makes. I like the challenge of constantly learning and trying to get better at showing a horse. I learn something every time I ride. Angie has also taught me horsemanship skills that I was lacking in.

I have met some really nice people this year at the cutting shows. I plan on showing cutting horses for as long as God gives me the ability to do so.

My most memorable show was in West Monroe where I won 3 checks and marked a 73 on one of the rides.

Besides riding horses, the other thing I enjoy is deer hunting. I usually go to Missouri a couple of times a year to deer hunt where I lease some land.”

Thanks Brad for sharing your story we are proud to have you as part of the Cotton Circuit! Shown below is Brad Alexander showing his horse Itchin Oak. #nchaproud

Jordan Thompson


Happy Monday everyone! Today we get to hear from a great friend of mine Miss Jordan Thompson! Check out what she has to say:

"My name is Jordan Thompson. I'm currently living in Memphis, Tennessee as I finish up my last two years of clinical work at the UTHSC College of Dentistry.

I started cutting when I was 7. My parents Maben and Julie Thompson showed for years then got my brother and myself both thoroughly addicted!

There are so many wonderful and funny memories throughout the years, but my most memorable moment would probably be winning Sr. Youth World Show Champion in 2014. I rode SDP Lil Ichi Maddie, who is my favorite horse and marked a 221, 225 and 223. It was my last year as a youth and it was a pretty cool experience.

I love this sport because it is how my family has always gotten to spend time together. We didn't take family beach trips, we went to a cutting, the 4 of us. Those memories will always be special.

I've also met a lot of lifelong friends in cutting, I might see them once a year but they're always on my team and I'm always on their team. That's what makes cutting special and why I love it!

Outside of showing, the last few years I've just really been focusing on finishing up my degree. I hangout with friends, (and my dog) and I like to go to kickboxing classes. I look forward to practicing dentistry and hopefully raising and training Maddie babies in the years to come!"

Thanks Jordan for sharing your story! We are proud to have you and Team Thompson as part of the Cotton Circuit! Shown below is Jordan Thompson showing one of her family's horses, Jon Wick. #nchaproud

Charlie Israel


Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend. This MOnday we have the one and only, Charlie Israel. Check out what Charlie has to say:

"My name is Charlie Israel. I lived most of my life in Birmingham AL. I have been married for 44 years and have 5 children and 11 grandchildren. I have had a interest in horses all of my life , reading horse books , watching Rawhide and every western I could watch. My grandfather had a stock farm where I spent a lot of time as a child. He had cattle and horses and I was hooked.

I rode my first cutting horse when I was 15 and will never forget , “put your hand down.“ I enjoy competition and still am intrigued with the cutting horse. I raise 5 or 6 foals a year and really enjoy watching them develop.

I appreciate the people who share this interest , the horse is it for me. "

Thanks Charlie for sharing your story with us! Charlie is also the producer of THE CUT. THE CUT is the quintessential film for the sport of cutting. For all cutting horse/ranching/equine/western/culture/history/Texan/American Western enthusiast, this documentary is a MUST SEE!

Shown beliw is Charlie Israel showing his horse Countin Catillacs. Thank you for being a part of the of Cotton Circuit! #nchaproud 

Rosemarie Gaddy


Happy Monday everyone! Thanks to everyone who reached out to me yesterday to wish me a happy birthday.

This Monday we are featuring my friend Rose ! Check out what she has to say:

“Hi everyone,

My name is Rosemarie Gaddy. I am 42 years old and currently live in Moulton AL. I am originally from Ada MN. I am employed with Hexcel Corporation as a Chemical Operator in Decatur AL. I also own a Facebook page in which I market horses for other people called “Alabama Rose Horse Place” and I also do tail extensions for horses and that little business I call “Rosie’s Tail Creations”. I have been married to my best friend for just shy of 10 years. I have two amazing step daughters, one a Doctor of Pharmacy and the other graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications. We currently have 2 dogs. A wild four month old blue heeler “Catori” and a 12 year old mix “Rocko”. I served 12 years in the Army National Guard and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005 to 2007. My husband also served 6 years in the regular Army as a Paratrooper and served in the Gulf war from 1990 to 1991. I have way way more than I deserve!

I was raised with horses and definitely lived in the barn growing up! Me and my family traveled the country competing in Team penning and Ranch Sorting. I always enjoyed watching cutting but didn’t have access to the industry where I lived. In 2007 I took a job working for Todd Gann Cutting Horses in Leighton AL. You can say that’s where it all started. Working for the Gann family was one of the best decisions I ever made!! I will forever be grateful for all they have done. I bought my first cutting horse in 2019 “Mamas Reynman”. I have most recently purchased my second cutting horse. A 5 year old mare named “Youcattobekiddingme”.

My most memorable moment in the show pen was when I marked a 76 in Rainsville and when Reyn fell down in the first go round of the 2019 World Finals.

I love this sport for the horsemanship skills it truly takes to be successful. You are not only showing a 1200 pound animal but you’re trying to read and control a 500 pound piece of BEEF!! Also the training these horses have to endure to make it. They don’t only have to be athletic but they have to be smart, cowy and tough!! There is absolutely nothing better than watching a good cutting horse!!

Outside of showing I enjoy spending time with my husband and dogs. We love to travel and see new things. I also really enjoy Crossfit!!!”

Thanks Rose for sharing Your story and we are proud to have you as part of the cotton circuit. Shown below is Rosemarie showing her horse Mamas Reynman. #nchaproud

Cody Gann


Happy Monday everyone! Today kicks off the NCHA Foundation Scholarship Cutting in Fort Worth! This Monday we get to hear from Mr. Cody Gann. Check out what he has to say:

"My name is Cody Gann. My friends and family call me Blue. I’m 15 years old and I live in Leighton, AL with my parents, Todd and Brandye Gann, and my older brother, Cole.

My dad, Todd Gann, is a Hall of Fame Cutting Horse trainer. I have always loved horses and riding. The first time I walked to the heard I was six, but I started really showing cutting horses when I was nine. I showed in my first NYCHA World Finals in Fort Worth when I was eleven.

The year I won the NYCHA Junior World Championship, the World Finals Championship and I was Reserve in the Junior Scholarship Cutting. That was a good show.

Most of the time I’m just working and preparing for the next show. I love horses and the competition."

Thanks Cody for sharing your story with us. Shown below is Cody Gann showing Hevvy Metal. We appreciate the whole Gann clan being a part of the Cotton Circuit! #nchaproud

Jamie Hays


Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope everyone had a great starting to their week! Check out who we have this week as a feature: Jamie Partee Hays

Check out what she has to say:

"My name is Jamie Hays. I was born and raised in Covington, Georgia. I am married to Julius Hays, and we just celebrated our 25th. wedding anniversary. We have one daughter Jessie Hays Whitwell that resides with her husband Zack in Dothan, Alabama while she completes her med school studies. I have worked in the medical field since 2002 as a PA in anesthesiology.

