Custom Vintage Berry Tops Markel Futurity Prospect and Select Broodmare Sale

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA)/Markel Futurity Prospect and Select Broodmare Sale, held December 6 during the 2019 NRHA Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships, kicked off by auctioning breedings to 12 stallions to benefit the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA). A total of $20,400 was raised to support youth activities and scholarships.

The evening was topped by the $175,000 sale of Custom Vintage Berry, a 2017 bay roan colt (A Sparkling Vintage x Custom Roan Berry x Custom Crome). Steve Simon consigned the horse, who was then purchased by Elementa.

“She [Elementa owner, Cecilia Fiorucci] loved the horse from Europe as soon as she saw him,” said agent Domenico Lomuto of Slide or Die LLC. “He will go to Elementa, and I think Cira [Baeck] will show him at the next [European] Futurity. I think that with him, it will probably be one of the best stables in Europe for sure.”

Custom Vintage Berry was in training with Nici Schneider West for 335 days by the time of the sale. His dam is a full sister to American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Champion Custom Red Berry, an earner of more than $187,000. Custom Vintage Berry was enrolled in the NRHA Nomination Program and the NRBC.

A bid of $67,000 made Xtra Kiss Me Again the second-highest seller. Consigned by Gabriel Diano, the 2017 sorrel colt was purchased by Karl Roberts.

Xtra Kiss Me Again (Boom Shernic x SS Kiss Me Kate x Wimpys Little Step) is a grandson of One Tuf Muffin, an earner of nearly $78,000 who was an NRHA Non Pro Reserve World Champion. He was enrolled in the NRHA Nomination Program and the NRBC.

The third-highest seller went for a price of $62,000 and was a young broodmare. Im Mizzen Gunner, a 5-year-old palomino mare consigned by Toyon Ranch LLC, was purchased by Russell Coiles.

Im Mizzen Gunner (Colonels Smoking Gun x Mizzen Shine x Shining Spark) was injured as a yearling and sold as broodmare sound. She had carried two foals in the past but was reset this year, and sold with an embryo conceived May 9, 2019, by SG Frozen Enterprize. Enrolled in the NRHA Nomination Program, NRHA Euro Nomination Program, and the NRBC, the mare was five panel negative.

For those looking for a good deal on a quality reiner, the NRHA/Markel Marketplace Sale will start tomorrow, December 7, at 9:30 a.m. in Barn 3 at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, following the Quarter Horse News Sale Breakfast at 8:30 a.m.

Jesse Asmussen and Ruf Style Of Play Win NRHA CINCH Non Pro Futurity

Great horses and riders were shining under the Friday-night lights of the Jim Norick Coliseum at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) CINCH Non Pro Futurity featured the top horses and riders from the preliminary round, and the champion was decided in an exciting runoff.

Jesse Asmussen & Ruf Style Of Play — CINCH Levels 4 & 3 Non Pro Futurity Champions

Jesse Asmussen and Ruf Style Of Play drew the dreaded No. 1 position for the CINCH Non Pro Futurity finals, but the pair made it count, marking a 220 to take the lead of Levels 3 and 4. As rider after rider took a shot at the lead and fell short, Asmussen and his team worked hard to stay busy. “We were back at the stalls sitting around, pacing, sweeping, and doing anything to just stay busy,” he said. “You don’t really expect a tie. You think someone will come in and beat you.”

Luca Fappani had a wild run-in with a dog that jumped into the pen during his finals’ run, even though State Fair Park requires leashes for all dogs and were checking them at the door. Fappani was given the option of running again after the last draw. “I was just waiting for Luca to go at the end, and then he also marked a 220. We decided to run off, and we had only 15 minutes to get ready,” Asmussen explained. “This mare has been at Kole Price’s, and he told me to just trot her around and that she’d be good to show. It was nerve-wracking, but she was great.”

Rules dictate that the runoff occurs in the same draw order as the original, so once again Asmussen knew he had to set the pace. Once again, the 3-year-old mare gave her best, resulting in a 222. “She was phenomenal in the runoff. I couldn’t believe she was better there than the first time I showed her in the finals,” he said.

The win came with a bounty of prizes, and checks totaling $61,455. “Winning this is a dream every year, and until it happens, it is hard to imagine.”

Asmussen purchased Ruf Style Of Play, by Not Ruf At All and out of UB Stylin With Me, from Vaughn Zimmerman earlier this year. “Bobby Avila Jr. called me in June and told me I needed to buy her. I didn’t need another horse at the time, but he kept calling me and talking to me about her, so we ended up buying her without ever trying her,” he explained.

