Casey Deary and Ten Thirty Win Historic NRHA Open Futurity Championship

The 2021 National Reining Horse Association Futurity made history on several levels, boasting the highest number of entries, the most robust purse, and the largest Open Championship check in history

NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary and Ten Thirty claimed the Championship and an incredible $350,000 Championship check from draw #1 of the MS Diamonds TX Level 4 Open Finals. The pair had been solid all week, topping the first round of the competition with a 225, and marking a 216 in the second round to earn a spot in the clean-slate finals.

In the Finals, the pair put together a flawless run, marking a 223.5 and winning an incredible $350,000. “You know, that horse has so much feel and so much ability that my job is just to stay out of his way and make sure I put him in the right spot. I thought he was exceptional tonight,” noted Deary, who’s won the Open Futurity twice before. “He really came together in the finals; he just kept getting better all week.”

Ten Thirty was bred and nominated by Brooke Wharton, who consigned the colt, by NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya and out of Dainty Little Step, to the NRHA Markel Futurity Sales. “Brooke tried to hide him from me. The first time I saw him was when he walked out of the stall to go to the sale ring, and I asked her why I hadn’t seen him,” Deary joked. “My friends Dany and Fred Tremblay bought him from the sale and took him home.”

Deary gave credit to Dany Tremblay, a fellow NRHA Million Dollar Rider, for the colt’s solid foundation. “Basically, Dany did all the work on him. I bought him on the way home from the NRHA Derby as a 2-year-old. Dany had him doing all the parts already, so there really was no guesswork. I knew he was capable of doing all the stuff,” he said. “Dany has been awesome to follow and did a fantastic job on this horse.”

Ten Thirty is now owned by Rancho El Fortin of Coahuila, Mexico. “We started this with my father, and I wish he could have been here to witness this,” Aldo Ramon said. “It’s really special. I just don’t have any words to express how this feels. It’s not easy. It’s a long way to get here, and we’re really happy.”

Aldo and his brothers Marco and Claudio were present to watch this historic win, but they admitted that the first position draw was discouraging. “It didn’t feel good, but Casey was confident. He said we would have fresh ground and that we’d set the bar high, and he did,” Marco shared.

“This was amazing, spectacular, overwhelming,” Claudio added.

The brothers have set their sights on the major derbies in 2022, naming the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel and the National Reining Breeders Classic as the next stops for Ten Thirty. “He’ll definitely be staying with Casey,” Marco shared.

Deary qualified three horses to the finals and finished 10th with Live N On A Prayer (In Like Flinn x Americasnextgunmodel), owned by Neiberger Performance Horses, and 11th with Gunna Be Flintastic (In Like Flinn x ARC Gunna Mark Ya), owned by Donald Dieser/Justice PH. All totaled, Deary won $403,422, plus a year’s use of a trailer from Kyle Zanetti Trailers, a Bob’s Custom Saddle, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, Anderson Bean Boots, a hat from Shorty’s Hattery, Platinum Performance, Anderson Bean boots, product from SmartPak, GlycoGuard, Brandt Blankets, Bluebonnet Feed, Dr. Joe Carter, and Classic Equine.

Tying himself for second, and unofficially becoming NRHA’s leading rider and only Seven Million Dollar Rider, was Andrea Fappani. Fappani rode Winding Inferno (Inferno Sixty Six x Wind Her Up Chic) and Mr Farenheit (Magnum Chic Dream x Wimpy Little Girl) to identical scores of 223. Winding Inferno, owned by Teton Ridge, was nominated by Giorgia Codeluppi, while Mr Farenheit, owned by the partnership of Morin and Vandorp, was nominated by Peter Morgan.

Level 3 & Level 2 Open Champion – Jesse Beckley & Trashinyurdreams

Canadian Jesse Beckley has come short of making the NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Finals several times. “I’ve missed it numerous times by a half point, so this one got the monkey off my back,” Beckley said.

Beckley made his Finals debut count, piloting Trashinyurdreams to a 222.5 to win the Levels 2 and 3, and place fifth in the Level 4 Open, pocketing a cool $120,652 for owner Norma Siebert.

When asked about this moment, Beckley acknowledged its significance. “Oh, yeah, being in the top of the Level 4 and taking the 3 and the 2 is a dream come true for anybody,” he said.

After scoring a 220 in both the first go round and the Semi-Finals, Beckley and Trashinyurdreams became a team to watch. The crowd was already full of adrenaline, but the Jim Norick trembled as Beckley ran in for his first stop. “I mean, I knew this horse was kind of a crowd favorite because he has been so good in the go rounds. Plus, he just has that lovable look about him. I knew it was going to be loud, but nothing can prepare you for that,” he shared.