I was first introduced to cutting as a youth rider when my mom married my stepdad Roger Cato. He was a nonpro rider and enjoyed going to the weekend cuttings every chance he could. He allowed me to show his mare Darling Companion in the youth and I was hooked. I enjoyed showing as a youth and amateur rider until it was time to go off to college and further my education. I always knew that I would return to the cutting arena once I had my education completed and a secure career that would help support my hobby! I did just that. I graduated and began my career in anesthesia in 2002. My first purchase was a cutting horse by the name of "Toy Blaze". He was out of the great sire Squeak Toy. I purchased him from Reid Bruce and I began my cutting journey as an adult. I soon found myself needing a cutting horse trainer that could help me with my new purchase and coach me at the weekend level. I landed on Charles Crawley in Unadilla, Ga. He took Toy Blaze in and helped finish him and get him seasoned. We went to many weekend cuttings and had the best time showing. The lessons in showmanship that Charles Crawley taught me gave me the foundation that I try to continue to build on today. Toy Blaze is now 25 years old and living his best life in full retirement! I have had several show horses over the years, but I have recently landed on my once in a lifetime match. I was fortunate enough to purchase Twisted Metal from Lew and Courteney Byars in September 2021. I had watched Lew show this gelding many times and I loved his style and his consistency in the show pen. My most memorable moment showing has been with Twist at the Cotton Circuit Finals in 2021 and the Eastern National Championship show. After only having a short time getting to know one another, we were the show champion at the Cotton Circuit Finals in the 25 NHNP and we were Reserve Champion in the 25 NHNP at Eastern Nationals. I have enjoyed showing Twist at the weekend cuttings this entire show season! I have never felt the connection to a horse like I feel with him. We just understand one another! I am an adrenalin junkie and that's one reason I love this sport. The adrenalin rush is like no other when showing for that two and half minutes. I also love the social aspect as well. We have made great horse show friends along the way that have become our horse show family. Outside of showing cutting horses, I love spending time with my family and friends on the lake boating and skiing."

Thanks Jamiefor sharing your story! We are proud to have you as part he Cotton Circuit. Shown below is Jamie Hays showing her horse Twisted Metal. #nchaproud

Vicky Lynn Etheridge


Happy Monday everyone! This Monday we have the legendary Mr. Vicky Lynn Etheridge. Check out what he has to say:

" My name is Vicky Lynn Etheridge. I spent my Jr. high and high school summers and weekends working for my dad who managed a feed lot for Mid South Packers. He would never let me ride a horse when handling cattle. There were a couple of working cow horses; dad never felt that they were useful in his operation, however, I always wanted to give it a try. My brother and I always rode gaited horse on trail rides but no cutting horses. After graduating from University, I spent two years in the military being released from active duty July73.

I entered into the self employed work force sector, eventually winding up in the furniture manufacturing business. This was demanding work and I got away from horses until 2006 when I decided to fulfill my dream of riding a cutting horse. I bought a horse that just didn’t work out. My first big purchase was during the futurity sale where I bought Mississippi Cat, a yearling, and embarked on highly educational journey. Eventually Josh Dozier hauled him for the world an lead for a big part of the year and eventually wound up in 2nd place. It was fun and I was hooked. My most exciting moments were winning the 2nd round in 50 Am.of the world Championship riding “Mississippi “ .Also was fortunate to win the Eastern National on “Cutting Commander”. I cant leave out Mandalay Rey who was probably my best fit of all.

Currently I am “hauling” my wife .”Missy Jean” to the aged events and watching her ride and train our horses. Missy is the biggest reward I ve recieved in the cutting horse industry. She is dedicated and loves the horses and has riden her way into the non pro hall of fame!"

Thank you for sharing your story Mr. Vick! We are proud to have you and Missy Jean Etheridge as part of the Cotton Circuit. SHown below is Mr. Vick showing Kidd Kat Sugar. #nchaproud

Lyndi Polk


Apologies for missing out on the past few Mondays with our weekly posts, I have been busy at work. I hope everyone has been doing great these past couple of weeks! Without further ado, I would like to introduce everyone to Miss Lyndi Polk! Check out what she has to say:

"Hi, my name is Lyndi Polk and I am 15 years old. I live in Edwards, MS and go to Central Hinds Academy.

I have been riding horses since I could walk, but I didn’t start riding cutting horses until I was 6.

One of my most memorable moments was in 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas. It was my first time making it to World Finals and I had never shown in the Will Rodgers coliseum before. I was so nervous, but I knew I just had to trust my horse (Dual Smart Dee Jay). I marked a 222.5 and I couldn’t have done it without my trainer Bill Pierce and all my help.

Outside of cutting I do a few sports, such as basketball, soccer and track, but my favorite hobby is riding project horses."

Thanks Lyndi for sharing your story! Lyndi Polk and her mom, Melinda Polk are always hitting the road to the next cutting. We are proud to have you both a part of the Cotton Circuit. Shown below is Lyndi Polk riding her mare Sunday Drive. #nchaproud

Ricky Lewis


Happy Tuesday everyone! This week we get to hear from Ricky Lewis. Check out what he has to say:

"My name is Ricky Lewis, and I live in Batesville, MS. I’ve been in the real estate business for almost 25 years. Throughout those years, I have worn many hats, including everything from traditional sales, new construction sales, subdivision development, flipping, property management, and as a capital investor. I am co-founder and owner of Allstar Management, which currently owns and/or manages over 2300 residential units. Thankfully, Allstar’s staff of 25+ handling most of the day-to-day tasks allows me the time to enjoy my passion for showing cutting horses.

Growing up in the Mid-South, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the cutting world without the influence of Lee Garner. I first attended a show at Mr. Lee’s place around 1997, and instantly, I was hooked. Throughout those early years of learning how to show, I was lucky enough to have been introduced to many wonderful people with a few that stood out. Mr. Tommy Simmons took the time to show me the very basics of horsemanship as I did not grow up around horses. Mr. Norman Burton allowed me to show one of his horses starting out in the $2,000 LR and even loaned me his living quarters trailer until I could buy my own. Then there is Zeke Entz. Zeke helped me in those early years more than he probably even knew, as I wasn’t even a full-time client of his. I watched and listened to anything he was telling me or anyone else just to learn. I took a 14-year break from cutting during the downturn in the real estate market, but the first call I made when I was ready to jump back in was to Zeke. Since then, in addition to the trainer/client relationship, we have built a friendship which is what this sport has done for me time and time again.

I have reached a few goals in the past 2 to 3 years that I never really expected to have the opportunity to achieve back in those days of hauling in the 2LR. I wanted to successfully show in the aged events. I wanted to make finals in Will Rogers. I wanted to earn over $100k. All of those were checked off from my list (Thanks, Birdy!) I thought I was a few years away from making the Futurity Finals. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Craig Thompson had a client that wasn’t going to be able to show their Futurity horse, and she was made available to me. We ended up splitting 4th in the amateur. I have to say, this was my most memorable moment…..so far.

