- Created on Monday, 30 January 2012
- Written by Mark Thompson; Photo by Midge Ames
- Hits: 519
Dustin Adams, already a career earner of more than $3.4 million at age 32, is no stranger to major victories, but his second straight Equi-Stat Non-Pro Award, and fourth in eight seasons, still caught cutting’s top 2011 non-pro earner by surprise.
“Are you serious? How did that happen?” Adams asked as a reporter relayed the good news by phone. “It feels great,” said the Nevada native and Dublin, Texas-based cutter.
Adams, already cutting’s No. 3 All-Time Non-Pro Rider, behind Mary Ann Rapp, Weatherford, Texas, and Sandy Bonelli, Petaluma, Calif., has trained his own horses while breeding and raising many of them, along with his wife, Deena, in recent years.
Last year, Adams earned $196,372 in the Non-Pro division, which includes limited-age and any-age cutting earnings, but not the Novice classes. He combined forces with many good horses, but no single standout, as his top earner finished with $32,966.
Adams finished first in 2011 largely thanks to earning $32,583 with a ninth-place finish in the National Cutting Horse Association Non-Pro year-end any-age standings. He also tied for 14th in December’s NCHA Futurity Non-Pro finals to earn $22,300 with a mare he bred, Smooth Sneaking (Smooth As A Cat x Tanganilla x Tangys Class Peppy).
Chad Bushaw, Weatherford, Texas, a two-time Equi-Stat Non-Pro Award winner who also trains his own horses, finished a close second with $178,575 earned. Chad and his wife Amie Bushaw’s Crown Ranch also breeds and raises many cutting horses. Dan Hansen, Weatherford, Texas, the National Cutting Horse Association’s 2011 Non-Pro World Champion rider, finished third in the Equi-Stat race with $156,571 earned.
Early in 2011, Dustin lost his father, longtime horse owner, breeder and MillionHeir limited-age cutting program founder and promoter Wes Adams. He died on Feb. 18. A few weeks later, March 13, 2011, Deena gave birth to she and Dustin’s first child, a son, Ethan Don Adams. He will celebrate his first birthday soon.
“It was a year of highs and lows,” Dustin said, adding his father “kind of challenged me a little bit” and would have been proud of his son earning another year-end award. His wife, Deena, urged him to get back on the road as a cutter last year. That worked out well. The couple actually traveled more often than usual last year after Dustin decided he wanted to qualify for the 2011 NCHA Non-Pro World Finals in Fort Worth.
“I watched them at the  NCHA Futurity and that was really exciting,” Adams said. “I wanted to be a part of it and that [traveling to any-age shows] was something my wife [Deena, also a non-pro cutter] and I could do together. We had a lot going on, but she wanted me to get out there and get busy.”
Wes Adams, a supporter of his son’s cutting career, urged Dustin to keep progressing as a trainer, breeder and rider. He certainly got him started on the right track, Dustin said.
“My parents [including his mother Elizabeth Adams] and my brothers and sisters have always been into the horses,” said Dustin, who has managed a family-owned 32,000-acre cutting horse training and breeding complex in Dublin, Texas, for several years.
It’s likely the family will sell that facility soon. Dustin and Deena are looking for a 50- to 100-acre site closer to Fort Worth, where they plan to relocate, along with their son.
“We are going to get our own place and move a little closer to the action,” Adams said, adding he might eventually train other people’s horses, but not in the immediate future. “We [Dustin and Deena] are going to continue doing what we are doing [breeding, raising and showing their own horses]. My goal always is to work hard and do the best I can. It wouldn’t matter what division, but I imagine I’ll stay in the Non-Pro a while.”