November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Senior Tie Down Roping

Meradas Money Gin and AQHA Professional Horseman Roger Branch tie-up a world title.

Meradas Money Gin and AQHA Professional Horseman Roger Branch

Meradas Money Gin and AQHA Professional Horseman Roger Branch

It was a night of firsts for owner, rider and exhibitor in the senior tie-down roping at the 2013 AQHA World Show.

AQHA Professional Horseman Roger Branch of Perkins, Oklahoma, humbly accepted his first world championship title November 23.

The 2007 gelding Meradas Money Gin, aka “Money,” is by Meradas Money Talks and out of a Doc’s Hickory mare named Miss Hickory Gin.

Owner Dan Simmons swears by the breeding.

“If you ever have a chance to get your hands on one of those horses,” Dan said. “Jump on it."

Both Roger and Dan have received reserve world champion accolades but have somehow always fallen just a little short of an AQHA gold trophy.

Roger joked, “You never know until you catch.”

There are so many variables in roping that even a great preliminary run doesn’t mean a world championship title.

In fact, Roger and Money’s preliminary run was less than ideal.

“My preliminary run I had a lot softer calf,” Roger told the Journal. “I roped pretty quickly, but didn’t have a lot of momentum. He showed well. We had a good score, so we made it back, of course. We just had a real gentle, slower calf and weren’t able to excel as much as today.”

The pair went into finals sitting third after scoring a 225.5 in their first go.

Their run in the second go was much quicker and allowed Roger to show the judges the kind of horsepower he had underneath him.

“One of my amateur friends had that (same) calf last week and I knew he was fast,” Roger explained. “I was able to let him out a little better and get some acceleration and speed. And, it was a little snappier.”

Roger and Dan have competed on Money all year to qualify him for this show. Dan competed in the amateur, but a tough draw in the finals kept him out of the winners circle.

That doesn't mean the horse is not exceptional, though. 

What makes him so great?

“His stop, he’s just so natural,” Roger said. “The way he breaks down as he goes is something you just can’t teach. He’s been natural the whole way.”

When the gelding isn’t helping Roger win buckles and gold trophies or carrying owner, Dan Simmons, to the pay window, he’s looking for trouble.

“He’s kind of like Dennis the Menace,” Roger chuckled. “Until you ride into the box, then he’s business. You can’t give him much of a break, though. He’ll escape. He’s always loose. The feed bucket is always over. He’s like a cartoon.”

Money isn’t just a show horse. He is a jackpot and rodeo horse, too, which is a little different. That doesn’t mean that the competition is any less stiff at the World Show, just that the run has to be as clean as it is fast.

“Here it doesn’t just come,” Roger said. “You have to know your horse, and do the things that bring out the best aspect of your horse.”

Roger did just that. He and Money secured their win with a score of 229.5, two and a half points over the reserve, beating guys that Roger said he looks to to improve his own performance, such as AQHA Professional Horseman J.D. Yates.

When asked how it feels to beat out fierce competitors like J.D. and the two-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association tie-down horse of the year, Big Smokin Wonder, aka "Pearl," Roger said, “I’m not sure, yet.”

Some things just take time to sink in.  

It's your moment; make it last forever! Videos of individual runs and class finals from the AQHA World Championship Show are available for purchase at www.aqha.com/mymoment. Plus, you can watch AQHA World Show video footage 24/7. This new service is optimized for Internet Explorer 10, Safari and most mobile Web browsers.