Outside of cutting these days, I enjoy spending time in or near the water. I enjoy boating at the lake or just lying on the beach. Golf and I have a love/hate relationship, but I do enjoy the social side of the sport. Everything, it seems though, must be scheduled around the next cutting!"

Thank you Ricky for sharing your story. We are thankful to have you as party of the Cotton Circuit. Shown below is Ricky Lewis aboard the infamous Birdy! #nchaproud 

Annie Kate White


Happy monday everyone! This week we get to hear from Annie Kate White. Check out what she has to say!

"My name is Annie Kate White and I am from Philadelphia, MS. I am 14 years old and will be a 9th grader at Leake Academy. My love of horses began at a young age. I would relentlessly beg my daddy to let me ride his horse, “Temptation.” One day he finally gave in, and after he lifted me up and sat me In the saddle I cried like a baby! True Story! Thank goodness, I grew out of that, and through riding lessons and summer cowboy camps at Thaggard Farms, the saddle has become my favorite place to be.

My Popa rode cutting horses with Rick Thaggard and Allen Crouch, and it was always his dream for me to one day ride cutting horses as well. I started out in the sorting pen and eventually had the opportunity to walk into the show pen in Forest, MS. That is where my love of cutting first began and it’s only grown from there.

My most memorable moment over the past 3 years that really stands out in my mind would be in Fort Worth last summer during the youth scholarship cutting. During the first round, my horse Bear and I walked into the pen for the first time ever in Fort Worth and the excitement was crazy! Bear and I had an awesome ride and scored a 221. But the best part of the day was hearing my Dad yelling over everyone in the crowd. He was so proud of us.

Outside of the show pen, I’m a member of the Leake Academy Junior Varsity Cheer Squad. I have taken gymnastics since I was 4 years old and love cheering on the Leake Academy Rebels.

Cutting is such a big part of who I am. It has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people and make some of the best friends. I have to give a special thank you to Andy Loague for all that he has done for me. He pushes me in and out of the show pen. I am so grateful for the sport of cutting and look forward to the opportunity to promote the NYCHA and bring more kids into this sport."

Thank you Annie Kate for sharing your story! We are oroud to have you as part of the Cotton CIrcuit! Shown below is Annie Kate showing her stallion Cat Man Blue. #nchaproud 

Tom O'Neal


Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day yesterday. This week I would like to introduce you all to Mr. Tom O'Neal. Mr. Tom is an avid weekend cutter and one of nicest people around. Check out what he has to say:

"Hello, my name is Tom O'Neal. I started cutting about 3 years ago. I was formally a tie down calf roper. Two of my daughters rode cutting horses in high school rodeo. Both of them made it to nationals.

I had a knee repair surgery about 5 years ago and my doctor said, "Maybe you shouldn't be jumping off running horses any longer..." As a result, I decided one day to get one of my daughters cutting horses out of the pasture and ask Mr. Mark Coie to help me learn how to ride a cutting horse.

My most memorable moment was the first time I showed at a cutting at the Ike in West Monroe; it is only about 20 minutes from where I live. My wife and my kids came to watch and it ended up being a DISASTER! I walked into the herd and went brain dead! Walking out of the pen, Coie comments, "Tom, I think you broke every rule in cutting, in two and half minutes!!"

In addition to cutting I enjoy golfing and working out. I have four daughters and several grandkids. It is never a dull moment around the O'Neal ranch. I still work five days a week..... unless there is a cutting to go to."

Thank you Mr. Tom for sharing your story with us. We are proud to have you as part of the Cotton Circuit! Shown below is Mr. Tom O'Neal showing his horse GCH Mistah Cat. #nchaproud 

Jodi Michaelson


Happy Monday everyone! This week, we get to hear from Jodi Michaelson. Check out what she has to say:

"My name is Jodi Michaelson. I am 47, married to an amazing man who is fully supportive of my horse loving shenanigans, and work in the animal health industry. I was first introduced to cutting horses during the late 90’s. I was intrigued by their athletic ability and cow sense. The first time I worked a cutting horse, I was hooked.

In 2002 I hauled for the world in the 2K limited rider and finished 6th. Life circumstances caused me to leave the cutting arena, but I always hoped to return. That dream came true when a friend introduced me to Angela Duncan and another friend encouraged me to buy a cutting horse. I bought CR Woody B Short “Gator” in the fall of 2019. He was way more horse than I could handle, but I am determined and maybe a little stubborn, so that didn’t hold me back. Gator is my unicorn, he ended up being the perfect horse for me!! I also have an amazing trainer who never gave up on me and continues to teach and support me.

My most memorable times in the show pen took place in West Monroe. In February of 2020, during The Ike night shows, I fell off of Gator in the show pen. Thankfully nobody was hurt! In November of 2021, in that same arena, Gator and I marked a 74 and won the reserve champion buckle in the 15K amateur for the Cotton Circuit.

The cutting pen has taught me so much! I have laughed and cried, have had countless hours of fun, and have learned to overcome challenges and stay positive. I have also met some amazing people and built friendships that will last a lifetime.

I am looking forward to seeing what Gator and I accomplish together in the future and also to watching my 2 year old, Flossie, as she progresses in her training.

Outside of showing, I enjoy spending time with my kids and grandkids."

Thanks Jodi for sharing your story! Shown below is Jodi showing her horse CR Woody B Short. We are honored to have you as part of the Cotton Circuit! #nchaproud 

Brinley Lippincott


Happy Monday everyone! This Monday we get to hear from Brinley! Thanks to the whole Lippincott Team Amy Lippincott Spencer Lippincott for your support! Check out what Brinley has to say:

"My name is Brinley Lippincott. I am 17 years old and will be a senior in high school next year! I live in Cypress, TX. I started riding horses when I was 5 after begging my parents to ride. I had tried soccer and dance and knew those were not for me! They finally bought me 4 English lessons and I was thrilled! I finally got my own pony named Ginger and she was my favorite.

My friend Brea Collier rode with me and one Christmas invited me to go with her to a Cutting Camp at Mark Mills place. I was hooked day one! We had a great week and I traded in my breeches for Wranglers.

I have learned so much over the last couple years hauling and showing many different horses. I am so thankful to the people who have graciously let me borrow horses to show. I was very blessed to get to own my dream horse Desires Rolex in December of 2020 from Lucchese and Tyler Johnson. My most memorable moments showing have to be getting to travel all over the world with the Crouch Team to all the different shows. I love going to Nebraska to the Shynia Memorial Cutting every year. World Finals and Youth Week are definitely a highlight of each year. Showing in the Watt Arena and Will Rogers are such a special opportunity!

Outside of cutting I am involved in all things FFA. I have raised goats and built Ag Mech projects including an epoxy table and a fire pit with benches. I have competed in Dairy Cow Judging, Horse Judging, Radio Broadcasting, Ag Issues and Greenhand Skills. I am very excited to have made what we call Claw Crew for next year at my high school. Claw Crew is the student hype squad and we get to run the flags across the football field after every touchdown.

Cutting is a big part of my life. I have made so many life long friends and made so many memories. I want to say a huge thank you to Casey and Chelsa Crouch for all of the miles, hard work and laughs.”

