Buddy Pate gave his grandson two words of advice Saturday night.
Cody Turner did just that as he marked 220 on Duallin Bingo Lena to capture the Area 18 Youth Scholarship Cutting finals at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.
Turner, of Waynesboro, Ga., won the grand prize, a $3,000 scholarship. Priscilla Crawley and Crackerboy finished second at 212 for a $2,000 scholarship, while Brett Lawson and San Del Sugar finished third (210, $1,500).
Turner finished in the middle of the pack in this event in his only other appearance, last year.
"I don't really know the difference; both my horses were about the same," Turner said. "I just got luckier, I guess."
Lucky and smart. Turner knew right away when he began cutting a testy first cow to quickly move to another cow.
"He kind of stayed there pretty good in the middle of the pen, and I didn't want to stay on him too long and mess up," Turner said.
After making a smooth cut on a second cow, he went back for a third cow. Turner said he felt the momentum building. He began cutting more aggressively as the crowd got behind him.
"Toward the end, I kind of felt him getting better," Turner said. "Every cut, he was getting better."
The 16-year-old Turner has only been cutting for about four years. He began riding Duallin Bingo Lena three months ago, when Pate found the horse, an 8-year-old gelding by Dual Pep out of Bingos Lena, for him. The horse is owned by David and Glenda Wilson.
"He's got a lot of talent," Turner said of the horse. "He gives you all he's got out there."
"He's got a lot of heart and a lot of desire," Pate said. "He's a real hard stopper. I knew the first time I ever rode him he was a real outstanding horse."
Turner rode fifth in the 14-horse competition. He waited and watched while other horse and rider pairs fell by the wayside.
Two-time defending champion Matthew Blewitt lost his first cow. Crawley, the 2002 champion, almost lost her second cow, but held her run together.
"I knew there were a lot of pretty good competitors coming up," Turner said.
A freshman at Burke County High School, Turner said he wants to attend Alabama upon graduation.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.