The American Performance Horseman FAQs

Teton Ridge is a multi-platform, wholly American-owned brand and media company devoted to the iconic American western way of life; dedicated to elevating classic Western sports and America’s western culture on the world stage.

In 2021, Teton Ridge acquired The American Rodeo, The Crown Jewel of Rodeo, with the vision to expand the audience and create innovative events like The Western Weekend, which includes The American Performance Horseman. On the eve of The American Rodeo—Friday, March 10—at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, The American Performance Horseman will premiere.

This unprecedented event will showcase western equine sports of cutting, reining, and reined cow horse in a fast-paced, made for television exhibition. This historic event will be the first time the associations NCHA, NRHA, NRCHA, APHA & AQHA have joined together to compete under one roof.

The innovative exhibition format offers all three sports to be showcased to a wider audience and on a new global platform, vying for $1 Million dollars in the prize pool. Not only will competitors contend as individuals but also in a team format. There will be 5 teams consisting of three athletes from each discipline.

Tickets are now available at

Q: What will be the order of events?

A: The competition order will run as follows:

  1. Cutting competition
  2. Reining, using an NRHA-approved modified pattern 10
  3. The Reined Cow Horse performance will close out the event with “down the fence” runs.
    1. (The Reining portion of the Reined Cow Horse event will be done in the morning to ensure complete scoring. This section will not be televised.)
  4. Presentation of awards
  5. Entertainment (Yet to be announced – Will be an A-Lister entertainer)

Q: What will the payout be of the $1 Million prize pool?

Individual Prize Money per discipline event:

  1. $100,000
  2. $75,000
  3. $50,000
  4. $25,000
  5. $25,000

Team Money:

  1. $75,000 ($25,000 PER CONTESTANT)
  2. $25,000 ($8,333.33 PER CONTESTANT)
  3. $25,000($8,333.33 PER CONTESTANT)
  4. $25,000($8,333.33 PER CONTESTANT)
  5. $25,000($8,333.33 PER CONTESTANT)

Q: What will the earnings count towards?

A: NCHA: TAPH does not count towards: NCHA world standings, horse of the year, or any other championships.

NRHA: Does not count toward Top 10 (Category 1) World Title awards.

NRCHA: Currently, category 2 earnings count toward year-end earnings. TAPH counts only open-aged event money won in the 2022 year, incentive program monies or subclasses do not count.

TAPH will count towards horse and rider’s LTEs.

Q: Can the competitor show any horse?

A: NCHA – Competitors can show any horse of any age. The TAPH is classified as an Open Cutting.

NRHA – Competitors can show any horse of any age. The TAPH is classified as an Open Reining class.

NRCHA – Yes, however, the TAPH is classified as an open bridle class. Per NRCHA Rules: Open to horses of any age, to be ridden in an NRCHA-approved bit, and reins with a romal are required.

Q: When will the athletes need to name their show horse?

A: Competitors can name up to two horses prior to February 7th, 2023.

Final selection of horses will take place one week prior to the competition on March 3rd, 2023.

Q: How did the athletes qualify to compete at The American Performance Horseman?

A: The qualification is based on the open rider, not the horse. The qualified riders are the Top 5 athletes with the highest aged event money from the 2022 show season, not including subclasses or incentives. For NRHA, all money earned in Category 1–10 counts toward qualifying.

Q: Is there any entry fee to compete?

A: No

Q: What is the team portion of the competition?

A: Five teams of one cutter, one reiner, and one reined cow horse competitor will compete in a team format and for individual prize money.

The accumulative score of each rider on a team will determine the placings of the team portion of the competition.

i.e. Reining score + Cutting score + Reined Cow Horse score = Team Score

Team Colors: Royal Blue, Regal Red, Imperial Purple, Racing Green, and Burnt Orange

Q: In the event of a tie, will there be a tiebreaker?

A: Individual Competition – In the event of a tie, a work-off will not be held and a tiebreaker will be used to determine the winner.

Tiebreaker one: All five judges’ scores will be added to determine the winner

Tiebreaker two: If still tied, the tiebreaker judge will determine the winner

*Within the reined cow horse competition, the first tiebreaker will be determined by the highest cow work score. If still tied, tiebreakers one and two will be used to break the tie.

B: Team Competition

Tiebreaker One: All five judges’ scores in each of the individual competitions will be added to determine the winning team.

If still tied, the scores from the tiebreaker judges from each of the individual competitions will be added together to determine the champion team.

If still tied, a coin toss will determine the champion team.

