At the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno, Nev., Lindsay Wadhams, Pueblo, Colo., claimed dual championships in the Non-Pro and Intermediate Non-Pro Bridle classes aboard her gelding, Spursuasion (Ray Gay Quixote x Mist N Smoke x Doc Tom Tucker). They scored a combined 292 (146.5 rein/145.5 cow), earning $3,420 for the Non-Pro win and an additional $1,697 for the Intermediate title.
The Championships also came with a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by Matacorp, Ltd.; a custom saddle rack donated by Sunmoon Ranch; a pair of CR Morrison trophies from the NRCHA; two Gist buckles from the NRCHA; a 10 pound bucket of UltraCruz Sand Clear plus a $50 gift certificate and a coffee tumbler in a cooler tote bag, sponsored by San Juan Ranch, a division of Santa Cruz Animal Health; Back On Track Equine Therapeutic Products sponsored by Back On Track; and two monogrammed Cinch jackets from Bob’s Custom Saddles/The New West.
Wadhams was near the end of the working order in a large class, and knew she and “Booger” had to perform at their best.
“My goal today, I was second [in the Non-Pro Bridle] here last year, and I really wanted to win today,” she said. “I was a little intimidated going into the run because there were so many high scores before I went in. Booger was great today and I was really proud of him.”
Wadhams and Spursuasion have accumulated numerous major event titles together in the past three years. They were the Novice Non-Pro Bridle Champions here at the Snaffle Bit Futurity in 2012. In May, they won the Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular at the NRCHA Hackamore Classic, and they also have an American Quarter Horse Association Amateur Reining World Championship on their resume. They also have qualified for the the AQHA World Show in Amateur Working Cow Horse multiple times, but the finals have eluded the pair, and Wadhams has her sights set on that goal this fall.
“I just want to make the finals in the cow horse [at the AQHA World Show] and after that, it’s gravy,” she said.
Wadhams’ parents, Jay and Connie Bridenthal, were in Reno to help her celebrate her win, and her dad even “missed his golf tee time to watch me show,” she said. Wadhams’ sister, Amy, is also a steadfast supporter.
“She sends me a quote every horse show I go to. The quote she sent me a week ago was, ‘Practice like you’ve never won and ride like you’ve never lost,'” Wadhams said. “I also thank Shadd Parkinson and Corey Cushing for helping me all the time and giving me tips every time I go into the pen. I have a great program with them, and I owe all my success to them.”
The Non-Pro Bridle and Intermediate Non-Pro Bridle Reserve Champion was Shelly Franklin, Camarillo, Calif., who rode A Dazzlin Prize (Smokums Prize x Two B Dazzled x Canyon Creek Rojo) to a combined 291 score (145 rein/146 cow). The Non-Pro placing paid $2,394 and Franklin collected an additional $1,333 for the Intermediate division.
Novice Non-Pro Bridle Champion
Meryl Reber, Kent, Wash., checked an accomplishment off her “bucket list” when she won the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Novice Non-Pro Bridle Championship aboard her 10-year-old gelding, Ima Chic Please (Chic Please x Smokums Chex Mint x Smokum Oak). Reber and “Bullet” earned a combined 287.5 score (140 rein/147.5 cow), taking home a $1,554 check. The win also came with a Gist buckle sponsored by Robin Flournoy; a CR Morrison Trophy from the NRCHA; Platinum Performance; Back On Track Equine Therapeutic Products sponsored by Back On Track; and a monogrammed Cinch jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles/the New West.
The crowd came alive when Reber entered the arena, and the cheering grew still louder as the buckskin gelding executed a fast-and-furious fence run – although his rider hardly heard it.
“I heard a little bit of screaming during the reining, but not when the cow came out. I quit hearing things. We were on auto pilot,” Reber said, smiling. “I con’t think I touched the reins during the cow work. He just did his thing. The cow was really good. I thought he was a little dead on the end but once we got him going down the fence, he was perfect. We got a good turn each way, and it stayed on the fence and I thought about doing another turn, but I knew Bullet could circle a fast cow so off we went!”
Reber, a former hunter-jumper competitor, decided it was time to change disciplines, so she purchased Bullet, her first cow horse, in the winter of 2010. Their future plans may include a trip to the NRCHA Celebration of Champions in February, but in the meantime, Bullet will be busy soaking up plenty of attention and eating his favorite treats.
“I love this horse. He’s worth his weight in gold. I bought him 25 pounds of carrots when I got here,” Reber said.
The Novice Non-Pro Bridle Reserve Champion was Parke Greeson, riding Lenas Alley (Smart Little Lena x Doc Alley x Dual Pep). They scored a 140.5 in the rein work an d147 in teh cow work, taking home $1,243 and some prizes: a monogrammed Cinch jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles/The New West; Platinum Performance; and Back On Track Equine Therapeutic Products sponsored by Back On Track.
