For Kaitlyn Larsen, the decision was easy. The same for Ray Baldwin.
Instead of running again to break their tie for first place, the two Texas-based cutters decided to share the Futurity Non-Pro championship on Saturday night.
Baldwin and Dont Say A Word marked 215.5, a score later matched by Larsen and Lite Switch. They each took home a check for $5,500. Sasha Thompson and Thommo placed third at 214.5 for $4,000.
“This arena is one of the most fun arenas to show in all of cutting,” said Baldwin, who added his second Augusta victory after claiming the 2011 Classic Open. “It’s not an easy pen to show in, but when it goes well and the crowd is behind you it’s a good experience.”
Larsen recorded her third win in Augusta. She won the $100,000 Amateur for 4-Year-Olds event in 2007 before claiming the Mercuria Non-Pro title in 2012.
“I was next to last and these cattle are pretty rough,” Larsen said about her decision not to work off for the title. “With these babies, when they’re good you just like to give them cookies and put them away. These babies don’t forget much. If we had gone down there and something bad would’ve happened, we might be fighting that battle for another three or four shows. It’s just not worth the risk.
“It’s awesome to win Augusta. It means just as much to be co-champion as it does to work it off and possibly win or possibly be second.”
The 28-year-old Larsen lives in Millsap, Texas, where she rides horses and takes care of her 4-year-old son, Wilder.
“That’s my favorite job,” she said. “The horses are my second favorite.”
Larsen raised Lite Switch, a gelding by Light N Lena out of Duals Play Kitten. Larsen called him a “raccoon.”
“He is just in your pockets always looking for something,” she said. “He’s so funny. He thinks he’s spoiled already and he isn’t.”
Dont Say A Word is a 2014 sorrel mare by High Brow Cat out of Dont Look Twice. The horse was bred at Waco Bend Ranch, home of the Baldwin family. The 40-year-old Baldwin is married to Jennifer and has three daughters: Brooke, 11, Rachel, 10 and Katie, 7.
Baldwin and Dont Say A Word marked their score when they ran fifth in the first set of 14 horses. He said he didn’t think his score was good enough to win.
“I was hoping that would be top two or three,” he said. “You had Lindy Ashlock. You had Kaitlyn Larsen. You had Lauren Minshall. All these great riders were coming up. I knew the cows were going to be tough. I was just happy to get her shown.”