Q: Globe Life Field will be transformed into a show arena. How will that work for each discipline?

A: The field will be transformed into a 150 ft x 250 ft arena; after each discipline, the arena will be adjusted accordingly to suit the next discipline.

Q: When will the draw be available?

A: The draw party will be shared live on NRHA social media and will be available on February 10, 2023.

Q: How are the judges chosen?

A: There will be a 5-judge panel from each association for each corresponding discipline. Each association will provide the highest accredited judges from each discipline.

Q: In the event that one of the competitors is unable to compete, what is the protocol?

A: In the event that a competitor chooses to or is not able to compete in the event, it is their responsibility to notify event organizers with little or no delay upon their decision to withdraw.

If a Top 5 American Performance Horseman qualifier withdraws from the competition, event organizers will notify the first alternate on the list of 2022 Top Professionals provided by the event’s respective governing association. If the first alternate declines, the next highest alternate will be notified.

Q: How will the teams be chosen?

A: There will be five teams of three.

Each team will consist of a cutter, reiner, and reined cow horse athlete. Teams will be drawn at random. Draw order will be segregated by discipline and ordered starting with the highest year-end money earner.

Congratulations to the Top 5 NRHA qualifying athletes performing at The American Performance Horseman, presented by Teton Ridge

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is thrilled to announce the top five NRHA Professionals who will compete at the unprecedented The American Performance Horseman (TAPH) presented by Teton Ridge.

The top five riders who qualified to represent the reining community are NRHA Seven Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida, NRHA Seven Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani, NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary, Fernando Salgado and NRHA Million Dollar Rider Matt Mills. These NRHA Professionals will join the top five riders from the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) and National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) to compete for a $1 million payout in a first-of-its-kind competitive exhibition format.

“This event is an unparalleled opportunity to showcase our sport along with other exciting western performance events like fans have never seen before,” said Gary Carpenter, NRHA Commissioner. “We have been here all along with great horses and great riders, this puts it in the front shop window for all to see. What it means to these riders, their careers, and all NRHA riders is something that we could have only dreamed of before.”

The American Performance Horseman will make its debut at The American Western Weekend, Friday, March 10th, 2023, at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

For more information and to purchase tables or tickets, please visit

Notes related to other year-end standings and rankings lists:

  • The reiners selected will be the top five NRHA Professionals determined by total 2022 earnings in NRHA Categories 1-10. TAPH will utilize a modified version of an NRHA pattern. Earnings for the event will be recorded in NRHA as Category 11 money.
  • TAPH Reining Qualifiers are being published in advance of the 12/31 official year-end as all events that could affect the top five are published
  • NRHA Top 20 Professionals, Non Pros and Owners lists for 2022 will be published after the official year-end
  • NRHA World Title Top 10 Standings for 2022 will be published after the official year-end
  • At present, the ReinerSuite team is testing the 2023 Eligibility Tool so it can be released by the second week of January

Shawn Flarida and Andiamoe Win 2022 NRHA Futurity Open Championship

When Andiamoe hit the entrance to the Jim Norick Coliseum, the crowd was already cheering. They’d watched the absolutely masterful go-rounds, where Shawn Flarida and the royally bred mare had marked 228.5 and 224.5. They knew what they were in store for.

When Flarida hit the first stop, the crowd was so loud he wasn’t sure Andiamoe heard him. Regardless, Andiamoe knew the drill, sliding to a stop and scooting her way back to the center. From there, she riled the crowd up even further. On his final stop, Flarida’s smile was visible from the back gate.

As the score of 230 rang out over the audience, Flarida earned his seventh NRHA Open Futurity Championship and a payday of $350,000. With the win, he had launched himself squarely into the mix for The American Performance Horseman.

“She’s a very happy horse. I just tried to stay out of her way,” Flarida said. “She’s so determined, and she’s so confident. Sometimes I’ve just got to be there to pet her and tell her, ‘Hey, you did good.’ Very seldom do I ever have to tell her to work harder. We do a lot of petting and a lot of walking.”

Flarida called Andiamoe a clone of her mother, NRHA Million Dollar Dam Wimpys Little Chic. Flarida earned his fourth Futurity Championship on the palomino in 2007. To make the feat more impressive, Flarida earned an NRHA Open Futurity Championship on Andiamoe’s father, as well, NRHA Eight Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya.

“Andiamoe is just so special. She’s amazing,” Flarida said.

Andiamoe was bred, nominated, and owned by NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner Arcese Quarter Horses.