After reaching out to friends looking for the “special horse,” Beckley finally had a lead. “My good friend Adam Hendrickson works for Judy Box. I was looking for a yearling/coming two-year-old a couple years ago, and Adam phoned me and said ‘We’ve got a bunch of nice ones this year, and I think I have the one that you’re looking for,’ and it ended up being a perfect match,” Beckley explained. That colt, Trashinyurdreams, is by NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya out of This Chicsdundreamin, and was nominated by Rhodes River Ranch.

“I thank all the guys that helped me. I mean, there are so many people that I can’t even list everybody at this point. Thank you to all of them,” he said.

Dakin Allred gave Beckley a run for the money, piloting Ice Face to a 222, taking the Level 3 Reserve Championship and tying for sixth in the Level 4 for total earnings of $79,707. Ice Face, owned by Bettina Bellini Geno/Joy Ghiselli, is by SG Frozen Enterprize out of Dun Painting My Face. The colt was nominated by Ginger Schmersal.

There was a two-way tie for second in the Level 2 Open between Josh Lyons and Eduardo Salgado, who both marked a 215.5. Salgado rode Toca Lil Vintage, by Two Million Dollar Sire A Sparkling Vintage out of Lil Dreamer, owned and nominated by Renata Lemann. Salgado won $10,082.

Lyons rode I Shine At Nite, by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite out of Shiney Enterprise, to not only tie for the Level 2 Reserve Championship, but also finish in a tie for 10th in the Level 3, earning $19,688. I Shine At Nite, bred by McQuay Stables and nominated by Kevin Colston, is owned by Josh and his wife Jana.

Prime Time Open Champion – Dan Huss & This Joe Got A Gun

Dan Huss and This Joe Got A Gun snagged the Prime Time Open Futurity Championship title Saturday night in the Jim Norick arena, cashing in with a score of 221.5. That’s because the pair not only topped the Prime Time, they finished third in the Level 3 and tied for eighth in the Level 4 to win more than $62,440.

Huss is no stranger to success in the arena during the Futurity, riding This Joe Got A Gun to a 223 during the first round of the Open Futurity to top the Level 3. “You know, I’ve been at this for quite a few years and I wanted to step up there and show everybody that we can still do it,” Huss said.

As Huss and This Joe Got a Gun, sired by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Lil Joe Cash out of This Girls Got A Gun, stood at the Gateway of Champions before entering the Norick Coliseum, Huss chose to think of his maneuvers instead of a number to mark.

“I try to think of the steps I need to do that maneuver as good as my horse can,” Huss said. “I wanted to be aggressive on my first maneuver, and I wanted to make the judges sit up in their chairs and score me.”

Started by Max Sloan, Huss found This Joe Got a Gun on a reining horse shopping trip in Texas. Bob Sheer, a customer of Huss’s, bought him but was told to take a year off from riding by his doctors and had Huss sell the horse to Jamie Walters, another customer of Huss’ and a Non Pro rider.

“We sold him to Jamie with the idea that he is going to be her derby horse,” Huss shared. “So he is going to go on to be a non pro horse.”

While the score didn’t quite reflect what Huss had hoped to accomplish, he added he is very proud of This Joe Got a Gun and the team that got him here. When asked who he would like to thank, Huff shared, “It’s a whole team effort!”

NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida took reserve honors in the Prime Time Open and finished tied for fourth in the Level 4 to win more than $75,000 on Shiner On My Eye. The colt, by Shiners Voodoo Dr out of Flashy Lil Step, is owned by NRHA Million Dollar Owner Robert Santagata. The pair’s success in the Norick Coliseum helped Shiners Voodoo Dr become, unofficially, an NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire.

Level 1 Open Champion – Abby Kampmann & Sparklins Last Dream

The Level 1 Open Futurity Championship was decided during the first section of the Open Finals, and it was Abby Kampmann and Sparklins Last Dream, owned by Viola Scott, who emerged victorious.

The path to the championship was a bit of a rollercoaster, with a solid first round 212.5-point run, followed by a 204 in the semi-finals. The two came back strong to mark their personal best – a 214.5 – and take the title. Kampmann won $5,707 and took home awards including a saddle from Bob’s Custom Saddles, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, a hat from Shorty’s Hattery, Platinum Performance, Anderson Bean boots, product from SmartPak, GlycoGuard, Brandt Blankets, Bluebonnet Feed, Dr. Joe Carter, and Classic Equine.

“The first go we had a clean run, but I didn’t actually push her hard enough to get the credit I needed. The second go I pushed her harder, but we had some bobbles,” Kampmann shared. “For the Finals, I knew I needed to speed her up but slow myself down.”