Thanks Brinley for sharing your story. Shown below is Brinley on her horse Desires Rolex. #nchaproud 

Jimmy Lewis


Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend and a Happy Mothers Day. This Monday we have Mr. Jimmy Lewis share his story. Check out what he has to say:

"My name is Jimmy Lewis. I’m 64 years old and simi retired. I have owned my own landscaping business and property maintenance business along with a retail nursery - I have live in the Grenada, MS area since I was a child.

When I was about 28-29 I met Mr. Chapel Sides from Coffeeville, MS. Chapel was big in to cutting. I started hanging around Chapel’s barn. I would help lope or whatever they needed. One thing lead to another and before you know it I had purchased a cutting horse on a payment plan lol. I was raising kids and working; it just wasn’t the right time. Cutting was something I never got out of my system so 32 years later it was time to start again. I was introduced to Andy Loague he found me a horse “ole Tommy “ me and Tommy showed hard for a solid year and had more success then I ever could image. Between Andy Loague and Casey Crouch and his team, it was an amazing year.

I guess my greatest moments are when I rode into the heard at the Houston livestock show and rodeo. For me it was an amazing day. After cutting I actually froze and just soaked it in until Casey Crouch screamed at me brought me back to earth lol.

The most memorable moments were at Ft Worth when they called me out to get my Senior Division 2000 limited rider World champion buckle and 15000 senior world division amateur top 5 buckle.

The things I enjoy doing when I’m not on a cutting is working on and driving my hotrods and classic cars.”

Thanks Mr. Jimmy for sharing your story with us! Shown below is Jimmy Lewis showing his horse Metallic Choice II. #nchaproud 

Taylor Allen


Happy Monday everyone! Today we get to hear a little bit about Taylor Allen . Check out what she has to say!

"My name is Taylor Allen. I am 13 years old and live in Philadelphia, Mississippi. I am in the 7th grade at Leake Academy. My love for horses began at a very young age. From trail riding with my dad to horse riding lessons and camps at Thaggard Farms my love and passion for horses grew.

I began showing cutting horses three years ago. Mr. Ricky Thaggard introduced me to the sport of cutting and encouraged me to join the Mississippi Junior High Rodeo Association where I showed in cutting and reined cow horse events. This is where my love for the sport of cutting began.

This sport has taught me so much. I am reminded each time I show how exciting and humbling showing horses can be. Every time I enter the show pen I learn and feel something new. The challenge, excitement, and love for this sport and my horses help me through the highs and lows.

The past two years I have learned so much from riding and showing with Entz Cutting Horses. Zeke continually challenges me mentally and physically. He encourages me to focus on the journey rather than the results. One of his first questions when I leave the show pen is what did you feel or what did you learn? This has helped me to see the importance of each gain, no matter how big or small, and to use my mistakes as a tool to learn and become a better showman. I also have to add he has the best group of amateur “students” around!

My most memorable moment of showing cutting horses is when I showed my horse Fantastic One in the Junior Youth Scholarship Cutting in Fort Worth, Texas. The opportunity to show in the Will Rogers was an amazing experience!

When I am not riding and showing cutting horses I enjoy riding and showing MC, my reined cow horse, playing tennis, playing piano, reading, art projects, and being involved in school activities such as Beta Club and Student Council."

Thanks Taylor for sharing your story! We are proud to have you as part of the Cotton Circuit. Shown below is Taylor Allen showing her horse Hebrews Eleven One.

Don't forget we have a big cutting in New Roads, LA this weekend 4/5-8. Load your horse up and head on down the bayou!


Phil Scroggs & Duane Wilson


I was not able to post yesterday so today I am giving a huge shout out to both of the dynamic duos from LA! Phil and Duane are two of the most avid weekend cutters in LA. They set goals and they achieve them! Check out what Mr. Phil Scroggs and Mr. Duane Wilson have to say. This article was written at the end of last year by Patricia Stallman.

Two National Cutting Horse Champs are Neighbors—What are the Odds?

LaSH: The Start

Phil Scroggs and Duane Wilson live five miles apart in Ethel but didn’t meet until 2006, when Scroggs bought Zachary Feed and both men joined the Louisiana Stock Horse Association. LaSH, Mr. Scroggs explains, “holds horse show competitions across the state each month.” The focus that brought the neighbors together: cutting horse competition.

“Clint Depew got us all started,” says Scroggs. “He was the LSU Cooperative Extension Service horse specialist, and he came into the store all the time. I got to know him better after participating in the Master Horseman class he taught.”

Depew was one of the original members of The Dirt Eaters, a group that included, in addition to Scroggs and Wilson, Bill Davis, Jan Parish, Roy Stewart, Ricky Bishop, and Tullos McKnight, who owns the spread, near the Scroggs place, where the group gathered every Tuesday and Thursday morning, pre-COVID, to practice cutting.

Scroggs, a 1980 animal science graduate of Northwestern Louisiana State University in Natchitoches, was born and raised in Shreveport. Wilson, an Ethel native, is a Silliman Institute graduate who grows and harvests hay.

“Everyone understands what cutting is,” Scroggs says. The rider and horse “work truly as a team to separate a cow from the herd and keep it from getting back there. The horse is pretty much performing on its own; you’re giving it cues but not using your hands or the reins.”

Wilson adds a few more details: “You’ve got one hand holding the saddle horn and the other resting on the horse’s neck. The reins are slack.”

“The horse is listening to your legs,” Scroggs continues, “not your hand; he’s paying attention to your feet and seat, moving away from pressure.

“That horse is going to stop and turn that cow, and if you don’t sit and go with him, you’re on the ground”…thus the practice group’s name, which memorializes those earlier occasions when members of The Dirt Eaters bit the dust during practice.

Scroggs’ cutting horse, Kate’s Last Play, and Wilson’s, Jo Lena Olena, are quarter horse mares. Scroggs purchased his from Theda Lee in Oklahoma as a two year old and had her trained locally by Zach Rogers of Slaughter. Wilson bought Jo Lena from Mason Griffin of Pioneer, Louisiana, a nationally known cutting horse breeder and trainer. The saddle Mr. Scroggs rides, he notes, was made locally by Ken Ray of Zachary, also nationally known in cutting horse circles.

On to NCHA

Wilson moved from LaSH competition to the National Cutting Horse Association in 2021; Scroggs, in 2011. “This year is the first,” Scroggs says, “that the NCHA instituted 13 competitive circuits across the USA.” The two compete within the Cotton Circuit, which includes riders from East Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Over the year, the neighbors amassed “the most points overall in the entire circuit” within their respective classes, Scroggs in the $15,000 Amateur class and Wilson in the $2,000 Limited Rider class.

What are the odds, they ask, considering the hundreds of competitors from all five states, that two circuit champions in two separate classes live five miles apart in a tiny unincorporated community in East Feliciana Parish?

Scroggs, who sold his Zachary feed store and retired in 2019, competed this year in 71 shows. Wilson, who retired from Exxon–Mobil June 1, competed in 66.

