Rockin The Guns Cracking Out With Sue Smith in NFR Round 7

Sue Smith will switch to horse No. 3 of her 2023 NFR experience.
Jennifer Kalafatic and Rockin The Guns
Jennifer Kalafatic and Rockin The Guns. Phil Kitts/ Avid Visual Imagery.

Rockin The Guns is the latest addition to Sue Smith’s lineup at the NFR, representing a Wilderness Circuit collaboration years in the making.

The official word just came through that “Roc,” will be getting the call during Round 7 on Wednesday, Dec. 13, from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

Rockin The Guns is a product of both owner Jennifer Kalafatic’s and Smith’s breeding programs. Roc’s dam, Baby Likes To Rocket is owned by Smith out of one of her great mares, Added Sugar.

On Roc’s top side, Kalafatic and her husband owned sire PG Dry Fire for nearly two decades before the Sharp family purchased the stalion recently. As the owners of Outback Stallion Station for over 20 years, as well, the Kalafatic family grew close with Sue as a longtime client and friend.

Rockin The Guns pedigree

“Through trades and embryo work, I think Roc traded hands between Sue and I a couple times,” Kalafatic said with a laugh. “By the time [Roc] was a long yearling, we officially owned him.”

The gelding didn’t look to win any beauty pageants with his large head. When he was 3 years old, Kalafatic’s close friends, Jared and Whitley Sharp purchased Roc. The Sharps are largely responsible for Roc’s training but, when the gelding was 5 years old, they convinced Jennifer to buy him back, insisting that the pair was destined to stay together. Kalafatic is a Wilderness Circuit Finals qualifier and has jockeyed 8-year-old Roc to over $86,000 in lifetime earnings. Although Smith has had less than three weeks of riding Roc around her busy NFR schedule, Kalafatic is confident in her longtime friend.

“Sue’s a horseman,” Kalafatic said. “She rides quiet, but is effective. Roc is a sensitive horse who thrives with a confident rider—I think he’s going to fit her great.”

“I’m super excited, a little nervous, but mostly proud—of Roc, the program he came from and the stage he gets to perform on. It is such an honor when someone at Sue’s level recognizes and believes in my horse as much as I do. I’ll be in Vegas cheering them on, and when he comes down the alley I’ll probably shed a few tears.”

Jennifer Kalafatic

Why is Sue Smith changing horses at the NFR?

Smith’s standout mare, Dashs Centerfold was injured at the end of summer, leaving Centerfold’s son, Diamond Center to take the reins. The gelding stepped up to bat and helped Smith clinch her first NFR qualification in over a decade, and even held his own through the first five rounds of NFR competition. In Round 3, the young buckskin finished in the third-place position and earned $18,324.97. In Round 6, Smith called upon McKenna Coronado’s Duallys Real Dream, “Trashy,” but after a downed barrel on the double-header day, she’s swapping to her third mount of the 2023 NFR barrel racing.