The formula worked. “I’m still in shock. This is not something I thought would happen when we backed off the trailer. I was just hoping for the best run we could have, so I am thrilled things worked out the way they did,” she said. “This filly means so much to Viola and Jack Scott. To have her be successful means so much.”

Sparklins Last Dream is indeed special. She is by Magnum Chic Dream, the Scott’s NRHA Six Million Dollar Stallion, and out of Still Sparklin, who was a full sister to NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Shining Spark.

“When Carol Rose had her dispersal sale, she owned Still Sparklin. She didn’t want to sell her, and she told me, ‘I’d like to give her to you,’” Scott recalled. “That mare gave us five babies – four boys, and then this little girl. She’s the last one, and that’s how she got her name. Her mother was such a nice mare, and a gift to us from Carol.”

Scott added, “Abby did such a super job with our special girl. I am so proud of them both.”

Riding Reyzed On Crush, Raphael Bourdeau took the Level 1 Reserve Championship with a 214, winning $4,326. Reyzed On Crush is by PS Mega Shine Chic out of Dual Rey Olena Play. The colt, bred by Sandy Corriveau, was nominated and is owned by Adh-Mor Ranch.

Affiliate Action Wraps Up at NRHA Futurity & Adequan® NAAC

The Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships, held during the National Reining Horse Association Futurity, culminated Saturday afternoon. The Bob’s Custom Saddles Rookie 2 and Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year Showdowns in the Coliseum, and the NAAC Youth 14-18 competition being held in the Adequan® Arena.

Rita Clausen Wins NRHA Bob’s Custom Saddles & Toyon Ranch Rookie Showdowns

The final day of the 2021 National Reining Horse Association Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships kicked off with intense competition in the Jim Norick Coliseum.

The inaugural Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year Showdown and Bob’s Custom Saddles Rookie Level 2 Show were run concurrently, and after the last horse had cleared the pen, only one entry remained at the top of both divisions – Rita Clausen.

The 15-year-old competitor was teamed up with veteran reiner Smart Tinseltown, and the duo marked a 214, winning the $5,000 bonus for both divisions. “This was so much fun, I just had so much fun with it,” Clausen said. “We turned ok, and had a turn penalty the second way, but he circled really good and easy. Then he stopped good, and he was really honest,” she said.

With a $10,000 purse up for grabs in both the Toyon Ranch and Bob’s Custom Saddles Showdowns, Clausen had to battle a bit of nervousness. “I was a little nervous, and was even feeling kind of sick this morning,” Clausen admitted. “I decided I just needed to deal with it, get on, and go show.”

She added, “Thank you so much to both of the sponsors. This was such a fun class and opportunity, and I really enjoyed it.”

Smart Tinseltown is by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Smart Spook out of Tinseltown Lil Step. The 11-year-old gelding has won more than $124,000 in his career, including big wins with both of Rita’s sisters, Anna and Shelby. “He has been in our family forever. Both of my sisters have shown him and done well on him, and now it’s my turn,” Rita said. “Next year I get to show him in the Non Pro classes.”

Clausen thanked her parents, Marie Kleiner, and the whole Schmersal barn.

Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year Showdown Winners

  • Rita Clausen & Smart Tinseltown – $5,000
  • Logan Flaherty & Cashing Black Chex – $2,500
  • Rita Clausen & Whiz Eli Code – $1,500
  • Wayne Mizelle & Whizkey At Dawn – $1,000

Bob’s Custom Saddles Rookie 2 Showdown Winners

  • Rita Clausen & Smart Tinseltown – $5,000
  • Logan Flaherty & Cashing Black Chex – $2,500
  • Caleb Sturgeon & Whizkeys Shining Gun – $1,500
  • Rita Clausen & Whiz Eli Code – $1,000

Mazie Petelski Wins NAAC Youth 14 – 18 Championship on Chexalicious

With a score of 214, Mazie Petelski won the Adequan® NAAC Youth 14-18 Championship. Her partner for the event was Chexalicious, by Busy Winin Chex out of Gunnaliciuos. The duo won a saddle from Continental Saddlery, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, product from Dr. Joe Carter, Platinum Performance and Classic Equine, and a gift certificate for Bluebonnet Feed.

“I’ve had him about seven months now, and have been to about six shows,” Petelski said. “Today he was super honest in the show pen. We just walked in, he put his game face on, and we went for it. He was there for me the whole time and never had any bobbles. Everything I asked him to do, he did, and he just felt really nice and honest.”

Next up for the pair? “This coming year will be his last derby year. We will probably just go to the derbies until he’s not eligible anymore,” Petelski said of the 6-year-old gelding. “To win this means so much, and that all of the hard work I have put in these past few months has finally paid off. Hopefully, we can just continue to grow from here.”