“We put 18,000 miles travel on vehicles, on trailers—and on horses’ legs standing in the trailers!” Mr. Scroggs says, as they worked to earn points and continue competing. Wilson spells out the enormity of the challenge: “Our furthest point west was Buffalo, Texas; our furthest east was Swainsboro, Georgia; our furthest north was Lebanon, Tennessee; our furthest south was Gonzales.”

“And,” Scruggs adds, “all points in between. At the end, we were pushing so hard to get into the top 15”—the cutoff for competing in the NCHA World Finals—“we went to eight shows in nine days in three states.”

Wilson adds emphasis: “From Louisiana to Georgia to Mississippi in nine days.”

And the friends, 68 and 59, were competing “against mostly younger people, by and large 20- to 30-year-olds,” though those vying for championships included youngsters who were 13 or 14 years old, as well as men and women in their late 50s.

But they didn’t let up. One morning, Scroggs recalls, he got a phone call from Ken Raye “letting me know the reins he’d made for me were done. When he asked, I couldn’t tell him where I was at the time. We’d been traveling so much I didn’t know which town we were in.”

The challenges continued to test their resolve. One night on the road from Lebanon, Tennessee, to Benton, Arkansas, “heading for a horse hotel en route to Buffalo, Texas, as I was driving through Memphis, a rainstorm blacked out all visibility. Duane couldn’t make this trip, as his trailer had broken down. I couldn’t see anything—I couldn’t see lane lines to know which lane I was in—I couldn’t see enough to pull off the road, yet the cars behind me, also blinded, followed me through the heart of Memphis down the middle of the interstate.”

Wilson’s trailer, he notes, had taken such a beating from overuse that “its nose cracked. He had to go buy a new trailer.”

Happier memories included stops at the “horse hotels” they found on the internet, places offering clean stables for Kate and Jo Lena while their riders slept in their trailers.

“And we’ve met people from all over the country,” Mr. Wilson says, “on the road and at competitions, families, including children, people from all over the United States who are now our friends.”

The Tally

And the result of all the practice and the pursuit of competitions? In March, Phil Scroggs won the Acadian Cutting Horse Association Weekend Amateur Championship in Sulphur, Louisiana. During the summer, in Buffalo, Texas, he won the Lone Star Cutters Amateur Weekend Series Championship.

In the NCHA, between January 1 and November 7, he won the Year-End $15,000 Amateur Overall Cotton Circuit Championship, a five-state competition.

He won the Central Mississippi Cutting Association $15,000 Year-End Amateur Championship in Forest, Mississippi, a contest that ended November 14, 2021.

As for Duane Wilson, neighbor and friend, he won the 2021 Overall Cotton Circuit Championship in the $2,000 Limit Rider class in the five-state competition.

And in the 2021 Cotton Circuit Championship Finals Show in West Monroe, he was co-champion.

In Forest, Mississippi, he won Year-End Champion in the $2,000 Limit Rider Central Mississippi Cutting Horse Association.

But for his trailer’s “bowed nose” and the hay he needed to bale, both of which caused him to miss five or six competitions, Scroggs believes Wilson would have finished within the top 15 in his class and qualified for the NCHA World Finals along with his friend. As it was, even with the missed competitions, Wilson was number 18.

The World Finals

On December 3 and 4, at the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Worth, Texas, Phil Scruggs will proudly represent The Dirt Eaters and LaSH at the NCHA World Cutting Horse Competition.

“This has consumed my year,” he says of his year in retirement.

What about next year?


But it’s “a violent sport” and an expensive one.

They look at each other. “We’ll see what our wives say.”

Still, the light of competition burns in their eyes, though a few of the original Dirt Eaters, they say, having taken one fall too many, have hung up their saddles.

A sport, however, that requires and rewards the judgement that comes with time is not easily set aside.

“We’ll see,” they say.

Shown below is Mr. Phil Scroggs to the left showing his mare Kates Last Play. To the right is Mr. Duane Wilson showing his mare Jo Lena Olena. We appreciate you both for being such great supporters of the Cotton Circuit! #nchaproud 

Jessica Trammel


Happy Monday everyone! Hope everyone had a Happy Easter with their families. This Monday we feature Mrs. Jessica Tate Trammel check out what she has to say:

"My name is Jessica Trammel, I’m from a little place in Louisiana known as Fairview, it’s not a town, just a school and a post office. Most people have never heard of it unless they follow high school basketball, which we are known for. After high school I went on to become a nurse. I’m married to Corey Trammel and we have four children. Our oldest Tanner, graduated from LSU last year, Bella plays high school basketball, softball, and shows in high school cuttings, Victoria plays several instruments in band, and Reid who I think everyone knows lol.

When Corey and I started dating, we both had horses, he had roped in high school but had gotten out of it. We both started riding and roping some, from there he started braking and starting them. One of his customers he was riding some horses for at the time, sent him a horse that had cutting training and sent it to him because it hadn’t been rode in awhile. From there our interest grew and he wanted to learn more about cutting. So I decided if he was going to learn, he might as well learn from one of the best, and called Mr. Bill Riddle and surprised Corey with a trip for him to go spend time with him. From the day he returned from Mr. Bills he was hooked!! BR and his whole family quickly became family to us, the first time I rode a “real” cutting horse was at Bill’s and I loved it! After that visit, we went on the hunt for me a horse that I could show. We bought a mare and I showed in LASH for about a year and then started slowly showing at NCHA weekend shows.

I have some many memorable moments from cutting, but the most memorable was when I made it to the World Finals in 2019. I’ll never forget what it felt like to walk the red carpet with my little boy by my side, when I walked down that tunnel for the first time, and to have my husband in my corner and all of our friends cheering while I was living a dream. That was a long year of ups and downs, but to finally make it there and finish top 10 was such a feeling of accomplishment.

Not only am I a trainers wife, but I also have a full time job as nurse/ community liaison. So when I’m not on a horse or at work, you will find me at a ballgame cheering for my babies or all of us on the water fishing.

I would also like to say a big thank you to all of my help in and out of the pen over the years! I’ve truly had some of the best! Not only do they help with picking cows, getting me out, and turning me around. They also are great at making me laugh when I’m nervous and always reminding me to breath lol!! These guys will sit on a horse all day and help anyone that ask. They go above and beyond run after run!! So I just want to say thank you for all of the help, none of us could do this sport that we love without you!"

Thanks Jessica for sharing your story! We appreciate you, Corey, and all of the Diamond CT cutting horse crew to be a part of the Cotton circuit! #nchaproud 

Logan LaBauve


Happy Monday everyone! This Monday we are hearing from Mr. Logan LaBauve. Check out what he has to say:

"My name is Logan LaBauve.

I am 29 years old and married to Alysa LaBauve and together we have a 2 year old daughter named Teagan. I'm from the small town of Hackberry, LA and currently reside in Sulphur, LA.

I have been surrounded in the rodeo industry my entire life. I started out team roping although my dad has been in cutting his whole life. He told me one day, "Son, if you ride a good enough horse, you don't need a rope". After that comment is pretty much when I started riding and showing cutting horses along with pursuing team roping as well.

