National Reined Cow Horse Association World Championship races are being decided day by day at the Celebration of Champions in Fort Worth, Texas. On Wednesday, February 20, the Novice Non Pro Bridle preliminary round kicked off the day’s action in John Justin Arena, followed by the Non Pro Hackamore Finals, Limited Open Bridle Finals, Open Hackamore Finals, Open Two Rein Finals, Intermediate Non Pro Bridle Finals, and Non Pro Limited Finals. The Open Bridle and $5,000 Non Pro Limited preliminaries took place in Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
|Non Pro Hackamore World Champion|
The third of 15 Celebration of Champions world championships to be awarded this week went to Bobbys Playgun (Bobby Starlight x Handle It Playgun) owned and ridden by Sydney Davis. Davis’ cumulative score of 428 (210 rein/218 cow) earned her $3,768 and the title of Non Pro Hackamore World Champion.
|Open Two Rein World Champion|
Sippin Boons Farm (Smart Boons x Peppy Nicolena) ridden by Corey Cushing for Eric and Wendy Dunn earned the Open Two Rein World Championship to the tune of $6,125 in earnings. Cushing scored 220.5 in the reined work and a massive 225 down the fence for a 445.5 to cinch the win.
|Limited Open Bridle World Champion|
Limited Open Bridle World Champion honors went to Scootin Jule Lee (Scootin Boon x Angelina Jule Lee) owned and ridden by Kaleigh King. Scootin Jule Lee and King scored a composite 440 points thanks to their 218.5 reined work and 221.5 on the cow to bank $4,150.
“It was awesome,” said King. “I knew my reined work was real pretty. She was right there with me every step of the way. I knew I had a pretty good handle on that cow, I knew my first turn was awesome—during that turn I was thinking, ‘I can’t screw this up now!’”
King, who purchased Scootin Jule Lee, now 7, from Bobby Lewis as a 3-year-old, appreciates her mare’s grit and dependability. “She’s always been the same horse inside the arena as she is at the house. I trained her and tried my best to make her a fence horse; she gives it her all every time.”
Plans for Scootin Jule Lee include trips to bridle spectaculars at NRCHA premier events this year with either King or Wade Meador, and a trip to next year’s World’s Greatest Horseman competition where King plans to show the mare.
“I wan to thank Bobby Lewis and Wade Meador for helping me so much, and my parents Tim and Kelly King for supporting me,” added King.
|Open Hackamore World Champion|
The Open Hackamore World Championship was decided in dramatic fashion when Clayton Edsall rode Metallic Train (Metallic Cat x Sparking Train) to beat an ultra-tough field of hackamore horses with his score of 442.5 (222 rein/220.5 cow), which was worth $9,000 for owner Beverly Vaughn.
“It was a run-in, of course, and she’s really good at running and stopping so I just wanted to make sure I got her started off correctly,” said Edsall of the reined work portion of his winning run. “I felt like I got her stopped good that first time and turned good. I was a tick concerned with how the circles were going to go after the run-in pattern, but she handled it well, it was definitely a difficult pattern, and a good one for the Finals for sure.”
Edsall went wide open on the cow and the judges rewarded him accordingly. “I didn’t help her any by blowing a stirrup in my first turn,” he said. “I tried to get it back and our second turn wasn’t great, then I finally got it back and finished up good.”
Making the championship even more special for Edsall were the friends and family on hand to share it with him. Edsall thanked his wife Chelsea and was happy to have his kids on hand to celebrate the win with him, as well as Metallic Train’s owner Beverly Vaughn.
“This mare’s been a real special part of my year, so to win this and then drop her off at Oswood’s [Stallion Station] to start breeding her is what we were hoping for, for sure,” said Edsall.
Derby Non Pro Champion
Intermediate Non Pro Bridle World Champion
In the hotly contested Intermediate Non Pro Bridle Finals it was Sareece Brown and Very Smart Playmate (Very Smart Remedy x Gunna Be Mine) who took the title. While Brown and Judy Fortenberry aboard Cold Hard Smart Cash (Big Chex To Cash x Smartin Up) tied with identical scores of 430.5, the tie-breaker was the cow work score—Brown’s being a 218 (212.5 rein) and Fortenberry’s a 216 (214.5 rein). Brown pocketed $3,356.25 for the win. Having made the decision to retire Very Smart Playmate, the win was emotional for Brown.
“What’s amazing about this, is that this is our last world show together,” said Brown of her champion equine partner. “I can’t count the number of times this mare has gotten me to the Finals. I was able to win this class in 2014 and it’s been a hard decision, but she’s sound, she can still show but she’s done so much for me and now it’s time for me to let her have a rest.”
Brown is Very Smart Playmate’s biggest fan, adding “She’s gritty, you just put her in her place and she does everything. I’ll never forget the first time I rode her, you just know; you know when it’s the one you’re supposed to have. She’s taught me so much, literally.”
Brown expressed great appreciation for her husband, her trainer Shawn Hays, his wife Tammy, and Hays’ assistant Robert Smith.
“First of all, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because without Him none of this is possible,” Brown said. “My friends that are here, that’s the thing about the cow horse. Winning is great and this is a really fun sport, but the best thing is the friends that you meet because we all cheer each other on and we’re all family. It’s pretty neat.”
Non Pro Limited World Champion
Kristin Bacchetti rode Heart Of A Remedy (Heart Of A Fox x SPD Remedys Response) to the Non Pro Limited World title thanks to a score of 434 (212 rein/222 cow) to earn $4,445.
Though she didn’t grow up showing horses, Bacchetti has been a quick study thanks to her once-in-a-lifetime horse affectionately known as “Copper.”
“He was the first cow horse I ever bought,” said Bacchetti. “He’s just been amazing for me. This is the one title we didn’t have and I was coming here whether I got it or not. It might be one of my last shows on him so it’s been kind of emotional, he’s been a dream come true.”
Bacchetti appreciates her trainer Les Oswald and his team for helping her prepare for the Celebration of Champions. “I can’t say enough about him getting this horse ready for me and putting up with me,” laughed Bacchetti.
“I’ve been a nervous wreck. Les, Abby, everyone in the barn, my girlfriend Gina is finally here for a show picture, my parents. For them to come here [from California] and get excited for me and cheer me on has been very exciting.”
|NRCHA World Championship Preliminaries|
|Novice Non Pro Bridle PreliminariesTopping the Novice Non Pro Bridle prelims was Julia Winders riding DualinWithTheLadies (DualWithMe x SCR Ginnin Lady) 291 (143 rein/148 cow). |
Open Bridle PreliminariesTopping the Open Bridle prelims was Very Smart Luck (Very Smart Remedy x Gunna Be Lucky) ridden by Roy Rich for owner Rocking J Ranch, Inc., to a 291 composite (143.5 rein/147.5 cow). $5,000 Non Pro Limited PreliminariesKristen Bacchetti rode Heart Of A Remedy (Heart Of A Fox x SDP Remedys Response) to the top of the Non Pro Limited preliminaries with scores of 142 in the rein and 147 on the cow for a total on two of 289.
|Celebration of Champions Activities|
|Don’t forget to stop by the Sponsor Showcase where NRCHA sponsors feature their vendor wares. |
On Thursday, February 21, make plans to attend the SDP Buffalo Ranch meet and greet and see the leading breeder’s stallions on-site at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.
Meet Smooth As A Cat on Saturday, February 23 when Manion Ranch brings the leading sire to town.
Visit www.NRCHA.com for the latest results, event schedule and free, live broadcast provided by NRCHA Official Videographer Equine Promotion. All photos are provided by NRCHA Official Photographer Primo Morales.