Petelski thanked her trainer, Logan Brumfield, and her parents.

Jennifer Gilliam Wins NRHA CINCH Non Pro Futurity Championship on Surprizing Sixty Six

Jennifer Gilliam and Surprizing Sixty Six dominated the National Reining Horse Association CINCH Non Pro Futurity, first topping the preliminary round, and then putting together a 222.5-point run to win the CINCH Level 4 Non Pro Championship!

The pair also won the Non Pro Level 3 Championship, bringing their Friday night paycheck to $82,593! “Today, I mean, there are no words. I knew I would have to go for it tonight because everyone else had laid down runs earlier. I knew I had to control my nerves because I knew it was going to be loud,” Gilliam shared. “I credit Jordan McBurney with preparing me and my horse. She told me to be ready for the loud. You know, your friends cheer for you in the go rounds, but in the finals, everyone cheers for you.”

As Gilliam and Surprizing Sixty Six, by Inferno Sixty Six out of Dun With Surprizes, executed an impressive pattern. “I knew I had put a run together, but you never know if it’s enough,” she said. “I knew I had to go for it, and the mare was just there for me.”

Gilliam started the mare, owned by her mother Janiene Borror and nominated by Valentin Rascon, and rode her through October of her 2-year-old year before handing the reins to McBurney. “Jordan kind of brought her along from there,” she said.

Gilliam and Surprizing Sixty Six went to four pre-futurities, winning three and splitting the win at the fourth. “I came in here feeling confident but feeling some pressure. Then, to win the go round was an amazing feeling. I have made the finals, but never even placed in the go round. I always just seem to be the last one in, so that was huge,” she said. “Then last year I missed the finals by a half-point, and then the two years before that I zeroed in the finals.”

So what does it mean to win the CINCH Non Pro Futurity? “Honestly, you look at goals and dreams, and this has always been one, but I don’t know that I actually thought it could happen,” Gilliam admitted. “This was the first time I felt like I actually had enough horse to do it but to actually win it is just an amazing feeling.”

Gilliam plans to flush a few embryos from Suprizing Sixty Six before showing her in derby competition.

Jana Simons and Raisinthebar Win CINCH Non Pro Level 2 Championship

With a score of 216.5, Jana Simons took the CINCH Non Pro Level 2 Championship. Her partner for the event was Raisinthebar, a mare by PS Mega Shine Chic out of Chic In The Bar.

“The run today was awesome. She was super easy to show, and I have no complaints about it at all. It was lots and lots of fun,” Simons said following the finals, where she was presented with a check for $13,488.

Simons purchased Raisinthebar, nominated by Adh-Mor Ranch, as a 2-year-old. “Dany and Fred Tremblay found her for me, and she’s just been a lot of fun. She did well at the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity, and she’s just gotten better since then. That’s what you want. She’s matured mentally and takes the pressure and my shenanigans,” she said.

Simons and Raisinthebar marked a 211 in the go round. “She was really good. We had a little bit of a bobble, but she is awesome every time I showed her. She’s a lot of fun,” she explained.

Although she has had plenty of success in the Jim Norick Coliseum, winning the Level 2 twice before, Simons says competing in the Finals never gets old. “I would run into that first stop five more times if I could. It’s so fun,” she said. “The NRHA has done a super job of creating a platform where it’s a lot of fun for the exhibitor and the spectator. It’s great.”

Simons rides with Dany and Fred Tremblay. “Dany and Fred have done a great job for me, and the people who work for Dany and Fred have helped me a ton. Everyone there has just been awesome,” she said. “Also I thank my sister, Sarah, and my mom, Andrea, who are always hanging out with me at horse shows. They’re always up for being at the shows with me.”

Kindel Walter and My Best Friends Girl Win CINCH L1 Non Pro Co-Championship

Weatherford, Texas, competitor Kindel Walter qualified for the CINCH Non Pro Finals in Levels 3-1, tying for the win of the Level 1 and placing in Levels 2 and 3 with a score of 215.5. Walters and her horse, My Best Friends Girl, collected more than $22,229 for their efforts in the Jim Norick Coliseum.

It was Walter’s first time to show at the NRHA Futurity. “It was special. I’ve never really shown in NRHA competition before, and I haven’t really shown horses in more than 10 years. My sister, Kelsey Price, and my husband, Jason, talked me into it, and now I’m kind of hooked,” she said with a laugh.

Walter purchased My Best Friends Girl, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Diva Dual, from Diane Beckmann, who had bred and nominated the mare. “I bought her in April this year, and she’s really sweet. I loved her temperament. She was quiet and willing when I tried her,” Walter said.

