The 18th edition of the National Reining Breeders Classic Open finals ended in an exciting run-off for the title. Sam Schaffhauser and Gunners Tinseltown, by Colonels Smoking Gun out of former NRBC Champion Miss Tinseltown, led the finals until the second-to-last set with a 227. Then Casey Deary and ARC Gunna Sparkya lit up the Great Southwest Equestrian Center Coliseum, taking the lead by a half-point. He retained sole possession of the lead for only one horse, and then two-time NRBC Champion Andrea Fappani and SG Frozen Enterprize, owned by Silver Spurs Equine, tied his score. Rules dictate that if one rider desires to run-off for the title, they must. Fappani, who won his first NRBC title and his first NRHA Futurity Championship with run-offs, knew what he’d pick. “Unless I have a horse that I feel is running out of air or that I think it isn’t safe for either horse to run, I will run it off. I just don’t do co-championships – It’s not in my blood. I always run-off, and it paid off tonight,” he said. Only a half-point separated the run-off scores, and the Scottsdale, Arizona trainer left Katy with his third NRBC Open Championship. The title came with the big check made out for $75,000.
SG Frozen Enterprise has a different story than many horses competing at the NRBC. The stallion, by Frozen Sailor out of RS Rose SJ, is Italian born and bred. As a 3-year-old he won the Italian Futurity, and caught Fappani’s attention. “He is a third or fourth generation Italian horse, and I looked at him as a stallion to bring to the states and be an outcross. I convinced his owner at the time, Marco Franchini, to send him over here. It took quite a bit of money because the horse wasn’t enrolled in the NRHA or the NRBC, so he invested a lot in the horse and sent him over here,” Fappani recalled. After a few months the horse sold to Silver Spurs as a stallion prospect.
Fappani typically only shows horses he’s had since their 2-year-old year, but he made an exception for SG Frozen Enterprize. “He’s been a special horse from the beginning. It took some serious work to get together. This horse was trained different than what I’m used to and it took about a year to really get together.”
When the pair won the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship in the Junior Reining, Fappani knew that they had clicked. “I had gotten so frustrated because he was always scoring between a 222 and a 225, and I knew he was a horse that could mark more than that. When we won that I knew there was no confusion between us anymore, and he’s been solid ever since,” he said. “I had a feeling he was going to be good. Now that I know him and he knows me we’re going to be a good team.”
While Deary admitted he wouldn’t have voted to run-off for the title, he commended Fappani for his decision. “My horse is four and I knew Andrea’s horse is older and so broke and Andrea is a great showman. He could probably have come in here again and his horse would do that same strong run, so he made the right call – he’s the master of it.”
Deary’s horse, by Gunnatrashya out of Sailing Spark, is owned by Rabboni Reining Horses, and won $51,000 for the reserve title. “Mr. Arcese raised him, and I got him the first part of his 3-year-old year. He’s been just a dream to ride. He wants no trouble and is the quietest stallion to be around – you’d think he was a gelding because he has such an incredible brain,” he said.
While the win would have come with even more prizes and money, Deary noted he wasn’t disappointed. “There is no way I could be upset with how it turned out. To have two four-year-olds in the finals like I did, and to have them both step up and play with these guys means that disappointment is not even in the picture.” He added, “I couldn’t be prouder of either of them. They’re both incredible horses and both have two years of eligibility left!”
Deary’s other entry, Magnum Starlights (Magnum Chic Dream x Starlights Sugarwhiz) owned by Antler Ridge Ranch, won the preliminary round. He returned in the finals and finished in a 3-way tie for fifth place, earning $20,000 and pushing Magnum Chic Dream exceptionally to the $3 million sire mark.
Open Level 3 and 2
Taking the Championship of Open Levels 2 and 3, and finishing eighth in the Level 4 was Joao Felipe Lacerda and Gunner Dun It Again, by Colonels Smoking Gun out of Dun Its Deja Vu. All total, the win netted a check for $50,090. Gunner Dun It Again was recently flown to Texas from Brazil. Owner Paulo Tripolani promised Lacerda that if he and Gunner Dun It Again won the Brazilian Futurity, the two could travel to the NRHA futurity in December. “He actually got hurt and wasn’t able to show at the futurity, but then he won the Super Stakes in Brazil last November,” noted Andre Tripoloni, Paolo’s son. “That was his first show, and this was the second. We are very proud.”
