The Southwest Reining Horse Association hosts one of the largest futurities preceding the National Reining Horse Association Futurity in December, so it's no surprise that the competition brings some of the toughest entries to the Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Mandy McCutcheon, of Aubrey, Texas, had a 1-2-3 finish in the WinStar World Casino Non Pro Futurity. All of her entries were mares by her parent's - Tim and Colleen McQuay - headline stallion Colonels Smoking Gun (Gunner).
"It's pretty cool. I finally feel like I'm helping my parent's breeding program! I've had some Gunners to ride before, but I never felt like I did them justice," she admitted. "They're great horses and I'm thrilled that it all came together."
McCutcheon won the WinStar World Casino Non Pro Championship on Always Gotyer Gunsup, owned by McQuay Stables and out of Always A Dunit, with a score of 225.5. "I thought she was lost for a second when we first came into the pen - but then she decided she knew what we were doing and she never stuttered again!"
McCutcheon finished the Futurity with a bevy of prizes, including a Golf Cart from the SWRHA and $5,229 for the Championship.
The large amount of added money for the SWRHA Futurity is made possible by the generous owners who donate breedings to their stallions to the SWRHA Online Stallion Auction. That's why the SWRHA recognizes the owner of the sire of the highest placing offspring in the WinStar World Casino Non Pro Futurity with their very own SWRHA Golf Cart! That meant that Tim and Colleen McQuay also received their own motorized trophy.
And thanks to sponsorship from The South Farm, the McQuays received an additional $1,000 for the Non Pro Mare Bonus.
McCutcheon piloted My Gunner Enterprise, owned by Tim McQuay and out of My Royal Enterprise, to a score of 223. The Reserve Championship garnered $3,183, and a pair of Anderson Bean Boots.
Rounding out the top three with a 221.5 was McCutcheon and Hidin Gunner, out of Haidachino Cherry and also owned by McQuay Stables. The third place finish was worth $2,387 and a Dennards winter blanket.
Tami Wagman SWRHA Intermediate and Limited Non Pro Futurity Championships
With a 219.5, Tami Wagman of Talala, Oklahoma, won the Intermediate and Limited Non Pro Futurity, and also finished fifth in the Non Pro Futurity on Spooked Up, by Smart Spook. That resulted in a big paycheck of $5,157. Wagman also took home two Bob's Custom Saddles from the SWRHA.
"He was real consistent today. I figured he could do well - I just didn't know about me," noted Wagman modestly. "Shawn Flarida and his team have been training him, and my husband Marc was here to help me."
Spooked Up is special to Wagman, who's been on a 3-year hiatus from showing. Spooked Up is out of Rest Up, a mare on which Tami won the Limited Non Pro at both the National Reining Breeders Classic and the NRHA Derby. "He's so much like her, so it's really fun," she said. "It's really special when you raise one and are able to do so well."
The Reserve Championship of the Intermediate Non Pro was a four-way tie between Quincy Cahill Allen and High Kaliber Pistol (Custom Pistol x Mexikali); Sally Broten and Rio Grande Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Dunnits Daisy); Lindsey McCutcheon and The Rio Deal (Inwhizable x Miss Dutari Rio); and Kelsey Huffman and Chicks Command It All (Commanders Nic x Chic My Jewels). Each marked a 219 and received a check for $917.
Huffman and Chicks Command It All were the solo Reserve finishers in the Limited Non Pro, collecting an additional $794.
James Hendricks Wins SWRHA Non Pro Level 1 Futurity
Even though he'd only been riding her for a couple weeks, James Hendricks rode Light It Up Rosalie to a solid 218 - securing the Non Pro Level 1 title and a third place finish in the Limited Non Pro. That first successful trip to the show pen paid off with a $788 check and a Montana Silversmiths buckle.
"She was excellent today. I couldn't believe how good she was," noted Hendricks of Pilot Point, Texas. "I think I'll be showing her at the Futurity in Oklahoma City so this was a great confidence builder."
Owned by James' son and daughter-in-law - Dell and Terri Hendricks - Light It Up Rosalie was being ridden by Dell's assistant trainer Nick Valentine. "Nick had done a great job, but he already had a few horses that worked for him, so they let me ride this one," James explained. "I thank Dell for letting me show her, and for helping me throughout my reining career."
Frank Ordner and Rubys Hollywood Lady (Reminic N Dunit x Lenas Ruby Chex), earned the Reserve Championship with a 214.5, collecting $125. Rubys Hollywood Lady is owned by David Silva, Sr.
Flis Sassella Pilots Shiny Whiz to Non Pro Prime Time Title
Marietta, Oklahoma, Non Pro Flis Carey Sassella won the Non Pro Prime Time on Shiny Whiz with a score of 218, pocketing $660 and taking home a Montana Silversmiths buckle.
Shiny Whiz, by Remin Whiz, is out of Not Too Shiny, who also produced Twilight Rooster, a horse that Sassella has had a lot of success with, including a Reserve finish in the Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro at the NRHA Derby.
"It's funny because physically this horse is nothing like the other one - but mentally he's the same," she explained. "He's really cool. I showed him at Tulsa with two hands and this is only his second show, so I am pretty proud of him."
Sassella thanked Shelly Ries for her help during the Futurity, but gave almost all of the credit for her success to her husband Rich. "He did all the training on this horse as a 2-year-old, and I only began riding him in June. Rich did all the hard stuff and let me do the fun part, so I really appreciate everything he has done."
Sassella also finished ninth in the Non Pro and sixth in the Intermediate Non Pro, collecting an additional $1,528.
James Morgan and Conquestadordaydream were the Reserve Champions of the Non Pro Prime Time with a score of 217.5. Morgan and Conquestadordaydream, by Conquistador Whiz and out of Custom Dreamer, received a check for $454 along with a pair of Anderson Bean boots.
All the action of the SWRHA Futurity can be seen on the internet, thanks to the live webcast from Waltenberry productions. Just visit the SWRHA website at www.swrha.com for a link.
For more information on the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity, or to inquire about the SWRHA, please call 580-759-2572, or visit www.swrha.com.
Photo: Mandy McCutcheon taken earlier in the year--Waltenberry Photo