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November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Amateur Cutting

Dean Holden almost didn't make it.

Smart As Solomon and Dean Holden

Dean Holden celebrates his birthday winning a world championship November 11. (Journal photo)

Dean Holden of Marietta, Oklahoma, almost didn’t make the amateur cutting finals at the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show.

Well, he did make the finals, scoring a 216 in the November 10 prelims, and then drove back home to Marietta, Oklahoma, for the night.

Then, while driving back to Oklahoma City on November 11, Dean got a call from World Show announcer Tom Holt, asking if Dean and his wife, Charra, were on their way – the finals were starting at 3:30 p.m.

“I thought the finals started at 7 p.m. like they usually do every year!” Dean said in his Journal Winning Run. “And I was just planning on getting up here at about 4 p.m., loping my horse down, so I left about (noon). And this horse takes quite a bit of preparation!

“We hit the panic button. We had to drive a little faster than usual because it’s a two-and-a-half hour trip for us. But we made it here just the herd before (last set in the senior cutting prelims) and had time to lope him down and it worked out good.”

His mount was Smart As Solomon, aka “Solomon,” a son of Hes A Peptospoonful and out of Shorty Lena Sue by Shorty Lena, bred by Ernie and Wilma Roberts of Tulsa. They were second in the go of 17 finalists.

“I knew I had a good horse, but I know to never take anything for granted,” Dean said. “I was a little concerned with my draw – that it was too early in the herd. As it worked out, the cattle got tough and it was a really good draw.”

He continued, “My first cow was a pick, and it was a good cow to start with; it worked good.  My second cow was kind of a pick: There were a couple of cattle right there, and the one that I really wanted, I ended up optioning off of because it didn’t feel good when I got in behind it. I cut the other cow up there with it that I liked as well and it ended up being a really good cow.

“My third cow, it just squirted out there, and I knew I didn’t have much time. It looked bad, but I thought I’m going to take a chance here because I had a good run going. It ended up being a nasty cow that kept turning away from my horse. It created a lot of difficulty because it was a long way from my horse and kept turning away, but (Solomon) kept nailing him every turn.

“He was really good the whole run. It just all fell into place.”

Dean and Solomon scored a 221 to win.

“I’m never I guess what you would say confident because there are so many things that can go wrong in a run,” he said. “Things just kept together tonight. I took a real risk on my third cut, and it paid off.”

Solomon is only 4, and Dean bought him early in his 3-year-old year. He was started by Randy Butler and Randy’s daughter, Lydia, “and they’ve done a real good job starting him,” Dean said.

“He’s been a good horse for me all year long,” Dean said. “He’s made the finals most everywhere I’ve taken him. He’s a real strong-stopping horse and has real tight feel to him, and he’s got a lot of charisma. He’s a fun horse."

He added: “He’s a real consistent horse, too. I’m not sure I’ve lost many cattle on him. He’s real consistent and smart.”

Originally from Australia, Dean moved to the United States in 1989. He and Charra own a ranch and have rental properties.

“The World Show is a good place to show,” he said. “They put up a lot of added money, and it’s a good place to show your horses.”

Dean has had a lot of success in the World Show cutting pen. He won the 2010 world championship on Willys The Boss, and reserve world championships in 2005 with Alittle Street Smart, and  in 2006 and 2007 with Hi Sierra Safari.

“I’d like to thank my help,” he said, for the November 11 win. “A man’s only as good as his horse and his help, and those guys did a fabulous job: Teddy Johnson, Shawn Flynn, Glen Whitman and Bill Riddle -- those guys really helped me good.

“And my wife! She helps really get the horse prepared right and gets me to the show. I just couldn’t do without that whole crew.”

By the way, it’s Dean’s birthday November 11, but he’s not sharing how many years wise he is.

“My wife won’t let me tell you!”