Flarida credited his steady mindset throughout the intense week to his family, saying his son Sam Flarida is the one who coaches him throughout the process.

“From the time I get my chaps on to the time I go in, he says some of the most important things to me,” Flarida said. “Tonight, he told me to move my hand slow, to trust myself, ‘This is yours. You’ve been building yourself up to do this, and your horse is ready, and she looks cool.’ He was very instrumental in making sure I got through that gate.”

Flarida said the list of those to thank would be too long for the page, but those at the top included his family, friends, wife, Sam, and his owners.

“And my horse. She is absolutely amazing,” he said.

Finishing as the Level 4 Open Reserve Champions were Customize My Dream and NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary. The pair put together a solid 228.5 run, earning a cool $150,000 for owner Devin Warren. Customize My Dream, by NRHA Eight Million Dollar Sire Magnum Chic Dream out of Gunna Be Custom, was nominated by Garth Hystad, who received $7,500.

Rounding out the top three and earning $100,000 was Abby Lengel and her horse Bringnthaheat. Lengel bred, nominated, raised, and trained the talented mare by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Inferno Sixty Six out of Tackie Dreams.

Level 3 Open Champions – Matt Mills & Walla Be A Bigstar

Drawing last in the MS Diamonds Level 4 Open Finals is a coup, and NRHA Million Dollar Rider Matt Mills planned to capitalize on it. He knew the scores to beat, so when he rode into the Jim Norick Coliseum on Walla Be A Bigstar, he did so with authority.

From the very first stop to the last, it was clear Mills and the flashy palomino stallion were true contenders. Unfortunately, a bobble on a rollback sparked a judges’ review, and Mills had to sweat.

Once the review was over, his score – a 222 – was announced. It was enough to not only win the Level 3 Open Championship but also good for seventh in the L4. That meant that Mills had won the $70,000 check for first in the Level 3 and an additional $52,634 for the L4.

“I’m just really happy for that horse. He’s incredible – we had that darn rollback, but I’m really, really pleased with this incredible horse,” Mills said.

Walla Be A Big Star, by ARC Gunnabeabigstar and out of Smart Little Walla, was bred and nominated by Danny Dalton. He was trained and started by Garrett Thurner, who was showing the horse at the Kimes Ranch Tulsa Reining Classic when he first came on Mills’ radar.

“I saw him showing that week, and I could see the horse was just oozing talent. I went right to Garrett and asked him if I could be first in line. I got a chance to try that horse there and bought him. Garrett did a phenomenal job training that horse, and I didn’t have a lot of time between here and Tulsa, but I’ve typically done pretty well in that situation,” Mills shared. “What a horse he is! I’m not going to lie – during that review, I was holding my breath wondering if we’d be drinking to celebrate or to cry.”

Making the win even more special for Mills was that Walla Be A Bigstar is owned by his longtime clients, Tim and Marybeth Ruckman. “I’m so happy for them. They have always supported me. I also thank my other owners, including Janice Dickson and Taylor Sheridan. It’s a team effort, and it took us all to get the horse here tonight.”

Tying for reserve in the Level 3 were Martin Larcombe and Jordan Larson, who each marked 221.5.

Larcombe, who passed the million-dollar mark in earnings during the NRHA Futurity, rode Vincent Van Whoa, a stallion he owns with Andrea Costa. Vincent Van Whoa, by Spooks Gotta Gun out of FM Master Tag Chex, was also bred and nominated by Kim Adamic, who received $2,125. Larcombe and Vincent Van Whoa also finished second in the Open Prime Time for total earnings of $44,076.

Larson and HA Tune Of A Mobster took second in the Level 3 and tied for eighth in the Level 4 for total earnings of $83,964. HA Tune Of A Mobster, by HF Mobster out of HA Lena Smart Tune, was nominated by Hillis Akin Family Partnership, who received $4,198, and is now owned by Heritage Farms.

Level 2 Open Champions – Guglielmo Fontana & CD Gunnas Chex Olena

Guglielmo Fontana and CD Gunnas Chex Olena earned the most frequent flier miles when traveling to Oklahoma City to compete in the NRHA Futurity. The pair made it count, putting together solid runs all week. With a 219.5 in the MS Diamonds TX Level 4 Open Finals, they ended the week as the Level 2 Open Champions. They also finished tied for ninth in the Level 3 and 14th in the Level 4 for total earnings of $78,957.