After showing the mare a couple times, Asmussen elected to send her to Kole Price. “We live in Iowa, and the weather was really bad, so I sent her to Kole’s and he did a phenomenal job getting her ready to come here. She felt so well-trained and easy. I owe him a huge thank-you. I couldn’t have done it on my own. Kole’s wife, Kelsey, did a great job of getting her pretty and making sure everything looks nice,” he said. “I also thank my wife and boys. It’s been a long week, and the boys have been great. My wife does so much at home and keeps me from self-destructing. My mom and dad are also huge supporters. I thank them so much.”

Making this win extra-special for Asmussen is that his long-time friend Dave Kunkle was able to be present. “Dave is the guy who got me started, and both times I’ve won it before he’s been in Iowa, so him being here was pretty special,” Asmussen said.

Luca Fappani & Gotta Get Diamonds — CINCH Level 4 & 3 Non Pro Futurity Reserve Champion, Level 2 & Youth Champion

Luca Fappani didn’t know he’d get to show his horse three times in the non pro finals at his first NRHA CINCH Non Pro Futurity. While competing as draw 30 in the finals, Fappani was completing his second set of circles when a dog catapulted itself into the ring and tried to herd Fappani and his horse.

“The first run was going pretty good. I saw something black and white run out in front of my horse, and I kept going, but the dog kept cutting the circle. I didn’t want to run him over, so I stopped. I’d never seen anything like it,” Fappani said.

Fappani and Gotta Get Diamonds were given the option of a re-run at the end of the finals, but that only gave him nine horses to prepare for yet another run. “He was pretty good the first time, so I trusted him the second time, and he was great. He did everything I wanted,” Fappani said.

When the score of 220 was announced, Fappani had taken the lead of the Level 2 and Youth divisions but was tied with Jesse Asmussen for the lead of the Level 4 and 3. “My horse was great, but I wasn’t sure he could do the same in the runoff. Before the runoff we stayed here and gave him some water and just touched on a few buttons,” Fappni said.

Fappani and Gotta Get Diamonds marked a 218 in the runoff, finishing as reserve champions in Levels 4 and 3. Still, earnings for the day came to $56,910. “This was my first futurity, and it was definitely one to remember,” Fappani said.

Luca’s parents, Andrea and Tish, purchased Gotta Get Diamonds, by Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Tinker With Diamonds, from Rancho Oso Rio in October. “Dad showed him a couple times, and marked a couple 218s, I think. I tried him at Best of the West, and then had a game plan coming in here to make the finals,” Fappani shared. “I took him out there and opened him up. He gave it everything.”

The 15-year-old was gracious, thanking the many people who supported him. “Thank you to my mom and dad and my brother. My whole family supports me,” he said. “Thank you to Rancho Oso Rio for letting us buy him.”

Finishing second in the Level 2 Non Pro was Jessicah Keller and Snips Shining Gun with a 218. Keller and Snips Shining Gun, by Colonels Shining Gun out of newly inducted NRHA Hall of Fame mare Snip O Gun, also placed in Levels 4 and 3. Keller and Snips Shining Gun, owned by Hilldale Farm, pocketed $37,030.

Taylor Zimmerman and Its All About Ruf, by Not Ruf At All and out of Dun Pretty Nifty, finished reserve in the Youth division with a 217.5. Zimmerman won $24,707 for her finals runs on Its All About Ruf. Its All About Ruf is owned by her grandfather, Vaughn Zimmerman.

Blair McFarlin Wins CINCH Level 1 Non Pro Futurity on Starlights N Dreams

Blair McFarlin had never shown at the NRHA CINCH Non Pro Futurity before, but she made it count, qualifying for the finals of the Level 1 through Level 3. In the end, she and her horse, Starlights N Dreams, won the Level 1 Championship with a 215. “I’m extremely excited to even be in the finals. I had a futurity horse a few years ago, but this is the first one to bring here,” she said. McFarlin’s earnings for all levels came to $20,760.

McFarlin and Starlight N Dream, by Magnum Chic Dream out of Strike A Star, had to make an extra run to earn a finals berth. “The first time I went in there and let her do her job, and she was good for me, but not good enough to make it back, so we rode in the consolation round on Wednesday,” she explained. “That really solidified for her and me where we are and what we need to work on.”

McFarlan’s trainer, NRHA Professional Nathan Piper, did most of the prep work on the mare. “He would ride her early in the morning, and then I’d just cruise her around before we went in,” McFarlin said. “Before the finals, Nathan told me to go have fun and stay out of the penalty box.”

