Mark J. Rafacz and Matt Palmer Tied to Win the 2015 NAAC Open

Matt Palmer riding Smart Chic Katie for owner Mark Hurd, and Mark Rafacz riding his family-owned gelding Better Not Rest.
Matt Palmer riding Smart Chic Katie for owner Mark Hurd, and Mark Rafacz riding his family-owned gelding Better Not Rest. (Photo: NRHA Reiner)

Oklahoma City, Okla. - The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is proud to announce the newest champions crowned at this year’s North American Affiliate Championships. Meet Mark J. Rafacz and Better Not Rest (Custom Crome x Rest Stop x Topsail Cody) and Matthew Noel Palmer riding Smart Chic Katie (Gunner x Tinky Chex Chic x Smart Chic Olena) who tied to win the 2015 NAAC Open with a 218.

Better Not Rest, a 15-year-old gelding aka ‘Jay’, owned by Mark J Rafacz, has won over $81,000 in NRHA competition and holds a very special place in the Rafacz family’s heart. “This is a pretty special horse,” says the NRHA Professional from Citra, FL . “He was trained by Shawn Flarida as a 3 year old and we bought him when he was 5 for a customer of ours. He stayed in our barn for a better part of three years and was then sold to Mexico for the World Equestrian Games. At the 2014 NRHA Derby we bought him back for other customers of ours with the understanding that when they were done with him we would buy him back and that he would live out his days at our barn. Both Shannon, my wife, and I have been riding him and we’ve both qualified him! Today he was very good for me, warmed up well and showed well except for an under spin. He holds a special place in our heart, he’s talented, he likes his job and he always gives 110% every time, no matter what you ask him to do! Our daughter, Madison, also rides him and was fifth on him at the Congress this year. Like I said, he’s special!”

Smart Chic Katie is a 4-year-old mare owned by Mark Hurd who has won $12,582 LTE. Hurd purchased her at the NRHA Futurity as a 3 year old. “I showed her last year as a 4 year old and, if she did not drag a lead after a lead change, she would have won every time,” says the NRHA Professional from Elver, PA. “I got a lot of help from my mentor, NRHA Million Dollar Rider Rocky Dare, and also from Dean Brown. After their help working on this, it’s been like a bull running downhill! We won the North East Affiliate Championship and I truly need to thank the owner Mark and my mom, Joan, for always pushing me to never give up. I must admit it’s been a lesson well learnt in my life. This is the coolest looking mare who has been competing against a lot of stallions and geldings. For her to be a mare and step up to this level says how powerful she is. The plan is now to show her at a lot of derbies next year.”

Tying for third place with a 214.5 score were Sterling Slemp from Sturgeon, MO, riding Sheza Little Wimpy (Wimpys Little Step x Smart Aleck Lena x Smart Little Aleck), owned by Barbara Matteson, and Shane Allen Brown riding Hollywood Golden Gun (Gunner x Docs Dunnit Bar x Hollywood Dun It) for Glo L Tazi.

Randall Dooleyand Oscar Party are the NAAC Intermediate Open Champions Winning the Intermediate Open NAAC Championship with a 215.5 were Randall Dooley and Oscar Party (Hollywoodtinseltown x Calatrava x Bar Money Sunny), a 4-year-old gelding owned by Gail Klapper.

“I’ve had this horse, bred by his owners, ever since he was a two year old and I just love him,” says the NRHA Professional from Elbert, CO. “During the year I took him to smaller shows where he always did well, earned 62 affiliate points and won $6,252. Winning the Intermediate Open Championship here with him is pretty special. He’s always trying to please you so he truly deserves this title!”

Second place honors went to Sterling Slemp from Sturgeon, MO, riding Sheza Little Wimpy (Wimpys Little Step x Smart Aleck Lena x Smart Little Aleck), owned by Barbara Matteson. The pair alsotied for third place in the NAAC Open. Derek Heitland from Ackley, Iowa, and Miss Sugar Gunnit (Sugar Chics Gunnit x Blackburns Tailwind x Mr Blackburn 932) owned by Mary Jansma placed third after posting a 213.5.

For more information about the North American Affiliate Championships and the 50th Running of the NRHA Futurity and to keep up with all the class results, special events and happenings throughout the week, visit nrhafuturity.com.




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