R.A. Brown Ranch’s home-bred gelding “Casino” earns Top Horse honors at the Best of the West Ranch Rodeo during the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.
The 2023 Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo began its 23-day run with the Ranching Heritage Weekend, which took place January 13-15. Every year, horse shows, horse sales and the Best of the West Ranch Rodeo attract a herd of cow horse-loving attendees to the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. For the ranch horse fans in the rodeo audience, there is no shortage of good watching over the course of the two evening performances. In ranch rodeo tradition, one cowboy’s horse is always honored with the Top Horse award at the conclusion of the rodeo. This year, a handsome 7-year-old red roan gelding called Casino won the judges’ favor.
Registered as Hesa Twisted Bet (Bet Hesa Cat x RAB Twistin Dodger), Casino was bred by Throckmorton, Texas’ R.A. Brown Ranch and ridden by sixth-generation cowboy and the ranch’s head horse trainer, Lanham Brown.
“Anytime that you can win an award on one that you’ve had from the beginning and is out of one of our ranch mares, it feels good and maybe means a little more,” Brown says. “We started him when he was two and have had him the whole time. It’s pretty neat.”
This was not the gelding’s first time to town, as he’s been a consistent gelding in the show pen for the ranch.
“We’ve done a little bit of everything on him; he’s a good gelding to have around — you can do just about anything on him. My wife shows him, anybody can ride him, he’s a hard one to replace. He’s good for a lot of things and good to ranch rodeo on, too.”
Brown complemented Casino’s consistency in both performances along with his ability to get Brown to the right spots. “He just put me in position to do my job.” About the gelding, Brown adds, “He’s pretty and roan and really stands out in a crowd.”
The publicity gained from a Top Horse award goes a long way for a breeder.
“It’s great for the ranch and the breeding program because any kind of recognition you can get on them in town and get them out for the public to see, I think it never hurts.”
And for breeders and trainers, a horse of this age would typically be finding a new home soon. For Casino, though, Brown says he probably won’t be going anywhere.
“My wife has kind of taken him over, so I think he’s a lifer. This is a first for me … since I got married,” Brown says with a smile.
The R.A. Brown Ranch team finished in second place at the Best of the West Ranch Rodeo, with the 6666 Ranch taking home top honors to their headquarters in Guthrie, Texas.