I have now been showing cutting horses for about the past 3 years. My most memorable moment showing would have to be this past Eastern Nationals. This event was my first "big show" and I ended up making it to the finals and placing in the Top 10. It's definitely a trip I'll never forget.

What I truly enjoy outside of competing is spending time with my family along with breeding and raising cutting/performance horse prospects. I spend a lot of time researching equine pedigrees to make sure by broodmares are matched up to the perfect stallion to give myself and the public a chance to own the next super star!"

Thanks for sharing your story Logan and we are proud to have to as part of the Cotton circuit! Shown below is Logan LaBauve showing Nova SS. #nchaproud 

Alan Smith


Happy Monday everyone! This week we have Mr. Alan Smith from Altoona, AL. He is a prime example of how cutting is for everyone! It’s a sport he picked up later on in life!

"My name is Alan Smith. I am 65 years old and I started cutting at 61.

I was introduced to the sport when I started hanging out at Joey King's barn. I finally got the nerve to try it and I have been hooked ever since!

I guess the most memorable moment was the first time I finished a run!

The sport of cutting is very challenging! You are riding an animal and cutting an animal! The cows don't care who you are!

The enjoyment of trying to get better and meeting great people along the way keeps the sport interesting!

I also would like to give a big shoutout to my trainer TC Scheer for all of the help."

Thanks Alan for sharing! Shown below is Mr. Alan Smith showing his horse CR Dual Hearted Cat. 

Caylee Anne Shepard


Happy Monday everyone! Today we have the one and only Caylee Anne Shepard share her story with us! Check out what she has to say:

"My name is Caylee Shepard. I am 16 years old and from south Alabama. I have been in the industry my whole life and I have been showing since I was eight years old.

My most memorable show would have to be the Southern Futurity last year when I won the 4 year old non pro and the 4 year old limited non pro on Flawless. I enjoy cutting because it is something my whole family does and we get to do it together.

Cutting is very rewarding, different, and competitive which I like! I spend the majority of my time riding but when I am not doing that, I enjoy photography."

Thanks Caylee for sharing your story. We are proud to have you and the whole Circle S crew as part of the Cotton Circuit! Pictured below is a shot I took a while back that has circulated the internet countless times. It still stands as one of the coolest pictures I have captured and it could never be duplicated ... Caylee Shepard on Sir Long Legs at the 2021 Peach State Futurity laying down a heck of a run in the youth! #nchaproud 

Todd Quirk


Howdy folks! I hope everyone had a great weekend! This Monday we have a good buddy of mine, Mr. Todd Quirk, tell us a little bit about himself. Check out what Todd has to say:

"My name is Todd Quirk. I was born and raised in Denham Springs. Attended LSU. Married Elizabeth in 2012 and one boy named Rhett born in 2017, and a new baby on the way!

I started riding in 1997 with Bill Dixon. Had a family member that had some team penning horses and rode a lot. Started watching and got interested through him.

My most memorable moments would be showing with my dad over the years... it's something that he and I enjoy doing together and that’s very special to me. Also, I give this sport credit for how I met my wife. Showing with her and getting to know her in our early 20's was fun.... winning the Super Stakes this year was pretty memorable as well!!!!

There is a lot about this sport that I love. I would say the competitiveness is one of the main things. I grew up always playing sports, basketball, baseball, etc... so after high school it gave me something to continue to do to keep that competitive nature inside going. Also, the love for the horse that I developed over the years is something that is hard to explain to people that don't have it.

Outside of showing I enjoy all of the details behind the scenes that go into the industry. I've really enjoyed the breeding side of it; raising babies and managing the operation is a lot but we love it. Outside of the horses I would say we don't really do much other than spend time with our families. That's one great thing about cutting is we can something we both love while spending time with each other and our families. Over the years we have traveled to some great places and met a lot of people through the NCHA that we wouldn't have ever met otherwise."

Thanks for sharing your story Todd. We are proud to have you a part of the Cotton Circuit. Shown below is Todd Quirk showing Metallic N Reyz. #nchaproud 

Makenzie Moore


Happy Monday! Today we are sharing the story of Makenzie Moore. Some of you may know her as Makenzie, Possum, or even Makennenie Mooraye! Check out what she has to say:

"Hey my name is Makenzie Moore and I am from Walnut Grove, MS. I am a biology major at Copiah Lincoln Community College and have one “child” — my dog Trixie. Shortly after I began cutting, I realized it was time for me to hang up the barrel reins because I fell in love with the sport of cutting. My debut in the cutting pen was November 10, 2018 on a horse named Luke 311, and it was rough to say the least. This horse, BA as we called him, was definitely handmade for me. He was so honest, and he made me a better rider. He also taught me many things about myself. Unfortunately, BA was put to rest due to illness, and I was devastated. I tried many horses after him and finally found my girl Checks Please aka Linda Jane. Linda and I have left our mark not only at the 2021 NCHA World Finals, but also at the AQHYA Youth World Show, National High School Rodeo and many places in between. I do have to thank Uncle Bill Pierce for always having my horse tuned up and being in my corner. This amazing sport has brought me so many opportunities and friendships that I never knew imaginable.

My favorite memory is last year after breaking my ankle at a trampoline park — I know great story— I showed for 6 months with a boot split down the back, a brace on my foot, and an amazing horse that listened to what little pressure I could use with that foot for a while.

Outside the cutting pen I enjoy traveling, hanging out with friends, cooking, and binge watching all my favorite shows."

Thanks Makenzie for sharing your story with us! We are proud to have you as part of the Cotton Circuit! Pictured below is Makenzie Moore showing her Horse Checks Please, aka Linda Jane. #nchaproud 

Brandon D'Albor


Howdy folks! This Monday is going to be a little different. I know most of you know me but I figured because this page has gotten to be larger than I would have expected I should introduce myself.

Hi my name is Brandon D'Albor. I grew up in a small town; Plaquemine, Louisiana. I graduated from LSU with a Mechanical Engineering degree and have been blessed to work for Westlake in Plaquemine for almost the past 9 years. I never played school sports but I was in the drum core and also started team penning in high school. My parents did not have horses and they don't necessarily like them but they let me have one. My first horse was a little paint horse named t-bone. He was about 13.3 hands. He didn't know how to stop or turn but if you wanted to race in the cane fields I would definitely give you a run for your money haha!

During high school I starting to get bored with team penning I wanted to become a better rider. I was in search for someone who would be willing to take me under their wing and teach me all they knew. I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Bob Lorio. He quickly became more than a mentor; he became a best friend, and a grandpa figure. Bob was instrumental to the cutting horse industry in Louisiana in the 60's and 70's and opened a new door of horses for me: cutting. Bob passed in 2017 at 89 years old. We didn't go to many shows while he was alive because it got difficult for him to be away from home for periods of time. However, I did win my first $50 check with him as my herd help! After his passing is when I really started showing a bunch and hauling with Angela Duncan cutting horses. Since then I have hit the ground running and the cutting bug has not stopped since.

