The first rounds of the $25,000 Novice, $35,000 Non-Pro, $5,000 Novice Non-Pro and $2,000 Limited Rider were held in the 7 Ranch NCHA World Finals in Fort Worth’s Watt Arena on Wednesday, December 2.

Smart Sugar Kitty, ridden by Wes Ashlock. Seth Petit photo.

Wes Ashlock scored 224 on Smart Sugar Kitty to win the $25,000 Novice go-round over Betchalou, ridden by Morgan Cromer at 222, and Chrome Catillac ridden by Cody Lamont at 219.

Smart Sugar Kitty, bred by Rusty Simpson and owned by Buck Creek Quarter Horses of Nemo, Tex., is a 5-year-old mare by Kit Kat Sugar out of NCHA Futurity champion Dual Smart Kitty.

Smart Sugar Kitty won last year’s Abilene Spectacular with Ashlock and Amateur titles at Abilene this year with Sadye Simpson. She came into the World Finals ranked #12, with $25,000 Novice earnings of $12,044.

Chaser Crouch on GS Zans Cat. Seth Petit photo.

In the $35,000 Non-Pro, Chaser Crouch won the round with a 224 on GS Zans Cat, over World Champion Virginia Kilduff with a 219 on Kisses On My Bottom, and Parker Johnson with a 217.5 on LHR Smooth James Rey.

GS Zans Cat is a 13-year-old mare bred by Gordon Sevig and owned by Crouch, of Corsicana, Tex. She is by Smooth As A Cat out of Zans Red Gold and has earned more than $197,000. She is a former Top 10 Open horse, and has made no fewer than 20 appearances in NCHA National Championship finals.

Chaser Crouch won the Senior Youth championship on GS Zans Cat at the NCHA Western Nationals in 2018, and he has career earnings of more than $46,000.

Crispy Kreme, ridden by Dawn Chapman. Seth Petit photo.

Crispy Kreme, ridden by Dawn Chapman of Chandler, Ariz., scored 221 to lead the $5,000 Novice Non-Pro go-round. Rival A Traction, ridden by Ehrin Dawson placed second with a 220.5 and Nite Prowler, ridden by Colleen Johnson, was third.

Crispy Kreme is a 7-year-old gelding bred by D & D Quarter Horses by Metallic Cat out of My Other Toys A Car. He has earned more than $155,000, mostly in Non-Pro and Amateur competition, and is positioned to be Reserve World Champion behind Rey My Belle following Thursday’s finals.

Dawn Chapman has finished in the Top 10 in Novice Non-Pro classes three times in the past six years.

Joseph Boyd on Bless Chu Mate. Seth Petit photo.

Joseph Boyd of Scottsdale, Ariz., showed why he will be the 2020 NCHA World Champion in the $2,000 Limited Rider division when he marked 225 on Bless Chu Mate to win the first round.

Boyd came into the World Finals with a nearly insurmountable lead at $11,824, and Wednesday’s win pushed him over the top.

Bless Chu Mate is a 13-year-old mare bred by Anderson Cattle Co. and owned by Gerald Dorros. She is by Smart Mate out of HB Dear Chula, and has earned over $87,000.

Boyd and Bless Chu Mate won the NCHA Western National Championships in the $2,000 Rider class in 2019.

Cassie Finley was second with a 221.5 on Catamus Maximus, while Allison Welling followed with 219.5 on Metallic Alex.