Lacerda noted that winning at the NRBC was exciting. “To come from Brazil and bring the horse here is a dream come true. We had a mistake in the first stop, but then we had a lot of fun,” he said.
Tripoloni added that, as of now, the plan is for the stallion and Lacerda to stay in the States for one to two more years. “We hope he can compete at more derbies and more NRBCs, and then we will see,” he said.
Trevor Dare and Sugar Pop Step Ahead took Reserve honors in both levels with a 221.5, winning more than $19,830 for owner Thiago Boechat. That score also tied for twelfth place in the Level 4, garnering an additional $12,587. Sugar Pop Step Ahead is by Wimpys Little Step out of Sugar Pop Gun.
Open Level 1
It was her first time to compete at the NRBC, and the first time to show Wimpys Wrangler AC, so winning the Level 1 Open Championship was a major victory for Marie Kleiner. Kleiner, who works for Xtra Quarter Horses of Purcell, Oklahoma, rode Wimpys Wrangler AC, by Wimpys Little Step out of Wranglers Gay Bar, to a 218, winning $3,249 for owner Courtney Battison.
“It felt really awesome to win here,” Kleiner said. “I love the NRBC!”
The finals pattern was a perfect set up for the stallion. “I was really excited to get to run in. He’s a big stopper so I was happy to get to do that. He stopped really big and backed up fine. I asked him to turn and he was a little fidgety in the middle, which scared me just a little. He circled really well and when we got to our stops he finished strong and was really fun,” she recalled.
Wimpys Wrangler AC is the first reining horse for owner Courtney Battison, who’s well known in the hunter under saddle industry. “She wants to get into reining, and this is her first reining horse – she actually just bought him three weeks ago. She was able to be here and was very excited, too,” Kleiner said. “This is an incredible horse and he is really fun.”
The Level 1 Champion received a custom saddle from Kyle Tack, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, a WonPad, a Whisper Bit from M3 Products, a champion ball cap from Just Stitch It, a $50 gift Certificate to Thomas Moore Feed, and signature NRBC crystal.
Riding Chiquitas Valentine for Dell and Terri Hendricks, Colin Fitzpatrick won the Level 1 Reserve Championship with a 217, earning $1,977. Chiquitas Valentine is by Starlights Wrangler out of Spanish Dun It.
Winning the high-scoring APHA buckle for the Open Level 1 was Gun Whiz It (Colonels Smokin Gun x Roll Whiz It) and rider Becky Sorrell. Gun Whiz It is owned by Stephanie Nelson.
Topping the Open Prime Time was Duane Latimer, who piloted Da Vintage to a handicapped score of 222.5. The win netted a check for $1,950, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, a champion ball cap from Just Stitch It, a WonPad, a $50 gift certificate from Thomas Moore Feed, and the WorldWideSlide.com custom bicycle. The pair also placed third in the Level 3, garnering an additional $10,692 for owner Harper Conner of Dallas, Texas.
Da Vintage, by A Sparkling Vintage out of Cowboys Belle Bar, was shown as a 3-year-old by a couple different people, before taking a break from showing during 2014. “This is really his first time to show since his 3-year-old year. It’s the first time I showed him for real,” Latimer, a former NRBC Champion who surpassed $2 million in lifetime earnings at the 2014 event, explained. “He was good here. He wasn’t perfect in the preliminary round, but he was really good in the finals and I am very happy with him.”
Latimer has ridden just a couple horses for the Conner family. “They’re customers of Tom McCutcheon, and I work for Tom. I got this horse and rode him a little bit last fall and got along with him, so we all decided that I’d ride him here – especially since I am eligible for the Level 3 and Prime Time.”
There was a three-way tie for third place in the Prime Time between another Duane Latimer entry, Debbie Brown, and Casey Hinton. Each marked a 220 and received a check for $1,150. Latimer rode Taking A Rest (Smart Spook x Plenty Of Rest) for Wagman Ranch Inc. Debbie Brown rode Belle Starr Dun It (Hollywood Dun It x Chic Olena Starbuck) for Turnabout Farm Inc., and Hinton rode Ruf Revolution (Einsteins Revolution x Lil Chic Peppy), a horse he owns with his wife Kathy.
For complete results, click here.