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 afternoon. Making the classes even more exciting was that the Top 10, plus ties, in both NAAC Rookie Levels 1 (Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year) and 2 earned a spot in Saturday’s Toyon Ranch Rookie Showdown or Bob’s Custom Saddles Rookie Level 2 Showdown.
NAAC Rookie Level 2 Co-Champion – Cassandra Hacking and Shiners Hot Cash
At the age of 15, Cassandra Hacking is an entrepreneur, buying her own champions. On Dec. 1, Hacking and Shiners Hot Cash captured the NAAC Rookie and ancillary Level 2 Co-Championships with a 213.
“He taught me a lot because he was a little hot at first,” Hacking said. “He helped me because he went from a Level 4 rider to me. He taught me to be more patient and not depend on the horse. Because I had been babysat with my previous horses, and he helped me become more independent.”
Hacking funded the purchase of Shiners Hot Cash (Little Joe Cash x Shiners Hot Flash) by flipping ranch horses. She’d purchase horses, take new photos of them and market them to her network of buyers.
“Rick Keele helped me grow [my flipping business] and helped me learn the ropes, take good photos and advertise the horse for what it was,” Hacking said.
With a loan from her mother, Hacking purchased Shiners Hot Cash at the NRHA Futurity in 2021 when she was 14 years old. She paid her mother back in four months.
“I thank my entire barn, my past trainers, plus Franco [Bertolani], Gloria, and Giorgia,” Hacking said.
Hacking will be competing in the Bob’s Custom Saddle Rookie Showdown Saturday, Dec. 3.
NAAC Rookie Level 2 Co-Champion – Matthew Dooley and Magnifisent
Matthew Dooley and Magnifisent have only been working together for two months but have already found the winner’s circle together, marking a 213 in the NAAC Rookie Level 2. Owned by Misty Steinhauer, Magnifisent (Magnum Chic Dream x Heavenly Rooster) is a 6-year-old gelding that Dooley describes as “sweet and wants to be your buddy.”
“The run went pretty smooth. He was good,” Dooley said. “I was a little concerned because I’m so new with the horse. But he was right there with me the whole way, so I was happy.”
The gelding was bred by Chet Gregg and is owned by Steinhauer.
“I want to thank my parents, Randy and Jessica Dooley, the owner Missy Steinhauer for letting me show him, and everyone around me,” Dooley said.
Dooley will be competing in the Bobs Custom Saddles Rookie Showdown Saturday, Dec. 3.
“It’s a great thing and pretty exciting. I’ve never shown in the Coliseum,” Dooley said.
NAAC Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year – Karly Kopp and Sugaway Spooks
Runoff! Karly Kopp and Sugaway Spooks dug deep for the NAAC Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year victory, marking a 212 in the round and a 214 in the runoff against Reserve Champion Madalyn Werner.
“My first run, I didn’t know I was competing for the Rookie of the Year,” Kopp said. “In the runoff, it was crazy. The whole entire time I was in the pen, I was [thinking] ‘I am glad to be here.’”
With the victory, Kopp earned a ticket to the Toyon Ranch Rookie Showdown Saturday, Dec. 3.
Sugaway Spooks (Spooks Gotta Whix x Graceful Getaway) was bred and nominated by Timothy Taylor and is owned by Kopp.
“’Sug’ is always in your pocket, and she loves treats. She welcomes everyone into her stall – she loves rubs,” Kopp said. “We clicked instantly. She’s been amazing for me the entire time. Her personality, her looks, just everything is amazing about her.”
Kopp thanked her mom, dad, brother, George, and Chloe Lawrence, and Yonathan Baruch.
NAAC Prime Time Rookie Champion – Jerry Douglas and Xtra Dun Step
Jerry Douglas has come a long way – from being terrified of horses to winning the NAAC Prime Time Rookie Championship at the NRHA Futurity. Marking a 209.5, the self-proclaimed “baby reiner” has come a long way.
“Xtra Dun Step gave me the confidence,” Douglas said. “He knows his job, and there are never any hidden agendas or crazy acts. I just became confident with him. When I went in that pen yesterday, I said, ‘You’ve got this, Angelo. You’ve got it, and I’m going to do the best I can.’”
Xtra Dun Step is an 8-year-old gelding sired by NRHA Twelve Million Dollar Sire Wimpys Little Step and out of All Thats Dun. Douglass got into reining with the help of fiancé Jennifer Groen, and was paired up with Xtra Dun Step with the help of NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary.
“The one I really have to thank is God because I don’t think I would have won last night without him,” Douglas said.
Douglas thanked Casey Deary, Josh Tishman, the Rafaczs, Trevor Dare, Keith Ceddia, and fiancé Jennifer for their part in his journey to success in reining.
Douglas will be competing in the Toyon Ranch Rookie Showdown Saturday, Dec. 3.
Ancillary Prime Time Rookie Co-Champion – Holly Hardin and Wimpys Lil Melody
The Ancillary Prime Time Rookie Co-Championship went to Holly Hardin and her mare Wimpys Lil Melody with a score of 209. The win was extra-special for Hardin, who recovered from a broken back to ride again.
“It’s been a long rehab, but she’s been a great horse. It was super great to be here today,” Hardin said.
Wimpys Lil Melody (Wimpys Little Step x Sweet Nu Melody) was bred by Bret Christensen and is owned by Hardin. She’ll be getting a well-deserved break after the Futurity and headed to the breeding barn.
“I thank Lance Shockley, he’s my trainer. And my entire team because they support me so much and they’re always there cheering me on,” Hardin said.
Ancillary Prime Time Rookie Co-Champion – Rick Massimi and Smartchicatrashya
Rick Massimi has been captivated by reining horses for a lifetime and finally had his chance in the spotlight aboard Smartchicatrashya. Together, the duo earned the Ancillary Prime Time Rookie Co-Championship with a score of 209.
“I started getting into reining horses about a year ago, but I grew up riding horses,” Massimi said. “I saw a palomino reining horse when I was seven or eight years old, and he was doing sliding stops and turnarounds, and I said, ‘I want to do that.’”
According to Massimi, life got in the way of becoming a reiner, but the lockdown that came with COVID-19 realigned his focus.
“I started riding again. I started reading books and watching trainers and thought this was something I could do,” Massimi said. “I could pinch myself because now I’m running at the NRHA Futurity.”
Massimi says he’s worked on his stops with Smartchicatrashya (Gunnatrashya x Lenas Party Chics) all year, and the gelding “knows what to do” in the pen.
“I thank my dad. He passed away when I was 26, and he was the one that got me into horses. And, of course, my wife and my trainers: Brian and Naike Bell and Eduardo,” Massimi said. “Dave Moore and Nikki Temple down in Florida got me started [in reining] down in Florida too.”