I've been blessed to have some success at the Southern Futurity and the Peach State Futurity but my most memorable moment showing was at a weekend show. I showed late in the afternoon and everyone was rowdy and having a good time. When I walked to the herd everyone started chanting "Lets Go Brandon!" (about this time is when the joke just came about). Everyone was chanting so loud, even the secretary, and probably the judge, that they forgot to start the clock well after I got in the herd. They let me start my run again and it seemed like the second time everyone was chanting even louder and I ended up marking a 75. It was definitely a highlight and a reminder of what this sport is all about. It was just one of those runs that were tons of fun and you can hear all of your friends cheering for you.

I love this sport for two reasons: the people and the horses. I can't explain the feeling of showing a good cutting horse. If you have never experienced it, you should try it and you'll immediately be hooked. I have met so many great people in cutting and have met many great lifelong friends. If you know me, I never meet a stranger and you'll probably hear me before you see me. I'm usually in my pajama pants at the cutting until it is time to show with my Cajun Reebok's lol!

Outside of cutting, we have a hunting ranch "The Ranch" in Grosse Tete, LA where we spend most of our time hunting and raising crawfish.

Pictured here is myself and Paisley. Paisley is now enjoying retirement being a broodmare until my nephew is old enough to kick some butt in the youth! 

Amy Anderson


Happy Monday everyone! We have the infamous Amy Anderson share her story with us today. Check out what she has to say:

"Hi. My name is Amy Anderson and I live in Okolona, Mississippi. I’m a retired vocational school director and truly love being around children. I grew up in Arcadia, Florida, in a farming, ranching, and rodeo family and community. I rode cutting horses in high school rodeo but went on to Auburn University and met my husband who attended Mississippi State at an intercollegiate rodeo. We raised cattle, farmed and I had 3 wonderful children and rodeoed on weekends. My husband passed away in 2001. After a horse accident several years ago my dad sent me a cutting horse in hopes that I’d give up barrel racing. It worked and I truly love cutting.

My favorite thing about any equine sport is observing and watching the growth and confidence that a good horse gives to a child. It’s absolutely transformational to see a little girl or boy who doesn’t really fit in fall in love with a good horse and then progress into an accomplished rider who’s found a sense of place.

My most memorable cutting moment was when I marked a 76 to win a saddle shootout at Arena One in Batesville riding Pepto Rio Grande. He was my “perfect” fit horse and he gave me his best. Riding with Zeke Entz has made me a more accountable rider and he’s always pushing me to be better and to learn more. I’m so fortunate to own Jett Fuel and when we get it all together every now and then it’s a great big rush!

I love competition and winning but I am most thankful for the fellowship and friends that I have found in the cutting horse world.

Spending time with my precious grandsons and my family is the best part of my world. I love to travel, hunt, water ski, and snow ski. I enjoy the islands off the coast of Florida and my heart is at peace when I’m in the Florida woods."

Thank you Mrs. Amy for sharing your story with us! We are proud to have you as part of the cotton circuit! Shown below is Amy Welles Anderson showing her horse, Jett Fuel. #nchaproud 

Trey Bullinger


For this Mondays post we have my good friend Mr. Trey Bullinger! Check out what Trey has to say:

"My name is Trey Bullinger and I am from Kentwood, LA. I am married to Anna and we have two son's George Taylor and Lawson. I am a Regional Sales Manager for PacTec, Inc. based out of Clinton, LA. I am a cancer survivor by the grace of God! Diagnosed in October of 2017 with colon cancer. I have undergone radiation, 2 rounds of chemo and numerous surgeries over the last four years with the last surgery Nov 12, 2021. I am so thankful to be where I am today and hope to use my experience to help others.

I was 12 years old when my Uncle Wayne Bunch put me on his gelding to work a cow and I have been hooked ever since. We would gather with Bub McNeal, Walt Giffin, Glenn Booty, Ross Maggio and others twice a week to work horses. This was when I knew cutting was something I wanted to do, but I never really got to show because of sports. I played College Baseball at ULL, played in the 2000 College World Series and went on to play minor league ball with the Kansas City Royals organization. After baseball, I went straight back to riding horses. Although I didn't have a trained cutter at the time, I tried to make one out of everything I rode.

My most memorable moment is being Reserve Limited Amateur Champion at the 2021 Super Stakes. It was the first time I had ever shown in Will Rogers and it was on a horse that I trained.

I love this sport because of the challenges it forces you to overcome and I simply love to compete. I enjoy starting my own horses and training them from start to finish. I do have some help though... Zach Rodgers and Bill and Jessica Peirce keep me out of the ditch. Some of my best friends today I have met through cutting and I just enjoy how everyone pulls for one another.

Outside of cutting I enjoy being with my family. I coach both of my son's in travel baseball and that's pretty much a full time job in itself. We enjoy hunting, fishing, and lots of family gatherings."

Thank you Trey for sharing your story with us. We are proud to have you as part of the NCHA Cotton Circuit. Shown below is Trey Bullinger on his horse Blazer Lena Rey. #nchaproud 

Heather Todd


Happy Monday everyone! This week we get to hear from Mrs. Heather Todd. This is what she has to say:

"I’m Heather Todd. Wife of James Todd & mom to Riley. I am a semi-retired Professional photographer now I guess. Lol! I specialized in weddings from 2010 to 2020, but also did Families, babies, & real estate photography work, as well manage our vacation home rental properties! I still do some photography work on the side but haven’t picked it back up full time.

I rode my first cutting horse in 2005 when I met my husband James. I showed a few times but then we took about 10 years away from horses completely and focused on our businesses. James threw me a curve ball and surprised me with a show horse 3 years ago and now here we are. Neither of us had even ridden in since 2008 & I was pretty sure he had lost his mind…now I’m positive that we both have. I made the world finals in 2019 in the 2000 and the 15 Am, and James made the NonPro finals. His horse got hurt at the end of the year so we were having to share the mare I had been showing. Casey Crouch thought that was too many runs for that one horse and he graciously offered his mare, GS Zans Cat, for me to show in the 2000. I had never even worked a cow on her and we won the first go round, almost a year to the day that James had surprised me with the horse I mentioned earlier. It was pretty special. When he took me to that stall in the Watt arena, I would have never dreamed I would be walking past it headed into the world finals maybe ever, but certainly not the very next year.

I love everything about this sport. The horses, they are fantastic. They give us SO much, just because they want to. The people, I feel like I have family all across the country now. I have made so many wonderful relationships with people I would have never met if it wasn’t for this.

Cutting really teaches you to stay constant I think. The highs and lows come regularly and if you can’t balance your emotions and let your last bad run go, it’s going to be hard. There’s always another chance. So enjoy the good ones, learn from the bad ones and remember that most importantly, it’s supposed to be fun.

I read all the time. It’s probably my favorite hobby, which is good because it’s easy to do while hauling! I enjoy being home which doesn’t happen super often anymore, lol! But

Our whole family loves theme parks, rides and rollercoasters. So we try to get away and do that as a family when we get a chance."

