Billie Jack Saebens and SJR Diamond Billy got the first-ever Gold Buckle Heading Maturity win.
Two-time National Finals Rodeo heeler Billie Jack Saebens banked the biggest win of his heading career on the back of SJR Diamond Billy, winning two go-rounds on their way to a runaway win in the 6-&-Under Maturity at the first-ever Gold Buckle Futurity in Belton, Texas, Dec. 29, 2023.
The 5-year-old gelding by CD Diamond out of the Smooth As A Cat mare Billies Smooth Cat marked a 907.07 on four head, besting the field by nearly 14 points at high call. Owned by Shane and Jessica Boston’s Southern Ranches, the buckskin gelding won $11,000 in the main futurity, plus another $28,000 for the Gold Buckle Stallion Incentive.
“When I started showing this horse, it took me a little bit to slow down and back my mind down and act like I’m roping in a 13-point instead of an Open,” Saebens, 34, said. “Today I had to make a point of that. The steers were strong, but they’d wait up on you. They had great steers, and the roping ran off smooth.”
Before the Gold Buckle Futurity, the horse and Saebens had won $34,133, all in judged futurity competition. But this was surely his biggest lick with a year to go in his futurity eligibility.
“This last year showing, he’s been really solid,” Saebens said. “We had bad luck, and he should have won a lot more than he’s won already. I feel like you could dang-near rodeo on him. I’ve ridden him at a lot of jackpots, in the 15s and 16s, and he’s ready.”
Raised by San Juan Ranches in Weatherford, Texas, SJR Diamond Billy went to Iowa’s Ivan Raber to start as a 2-year-old. Solo Select CEO Ty Smith found him there, and the already-too-big-to-cow-horse gelding headed for Whitesboro on Smith’s rig right away.
“Ivan is a really, really good hand,” Smith said. “I bought that horse, brought him back, and called Shane Boston two days later and said, ‘This one needs to go to Billie Jack.’”
Saebens got the horse as a 3-coming-4-year-old, but Saebens didn’t exactly know that.
“I got him in November, two years ago, and he told me he was 5 and he wanted to show him,” Saebens laughed. “So I just went to him. By February, we were going full-contact—not trotters or lopers. I was down at Shane’s visiting, and he handed me some papers and said, ‘these are that buckskin’s.’ I said, ‘What buckskin?’ and he said, ‘The CD Diamond you’re heading on.’ Turns out, he was 3 coming 4 instead of 5 coming 6. He was so broke, he just took it all.”
For now, the horse—by NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion CD Diamond—will stay in Saebens string for 2024, but the horse’s realistic feel means he could go any direction past his show career, from the ProRodeos to the Open ropings to the World Series of Team Roping. CD Diamond’s offspring are Royal Crown Roping and Riata Buckle-eligible, and CD Diamond also sired SJR Diamond Bond, the horse Rhen Richard has racked up the futurity wins aboard the last two years, as well as SJR Diamond Salsa, the high-seller at the 2023 Platinum Medal Futurity Sale.
The Team Roping Journal
by Chelsea Shaffer
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