He's a BIGs Deal

He's a BIGs Deal

Mar 23, 2023

By Keri Whitney

Shane and Jessica Boston met in 2015. At that time, Jessica was working as a marketing consultant for several cutting horse ranches. Shane, an avid team roper, was learning the ins and outs of the performance horse industry and had a keen interest in cow horses. Their passion for horses served as the backdrop for what resulted in their 2019 marriage and the birth of Southern Ranches, which breeds reining cow horses and rope horses out of Waxahachie, Texas.

The Boston's purchased The Notorious B I G ("Bigs") from Dixon Flowers as a 2-year-old after seeing him with his then trainer, Tyson Benson. Benson put a solid foundation on the colt while the Bostons kept all options open. Sired by NRCHA and NCHA million-dollar sire, CD Lights and out of standout heel horse, DT Sugar Chex Whiz. Sugar was PRCA Heel Horse of the Year in 2019. She's been roped on at the National Finals Rodeo and in 2019 Billie Jack Saebens won the Open WSTR Finale on her. Her produce earnings are more than $145,000 and she currently ranks in the top 10 of all-time producing rope horse mares, according to AQHA. Bigs was showing promise as an all-around performance horse. With interests rising from the rope horse industry in Bigs as a potential stud and the announcement of the Riata Buckle, Benson and the Bostons decided the brightest future for Bigs, both in the arena and as stud, would be in the roping pen.

It seemed only fitting that two-time NFR qualifier, Billie Jack Saebens who piloted Bigs' dam, "Sugar," to the 2019 PRCA Heel Horse of the Year award would be the best fit for continuing the horse's training. Saebans put just a few months on Bigs at the end of his 3-year-old year before the stud went to the breeding barn to stand for the 2022 breeding season. When breeding season was over, Billie Jack had just a few short weeks before the rope horse futurity to get Bigs ready for his first show. They quickly qualified for the AQHA World Show by winning their first event. They then went on to the ARHFA World Show, secured the 2022 ARHFA Heeling Reserve World Championship title and finished 11th overall.

"To have 4-year-old stud that missed half a year training and do that well among the very best 4, 5 and 6-year-old horses in the world, we were all ecstatic," said Jessica. "One of our biggest hang ups at the time was that the money wasn't getting counted on these rope horses. I'm a stat junkie. Standing a rope horse sire would pose a lot of challenges if there weren't stats to support our investment. And then, bam. Shane came to me with this new 'Riata Buckle.' The timing was impeccable."

"Whether they're a 'rope horse sire' or not, RIATA has already added immense marketability to these babies. It's and a game changer for the industry. The Riata Buckle was the missing piece of the puzzle," Jessica added.

Bigs has booked full the two years he's stood to the public. His babies are a hot commodity, as well. Southern Ranches plans on keeping a couple of colts from last year's crop to put through their training program and eventually show in the rope horse futurities. This year, Southern Ranches bred Bigs to a variety of mares including their best few cow horses and some running bred mares.

"All of these babies we're seeing could go so many directions. The idea with the running-bred mares is to add just a little more height and speed so that we've got some future head horses in the making, as well," Jessica noted. "He's throwing a ton of color this year, too, which is always fun to see."

The Notorious B I G is currently standing at Weatherford Equine Breeding Facility. His 2024 breeding info will be released in the fall of this year.