Thank you so much Heather for sharing your story with us. We are happy to have you a part of the Cotton Circuit. Pictured below is Heather Todd showing Smokin Red Hott owned by Heather and James Todd. #nchaproud 

Stephen Dottolo


For this Monday's post, we have Mr. Stephen Dottolo. He has been around the industry his whole life.

This is what he has to say, "Hello, my name is Stephen Dottolo. I am a third generation cutter that has been blessed with being introduced at a young age. I am married to an awesome woman, Melissa, and we have an incredible 19 year old son. I was raised around cutting horses, or what we thought were cutting horses, since I could remember. I started showing at 12 years old and stopped showing when I started High School Football due to the time commitment required by both sports. My dad said I had to choose and football won out at the time. After seven injuries I guess I should have chosen cutting! Life happened and I was able to get back into the sport about 10 years ago. I have enjoyed every second of it. Its good to be back in the saddle! My family and I like to saltwater fish and travel in-between taking care of our small farm.

I can’t thank my Dad (Sonny) enough for introducing me to the sport of cutting. The work, the success and the struggle that the sport has given me. Cutting is life in a nutshell. Without the guidance of my Mom and Dad, and the lessons taught through this sport I would not be where I am today. My Dad has always been there for me, coaching me through every aspect of the sport. To this day, we still review every run I make even if its through Facetime on shows he is unable to attend.

Anyone that has been in the industry knows about or knew my Grandfather, Mr. Pete, or “Pa”, as we called him. Some of my fondest memories include my dad, grandfather and myself. One memory in particular was when we were headed to Jackson for a cutting with a four door long wheel base truck and a 2 horse inline trailer that seems to be 100 foot long, with me driving. The problem was that I was 13 years old and my mother was screaming as we left “They are going to put you under the jail!” to my Pa as he sat in in the passenger seat making a Crown and Coke. That was Pa and I miss him.

Anyone reading this that is not familiar with cutting, get on a horse and ride. I have never seen anyone get off of a cutting horse for the first time and not smile. I can’t fully sum up what I love about the sport in one paragraph, but I will try. Cutting horses is about the PEOPLE. This sport consistently gathers some of the finest people I know. Backgrounds, politics, social status, wealth do not matter when you ride to the herd. I often tell my Dad cutting is the great equalizer, you can buy a million dollar horse, but that horse can’t cut cattle by himself, or turn back or coach you through a run. Cutting is truly a team sport. The thrill of cutting is just that, a huge thrill, an adrenaline rush like none other. When you are “hooked” on a good cow and you are in tune with your horse the feeling is magical, which, by the way for most amateurs this does not happen often so you cherish the moment. The time, effort, work and money that go into a 2:30 run makes most people call us crazy. For the few that are fortunate to experience it, we call ourselves blessed!"

Stephen, thank you for sharing your story with us and we are proud to have you a part of the Cotton Circuit family! Pictured below is Stephen showing his dads horse, Smart As Lucy.

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Cori O'Brien


This week we would like to introduce Mrs. Cori O'Brien! Here is what she has to say:

"My name is Cori O'Brien. I am married to a very supportive husband - we do not have any children - just fur babies. I love my job as a physical therapy assistant where I work with mostly geriatric patients who keeps things interesting at all times! I have ridden horses all my life but did not start showing until I was 20 years old. My dad, Bill Dixon, was a horse trainer so I have been around the industry most of my life. My most memorable time showing was the very first time I ever showed. My dad was in my corner and would say "ok next time" and I would just quit. So needless to say, I marked a 62 with 3 hot quits! We had a very long discussion after the run on hot quits and nerves! It still happens sometimes though. I love going to a show and just being with my show family. We are all so different but come together over the love of the horse. I love the feeling of a horse moving and thinking on its own and when you truly "gel" with the horse. There is nothing like that feeling! In our down time, we have a camp in Mississippi that we love going to in the summer. We love to fish and play on the water. I also really enjoy just hanging out with my family - my nieces and nephews can entertain me for hours!!"

Thank Cori for sharing your story with us! Pictured below are Cori and her favorite gelding, Woody Be Catty; aka "Carl". 

Ryan Smith


This Monday features a great friend of mine, Mr. Ryan Smith! This is what Ryan had to say:

"My name is Ryan Smith, I was born and raised in Royse City, TX. Currently, I live in Lavon with my wife Samantha and three kids; two girls that are two, Rynlee, and four, Rylan, and also a son, Raiden, that is 11. I still spend a lot of time in Royse City working for my family's construction company. I grew up in the cutting horse business; my dad, uncle, and great grandfather brought me into it. I started showing at 7 years old and won my first saddle at 8 lol! I took a hiatus from cutting when I was a junior in high school to focus on sports and then came back to the sport when I was 25 and never slowed back down. I’ve been blessed with a lot of memorable memories in the show pen but probably my favorite two would be when I won the NCHA Derby in 2000 and when I won reserve in the Intermediate Amateur Derby last year on Hawk Falcon. He’s probably my favorite horse that I've ever shown till this point! I love this sport, first off for the love of these incredible horses and how smart they are. Secondly because it’s very challenging both mentally and physically because it’s on you. Cutting a team sport but mostly it’s on the rider; the horse usually always does their job as long as the rider puts them in the right spots and doesn’t mess up. Cutting is a lot like golf, you can’t blame anyone but yourself! When my family and I are not cutting, we like to play a lot of golf and travel to different places to see different courses. I still play a little bit of football and slow pitch softball tournaments when we are actually home. We also enjoy just hanging at home and relaxing, but that doesn’t happen too often."

Thanks Ryan for sharing a little bit about yourself. We are proud to have you a part of the Cotton Circuit. Pictured below is Ryan showing his horse Hawk Falcon. #nchaproud

Mrs. Betty Godwin


For our first Monday debut, we have Mrs. Betty Godwin and EE Playing for Ichi. Mrs. Betty is in a class of her own and if you know her, you know the cutting is never over until she walks to the herd!

From Mrs. Betty: "My life has evolved around music and horses. I began playing piano for church when I was 12. I grew up in a big family and my mother got gaited horses for us to hopefully keep us out of trouble. It sorta worked. I ended up being a band director for 30 years and playing bassoon professionally in the Mobile and Pensacola Symphony for 25 years. When I retired it was time to get back to my other love. Ronald had roping horses that we were trail riding. We had a friend who leased his barn to a guy that brought in cutting horses. They let me ride one and we were hooked. Riding in the World Finals in the Watt Arena and buying Rumorhasit in the Western Bloodstock auction were two highlights for sure. Ronald and I love horses. There is a connection that I can’t explain. And I’d much rather sweep my barn than my kitchen. I thrive on competition. It’s in my DNA. And I simply love being outside. I still love playing my piano and I play bassoon and sax at church and in some local groups. But nothing beats spending time with our grandchildren. God has blessed us way more than we deserve."

Thank you for sharing Mrs. Betty! #nchaproud