Anticipation mounts as a field of more than 300 entries has been narrowed down to the cream of the crop that will compete in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Open Futurity Finals on Saturday, December 5.
Competition began last Thursday, with the top 75 from each division advancing to the semi-finals. The Level (L)4 Open semi-finals, presented by Not Ruf At All and Tamarack Ranch, today featured the top 75 L4 horses, plus ties, following the preliminary round. The 30 competitors with the highest composite scores in Levels 1-4, plus top 10 in Prime Time, will advance to the Finals.
For the first time in NRHA history, the L4 Open Futurity Champion will win a quarter-million dollars during the MS Diamonds TX L4 Open Finals. This year, the NRHA Futurity boasts a record $1,033,530 in added money for the Open and CINCH Non Pro Futurity combined, thanks in large part to NRHA Futurity Challenge sponsors and the NRHA nomination program.
Guaranteeing his spot in the L4 Finals and topping that division with a composite of 448 was NRHA Million Dollar Rider Brian Bell and Gunnabebigtime. Bell and Gunnabebigtime marked a 223.5 in the first round and a 224.5 in the semi-finals. Gunnabebigtime, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya out of Big Time Jazzy, is owned and was nominated by Tami Nelson.
Holding down top honors in the L3 Open was Kole Price riding Trendsettter owned by Thomas Moffit and Kole Price. Trendsettter, by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Timed To Shine, scored a 223 in the first go to combine with a 219.5 in the semi-finals for a 442.5. Cinder Lakes Ranch nominated Trendsettter.
Arno Hostetter held on to the top spot in the L2 Open on Blue Inferno, owned by Story Book Stables. Blue Inferno, sired by Inferno Sixty Six and out of Showtimes Lil Step, scored a 220.5 in the first go and was a 219 in the semi-finals for a 439.5 composite. The nominator of Blue Inferno is Jeffrey Palmer.
Dallas Cunningham and RFR Voodoos Fuego, owned and nominated by Peter Smith, claimed the top spot of the L1 with a 435.5, thanks to a 219.5 in the first go and a 216 in the semi-finals. RFR Voodoos Fuego is by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Show N Tag.
Magnums Custom Dream, ridden by Casey Hinton for owner Nancy Murfin-Moxley, tied for the high composite score in the Prime Time Open thanks to a 218 in the first go and 217.5 in the second for a cumulative 441.5. Magnums Custom Dream, by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Magnum Chic Dream and out of Gunna Be Custom, was nominated by Garth Hystad.
Gunna Whoa, ridden by NRHA Million Dollar Rider Todd Sommers for owners Stephany S. Monteleone and Martin Bonneson, is by Inferno Sixty Six and out of Whoawhiz. Gunna Whoa scored a 217 in the first go and a 218 in the second for a 441.5. The nominator of Gunna Whoa was Doug Milholland.
The score needed to earn a spot in the L4 Open Finals was a 438.5, while it took a 433.5 to advance in the L3. Riders with a score of 428 in the L2 earned a spot in the Finals, as did L1 riders who marked at least a 420.5. Making the top 10 for the Prime Time Open were scores of 436 or more.