Every summer during his college years, Barney Mac Smith helped out at the ranch of Phil and Mary Ann Rapp.
Even after getting his degree in animal science from Texas Tech, Smith elected to remain with the Rapps.
“I wanted to ride cutting horses,” he said. “My parents said if I got a degree they’d help me get started in cutting.”
Smith is proving he’s made the right decision. On Saturday, he and SJR Smooth Cowgirl marked 218 to win the 4-Year-Old Unlimited Amateur finals by eight points.
With his first Augusta Futurity win, Smith collected $2,500. Dennis Levering and Whiskey Drinkin Girl placed second at 210 for $2,200. Julie Beasley and Countin Blessings finished third (207, $1,900).
“Winning anywhere is pretty rewarding,” Smith said. “I try to work pretty hard at what I do. I’ve devoted a lot of time to it. It’s rewarding to see it pay off.”
Smith is from Maryneal, Texas, a town with a population of 72. His parents, Steve and Jan, own a 6,000-acre cattle ranch there. His dad is retired from Sysco, his mom was a teacher. Barney Mac, the youngest of six children, got into cutting after graduating from high school.
After college, Smith began purchasing yearlings and then selling them as 2-year-olds. He purchased SJR Smooth Cowgirl, a mare by Smooth As A Cat out of CR Roan Ranger, as a yearling at the NCHA Futurity Horse Sale. He put up SJR Smooth Cowgirl for sale as a 2-year-old, but she didn’t fetch the price Smith was seeking. He decided to keep her and continue training her.
SJR Smooth Cowgirl took off three months in early 2017, because of a bone chip. Smith got her back into shape, SJR Smooth Cowgirl developing into a solid competitor.
“She wants to cut,” Smith said. “She’s a true show horse.”
In the 4-Year-Old Unlimited Amateur finals, Smith and his horse went into the cattle with a game plan. He also went in with an open mind.
“Everything is unpredictable. You’ve got to be able to do whatever and option off,” he said. “We cut three good cows that really tested this mare. There’s a lot of horses that are stronger and more athletic than her, but if they had the integrity and the want to like she does they’d be phenomenal. She tries so hard.”