Two AQHA Professional Horsemen in the Stands at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas Were No Doubt Very, Very Happy Friday Night

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AQHA World Champion Slick By Design has notched another laurel: winning Round 2 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Jason Martin and Charlie Cole of Highpoint Performance Horses in Pilot Point, Texas, own Slick By Design, the barrel-racing winner of Round 2 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “Slick’s” rider, Michele McLeod, was probably just as excited.

“He deserves a round win,” she said of the 8-year-old black stallion. “I can’t even describe the emotions. I just so much wanted it for Slick when I came this year, and I’m glad that he got it.” Slick had encountered a problem with his lungs at last year’s Calgary Stampede, putting him on the sidelines and forcing him to miss the 2014 NFR.

“I’m so excited to be back on him, and here,” Michele said.

Last year, when Michele won an NFR Round on Kellies Chick (now owned by Busby Quarterhorses LLC), Charlie, an AQHA judge, missed the run because he had to go judge a show.

“Tonight, they’re both here, both Jason and Charlie, so we can all celebrate,” Michele said. It’s a pretty special horse, and a former AQHA world champion, they’ll be applauding.

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“He’s just special to me because of his attitude and his running style,” Michele said. “We fit together since the first time I got on him in 2013. I have a special bond with him. I just love him to death, so this is a phenomenal night.”

Slick won the 2012 AQHA junior barrel racing world championship, and Michele said, “I think we’ll be back, trying to go to the World Show again.”

Wherever they go, Michele will enjoy the journey with this horse.

“He’s super, super sweet. He’s very kind. He wants to please every day. He’s in my pocket all the time and rubbing his head on me. He’s just a phenomenal, phenomenal horse, and I just love him to death,” she said.

And being a stallion, he is also leaving a legacy of other speedy barrel racers.

“He has bred quite a bit of mares,” Michele said. “He has babies on the ground. In fact, I’m riding a 2-year-old of his, a filly, and she’s awesome, and in the years to come, you’ll see a lot of babies by him.”

Slick himself comes from a long line of speed demons. His sire, Designer Red, was the 2002 AQHA world champion in senior barrels, and one of Designer Red’s full brothers was an NFR qualifier. Slick’s paternal grandsire, On The Money Red, was the nation’s leading sire of money-earning barrel horses in 1991, ’93, ’95-’97 and 2002, according to EquiStat. Slick’s dam, Dreams Of Blue, also has AQHA points in barrel racing and an AQHA youth Register of Merit.

Slick is quickly racking up his own impressive statistics. According to the Highpoint Performance Horse web page, his time of :13.48 in a previous NFR is the fastest time a stallion has ever run at the NFR.

Slick’s Facebook page lists his lifetime earnings at $310,000 – and that doesn’t count the $26,230 he earned on Thursday.

As part of negotiations to keep the NFR in Las Vegas, Las Vegas Events guaranteed $16.5 million annually in purse and sponsorship for the Wrangler NFR. Part of that is a contestant purse of $10 million each year from 2015-2019. This means that American Quarter Horses competing in the timed events at the NFR are competing for $6.25 million in purse money.

“There were some years that I didn’t even make $26,000,” Michele said. “The amount that is available for us to run at is fantastic. I just can’t wrap my head around that much money for one run.”

So what sort of payoff will Slick get for his part in bringing home that much bacon?

“Oh, he gets tons of treats all the time, and he always gets pampered,” Michele said. “He already knows he won the round and he’s a good boy.”

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