McFarlin felt confidence from the first stop of the run. “She ran in and dragged her butt, so I knew we had started on a good note. She got turned well for me, and that’s been her weak spot, so when we got through that I knew we were golden,” she said.

McFarlin, of Franklin, Tennessee, has been riding reiners since she was 12 years old but spent the last four years in college. “I’ve been out of the loop a little bit, but she’s been a fun horse to get back into it,” she said. “I thank my dad, Mike McFarlin, for sticking with me and supporting me all these years.”

Sally Berg and Had Us At Hello (REF Black Mamba x Dunit N Continental) finished as reserve champions in the Level 1, and placed in Levels 2 through 4, winning more than $21,645.

Jose Vazquez Tops CINCH Prime Time Non Pro With Xtra Winding Step

Over the years, Jose Vazquez has built an impressive breeding program and has made an impressive career on the resulting foals of his program. He won the Prime Time Non Pro title and placed third in the Level 4 Non Pro on one of those foals, this one a colt named Xtra Winding Step.

“It was a fun run,” Vazquez said of his 219-point run in the finals, which resulted in a $20,862 paycheck. “He showed he can compete at a high level. I showed him two times before here. He came out here and put together two quality runs. Of course, you want to win every time, so I hope our turn is right around the corner.”

Xtra Winding Step is by Wimpys Little Step out of SLJ Smartlikewhinny. “This is a horse we raised. I showed his grandmother, mother, granddaddy. The first good horse I showed was his grandmother,” he added. “This one is a little more special than the rest. He’s one of the best. I hope you hear from us again soon.”

Vazquez was quick to thank his friends and family. “I thank my family and Alejandro and Mario, his brother. They work hard so I can have fun. Everything is a team effort. My veterinarian, my horseshoer — we all work as a team. That’s how we compete on this level,” he said.

Finishing tied for second in the Prime Time Non Pro was Andre Lauzon and Kelle Smith. Lauzon rode A Whizard Dream (Magnum Chic Dream x Miss Poco Whizard), while Smith rode Spookadoodlede (Tricked Out Spook x Tivitos Top Starlet). Lauzon also placed in the Level 3, for total earnings of $8,696. Smith placed in the Level 3 and Level 4 to take home $16,296.

Short Stirrup and Adequan® NAAC Youth 13 & Under Champions Crowned in Oklahoma City

The Adequan® Arena at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City has been bustling with activity all week, as riders from across North America compete in the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships. Youth competition began Friday with the Adequan® NAAC Youth 13 & Under and the ancillary Short Stirrup class.

Madison Rafacz Wins Third Adequan® NAAC Title with Wimpys Dun Twistin

Madison Rafacz has had quite the week. She traveled from Ocala, Flo., hoping to do well in the Adequan® NAAC competition. She started off strong by winning the NAAC Limited Non Pro on her gelding Whizenboonsmal. The pair followed that up with another NAAC title three days later – this time in the Novice Horse Non Pro.

She capped off her time in Oklahoma City on Friday by winning the Adequan® NAAC Youth 13 & Under, but this time on Wimpys Dun Twistin. “It was a really good run today. I was just trying to have a clean ride, and she was really good for me,” Rafacz said. “It was great to win these classes. I came out here to show seven times, and was hoping I could win something, so to win these three was great.”

Wimpys Dun Twistin is by Wimpys Little Step out of Totally Dun Twistin. “She’s been in our barn since she was three or so, and she’s around 13 now. A customer owned her, and she (Wimpys Dun Twistin) went away for a while to have babies, but now she’s back and we own her,” Rafacz explained. “She’s back in shape now and winning, and she’s just perfect. She’s the favorite in the barn.”

Although his stablemate won the title, Whizenboonsmal (Peptoleap x She Whiz A Star) still pulled off a run that was good enough to mark a 214 and win second in the NAAC Youth 13 & Under. “He is so tired. He showed four times and he’s just over it and ready to be home, but he was good, too,” Rafacz said.

The 12-year-old took home many prizes, including a Bob’s Custom Saddle, Adequan® vests, Platinum Performance jackets, Montana Silversmiths buckles, product from SmartPak and Classic Equine, and gift certificates to Platinum Performance and Bluebonnet. “I thank my mom and dad, Kyla Thurlow, Steven Borgia, Jenna Webb, Stephen Graycheck, McKenna Ivey, my grandma back home, and everyone for being here for me,” she said.

Colt Mitchell Wins Short Stirrup Championship on Playgun Chic Olena

Charismatic Colt Mitchell claimed the Championship of the Short Stirrup division on Playgun Chic Olena. The pair wowed the judges, earning a 217.5. “He was great. The only problem I had was I slowed down after the center. That was our only bobble, but the rest of the run was really good,” Mitchell explained.

