It was a bittersweet moment for Gary Gonsalves on Saturday, August 1, when he scored a 227-point decisive win in the NCHA Derby on Reyzin The Cash, owned by Iron Rose Ranch, Carbondale, Colo. Although he had come tantalizingly close before, the win was Gonsalves’ first in a Triple Crown event in Fort Worth and one he wished he could have shared with his father, Bob Gonsalves, a former reined cowhorse trainer.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks,” said Gonsalves. “It means a lot for me to win one for him. I wish he was here to see it.”
Gonsalves’ run on Reyzin The Cash, which came fourth in the second set of the Open Finals, was an all grit and ‘who needs the dazzle’ performance, which has earned him a following in the eight months that he has been in competition. His barn name, by no coincidence, is Elvis.
CR Tuff Lucy, shown by Tarin Rice for Center Ranch, Centerville, Tex., scored 223 points for the reserve championship; Button Down Dual, shown by Wesley Galyean for SMF Cutting Horses, scored 222 points to place third.
Reyzin The Cash and Button Down Supercat are sired by Dual Rey; CR Tuff Lucy is by Woody Be Tuff.
“There were horses I could have won on here, but it’s a hard pen to win in and everything has to be lined up just right,” said Gonsalves, who placed fourth in the 2000 NCHA Futurity aboard Spookys Cash, the dam of Reyzin The Cash, and was reserve champion in the 2002 NCHA Futurity riding Spookys Smarty Pants, a half-sister to Spookys Cash. In 2007, he placed third and earned his largest purse in the NCHA Futurity showing Rey Down Sally, sired by Dual Rey and out of Solano Sally.
“When I saw him as a yearling, out of the twelve years that I have been involved with Iron Rose Ranch, he’s the first one that I said had a chance of being a stud, just by looking at him and never putting a saddle on him,” said Gonsalves of Reyzin The Cash. “He’s a pretty cool character and I think he’s that good that people want to see him do good.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever ride another one like him, but I am glad that I am fortunate to be able to ride him.”
Coming into the NCHA Summer Spectacular, Reyzin The Cash and Gonsalves won the Pacific Coast Derby, as well as the NCHA Super Stakes Open Novice division. Reyzin The Cash now has earnings of more than $116,000.
Historic NCHA Derby win for Cade Shepard
At the tender age of 13, Cade Shepard, Summerdale, Ala., has up-ended NCHA Triple Crown history. This past April, riding Twistful Thinking in the NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Finals, he became the youngest rider in history to win an NCHA Triple Crown event, as well as the youngest champion in the 35-year history of the Super Stakes.
On Saturday, August 1, with a 222-point win in the NCHA Derby Non-Pro Finals aboard Twistful Thinking, by One Time Pepto, Cade became the youngest rider to ever win the event. The previous record was held by Kelle Earnheart, winner, at 15, of the 2000 NCHA Non-Pro Derby on Justa Swinging Jane.
Earnheart was also a finalist on Saturday with 217.5 points on Kitty Can Dual. It was Michelle Anderson, however, who claimed the reserve championship with 218 points on Pink Catalac, by One Time Pepto; while Earnheart placed third with 217.5 points.
“I was a little bit more nervous tonight than I was at the Super Stakes because I like being late (in the set) so I can see what everybody else does.” said Cade, who drew second to ride in the first set of the 22-horse finals. “But it was good to go early today because the cows got worse as it went.”
On Friday, July 31, Cade had first-hand experience with cows going from bad to worse in the NCHA Derby Non-Pro Limited Finals, where he drew last to show and fell victim to two merciless brutes. Nevertheless, the NCHA Summer Spectacular has lived up to its name for Cade, who was reserve champion of the Classic Challenge Non-Pro Finals, as well as a finalist in the Non-Pro Limited, aboard Some Kinda Highbrow.
In the first seven months of this year, Cade has earned more than $100,000, including an estimated $38,000 during the NCHA Summer Spectacular, although he is not counting. “I’d like to do good at the Futurity,” he said, referring to his next goal.
Austin Shepard, Cade’s father and an NCHA Hall of Fame Rider, has earned more than $5 million and ranks among cutting’s all-time leading riders. Cade’s grandfather, Sam Shepard, also a member of the NCHA Riders Hall of Fame, trained Twistful Thinking, and Cade showed her as co-reserve champion of the 2014 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Ltd.
“She’s been one of the best horses I’ve ever ridden, for sure,” said Cade. “She’s a little hard to cut on, but I like how fast she is. She’s really quick and she can stop as hard as she is quick.”
Twistful Thinking, whose dam, Some Kinda Twister, Cade showed at nine, as a junior youth finalist in the NCHA Eastern National Championships, is the earner of $96,000.