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November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Team Penning

Terry Brooks, Tommy Brian Buckner and Dustin Johnson secure their first ever world championship in open team penning.

Dustin Johnson, AQHA Professional Horseman Tommy Brian Buckner and Terry Brooks

Dustin Johnson, AQHA Professional Horseman Tommy Brian Buckner and Terry Brooks

After several years of feeling like the saying, “always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” these three cowboys finally united on November 12 at the 2013 AQHA world championship show.

Terry Brooks of Blanchard, Oklahoma, AQHA Professional Horseman Tommy Brian Buckner of Magee, Mississippi, and trainer Dustin Johnson of McCool, Mississippi, claimed their first team penning world championship.

Brian: We’ve had four reserve world championships, so we’ve been that close, so the feeling is unexplainable. Dustin and I have been together for every one of them.

Dustin: It feels pretty good.

Brian: It’s got to feel better than good.

Dustin: It’s pretty awesome. It’s kind of a once and a lifetime thing.

Brian: Until next year.

This playful banter is at the heart of this team’s relationship; they’re as much about having fun as they are about being competitive. They say that this is the environment surrounding the penning and sorting events.

Terry: That’s one thing about the guys. Everyone is pretty supportive. Obviously, it's competition, but usually you get a congratulations and a good job from everyone, even those who you were lucky enough to beat.  

And they felt that luck even more this year, as they needed a quick finals run to be in the money and even quicker for a title.

Brian: We had to have a 30 to win this and we went in and ran a 25. It was pretty cool.

Terry: The preliminary run was a good run, it could’ve been a little bit faster, we could’ve done a couple things differently, but it was a good, solid run. It went basically the same way (as their final run), Dustin went in first, Brian went second, and Dustin went in for the third. I just stayed on the line out of their way.

This proved to be the recipe for success, except in the finals ... Dustin didn’t need to go in for a third cut. Brian cut both of their No. 2 cattle his second time into the herd, which allowed them to put together such a blistering run.

Even before they left the arena, the team knew that they had done well. Brian was enthusiastically high-fiving his partners, a smile plastered broadly across his face.

The win was pretty sweet considering that it was the first time for all of them to earn a gold trophy, with the exception of Terry who, earlier this fall, won a Select world championship title in ranch sorting with partner Bobby Gray.

Terry: Oklahoma City is a little more hype than Amarillo was, but it’s cool. It’s a pretty neat thing.

Terry was quick to inform the Journal that he hand-picked this “A” team.

Both Brian and Dustin are horse trainers and competed with Terry last year, securing a spot in the top five.

“Terry picked us up for a second time this year. Last year, we got fourth. It might need to be three years in a row,” Brian said with a laugh.

The three also share horses.

HH Reygin, Terry’s sorrel gelding, is by Dual Rey and out of Smart Lil Ginney by Smart Lil Highbrow.

Terry: The horse that I was riding, one that I call “Raging,” I’ve had three years. He’s a solid horse and a lot of fun to ride. He’s pretty calm about things. Today was neat because I’ve had some bad luck with him and I consider him to be my best horse. He’s a nice horse.

Terry also owns the horse that Dustin competed on. Playboy Is My Papa is by Duals Blue Boon and out of Mini Play (Freckles Playboy-Havealena). The bay roan gelding is a previous world champion in youth team penning and a youth reserve world champion in ranch sorting. He is a recent purchase and has already proved to be a fantastic investment.

Dustin: The horse that I rode, it’s really the first time I’ve ever ridden him. It says a lot about a horse that the first time that you ride them you win. The horse is solid.

Brian was the only one in the group not riding one of Terry’s horses, but joked that he just might next year!

Brian: We’ll just ride Terry’s again next year; we know that he ain’t going to get rid of them.

Instead, he competed on one that he trained. He recently sold TR Zack Attack to a family in Arkansas, but they were gracious enough to allow Brian to compete on him at this year’s show. The gelding is by Zack T Wood and out of TR Hickasis by Doc’s Hickory.

Although he just sold him, he says that he has plenty of others at home to get ready for next year.

The horsepower of these well-bred American Quarter Horses was essential to produce their blistering runs in the preliminary and especially finals run in the team penning.  

It seems like this group has broken its streak of hanging in the shadows and will be prepared to return next year to defend their title.

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.