Mitchell’s family has owned Playgun Chic Olena, by Smart Chic Olena and out of Mamas Packin, for several years. “He’s actually my sister Molly’s horse, but I stole him from her. He’s 16 years old now, and we’ve had him since he was about seven.” Mitchell added, “He’s just a great horse that is really good at everything. He does it all right. I love him.”

The Short Stirrup title isn’t the only thing Mitchell is taking back to Missouri with him. He also got a new beagle puppy. “His name is Hank. I’m going to use him to hunt rabbits,” he said.

Mitchell, who will turn 11 next year, still has a year of Short Stirrup eligibility left. “I thank the good Lord for keeping me safe and giving me a nice run, and I thank all my family members for coming to watch and support me,” he said.

Becca Schaffhauser took the Short Stirrup reserve title on Dun Got My Rest with a 212.5. Dun Got My Rest, by Hollywood Dun It and out of Got My Rest, is owned by Becca’s father, Sam.

Rookie Riders Take the Spotlight for the Adequan® NAAC

The National Reining Horse Association Futurity also includes the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship, which features horses and riders from across North America competing for big money, prizes, and bragging rights.

On Thursday, Rookie riders took over the Adequan® Arena, with many competing for the title of Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year.

Kalena Reynolds and Gun Whiz It Win Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year

Kalena Reynolds has had her eye on the Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year title for several years, and on Thursday evening, that dream became reality. She and her horse, Gun Whiz It, marked a 215.5 to win not only the Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year title but also Reserve in the Adequan® NAAC Rookie Level 2.  “I can’t describe how excited I am. This is amazing,” Reynolds said following the class. “I’m so incredibly grateful for it all. Just to have the chance to win is absolutely amazing. I’m so thankful to have it and I owe it all to my mare.”

Although Reynolds has won quite a bit with Gun Whiz It, she still had some setbacks during the year. “I almost fell off in the finals at the (AQHA) youth world, and that hurt my confidence a bit. Then I didn’t have a great run at the Run For a Million, but I was still happy to be here,” she said. “I pulled it together and had the mindset of whatever happens, happens. I walked in, and she spun so well for me, and she was good for the entire performance.”

Reynolds won a Bob’s Custom Saddle, an Adequan® champion vest, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, product from Classic Equine, and gift certificates to Bluebonnet, Platinum Performance, and SmartPak.

The 16-year-old, who competes in the Oklahoma Reining Horse Association and represents the South Central Region, has owned the mare for 3.5 years. The 8-year-old mare is by Gunner and out of Roll Whiz It. “She’s my absolute best friend in the entire world. I love her so much. She loves oranges and hanging out with people,” Reynolds shared. “I thank her for always being there. I thank my mom who is my number one supporter. I also thank Fred and Dany Tremblay, and Ethan and Angie Wiley.”

There was a tie for reserve in the Toyon Rookie of the Year and the ancillary Rookie Level 1 between Jenna Webb and Sydney Friedman. Both riders marked 214s on their horses. Webb rode Ima Blonde Chic, a 5-year-old mare by Magnum Chic Dream out of Im Not Blonde. Friedman rode her 7-year-old stallion Spooks Full Throttle, by Spooks Gotta Gun out of Angierilla Boom.

Webb and Friedman split prizes which included a Montana Silversmith’s buckle, Adequan® vests, Classic Equine products, and gift certificates to Platinum Performance, Bluebonnet, and SmartPak.

Kyla Thurlow Wins Adequan® NAAC Rookie Level 2 on Kachina Olena Tag

Kyla Thurlow wasn’t feeling too confident riding into the Adequan® Arena for the NAAC Rookie Level 2. The night before, her horse had shown he had his own ideas. “I was a little nervous, but he was wonderful today. When we got in the arena I knew he was going to let me show him,” she said of their run. “We had a penalty to the right, but he circled better than he ever has, and he stopped really good for me. I couldn’t have asked for more from him.”

Not only did Thurlow win the Adequan® NAAC title, she also won the accompanying ancillary class, winning a bevy of prizes including a saddle from Bob’s Custom Saddles, an Adequan® vest, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, Classic Equine product, and gift certificates to Bluebonnet and SmartPak.

“I never thought I would win here. I did the Rookie of the Year many years ago, and it’s changed for sure. Now you have a lot of steps to get here, and you have to conquer them all. It’s been wonderful,” Thurlow said.