So what did it feel like to run into the arena for her very first Finals? “Thankfully I was really calm. I had prayed a lot about it, so I wasn’t nervous at all. I was able to enjoy it and it was really awesome. I had never done a run in pattern, ever, so I felt a lot of pressure, but it was still fun,” she said. “I thank my brother-in-law, Kole Price, who trained my horse and put all the hours into her, and my sister, Kelsey, because she was there to push me along the way. I also thank my husband, Jason Walters, because this was his idea.”

Emma Vanlandingham Wins CINCH L1 Non Pro Co-Championship on Ruf Rider

With a 215.5, Emma Vanlandingham and Ruf Rider claimed the CINCH Level 1 Non Pro Co-Championship, as well as third in the Youth Non Pro. All totaled, Vanlandingham is returning to Whitesboro, Texas, $6,112 richer. “My horse was awesome tonight. I had a really big bobble in the go rounds, but I was so happy with him tonight. It was my fault in the go-rounds, so I can’t blame him for anything,” she said.

Ruf Rider is by NRHA’s newest Million Dollar Sire Not Ruf At All and out of Dun Pretty Nifty. The gelding was bred and nominated by NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner Vaughn Zimmerman, who sold the colt to the Vanlandinghams a few months ago.

Vanlandingham’s father, NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider Jason Vanlandingham, gave his daughter some sage advice prior to the Finals. “He said, ‘Go show him off and show what you have been working for this whole time,’” she shared.

It’s only the 13-year-old’s second year to show a futurity horse, and her first time to earn a spot in the finals. “I had one last year that I got about two weeks before the finals, and I was really nervous, but this was pretty cool. I was a little disappointed because I knew my horse was good enough to make the Level 4, but my bobbles didn’t let him. I was still really excited, though,” she explained.

Did Vanlandingham feel much pressure as one of the youngest riders in the Futurity? “No, I have been preparing for this since I was very young, so I felt ready,” she said. “I thank my mom and dad, and of course Vaughn Zimmerman who sold us the horse.”

Kelle Smith Takes CINCH Prime Time Non Pro Championship on Spookified

Riding one of the smallest horses in the competition, Kelle Smith marked one of the biggest scores of the finals – a 220.5. That not only topped the Prime Time Non Pro, it was also good enough to take the Level 3 Reserve Championship and tie for third in the Level 4. At the end of the night, Smith, of Marietta, Okla., had won more than $47,000, pushing her lifetime earnings over $925,000.

“This never gets old, but showing in the Finals makes me more nervous now. I had trouble getting ready because I couldn’t focus. Then I went through the gate and she stopped so hard, everyone starting screaming, and I was right where I needed to be,” Smith said.

Spookified, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Spooks Gotta Whiz out of JDS Shining Image, was bred and nominated by Troop Quarter Horses. “We got her from Dr. and Dr. Troop as a yearling, and she’s been with us the whole time. Morgan Moser rode her most of her 2-year-old year, and then I took over this year. It sounds cliché, but she’s always had something special,” Smith said. “I hope I never have to ride anything but a Spooks Gotta Whiz. They’re pretty, great stoppers, and I just bond with them.”

Next up for Smith and Spookified? “I’d love to take her home, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not ready to talk about that. Right now, I’m just going to enjoy her,” she said. “I have so many people to thank, and I am so sorry if I forget someone. I thank Sam, Morgan Moser, Brian Bell, Patrice St-Onge, Arno Ferret…There is just a plethora of people, and everyone is always so nice to me. It’s greatly appreciated.”

Luca Fappani and Talladega Ice Win CINCH Youth Non Pro Championship

Marking a 219, Luca Fappani and Talladega Ice not only won the CINCH Youth Non Pro Championship, they also finished fourth in the Level 4, winning $26,493.

While the Scottsdale, Arizona, Non Pro was happy with his run, he’s sure his horse will have more to give in the future. “I know that he’s an incredible horse, and I think he has a lot more than a 219 in him. We will keep working, and hopefully he reaches his full potential because he’s a big-time horse,” the 17-year-old shared. “I still thought he was really good everywhere, and I was happy with him.”

Luca’s parents, Andrea and Tish Fappani, purchased the colt, by SG Frozen Enterprize out of Skeets Chexy Nic, from nominator Gabrielle Solum. “We’ve had him a long time, and we think he is pretty special,” Fappani said. “Now he’s going to go home, get some time off, and we will do what is best for him. We now have four derby years, so we don’t have to rush. Of course, if he feels good and ready, we will show him.”

