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The Rundown: Go, Matt!

In just a few more days, Matt Budge, winner of the 2011 Battle in the Saddle World’s Greatest Horseman Shootout, will take on the NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman competition.

By Tara Christiansen
The American Quarter Horse Journal
January 29, 2012

Matt Budge & Mr Playinstylish

Cutting trainer Matt Budge of Weatherford, Texas, and Mr Playinstylish earned themselves a paid entry to 2012 NRCHA World's Greatest Horseman competition. (Journal photo)

In July 2011, Matt Budge tried his hand at four events – herd work, steer stopping, rein work and cow work. As a result of hours and hours swinging a rope and the kind of determination that only accompanies a habitual champion, the professional cutter rode off with the 2011 World’s Greatest Horseman Shootout title.

As one of two National Cutting Horse Association entries to the 2011 World’s Great Horseman Shootout, the Weatherford, Texas, cutter faced seven other competitors, who were riding for the American Quarter Horse Association, National Reined Cow Horse Association and American Rope Horse Futurity Association.

The win earned Matt a paid entry to the 2012 National Reined Cow Horse Association World’s Greatest Horseman competition, where he’ll vie for the coveted title against the leading reined cow horse competitors.

When Matt heads south to San Angelo, Texas, for the World’s Greatest Horseman on February 1-5, he’ll be paired back up with Mr Playinstylish, his mount from the 2011 Shootout.

Mr Playinstylish, by Playin Stylish and out of Tari Chick Gay by Doc Tari, was bred by R.E. Merritt of Dime Box, Texas. The 2005 sorrel stallion is owned by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders Kit and Charlie Moncrief of Fort Worth, Texas.

Mr Playinstylish is no stranger to the winners circle. The stallion captured the 2009 AQHA junior working cow horse world championship with cutting and reined cow horse trainer Boyd Rice of Spearman, Texas.

Matt, of course, has been thrilled about the match-up with such a stellar mount.

“The horse is better than I am,” Matt joked before 2011 Shootout. “I just feel real fortunate that (the Moncriefs) let me ride him. Boyd Rice, a good friend of mine, trains the horse, and he got him for me to ride.”

Matt actually tried his hand with Mr Playinstylish at the inaugural World’s Greatest Horseman Shootout in 2010, but lost out to AQHA Professional Horseman J.D. Yates and Bald N Shiney, owned by Nelle Murphy of Burneyville, Oklahoma.

When it came time for the 2011 Shootout, Matt was all business.

“My job is winning, so I want to win in everything I do – a footrace, anything,” Matt said at Battle in the Saddle. “That’s just how I am.”

Good luck to Matt Budge and Mr Playinstylish at the 2012 World’s Greatest Horseman – the event that’s all about one horse, one rider and one very impressive title.

Previous NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman Champions:

  • 2011: Russell Dilday and Topsails Rien Maker (Topsail Cody-Jameen Gay by Toby Gay Bar)
  • 2010: Randy Paul and Smokeelan (Elans Playboy-Smart Little Smokee by Smart Little Lena)
  • 2009: Russell Dilday and Topsails Rien Maker
  • 2008: Russell Dilday and Topsails Rien Maker
  • 2007: AQHA Professional Horseman Bob Avila and Light N Fine (Grays Starlight-Lenas Fine Freckle by Doc O'Lena)

The Rundown – 2012 Archive

  • People "Like" Us – The American Quarter Horse industry really is just one big social network.
  • The Bright Side – In a world of doom and gloom, our industry’s young competitors provide a good deal of bright.
  • A Great Granddam – Here's to you, Fillinic, and your induction into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.
  • My Apologies, Mr. Fence – Why can’t they just do horse-y yoga or at least something productive (aside from destroying my barn)?
  • Thanks, Mom – Moms have a knack for putting things into perspective.
  • Quotable Quotes – The secrets to horsemanship, raising a champion and learning from AQHA Professional Horseman Lynn Palm are unlocked in the April Journal.
  • Quotable Quotes – The March issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal is chock-full of memorable quotes.
  • Small-Time – You don’t have to be big-time to win big things in AQHA competition.
  • "The Look" – Do you know what “the Look” is?
  • Riding For a Cure – These organizations have two things in common: horses and aiding cancer patients.
  • Quotable Quotes – Kick back and enjoy the best quotes from the February issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.
  • The Breeders – One of the strengths that The American Quarter Horse Journal has is its contacts with American Quarter Horse breeders, and we pack each issue with those contacts.
  • Go, Matt! – In just a few more days, Matt Budge, winner of the 2011 Battle in the Saddle World’s Greatest Horseman Shootout, will take on the NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman competition.
  • News Roundup – The show industry says goodbye to great horses, hello to a smartphone app and free medical procedures.