Non-Pro Two Rein Champion
Leading NRCHA non-pro Tish Wilhite, Clovis, Calif., did not have the run of her dreams Saturday in the Non-Pro Bridle class, when she drew some tough cattle and missed a lead change on her 6-year-old gelding, Smokin My Cash (Smokums Prize x Cash My Lean x Nu Cash). She planned to make up for the disappointing run in Sunday’s Non-Pro Two Rein class.
“I guess you could say I was out for revenge on the cows, and I had a bobble in the lead change so I wanted to improve that maneuver and generally step it up in the reining today,” she said.
Mission accomplished: Wilhite and “Marley” scored a 143.5 in the rein work and a 149 in the cow work to win the Non-Pro Two Rein Championship, which came with a check for $645; a CR Morrison Trophy and Gist Buckle from the NRCHA; Platinum Performance from Doug Herthel; Back On Track Equine Therapeutic Products sponsored by Back On Track; and a monogrammed Cinch jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles/the New West.
Wilhite, who has career NRCHA earnings of more than $266,000, trains her own horses under the guidance of leading professional horseman Lance Johnston, Lindsay, Calif. She credits Johnston for helping her simplify and improve all facets of her horsemanship.
“There are so many different aspects to what we do. He’s really helped me with focusing and breaking everything down and making it make sense,” she said. “Any time you have a cow and a horse and a human brain involved, nothing is easy, but Lance has made everything seem uncomplicated.”
Wilhite plans to continue showing Smokin My Cash in the bridle next year and beyond. She recently sold two of her show horses, which brought her herd back to the size she prefers.
“I like to keep one aged event horse and one bridle horse, and [Smokin My Cash] will probably be my bridle horse for a while. This horse makes me smile every time I look at him,” she said.
Non-Pro Hackamore Champion
Shawn Renshaw’s 5-year-old gelding, Gennys Prize (Smokums Prize x Genuinely Perfect x Genuine Doc), who carries Irish Oaks Ranch’s cloverleaf brand on his shoulder, wore show number 777 when he rode into the arena for the Non-Pro Hackamore class on Sunday afternoon.
“It was either going to work out great, or be the kiss of death,” Renshaw said about the lucky symbols.
Whether it was the lucky sevens, the cloverleaf or just good old-fashioned preparedness, Renshaw and Gennys Prize scored a 144.5 in the rein work and 140 in the cow work, besting a field of 25 Non-Pro Hackamore competitors for the Championship, which paid $3,780.
The title also came with a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by Bear Creek Ranch Quarter Horses/Dan & Toni Heath; a custom saddle rack donated by Sunmoon Ranch; a C.R. Morrison Trophy from the NRCHA; a Gist buckle sponsored by Cannon Quarter Horses; Platinum Performance from Doug Herthel; Back On Track Equine Therapeutic Products sponsored by Back On Track; and a monogrammed Cinch jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles/the New West.
Renshaw, a past NRCHA Futurity Non-Pro Champion with nearly $300,000 on his lifetime cow horse record, took a “less is more” approach to training Genny’s Prize in the hackamore.
“He felt really good today. I’ve only worked him maybe five times in the hackamore. I come from the Ted Robinson school of thought: don’t put it on until you absolutely have to. He had his one hackamore run,” Renshaw said, laughing.
Renshaw has his sights set on one more big show with Gennys Prize in 2014: the National Reining Breeder’s Classic. Other than that, he plans to turn the gelding’s reins over to his wife, Kim.
“My wife says she wants her horse,” he said, smiling. “I’m going to train on him a little bit this winter and probably give him to her to go show.”
The Non-Pro Hackamore Reserve Champion was Ze Kit Cat (Zezes Pepto Cat x Hickorys Diabola x Doc’s Hickory), shown by Lorna Neel. They scored a 135 in the rein work and a 144 in the cow work, earning $2,970.
Non-Pro Limited Champion
It was an emotional win for Bobbie Masellis, Tracy, Calif., when she took the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Non-Pro Limited Championship aboard Lil Land Slide (Peptoboonsmal x Chex Rio Hickory x Doc’s Hickory) on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Reno, Nev. Masellis and her bay stallion scored a 142.5 in the rein work and a 146 in the cow work, besting a huge field of 50 entries.
“He felt really good. He felt the best he’s ever felt,” Masellis said, through tears. “It’s a bittersweet run because it’s my last run on him. I sold him – but it’s a really good way to go out.”
Masellis said this has been her first full season competing on Lil Land Slide in reined cow horse. He also is a trained cutting horse, qualifying for the AQHA World Show in Amateur Cutting with Masellis in 2011. She branched out into cow horse because “I felt confident that I could do it on this horse.”