Fappani gave much of the credit for his success to his father, NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani. “I thank my dad. He’s my greatest help and my greatest friend, and we have been working on this horse together. He’s ridden him for me some to help me out and put him back where he needs to be when I kind of veer off a little bit,” he said. “He’s the greatest coach.”

It looks like Fappani will eventually be following in his father’s footsteps. “I definitely want to be a horse trainer,” he said.

NRHA Adequan® NAAC Rookie & Youth Titles Awarded Friday

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. It was a full day of classes in the Adequan® Arena, with the remainder of the Rookie classes wrapping up Friday morning. Then the youth riders of the National Reining Horse Youth Association took over, with the Adequan® NAAC Youth 13 & Under and the ancillary Short Stirrup class rounding out the day.

Logan Flaherty Wins Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year and NAAC Rookie Level 2

With an impressive 219, Logan Flaherty cleaned house in the Rookie classes in the Adequan® Arena. The number of entries was so large that the class had to be run over two days, and in the end, Flaherty took home the Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year Championship, the Adequan® NAAC Rookie 2 Championship, and the ancillary titles for both divisions.

All totaled, the young competitor collected more than $1,641 in money, plus two saddles from Bob’s Custom Saddles, two Montana Silversmiths buckles, product from Dr. Joe Carter, Platinum Performance and Classic Equine, and gift certificates for Bluebonnet Feed.

Flaherty also qualified for Bob’s Custom Saddles Rookie 2 and Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year Showdowns, which will be held Saturday morning in the Jim Norick Coliseum.

“I was really excited to win this because earlier this year I thought I had a chance to win The Run For A Million Rookie, but I had a couple of bobbles. So I came here and was really prepared, and the hard work paid off,” he said.

Flaherty’s partner for the year has been Cashing Black Chex, by Big Chex To Cash out of Blazing In Black. The 9-year-old gelding is owned by Kim Niven, but the Flaherty’s leased the talented performer for Logan to show. “Kim told me I could show him this year, and I am grateful to have had him. I thank Kim and Tim Anderson for letting me show such a special horse this year,” he said. “I also thank my mom and dad. I thank my dad for training me and my mom for helping me out. I also thank everyone in my dad’s barn for helping me, and the good Lord himself.”

When recounting his run, Flaherty admitted it was a bit nerve-wracking because of all the people there. It was on one of the last rollbacks that it began to dawn on him that he might have won it. “Then we stopped big, backed up, and it was really loud,” he shared.

Flaherty is looking forward to Saturday morning’s Showdown round. “I’m a little nervous because it’s a pattern I usually have trouble on, but we have already had a really good week and this is just extra,” he said.

Mark Hurd Takes NAAC Prime Time Non Pro Title on Im Painted Special

With more than 230 runs in the Rookie classes, finishing in the top 10 is an accomplishment, and winning a division is incredible. Mark Hurd did both of those with his horse Im Painted Special, winning the NAAC Prime Time Rookie Championship and the ancillary Prime Time Rookie, as well as finishing in the top 10 for the Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year and NAAC Rookie Level 2.

Hurd won a saddle from Continental Saddlery, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, product from Dr. Joe Carter, Platinum Performance and Classic Equine, and a gift certificate for Bluebonnet Feed.

Im Painted Special, by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite out of Darlins Not Painted, qualified to compete in the NAACs at the last minute. “Sam (Im Painted Special) has just been back to training now for about four weeks because of an injury. Matt Palmer was great enough to take me out to Cloverdale, Indiana, to get qualified, which was our last chance to get qualified,” Hurd explained. “But here we went in, and he was great. He was really pure. I call him Sam, but his registered is Im Painted Special, and he is all that. He is very special.”

By virtue of placing in the top 10 for both Rookie Levels 1 and 2, Hurd and Im Painted Special earned a spot in both the Bob’s Custom Saddles and Toyon Ranch Showdowns on Saturday morning. “I think the Showdowns are an awesome idea. I’m really happy to qualify and give a big thank you to Bob’s Custom Saddles and Toyon Ranch for sponsoring them. I think they are great because you have an opportunity – if you think you messed up – you can go back in and see if you can do even better,” he said. “Sam and I were in the Derby finals this past year, and he was a good boy. He’s been there before, and hopefully, I won’t make any mistakes. My plan is to just ride conservatively and stay out of trouble.”

Hurd, of Wilmington, Delaware, had many people to thank. “First I thank my Lord and Savior. I thank my family, both here and watching remotely, who have been really supportive of a guy who was silly enough to pick up reining when he was already in his 50s. I thank Tom McCutcheon for starting Sam, and Matt Palmer and his mom Joan. I also thank his wife, Hannah, and the whole team that takes such good care of Sam and his legs,” Hurd said.

