Closing the 2015 edition of the NRHA European Affiliate Championship held at the Petit Far West in Le Pin, France, was the $5,000-added EA Open sponsored by Cowboy’s Magazine. Writing yet another piece of history was NRHA Million Dollar Rider, Bernard Fonck of Belgium, riding Sail On Top Whizard (Whizard Jac x Miss N Sis x Miss N Cash), owned by Danny and Mireille Cerato. Aka ‘Topper’, the 10-year-old stallion is a past NRHA EA Open Champion, as well as a past NRHA World Open Champion with Bernard in the saddle.
“Topper is a one of a kind horse! I’ve had him ever since he was a 2-year-old and we’ve won everything there is to win together in Europe as well as the Shoot Out in Oklahoma City. Together we’ve earned close to $280,000 LTE, so he’s played a big part in getting me to the million dollar mark and I cannot thank his owners enough for never selling him and giving me the opportunity to carry on showing him,” said Fonck. A point behind the winners, the EA Open Reserve Championship w after as claimed by Cira Baeck riding Colonels Shining Gun (Colonels Smoking Gun x Shining Little Peach x Shining Spark) for owner Katarzyna Roleska of Poland. “I must say I am actually very happy with my horse today,” said the NRHA Professional.
“It’s been a long two weeks, following the CS Classic, and ‘Jojo’ did good job, and the score reflects this.” Once again Fonck, with a 217, stepped on the podium taking third place honors aboard What A Wave (Tidal Wave Jack x What A Sunrise x Sunrise Surprise) for owners Vennietvelt and De Pauw.
With a 219, Manuel Bonzano of Italy rode his 6-year-old stallion, High Point Reiner, to the EA Non Pro Championship. “I’ve shown my horse four times this year. We won three times and were second twice,” said the past NRHA Non Pro World Champion and past EA Non Pro Champion.
“We bred and raised him and he was trained and shown by Ann and Bernard. I’m truly happy with this title, especially considering that our goal this year is to run for the NRHA Non Pro World title again.” Bonzano was last to enter the pen in a field of 20 and the score to beat – a 218.5 - was that posted by Koen Brutsaert of Belgium riding CJ Whiz, his 6-year-old Quarter Horse stallion by Topsail Whiz and out of Dream Olena Chic (by Magnum Chic Dream). “My horse was just great and I hoped until the very end that our score would hold,” said Koen. “He’s been wonderful all week and now we look forward to the European Derby where my daughter, who won the EAC Intermediate Non Pro Championship on him here, will be showing him.” In third place was Belgian Susy Baeck who, first to enter the pen aboard Eifel Gold Ranch Baeck’s Pop Gun Cash BB (Nu Chex To Cash x Sugar Pop Gun x Gunner), had set the bar scoring a 218.
Earning the NRHA EA Limited Open Championship was Ann Grether from The Netherlands. With Nancy Schmidt’s Wimpys Little Tejano, a 9-year-old stallion by Wimpys Little Step and out of Tejana Chic (by Smart Chic Olena), Ann posted a 217. “I’m really happy with this win because this will be this horses’ last show so I couldn’t have wanted any other way to his show season,” said Ann. Sliding to the second step of the podium were Valentina Sagmeister and SZ Gunners Newcomer for owner Robert Hahn.
The Austrian rider posted a 216 to earn the reserve championship with the 6-year-old stallion by Gunner and out of Cowboys New Comer (by Dunnit Like A Cowboy). Cedric Guerriero of France and Smart Furys Remedy (Smart Little Fury x Betsys Remedy x Doc Remedy) owned by Doitrand Guerriero posted a 214 for third place honors.
Topping the country standings with a total score of 321.5 was host France. NRHA France received a paycheck worth $500 from the National Reining Horse Association. In second place, with 316 total points, was Belgium followed by Great Britain with 247.5 points.