CD Gunnas Chex Olena, by ARC Gunna Sparkya and out of Mistis Chex Olena, was nominated and is owned by Società Agricola CD Horses SRL.

“I’m really happy with my horse. He gave me everything. For me, it’s a dream to be here, and I’m really proud for me and my horse,” Fontana shared. “This is a dream because this is my first time to show here in the states. We decided to come here three months ago, so this is something very special. To just be here tonight, it’s like I won.”

Fontana thanked both Matteo Rondanina and Francesco Martinotti. “Matteo arranged the flight for myself and my horse, and then after showing in Ardmore, I moved my horse to Francesco Martinotti’s,” he explained. “I say a really big thank you to both of them.”

Now Fontana plans to return home, which is in Italy. “We will see with the horse. Maybe we will come back next year. I don’t know yet; I have to speak about it with the owner,” he said.

Tying for second in the Level 2 were Chuy Chavez on Post Palone and Rodrigo Nieves on Spook Lil Whiz. Each marked a score of 218.5.

Post Palone, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Pale Face Dunnit and out of Blazed By Commander, is owned by Electric Shine Equine. The colt earned $20,000, with $1,000 going to breeder and nominator Alan Chappell.

Nieves and Spook Lil Whiz, by NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Lil Dreamer, qualified for the Finals in Levels 4, 3, and 2, earning a total of $$44,897. Spooks Lil Whiz is owned by Renata Lemannwas nominated by NRHA Professional Eduardo Salgado, who passed away earlier this year.

Open Futurity Finals Level 1 Champion – Graddytude & Ethan Wiley

Graddytude lived up to her name in the NRHA Open Futurity Finals, bringing home the Level 1 Championship from the first section of Open Finals Saturday, Dec. 3. The pair scored a 216.5 and earned $13,000 for the Level 1.

“She’s a really good-minded horse,” rider Ethan Wiley said. “There is nothing that she doesn’t try to think through. Her strength, to me, is that she’s a team player.”

Graddytude is owned by Lisa and Mark Doering and was teamed up with Willey a few months prior to the Futurity.

“She’s gotten better the whole way [including] when we got to this horse show,” Wiley said. “Today, she was like a machine, and I was able to chase her in the circles. The faster we went, the better she was.”

Sired by Thirteen Million Dollar Sire Gunner and out of Miss Little Addy Tude. She was bred and nominated by Toyon Ranch.

“I showed her at the Southwest before this, and we had a couple of turn penalties, [plus] her rollbacks were a little rough. So, we had some stuff we had to clean up,” Willey said. “Our plan [today] was to go in there and either make it or break it. I really thought I made a mistake on my first stop – I missed my timing a little bit – but that mare is so good that she saved me on that.”

Willey thanked Danny and Fred Tremblay, Mike Flarida, and wife Angie Willey.

Werner, Rafacz, and Schriebvogel Win NRHA Adequan® NAAC Titles and Showdowns

An exciting week at the 2022 National Reining Horse Association Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships wrapped up on a high note. Two young riders split the Championship of the Youth 14 – 18 NAAC, and in the Coliseum Arena, Madalyn Werner, who finished second in the Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year, came for redemption, winning both the Toyon Ranch and Bob’s Custom Saddles Rookie Showdowns.

Bob’s Custom Saddles NAAC Rookie 2 and Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year Showdown Champion – Madalyn Werner and My Lil Whizkey Girl

Madalyn Werner found some sweet redemption aboard My Lil Whizkey Girl in the Bob’s Custom Saddles NAAC Rookie 2 and Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year Showdown, scoring a 213 and earning a whopping $10,000.

The win came a day after Werner competed in a runoff and finished Reserve Champion in the NAAC Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year competition.

“I was a little worried about running her three days in a row with the Showdown, but we did what we had to do,” Werner said. “This week, we really figured each other out. I learned how to show, and she’ll do her job if I’ll do mine. This week I’ve finally been able to think while I’m in the show pen.”

My Lil Whizkey Girl is a 6-year-old mare sired by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Whizkey N Diamonds and out of A Smart Gun. She was bred by Jennifer Gilliam and owned by Werner.

“It’s a dream come true to run through the gates here. It was bonus to have this kind of success,” Werner said

Werner thanked her trainer Kim Diercks, her parents and family, and everyone back home.

“Thank you to Toyon Ranch and Bobs Custom Saddles for [sponsoring]. It’s an extra special thing to do for the rookies while we’re down here, and gives us an opportunity to show in the big pen,” Werner said.