Clayton Porath Wins Short Stirrup Championship on Gunna Be Expensive

With the hustle and bustle of a full week of showing at the NRHA Futurity & Adequan NAAC, the Porath family has been juggling time in the arena. On Friday, it was Clayton Porath’s time to shine in the arena when he showed for the first time in Oklahoma City.

After a short two months together, Porath and his mare Gunna Be Expensive (Gunnatrashya x Whizen Starlight), stayed focused to score a 216.5 to win the Short Stirrup. It was a large class with 22 fierce exhibitors.

There was no doubt the team had an incredible bond, and Porath was excited to finally have the chance to show the mare. “She is just a really nice horse. I love everything about her. She is really kind and will eat just about anything,” he added. “A potato chip or a fruit snack, she will eat just about anything. That’s a good thing. When I am at the horse show and have pizza, she will stare at me until I share with her and give her the crust.”

Porath plans to thank his horse with a treat of a carrot. He also thanked his mom, his dad, and his Lord.

Madison Rafacz Takes NAAC Youth 13 & Under Championship on Got Twisted In Vegas

The Adequan® NAAC Youth 13 & Under was full of exceptional exhibitors. With a total of 38 riders, the pressure was high, but that didn’t matter to Madison Rafacz, who marked a 216 to take the top spot.

Rafacz rode Got Twisted In Vegas, a 4-year-old mare by High Roller Whiz out of Wimpys Dun Twistin. The win was special for Rafacz, who purchased the mare as a 2-year-old and has been responsible for the majority of her training.

 “It went really well. She was super honest, and I was super happy with her,” Rafacz, of Citra, Florida, shared. “She did everything I asked of her. She was good.”

It takes a team, Rafacz shared. She thanked her parents, especially her dad Mark, for helping her with her mare. She also thanked her entire barn, and Martin, for always supporting her.

Calla Thomas Wins Youth 13 & Under on Great King Jack

A win is a poignant moment, but it is especially special when it is on a horse that you grew up with. Calla Thomas was there the night that Great King Jack (Great King Pine x Great Red Jackie) was born, and the team grew up together. It wasn’t until last year that the duo began showing together, but they performed seamlessly during Friday’s Youth classes in the Adequan® Arena, resulting in a score of 215 that won the ancillary Youth 13 & Under and Reserve in the NAAC Youth 13 & Under.

The smiles were big as Thomas beamed about her run. “He turned really good to the right. We got shut off good, and then we went to the left and I had an underspin. We did circle really good, and stopped great,” Thomas said. “I thank my parents who have trained Jack and me, and everyone who has ever helped get me where I am today, and of course, I thank Jack. He is a really special horse.”

Hanson and Whitmarsh Win Friday’s NRHA Bob’s Custom Saddles Showdowns

The final weekend of the 2021 National Reining Horse Association Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships started on a high note. The inaugural Bob’s Custom Saddles Intermediate Non Pro and Intermediate Open Showdowns were held in the Jim Norick Coliseum Friday morning, with 20 top riders from the NAAC classes competing for additional cash prizes. Those earnings are on top of what anyone might have already won in the Adequan® Arena.

“The top 10 (plus ties) in the three classes we chose has the opportunity – with no extra entry fee – to come down through the ‘Gateway of Champions.’ That in itself is nerve-wracking enough, but then we put a first-place prize of $5,000 on top of that and are paying four monies in each division. It really raises the level of competition,” Chris Weaver, Bob’s Custom Saddles Vice President, explained.

Bob’s Custom Saddles sponsored the Showdown rounds for the Intermediate Open, Intermediate Non Pro, and Rookie Level 2. Fellow NRHA Corporate Partner Toyon Ranch stepped up and added the Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year Showdown to the lineup for Rookie Level 1 riders, and the two Rookie Showdowns will run concurrently on Saturday morning.

Why did Bob’s Custom Saddles decide to focus on the NAAC competition? “We appreciate all of our Level 4 riders and endorsees, but we believed we could make a huge impact for the ancillary classes and the people who show every weekend. Understand that for the divisions we picked, most of those people are ready to move up a division. We wanted them to know what it feels like to show in that arena, and to get them excited,” Weaver said.

David Hanson Wins Bob’s Custom Saddles Int. Open Showdown on Xtra Needs A Drink

With a 215.5, David Hanson and Xtra Needs A Drink won the Bob’s Custom Saddles Intermediate Open Showdown and the championship check of $5,000. Xtra Needs A Drink, a 6-year-old gelding by Wimpyneedsacocktail out of Ruby Chic Olena, is known for his reliability in the show pen, and that paid off when it came time to compete in the Norick for the Showdown.

