John Mitchell on Junie Wood. Alan Gold photo.

The news about Junie Wood, 2014 NCHA Horse of the Year and one of NCHA’s Top 20 all-time leading money earners, with $525,774, was shared Friday on facebook by her owner, Slate River Ranch. “It was with heavy hearts yesterday that we had to lay our mare Junie Wood to rest. She was diagnosed with kidney disease a few weeks back and unfortunately we had to make this tough decision.”

Bred by Craig Crumpler, Wichita Falls, Tex., and sired by Nitas Wood, Junie Wood was a full sister to Woody Be Tuff LTE $351,063, sire of NCHA and NRCHA earners of $6 million, and also bred by Craig Crumpler. Josh Crumpler, Craig’s son, trained Junie Wood, who they called Lucy, and Craig showed her as the 2013 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro champion.

“My dad is a Doc Quixote man from way back,” said Crumpler of his father, Paul Crumpler, who won the 1973 NCHA Non-Pro Futurity on Doc Quixote, sire of the earners of $9.5 million, and maternal grandsire of both Junie Wood’s sire and dam. Tuffs Junie, Junie Wood’s dam, is the producer of 12 NCHA earners of more than $1.2 million.

“I named her Junie Wood because her mom is Tuffs Junie, and I thought I owed it to her to put that (Junie) in her name,” said Crumpler, who sold Junie Wood to Slate River Ranch, at the 2013 NCHA Futurity.

Under John Mitchell for Slate River Ranch, Junie Wood never missed a beat, with a 229-point win in the 2014 NCHA Super Stakes, and eight more major wins, plus a reserve championship in the 2014 NCHA Derby, during her limited age event career. In addition, she also carried Slate River Ranch owner and non-pro contestant Glade Knight, as a money earner in major Non-Pro and Non-Pro Senior divisions, as well as John Mitchell’s daughter, Jade, as winner of the 2017 NCHA Junior Youth World Finals.

“The horsemen that I respect know what it means to win so many in a row,” said John Mitchell, after Junie Wood’s 2015 NCHA Super Stakes Classic championship win, which was preceded by wins in the 2014 NCHA Super Stakes; the 2014 Southern Futurity; the 2014 Brazos Bash; the 2015 Abilene Spectacular; the 2015 Bonanza; and the 2015 Cattlemen’s Derby. “It’s not that you’re just ripping and tearing because you have a good horse, but you are grateful to have had some good trips.

“You have to be lucky to win, but when she has a shot, she still pulls it off. She’s a special horse.”

At the time of her death, Junie Wood had one NCHA money earner, 4-year-old Ethell LTE $12,511, by Metallic Cat, bred and owned by Slate River and shown by John Mitchell. In addition, she has six other registered foals, two each from 2017, 2018, and 2019.