March 31, 2015
This $100,000 win was for his family.
By Holly Clanahan, America’s Horse editor
Three times, Chris Cox had competed in the Road to the Horse colt-starting championship. Three times, he walked away a winner.
But when he celebrated the first two wins, in 2007 and 2008, his children hadn’t been born yet. And for the third win, in 2011, little Charley and Case Cox were too young to remember anything. So when event producer Tootie Bland invited Chris back for 2015, he accepted, hoping to win a fourth buckle and create some family memories. And that’s exactly how it worked out.
Chris’ wife, Barbara, was his “pen wrangler” during the competition, meaning that she was the one person designated to help him from outside the round pen. She helped prepare the tack, tools and obstacles that he’d need, and in the evenings, after the competition concluded, she was his sounding board. When those efforts were successful and Chris stepped on stage to accept the championship accolades, Barbara was there beside him — along with the adorable little Coxes, who mugged for the cameras and seemed to be enjoying the attention.
Chris also received the Jack Brainard Award for the top display of horsemanship, as well as AQHA’s Traveler Award, which goes dually to the trainer and breeder of the top horse.
And of course, there was the oversized check for $100,000 that Chris received, as well as a custom belt buckle and saddle.
But it wasn’t all about the receiving.
When Chris took the microphone to accept the winner’s purse, he let it be known that his two competitors — Jim Anderson and Trevor Carter — were also winners. Both of them had shown respect for their horses, as well as considerable skill in handling them, and Chris announced that he was giving them $10,000 apiece. Shortly after, Jim announced on his Facebook page that he was paying it forward by donating his share to the Canadian Ronald McDonald House and the Canadian Kids Make a Wish Foundation.
Jim was last year’s Road to the Horse champion, and Trevor was this year’s Wild Card winner.
For a detailed story, check out the June issue of America’s Horse magazine, which goes exclusively to AQHA members. But for more information now, check out our slideshow below. Click on the photos to read a description.