“This horse is really fun to show. He’s really dependable and gives me confidence to go show him repeatedly, and he’s done well. He was consistent in the Open and Novice Horse Open, so I was confident about showing him today. He showed well, and fortunately, it was enough,” Hanson explained. “It was exciting to show today, and this was an exciting idea. I thank Chris Weaver and everyone at Bob’s Custom Saddles, as well as at NRHA, for the innovative idea to bring some of the affiliate horses back over here to show.”

Hanson added, “This is a great opportunity. The Futurity is such a competitive event and what we all aspire to, but when we don’t have those 3-year-olds that enable us to be here, it’s great to have the opportunity to bring horse show horses back to the Coliseum. Not only that, it’s great for other affiliate riders to have that chance to be in the Coliseum and see it and feel how it is to show in it. I think people will talk it up and it will continue to grow.”

Xtra Needs A Drink is owned by Anne Driscoll. “Anne is super sweet. She came to us and just wanted to have a show horse she could watch at the shows and enjoy as an owner. She has been outstanding, and loves the horse and being able to watch him,” Hanson said. “Our plan now is to rest him over the winter, then go to some of our West coast affiliate shows next year so we can come back to the NAAC in 2022. He’s seven, so we will go to a couple derbies as well.”

Anne and Dave Driscoll topped Hanson’s list of people to thank, as did all the people who helps him in his barn. “I also thank Trevor Dare, who sold us this horse a year ago. Trevor has watched me and we’ve talked about him over the year, and I appreciate him and his help,” he said.

Bob’s Custom Saddles Int. Open Placings

  • David Hanson & Xtra Needs A Drink – $5,000
  • Benjamin Beckett & Xtra Dun Step – $2,500
  • Kyle Kelmer & ARC Trashin Yer Chic – $1,500
  • Jarvis Anderson & Nite Tripps – $1,000

Jade Whitmarsh Takes Bob’s Custom Saddles Int. Non Pro Showdown Championship on North Sail Solitaire

On an 11th hour whim, Jade Whitmarsh traveled from Canada to compete in the Adequan® NAAC classes. Finishing as part of a three-way tie for eighth in the NAAC round, Whitmarsh earned a spot in the Bob’s Custom Saddles Intermediate Non Pro Showdown.

There, she finished in a three-way tie for the top score (210.5) of the Showdown, and it was time for a run-off.
Whitmarsh, who competed as the final horse of the runoff, bested her original run by five points, and claimed the Bob’s Custom Saddles Showdown Championship and accompanying check for $5,000!

“I am so excited! We came down here just to have this experience, just on a last-minute whim,” Whitmarsh, a college freshman, explained. “So I got the lucky chance to show, and I knew I needed to come out and try my best.”

Whitmarsh noted she was proud of her horse’s performance in their original run. “I was super happy with him. I pushed him and it went well. He’s pretty tired, but he listened super well and got those big stops that helped us since we had a turn penalty,” she explained.

Then it was time to prepare for the runoff. “My coach, Austin Seelhof, said, ‘Go in there and no penalties. We need to make sure he is soft, and we need to run him the same way and make sure those stops are big because that’s his best part,’” Whitmarsh recounted. “I was last in the runoff, so I knew what I needed to be. He was right there with me and listening to me.”

North Sail Solitaire, by NRHA Twelve Million Dollar Sire Topsail Whiz out of Solitary Gunner, is special to Whitmarsh’s family. “He is the first baby we raised on our farm. He was started down here by Casey Deary, and then we brought him home after a minor injury. Then Austin, my coach up north, has been showing him and riding him through his derby years, and has done phenomenal with him,” she explained. “I just got to start riding him a couple years ago, and we are finally starting to work more as a team and our styles are starting to mend.”

Whitmarsh added her appreciation to Bob’s Custom Saddles for sponsoring the Showdowns. “Thank you so much for putting it together. It was an amazing opportunity to get to show in the Coliseum. I didn’t come down here with the thought that that is where I would be showing at the end of the week, so it’s super awesome. I am so appreciative that they decided to offer this new class. It gives people the chance for some people who may not have futurity horses to get in that big pen,” she said. “I thank my coach, Austin Seelhof. He has been amazing in supporting me along this journey. I also thank my mom and dad for helping me and supporting my dreams of coming down here. I also thank my sister for always being there, and my entire barn for helping me get ready.”

Bob’s Custom Saddles Int. Non Pro Placings

  • Jade Whitmarsh & North Sail Solitaire – $5,000
  • Rebecca Asmussen & The Crowd Goes Wildd – $2,000
  • Abby Budd & Gunnadream – $2,000
  • Paige Vernon & Magnum Starlight – $1,000