Phil Rapp, already cutting’s all-time earnings leader, surpassed the $6 million mark on Friday, September 5, in Sweetwater, Texas. It was one day before Rapp’s 39th birthday and he vividly recalled the time he made his first deposit into his NCHA account.

“I won my first two checks in Santa Rosa (California) in one day, in December 1982, when I was 13,” he said. “One was $79 and the other was $125; one was in the youth and the other in the $5,000 non-pro.”

“I came home and showed them to my dad and he was so proud. Then I went to fold them up and put them in my pocket and he said, ‘What are you doing, son?’

“I told him that I wasn’t going to spend it all in one place and he said, ‘You’re not going to spend it at all. Do you know how much it’s cost for you to win that much?’

“That was a lesson learned pretty early.”

Rapp went over the $6 million hump riding 4-year-old Awesome Autumn, by Smart Little Lena out of Autumn Boon, a mare that he and his wife, Mary Ann, own in partnership with Louis and Corliss Baldwin and Tommy and Chris Manion. Rapp had taken Awesome Autumn and another mare to a weekend cutting in Sweetwater, TX, in preparation for the Music City Futurity, which begins on September 13 in Nashville.

“It was kind of killing two birds with one stone,” said Rapp. “I wanted to get that six million dollars and I needed to get those two mares shown. But Vegas (his 2008 win worth $300,000 on Redneck Yachtclub in the Millionheir Derby) helped me quite a bit.)

“There were a lot of people over the years that helped me achieve this,” he added.

After his win on Friday, Rapp and Mary Ann, who is ranked second among non-pro money earners with $2.4 million, were headed for Colorado Springs, to attend the wedding of non-pro cutting competitors Megan Merrill and Matt Miller.