Well, we had our last cutting show of the year last weekend. It was a series of 6 shows that started back in April. I competed in the Green/Green class which is basically the easiest of all beginner cutting classes that there is. You don't even have to come out of a herd, they kick one cow out for you and you get to work for 2 minutes. You have the option of calling time for a second cow, but you only get two.
We've made it to all 6 shows of the series and I was leading the G/G class by a half a point heading into this last show. Half a point!!! You just don't get any tighter then that unless you're tied! I've been having some really consistently good work on the buffalo and the flag since the last show so I was pretty hopeful going into this last show. I was also really trying not to think about it too much. Certainly doesn't do anyone any good to be nervous!
Your run and score are also heavily dependent on the "cow gods", as we call them. Since you don't come out of the herd, you don't get to pick and choose which cow you get and you are stuck with whatever comes out that gate. It can be good and bad. I've had pretty decent luck all year and figured even if I got a runner, our work has been pretty solid lately so I didn't think I'd have too much of a problem.
I was wrong.
I entered the arena and they kicked a cow out for me. It just stood there, watching me come around to the back wall to push it up and start working. It was calm and seemed pretty laid back so I breathed a sigh of relief. We got behind it and started pushing it up and *poof* it was gone. I was able to keep her under control and never did loose my working advantage, but we did a lot of running. I called time with just under a minute to go. I was thankful they took some time to get the second cow out because Midori needed to air up a bit. Then the second devil...er...cow came out. Head and tail up, wildly looking around. I thought it was going to turn around and jump right over that gate before I could even get to it! Crap!!! I got behind it and didn't even get a chance to push it up before it took off. We kept it under control for a little while but then I lost it. We stumbled thru one turn and it was outta there. Ran around, hit the corner and pushed right thru us on the wall. Damn. Loss of working advantage. I brought it up again and worked for a little while longer, then it did the same thing again. I did get it stopped on the wall but that little bastard literally pushed us out of the way, which meant I had another loss of working advantage, right at the buzzer. Blast!!!
I'm not sure if he was just trying to comfort me or not, but one of my herd help told me that it was just bad cows, that last one I got was absolutely unstoppable, nothing I could have done about it. I know the cows I got were a lot more challenging then most of the other cows that came out for my class (seriously, I watched them all, I'm not just feeling sorry for myself here!), but looking over the video (again and again and again and again) we made a slow turn both times and should have been able to catch the cow before he ever got to the corner. Oh well. I got a 63, came in 2nd or 3rd to last in the class of 10. Ouch.
The bright spot in all of this is that I still got a 63! In cutting, you start out with a score of 70 and the judges adds or takes away points as your run goes, marking different columns on the score sheet with +/check/-. The lowest score you can get is a 60. Loss of working advantage is a 5 point deduction. I had two. Meaning, if I wouldn't have lost that cow twice, I would have gotten a 73, which would have won the class. Bummer. When I looked at the score sheet I had +'s all the way across, which is really good! I think that's the first time this year I've had all +'s! I was pretty darn excited about that so I'm trying to focus on that fact. I had a good, solid ride, I just got rowdy cows.
Also on the positive side, I was far enough ahead of everyone else in the class that I still ended up in second place for the series. WOHOO!!! Rumor has it that there are buckles to second place. I won't know for sure until the year end banquet, which won't be for another month or so.
So overall, I'm happy with the day. Our practice run went well too, Midori does really well going into the herd and I really think she likes playing with cows. Next weekend we start the winter series. I'll just be doing reining again for that since I want to really focus on getting Midori broke and more finished for a while. Should be another fun series!