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Janet Westfall wasn’t planning on entering the 2023 Breeders Invitational Jeffrey Matthews Non-Pro. The previous week her son Brandon failed to qualify for the Open finals aboard Ripp Tide after having won the 2022 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Non-Pro Futurity marking an impressive 228.5 on the young stallion.

The Westfall’s longtime employee Colt Moore suggested she enter “Lil Mac” in the 4-Year-Old Non-Pro.

“At first, I said, ‘oh no I don’t want to mess him up.’ I had all these reasons why I shouldn’t do it,” she said. “The more I thought about it, I thought, ‘when do I ever get the opportunity to show a horse like this?” I tried to buy a slot, but there weren’t any so we added and got the last cut.”

The last draw is no one’s favorite, but the pair made the most of it marking 219 in the first go to finish second. In the second go, she played it safe and marked 216.5. Riding more aggressively in the finals the duo marked 221 to win the championship title and a check for $16,516.08.

“It was pretty exciting for me. His mother won quite a bit of money for us,” she said. “I fell in love with him from the minute he was born.”

The 2019 sorrel stallion is by Metallic Rebel and out of Laguna Girl who is by the Westfall’s stallion CD Royal. Westfall thanked her husband Russ who trained the horse, and son Brandon for helping in the show pen, Paul Hansma and Austin Shepard who did an excellent job turning back, and Madison Plitt for doing a perfect job loping “Lil Mac.”

“I’ve not shown aged events in the last 10 years and it was so nice of all the people who stayed to watch me show and cheer me on,” she said. “I was all smiles driving home realizing how many friends we have and how sweet people are.”