After years of trying to figure out how to show cutting horses in Augusta, Steve Oehlhof is putting it all together.
Aboard Catagory Five, Oehlhof marked 222 on Thursday night to win the Champions Challenge Open, his second Augusta Futurity title in three years.
Oehlhof, the 2012 Classic Open champion, earned $5,500 for the victory. Skip Queen and TGI Playtime finished second at 218 for $4,000, while Austin Shepard and Divas On Time tied for third at 217 with Craig Thompson and Oh Cay Do Over for $1,950 each.
Oehlhof said he began coming to Augusta in the mid-1990s, but he didn’t start showing cutting horses consistently at James Brown Arena until five years ago. As he’s matured as a cutter, Oehlhof said he’s starting to understand what it takes to be successful in Augusta.
“As I got older and learned to show more in a lot of different pens, I learned how to show here,” Oehlhof said. “You’ve got to learn to cut something walking away from you. And that’s pretty much what I did tonight.
“The cattle weren’t very good tonight at all. My first cow I cut was a cow that I liked and it happened to be there on top. I was able to get way up and that’s the key to this pen, getting way up and cutting something away from the bunch.”
Catagory Five, a 6-year-old gelding by High Brow Cat out of Duallys Spicey Oak, is owned by Bar D Ranch in Covington, La. Oehlhof said he received the horse for training during his early 4-year-old year.
“He’s been a little hit and miss,” Oehlhof said. “We gelded him at the end of last year. It’s made him a lot more consistent. He’s always capable of beating any horse out there. It’s just whether he showed up or not.
“He hasn’t gotten to his true potential yet, but he’s getting there.”
The 38-year-old Oehlhof owns his own training facility in Corsicana, Texas. He said his operation is only about a year and a half old, though he leased places for about three years before that.
He said he tries to keep about 30 horses, mainly aged-event horses, in training.