Ta­tum Rice’s Hash­tags is now an NCHA #world­cham­pion

Star-Telegram (Sunday) - - Scoreboard - BY BRETT HOFF­MAN

Hash­tags, a blue roan col­ored stal­lion, be­came a big hit last year on the Na­tional Cut­ting Horse As­so­ci­a­tion’s aged event cir­cuit, which fea­tures horses ages three through six.

Hash­tags grabbed at­ten­tion when he and rider Ta­tum Rice of Weather­ford won the NCHA Su­per Stakes open di­vi­sion ti­tle in April 2017 and other aged events last year. When horses are on the aged event cir­cuit, they might com­pete only once a month and make three or four runs dur­ing a show.

But this year, Hash­tags has won big on an­other im­por­tant NCHA cir­cuit: week­end shows. The stal­lion was crowned as the NCHA’s 2018 open di­vi­sion world cham­pion horse on Satur­day night at Fort Worth’s W.R. Watt Arena af­ter com­pet­ing in the NCHA World Fi­nals, the sport’s equiv­a­lent of the World Se­ries for week­end war­riors.

Rice said he be­gan show­ing Hash­tags at nu­mer­ous week­end shows last spring. He said the stal­lion fared so well that the de­ci­sion was made to make a run for the world ti­tle.

Rice and Hash­tags clinched the world ti­tle af­ter earn­ing $134,960 through­out 2018. Hash­tags earned $21,967 af­ter com­pet­ing in four rounds dur­ing the World Fi­nals. Dont Stopp Believin and rider Phil Rapp of Weather­ford fin­ished sec­ond in the open di­vi­sion world race with $81,214 af­ter earn­ing $19,553 at the World Fi­nals.

Rice said Hash­tags con­sis­tently wins be­cause he’s very ath­letic and de­ter­mined.

“He’s just so strong and so cowy and tries so hard ev­ery sin­gle time,” Rice said. He’s got a lot of en­durance and he’s ex­tremely ath­letic.”

When Hash­tags is hold­ing a cow at bay af­ter he and his rider have sep­a­rated the cow from the herd, Rice said the stal­lion stays in sync with the cow very well.

“First of all, he doesn’t miss a cow very of­ten, but if he did, he can re­cover very quickly be­cause he’s so strong,” Rice said. “He reads a cow so well and he tries so hard.”

Rice praised Hash­tags for far­ing so well in both aged events and the week­end cir­cuit (which in­volves mak­ing lots of ag­gres­sive 2½ minute runs through­out the year). His­tor­i­cally, the NCHA’s week­end cir­cuit has been dom­i­nated by older, more sea­soned horses who are ages seven and older.

But Hash­tags is a 5year-old, sec­ond year com­peti­tor who can win big on both the aged event and week­end cir­cuit.

“It just comes so nat­u­ral to him and be­cause he’s so strong and has so much en­durance,” Rice said.

In the non-pro di­vi­sion, El­iz­a­beth Quirk, who rode a horse named Cat Sheree dur­ing the World Fi­nals, clinched the world ti­tle af­ter earn­ing $100,551 through­out 2018.

CLOSE ALL-AROUND RACE

Through­out this month’s Wran­gler Na­tional Fi­nals Rodeo, fans can look for­ward to an­other com­pelling world al­laround race on the Pro­fes­sional Rodeo Cow­boys As­so­ci­a­tion cir­cuit. It was close race last year be­tween Tuf Cooper and Trevor Brazile through­out the WNFR, and it could be close this year through the 10th and fi­nal per­for­mance.

Trevor Brazile earned $45,477 at the Nov. 2-3 Na­tional Fi­nals Steer Rop­ing in Mul­vane, Kan., and moved within close strik­ing dis­tance of 2017 world all-around cham­pion Tuf Cooper in the 2018 world all-around race go­ing into the Dec. 6-15 Na­tional Fi­nals in Las Ve­gas. Cooper, who earned $23,730 at the NFSR, is ranked No.1 in the 2018 world al­laround stand­ings with $239,857. Brazile, a 23time world cham­pion, is ranked No. 2 with $234,154.

Both Cooper and Brazile have qual­i­fied for next month’s WNFR in tiedown rop­ing. Brazile is from De­catur and Cooper has res­i­dences in Weather­ford and De­catur.

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