The 2021 Bonanza  Cutting in Abilene, Texas began as scheduled on Wednesday, February 10, with the Open 5/6 Classic go-round. But following the Open 5/6 Classic finals on February 11, the remaining eight days of the show were cancelled due to an icy winter storm forecast through the weekend and into the next week.

Despite the icy forecast, action sizzled on Thursday inside Taylor Telecom Arena, where 5-year-old Countin Hot Checks LTE $108,716, shown by Jaime Snider, topped an impressive field of 19 finalists, with a score of 223 points, worth a payout of $15,066. Ms Baby Cakes, shown by Lloyd Cox, earned the reserve championship, and $12,053, with 220.5 points, while Stylish Hailee and James Payne placed third with 220 to earn $10,546.

Owned and bred by Jamie Hill, Bastrop, Tex., 5-year-old Countin Hot Checks LTE $108,716, by Hottish, is the first money earner out of Cat Countin Checks LTE $168,987, who was shown in open and non-pro limited age competition by Matt Gaines and Jamie Hill.

Countin Hot Checks won his single biggest payout as a third-place finalist in the 2020 Arbuckle Mountain Open Derby under Snider, who first showed the colt as an Open semi-finalist in the 2019 NCHA Futurity. Countin Hot Checks and Snider earned substantial payouts for wins in the 2020 Brazos Bash and the 2020 West Texas Futurity Int.

Snider, the NCHA earner of $1,076,408, won the 2012 Bonanza Classic riding Sly Playgirl LTE $332,135, who he also showed to win the 2012 Breeders Invitational Classic.

Jamie Hill showed Cat Countin Checks, by Im Countin Checks, as a multiple non-pro  limited age event finalist, including as winner of the 2013 and 2014 Non-Pro Limited Abilene Spectacular and NCHA Super Stakes, respectively.

Six-year-old Ms Baby Cakes LTE $197,871, by Metallic Cat, began her career as an NCHA Futurity finalist under Lloyd Cox. Her wins include the 2019 West Texas 4-Year-Old Open and 2019 Cotton Stakes Open, as well as the 2019 PCCHA Amateur Unlimited with her breeder Gary Barker. Currently owned by Lloyd and Christina Cox, Ms Baby Cakes, out of Special Nu Baby LTE $481,197, is a three-quarter sister to Smooth Nu Cat LTE $193,816, and one of nine money earners of $604,342 produced by Special Nu Baby, by Dual Rey.

Lloyd Cox, the all-time leading NCHA Hall of Fame money earner of over $9.7 million, tied as co-champion of the 2017 Bonanza Open riding Copperish LTE $281,887 and Nothing Elz Matters LTE $106,513. He also tied for the win of the 2014 Bonanza Classic on Creedence Clearwater LTE $129,762, and won 1997 Bonanza Classic on Louella Again LTE $$77,853.

Six-year-old Stylish Hailee LTE $147,430, by Halreycious, owned by Kathleen Moore, Madill, Okla., has been a finalist with James Payne in 11 major events, including three 2018 wins at three, in the West Texas Futurity, the Southern Futurity, and the Cotton Stakes. She was also an NCHA Super Stakes and NCHA Derby finalist in 2019.

James Payne is the NCHA Hall of Fame earner of over $3.7 million.