When Jay McLaughlin qualified Shiney Sushi for the Open Bridle finals of the National Reined Cow Horse Association World Championship Show presented by John Deere, he and owner Carol Rose made a decision: if the 7-year-old cow horse won the World Championship, she would be retired.
On Saturday, February 4, the flashy palomino mare left the show pen for the last time. She bested the field, which included some of the most prolific equine athletes in the industry by 2.5 points with a 436 - winning $8,106, a Bob's Custom Saddle, a Gist Silversmiths buckle sponsored by Smart Boons, Rios of Mercedes boots from Rios of Mercedes, a vest sponsored by Gist Silversmiths, a $50 gift card from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies, a CR Morrison trophy and a CR Morrison commemorative medallion.
For McLaughlin, of Gainesville, Texas, the win proved what he and Rose had never doubted - the mare was born to be a champion. "She's freaky talented. She's been easy to train and show - she's just always had bad draws," he said, explaining how "Sushi," who now boasts over $60,000 in NRCHA earnings, didn't have a major title to her name.
He added that she was also injured after winning the Open Reserve Championship at the NRCHA Stakes in 2009, which resulted in a year off. "Now she does have a title and she can retire and be a broodmare." He added, "I thank the whole Rose Ranch team, my wife, and my family for all the support - it is a team effort to win something like this."
Rose, who bred and raised Sushi, noted, "Jay is incredible. He is such a good trainer and an amazing showman. He's done a beautiful job."
Shiney Sushi is by Shining Spark out of Docs Sulena - which has proven to be a lucrative cross. Sushi is a full-sibling to stand-out stallions Shiners Lena Doc and A Shiner Named Sioux. "It's very interesting - last year we only got two Shining Spark embryos, and they both came from Docs Sulena. They'll be full siblings to Sushi."
Justin Warneke and Heza Diamond Spark took reserve honors in the Open Bridle with a score of 433.5. The win added $6,485 to the Diamond J Star stallion's lifetime earnings, which exceed $70,000. He also took home a Gist Silversmiths buckle sponsored by Kevin and Sydney Knight, and custom spurs from Tom Balding Bits & Spurs, Rios of Mercedes boots from Rios of Mercedes, a tooled notebook from Classic Equine, a vest sponsored by Gist Silversmiths, and a CR Morrison commemorative medallion.
Heza Diamond Spark, out of the great-producing mare Sheza Shinette, is owned by Michael Garver of Great Falls, Montana.
The NRCHA World Championship Show presented by John Deere is held as part of the NRCHA Celebration of Champions, held January 28-February 5 at the First Community Credit Union Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas. The Celebration of Champions also features the Circle Y Ranch Derby and the World's Greatest Horseman competition.