NAAC Youth 14-18 Co-Champion – Madison Rafacz and Got Twisted In Vegas

Madison Rafacz garnered her second and third titles of the week following her success in the NAAC Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2 on Got Twisted In Vegas. This time, a score of 215.5 earned Rafacz the NAAC Youth 14-18 Co-Championship, as well as the co-title for the ancillary division of the class.

“She was very good today,” Rafacy said. “I was just trying to go in and have a great run, not have any penalties, and we did that. She circled really good, and she was good around the ends this time.”

Got Twisted In Vegas (High Roller Whiz x Wimpys Dun Twistin) is owned by Rafacz.

“She’s been very good all week,” Rafacz said. “I tried to win the novice horse with her earlier this week, then showed the next day in the non pro and it was not super great. I ended up schooling, but I think it helped with this class.”

Rafacz thanked her parents, family, and friends, specifically Bud and Kim Lyon.

NAAC Youth 14-18 and Ancillary Youth 14-18 Co-Champion – Sorrel Schreibvogel and Sparkin Affair

Sorrel Schreibvogel and Sparkin Affair earned the NAAC Youth 14-18 and Ancillary Youth 14-18 Co-Championship on the last day of the NRHA Futurity. The youth scored 215.5 on the 9-year-old gelding.

“He’s always been super consistent, and I really enjoy getting to show him,” Schreibvogel said. “His favorite maneuver is stops, and they’re my favorite too.”

Sparkin Affair is sired by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Shining Spark and out of Memorable Affair. He is owned by Randy Shepherd.

“He was very fresh going in the middle,” Schreibvogel said. “He didn’t want to listen, but I tried to zero my spins and plus the circles and stops and let him do what he needed to do.”

Schreibvogel thanked Yonathan Baruch, her parents, and her grandparents for their support.

Sales Exceed $5.9 million During 2022 NRHA Markel Futurity Sale

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Markel Futurity Sales cast off the cold weather, attracting enthusiastic buyers to a crowded sale ring, with bidding reflecting a still-hot market for the sport. The 2022 sale featured 195 horses, up from 168 in 2021, racking up total ring sales of $5,520,900 and an average of $30,231 overall.

The sale kicked off at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds December 1 with the annual breakfast sponsored by Q Stallions, followed by the National Youth Reining Horse Association (NRHyA) Stallion Breeding auction, netting the group nearly $30,000 for its coffers. A breeding to Spooks Gotta Whiz, owned by Michelle Anne Kimball, was the high seller with a bid of $5,800 from Frank Shumate and Kelsie Beal.

Hip no. 250, Chex N The Trash, a 2021 palomino colt by Gunnatrashya and out of the Nu Chex To Cash mare, Snip O Chex, scored the highest overall selling price of the day when he sold for $130,000 in the Elite Yearling Sale. Consigned by Cooper Smith of Whitesboro, Texas, he sold to Anne Tournay of Belgium. The Elite Yearling Sale saw 72 horses presented to buyers, ringing up total sales of $2,985,500 with a ring average of nearly $41,000. Sixty-six head were sold for a total of $2,790,500, bringing a sold average of $42,280.

Bringing the top price in the Preferred Breeders Sale was Hip No 328, A Gal With A Gun. By Gunner and out Roxanne Winder by Docs Sidewinder, the 2006 bay mare was consigned by Shelli Ries and sold to Jim Pirtle of Florida for $110,000. The Preferred Breeders Sale showed an increase in consignments from 29 in 2021 to 47 in 2022, for total ring sales of $1,243,000 and an average of $26,447. Unofficially, 44 horses sold for $1,159,500, averaging $26,352.

In the Premier Sale, B&K Leasing gained the advantage over the buying field, placing a winning bid of $87,000 on Hip no. 405 Spooks Buckaroo. By Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Wanda On Line by Shine On Line, the 2021 dun colt was consigned by Deleu Ranch. A total of 63 horses brought a final figure of $1,390,300, for a ring average of $22,068, while 59 head sold for a total of $1,296,600, with a sold overage of $21,976.

In the Performance Horse Sale, which replaced the Prospect Sale, Gotta Turn It Up, another son of Spooks Gotta Whiz, brought the top price. A 2020 APHA/AQHA colt of Blazed Commander by Commanders Nic, the bay consigned by Alan and Allison Chappell captured a bid of $80,000 from buyer Donald Schanche. The Performance Horse Sale prices totaled $266,700 with an average of $24,245.

Prices and totals reflected above are unofficial. Final prices will be posted at