Although she’s selling Lil Land Slide, Masellis will continue his legacy in the show arena.
“I have his baby that I’ll be coming back with and showing here as a 3-year-old. I really want to do the 3-year-old thing, so I figure his babies can take me there.”
Masellis, a massage therapist, rides regularly with California trainer Brian Gruenig.
“I want to thank him for all the faith and work he’s put into me. He’s like my family. He’s like a brother,” she said, and then laughed as she recalled his final words of advice as she entered the arena. “He told me to sit up straight and quit riding like a monkey, and to trust my horse. Tonight, I did – I gave it all I had.”
For the Non-Pro Limited Championship, Masellis won $1,400; a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by Wilson & Susan Lyle/Lyawile Ranch; a custom made saddle rack donated by Sunmoon Ranch; a C.R. Morrison Trophy from the NRCHA; a Gist Buckle sponsored by Boyd & Halee Rice; Platinum Performance from Doug Herthel; Back On Track Equine Therapeutic Products sponsored by Back On Track; and a monogrammed Cinch jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles/the New West. Thanks also to ProPanel, for sponsoring an additional $500 in added money for the Non Pro Limited Divison!
The Non-Pro Limited Reserve Champion was LeAnn Bayles, who rode Diamonds Are Smokin (Like A Diamond x Shirley Smoke) to scores of 145 in the rein work and 144 in the cow work. The placing paid $1,120.
$5,000 Non-Pro Limited
Fifteen-year-old Trea Rice, Spearman, Texas, borrowed her dad’s bridle horse to win the $5,000 Non-Pro Limited Championship. However, it’s no ordinary horse; Trea was mounted on Oh Cay N Short (Oh Cay Quixote x Bit Of Shorty x Shorty Lena), the 2007 Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Champion and 2013 World’s Greatest Horseman Reserve Champion, trained and shown by Trea’s father, Boyd Rice.
The polite and bubbly teen admitted to some show nerves while in Reno.
“I haven’t shown in the cow horse in like four years, so I was pretty nervous. I was going to draw out,
but my dad told me just do it. I was nervous about the reining because I don’t like being out there all by myself but once I was in there, it was fine. He did really well in the cow work through the whole run. It was fun,” Rice said.
She piloted “Coyote” to scores of 141 in the rein work and 150 in the cow work. When her cow work was finished, she took a little teasing from a pair of Futurity Champions.
“My dad and Corey Cushing, they were on the side, and they started hollering at me after the buzzer went off, ‘Take it down the fence!’ but I was like, ‘I can’t do that,'” she said, laughing.
The $5,000 Non-Pro Limited title came with a check for $770; a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by Santa Ynez Valley Cow Horse Classic; a custom saddle rack donated by Sunmoon Ranch; a C.R. Morrison Trophy from the NRCHA; a Gist Buckle sponsored by Lazy TD Performance Horses LLC; Platinum Performance from Doug Herthel; Back On Track Equine Therapeutic Products sponsored by Back On Track; and a monogrammed Cinch jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles/the New West.
Trea, an avid cutting horse competitor, won the NCHA Summer Spectacular Youth Scholarship Finals in July, riding CR Sun Reys (Dual Rey x Play Peek A Boon x Freckles Playboy). On Sept. 15, just before her trip to Reno, she won the Senior Youth Scholarship Cutting at the El Rancho Futurity in California, aboard Dual Lights (CD Lights x Graciela Dual).
The $5,000 Non-Pro Limited Reserve Championship ended in a tie between Bobbie Masellis aboard Lil Land Slide and LeAnn Bayles on Diamonds Are Smokin. Both competitors took home a check for $558.25.
Run To Reno Champions
The first-ever Run To Reno Champions were crowned today at the NRCHA Futurity. The Run To Reno is a new cow-work-only competition for Non-Pro and Youth horse show competitors. The top fence work scores and the top boxing scores from the horse show classes at the NRCHA Stakes, Derby, Hackamore Classic, East Coast Reined Cow Horse Classic and Snaffle Bit Futurity were invited to compete, free of charge, in Reno. One cow – one run – with a $1,000 paycheck and a Gist buckle to the Champion in both the fence an the boxing divisions.
The Run To Reno Fence Champion was Patty Ralls, Gainesville, Texas, riding her trusty Chromium Cowboy (A Chic In Time x Marvelous Miss x Mountain Creek). They scored a 146 to lead the field of 11 finalists.
In the boxing division, Trea Rice and Oh Cay N Short were tops among the 12 Run To Reno competitors, earning a 148 from the judges. Congratulations to all the Run To Reno finalists!