Although Thurlow lives in Massachusetts, her horse, Kachina Olena Tag (Whiz N Tag Chex x Kachina Oak Olena) resides in Florida with Mark and Shannon Rafacz. “I fly down for the weekend a couple times a month to see him and ride. I don’t get a lot of time in the saddle, so I’m fortunate he’s as nice as he is,” Thurlow said. “I thank Shannon and Mark. I owe them. They make this possible for me. I also thank everyone who has a hand in this – my mom and dad, Madison Rafacz, and my boyfriend Steven.”

Debbie Good Wins Adequan® NAAC Rookie Prime Time on Chics Love Me Wimpy

Debbie Good and her 9-year-old gelding Chics Love Me Wimpy (Wimpys Little Step x Dream About Magic) marked a 213 to win the Adequan® NAAC Prime Time Rookie. Winning an NAAC title has been a goal of hers since purchasing the gelding three years ago. “It feels absolutely amazing. I can’t even express it. Josh (Tishman) won so many awards on this horse, and I’ve just been trying to win one of my own,” Good shared.”

The first ever Adequan® NAAC Prime Time Rookie Champion received a saddle from Bob’s Custom Saddle, as well as an Adequan® vest, a Platinum Performance jacket, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, Classic Equine product, and gift certificates to Bluebonnet and SmartPak.

“We’ve been practicing in the arena all week and working on our circles. We were finding the holes we had and working on them. I broke my shoulder nine weeks ago, and my goal was just to get back here,” Good said. “Our goal was to go in the arena and not get overwhelmed by it. I felt very confident when I walked in. He was locked into me, and we really went for it on our rundowns, slides, and rollbacks.”

Dentoni & Brokaw Claim Ancillary Rookie Prime Time Co-Championship

Lisa Dentoni and Kimberly Brokaw tied for the ancillary Prime Time Rookie Championship, with each rider marking a 209.5. Both riders gave much of the credit to their equine counterparts. Dentoni was riding Smart Little Dunnit, while Brokaw rode KR Ima Dreamer.

“Harry (Smart Little Dunnit) was just super, and we got through all the maneuvers. We just did the best we could, and it all worked out,” Dentoni said. “I thank everyone here who has been there for me this week. We all pulled together. I thank everyone from the west coast who came together to support us all here.”

Dentoni purchased Smart Little Dunnit, by Smart Spook out of Jan Van Bar B Dun It, in July. “We picked him up from the McCutcheons, and he’s just a kind horse. He’s gentle, well-mannered, and good natured. He’s just a pleasure to have in the barn,” she said.

Brokaw has been riding KR Ima Dreamer, by Magnum Chic Dream out of KR Ima Tejon, for almost a year. “I probably couldn’t have asked him for anything better. He did everything I asked him to do. I just love this horse,” she shared. “He has taught me a ton. Tonight was probably the best run we’ve ever had. He just locked on and was awesome.”

KR Ima Dreamer is owned by Kristen Avila. “I thank Bobby and Kristin Avila for the privilege of riding this awesome horse. I also thank my trainer and coach Josh Murphy,” Brokaw said.

Emily Emerson Wins NRHA Invitational Freestyle on Give Me Starbucks

Easily one of the most entertaining events of the National Reining Horse Association Futurity took place Thursday evening, when the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau presented the $20,000-added Invitational Freestyle.

Ten riders were invited to compete, and the pool was chosen from winners and crowd favorites from other freestyle events. Swashbuckler Captain Jack Sparrow, Santa, and more fantastic characters made an appearance in the Jim Norick Coliseum of State Fair Park.

Taking top honors in the Invitational Freestyle, and winning a big check for $6,936, were Emily Emerson and Give Me Starbucks. They performed to Gary Allen’s hit song, “Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain,” and marked a 223. “I didn’t have the greatest year, and I did this song a few years ago. It hits a certain spot inside of you when you had a year you had hoped would be better. Doing this song and coming out at the top is a great way to start out the new year,” Emerson said.

Emerson was riding Give Me Starbucks, a 9-year-old mare owned by Kelly Rainford. “This was the first time I got to be super serious with her and so the fact that I took the bridle off without not knowing how she would be, shows what a rock solid, good mare she is,” she shared.

The pair entered the arena missing a very vital piece of equipment – the bridle. “I was feeling confident. When she walked in, she was really good. When I first loped her off, it didn’t go like I planned, but she locked in and gave me the run I was hoping for,” Emerson said.

Having grown up on a ranch in Montana, Emerson has worked for Shane Brown for almost 13 years. “He’s taught me everything that I got done tonight,” she shared.

Dan James and Don Magnum finished second in the Invitational Freestyle with a 222.5, collecting a check for $5,508. Third went to Sharee Schwartzenberger and Game Day Surprise, who won $4,080.