On Tuesday, which proved to be a full day of competition at the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships (NAAC), 177 exhibitors took aim at prestigious titles in a slate of six different Non Pro divisions.
In addition to incredible prizes from NRHA Corporate Partners, the champion of each of the 17 NAAC classes will be presented an Adequan® Championship vest the following day in the Jim Norick Coliseum as a show of support for these successful affiliate riders.
Awards through 10th place are presented in all NAAC divisions, so those riders who haven’t picked up prizes yet are reminded to stop by the awards room.
Allana “Alli” Vernon Wins Adequan® NAAC Non Pro
Tuesday was fortuitous for Ashland, Wisconsin non professional Alli Vernon who earned the NAAC Non Pro title in Adequan® arena. Vernon teamed up with her family’s home-raised 2015 gelding Gunnersrufride for an impressive 226 to earn $4,967.
Gunnersrufride, owned and bred by White River Ag Products, Inc., is by Gunners Special Nite, unofficially the NRHA’s newest Four Million Dollar Sire, and out of Lil Ruf Showgirl.
Making the victory particularly sweet for Vernon is the fact that more than a decade ago she showed Gunnersrufride’s dam here in Oklahoma City.
“I actually showed this guy’s mom here 11 years ago when I was a youth rider,” she said. “He was born and raised on our farm. Tom McCutcheon started him and rode him as a 3- and 4-year-old, then I took him over this year. It’s been a really fun year with him so far. I’m really excited for next year.”
Vernon and Gunnersrufride achieved a smooth enough ride to be rewarded with excellent scores from the judges.
“He can turn really big and he can circle good. We’d been having a little trouble getting stopped this week, but he stopped really good today, so it was all in all a really fun ride,” Vernon said.
“I have a lot of people to thank, including Tom McCutcheon who started him. He did an amazing job on him. I want to thank my dad, Richard Vernon, and my uncles for breeding our mare and making this awesome baby. We’ve had some great luck with our babies this year. My trainers, Tanner and Christina Boyes, they took him over after Tom and got him more set to be a non pro horse,” Vernon added.
The NAAC Non Pro champion was awarded a Bob’s Custom Saddle, a Platinum Performance champion’s jacket, a 10-lb. bucket of Platinum Performance, a custom Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle, a Bluebonnet Feeds gift certificate, SmartPak SmartTherapy Quick Wraps, a garment bag from Brandt Blankets, a Classic Equine fleece cooler, and Eqvalan from Dr. Joe Carter.
Ruben Pacheco Cuevas Wins Adequan® NAAC Int. Non Pro on Sofisat
With an impressive score of 223, Ruben Pacheco Cuevas and Sofisat clinched the Adequan® NAAC Intermediate Non Pro championship. It was a goal for Cuevas, who is a former NAAC Champion.
Cuevas was representing the Mexico Region, while his mare, Sofisat, was bred and raised in Europe. “She’s from Europe and was a finalist in the European Futurity,” he shared. “We have won a couple championships, and decided to bring her here to show in the North American Affiliate Championships. That was our goal.”
Sofisat is by Saturdaynight Custom and out of Sofia Catalyst. Cuevas and the 9-year-old mare competed the day before in the Novice Horse Non Pro class. “We had a big penalty there, so today we made it up and fixed it. She was perfect today,” he said. “I have been coming to this show for 10 years or more. This is a really tough show. There are the best riders from North America and the world that compete here.”
Cuevas noted how happy he was to be able to compete in Oklahoma City. “I thank God that we are healthy during this event. I thank my family, and my wife, and my team here,” he said.
In addition to a big check for $3,284, Cuevas will be taking home a Bob’s Custom Saddle, a Platinum Performance champion’s jacket, a 10-lb. bucket of Platinum Performance, a custom Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle, a Bluebonnet Feeds gift certificate, SmartPak SmartTherapy Quick Wraps, a garment bag from Brandt Blankets, a Classic Equine fleece cooler, and Eqvalan from Dr. Joe Carter.
Jose Vasquez Wins NAAC Prime Time Non Pro on Like Shiner
Jose Vasquez from Markham, Illinois, rode home raised Like Shiner, owned by Smart Like Juice, Inc., to a 224.5 to top the NAAC Prime Time Non Pro in Adequan® Arena. Vasquez not only won the NAAC Prime Time, but third in the NAAC Non Pro as well. All totaled, Vasquez won $4,115.
Like Shiner is by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Smart Like Juice out of Wind Her Up Shiner.
“I used to show her mother, her father and all her siblings,” Vasquez said. “There are 22 of them that are old enough to show out of the same mare and they’ve all won money. They’ve won close to $900,000, so that’s a pretty good family I’d say.”
Vasquez says that Like Shiner shares the desirable traits characteristic of her lineage.
“They’re very simple, very talented and they all have longevity in the show pen. Like Shiner is 8 years old and I’ve shown her hard, she’s won more than $150,000 already,” adding that he was proud to see his score hold for the duration of the show. “I was the third horse in the pen this morning and it held. I was very fortunate and I’m very proud, it’s one of the best runs I’ve ever had on her score-wise. She can plus-1 any maneuver.”
So many individuals have helped Vasquez over the years that he says it would be impossible to recognize them all, but he expressed appreciation for his current trainer, Alejandro Vasquez, who has been with him for the past six years and started Like Shiner.
As NAAC Prime Time Non Pro champion Vasquez was awarded a Bob’s Custom Saddle, a Platinum Performance champion’s jacket, a 10-lb. bucket of Platinum Performance, a custom Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle, a Bluebonnet Feeds gift certificate, SmartPak SmartTherapy Quick Wraps, a garment bag from Brandt Blankets, a Classic Equine fleece cooler, and Eqvalan from Dr. Joe Carter.