In addition to the aged event taking place in the Jim Norick Coliseum, the National Reining Horse Association Futurity features the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship, which kicked off on Thursday, Nov. 28.
Lauren Rufo, NRHA Affiliate Program Representative, was excited to crown the first of the 2019 Adequan® NAAC Champions. She explained that the Adequan® NAAC helps spotlight a variety of members and horses from across North America. “It’s a great opportunity to recognize our grassroots program riders and horses at the most exciting NRHA event of the year,” she said.
This year, each of the Adequan® NAAC Champions will be recognized the next day in the Jim Norick Coliseum Arena, where they will receive their Adequan® NAAC champion vest.
Mirjam Stillo Wins Adequan® NAAC Open with Steppin Little Lena
Mirjam Stillo claimed the Adequan® NAAC Open title on Steppin Little Lena with a 219.5. In addition to a check for $1,957, the pair also won a saddle from Bob’s Custom Saddles, an Adequan® champion vest, a Platinum Performance jacket, a custom Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle, gift certificates to Bluebonnet and SmartPak, as well as Classic Equine product.
“It was a good ride and I was happy with it. We just ran in and he was phenomenal stopping. He did that great, and we stayed clean everywhere else. He stayed with me all the time and gave it his all,” Stillo recounted.
Steppin Little Lena, owned by Heidi Pichotta, is by Wimpys Little Step out of Collena O Lena, and Stillo say’s he’s exceptionally easy to take care of. “He’s super easy at home. We don’t work him very hard. He’s had a really busy show season, so we give him time off and then prep him right before each horse show. This show was different. We practically just came back from the World Show, and didn’t have much time, but fortunately it worked out,” she said. “He still has a busy week. I’ll show him again in the Novice Horse Open, and his owner will show him in the Rookie. After that he’ll get a well-deserved winter break.”
Stillo and her crew will stay busy this week with Futurity and ancillary entries, as well as a couple horses in the NRHA/Markel Insurance Futurity Sale. “I thank the owner who allows me to ride him and trusts me with him. We had a plan to step him up slowly and it all worked out. I also thank my team, my husband, and everyone at home who takes care of things when we’re gone,” she said.
Taking Reserve in the Adequan® NAAC Open was Mark Rafacz and Wimpys Dun Twistin with a 218.5. Owned by Mark and his wife Shannon, Wimpys Dun Twistin is by Wimpys Little Step and out of Totally Dun Twistin. Along with a check for $1,655, the pair won an Adequan® champions vest, a custom Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle, gift certificates to Bluebonnet and Platinum Performance, and product from SmartPak and Classic Equine.
Tanner Boyes & Guns Last Chance Claim Adequan® NAAC Int. Open
Tanner Boyes only began riding Guns Last Chance this year, and on Thursday afternoon piloted the talented reiner to the Adequan® NAAC Intermediate Open title with a 214. Boyes and Guns Last Chance won a saddle from Bob’s Custom Saddles, an Adequan® champion vest, a Platinum Performance jacket, a custom Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle, gift certificates to Bluebonnet and SmartPak, Classic Equine product, and $1,277. They earned an additional $810 for placing in both the NAAC Open and the ancillary Intermediate Open.
“I just started working for the owner this year, and this horse has been an absolute dream to work with. I actually share him with Paige Vernon, a non pro, and she’s been doing a phenomenal job with him,” Boyes explained. “White River Ag Products owns him, and they’ve been incredible about letting us take him to all the events and keep him happy, so it’s been great.”
Guns Last Chance is by Gunner out of Shiners Woman, and Boyes noted that the NAAC was definitely an objective. “This was definitely a goal this year, and this horse did great for me. I can’t complain about how he’s done all year,” he said. “The run-in pattern was really good for him. We were able to get that pretty solid, and after that, he smoked his circle, then I just let him do his job.”
Boyes and Guns Last Chance traveled 15 hours from Wisconsin to compete. “It has been amazing coming down here to do this. I was lucky we were able to cruise though in the NAAC and compete. It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “I thank my wife. She’s been great and pushes me to be the best I can. I also thank White River Ag Products.”
Boyes was also part of a three-way tie for reserve in the Intermediate Open with Dan Yarbrough and Cody Garrison. Boyes rode Whizkeys Hot Jewel, also owned by White River Ag Products, Yarborough rode Gunna Bea Natural owned by Judy Yarbrough Realty, while Garrison rode Bombshell Banjo, owned by Brogan Lee. Each marked a 212.5 to win $745, as well as great prizes from NRHA Corporate Partners.
Shawn Flarida Wins NRHA Ancillary Open on Spooks Gotta Spark
With an incredible 225, Shawn Flarida and Spooks Gotta Spark won the ancillary open, which ran concurrently with the Adequan® NAAC. The win netted owner Gaynia Revenberg a check for $2,265. Flarida rode Spooks Gotta Spark at the Run For A Million in Las Vegas earlier this year, where they finished fourth. “He was awesome there. I actually had him as a three-year-old, but he got hurt and went home. Loris Epis rode him as a four and five-year-old, and then I got him back,” Flarida explained. “He’s been a great horse for me and has always been a personal favorite of mine.”
Flarida, the NRHA’s only six million dollar rider, explained that Pattern 9 suits the stallion’s style. “He was really good. It’s a run-in pattern that fits him really well. It was very, very cool, and he’s such a fun horse to show,” Flarida said.
Spooks Gotta Spark is by Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Doolittle Lena. “I’m just honored that his owner let me ride him at the Run For A Million and here, and I thank her for the opportunity. I’m glad to ride this horse whenever they allow it,” he said. “My help was awesome. My son Sam is always a huge help as well. I thank my wife Michelle, because without her I couldn’t do it at all.”
Jared Leclair and Susan Meyer’s great mare Lime A Rita took second in the open ancillary with a 220.5, worth $1,540.
David Hanson & Smart Little Dunnit Win NRHA Ancillary Int. Open
Smart Little Dunnit is by Smart Spook and out of Jan Van Bar B Dun It. “We were fortunate to get him from the McCutcheons this year. I feel honored to have such a nice horse to show,” Hanson said. “Today he was good. He tried and he showed good. He’s got a great disposition. He’s a seven-year-old stud, but he’s so good-natured. Cade did an excellent job on him this summer, and I’m fortunate to follow up on such a good horse.”
Hanson noted that owner Lisa Dentoni will be showing Smart Little Dunnit in the future at affiliate events with the goal of returning to the Adequan® Arena in 2020. “I thank my family, friends, and help, and the Dentonis for letting me take the reins on this horse.” Hanson added, “My wife isn’t here today, and it’s a very difficult thing. I would love to have her here. She’s always been right here with me, and I thank her for everything she’s always done.”
Joshua Crawley and Spin N Wimp took second in the Intermediate Open with a 215, collecting $416. Spin N Wimp is owned by Denise Severson-Hobbs.