QR Hickory Boon and Randy Gamble
At the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity, the conclusion of the Non Pro preliminaries not only determined who would advance to Friday’s clean slate finals, they also decided the Championships in two divisions: the Amateur and the Non Pro Limited.
The Futurity Amateur Champion is Randy Gamble, Prineville, Ore., who rode QR Hickory Boon (Boons Milliennium x Melissa Josey x Doc’s Hickory) to a composite 633.5 score (210 herd/207.5 rein/216 cow.
The Amateur Championship paid $5,400 and comes with a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by Larry and Ellen Bell, a CR Morrison Trophy and Gist buckle sponsored by Chandler Ranch, a cooler from Classic Equine, a jacket from Cinch, a 30x hat from JW Brooks Custom Hats, a framed Western print from In Cahoots Gallery, and product from Back On Track and Platinum Performance.
“I’m pretty darn excited, I guarantee you!” an elated Gamble said, following the win.
The 216 cow work score was the highlight of his performance.
“I knew it was a good cow as soon as it came out. He had enough run to him that I could score well on him. It was cool. It was really cool. Definitely a bucket list item. Definitely a highlight.”
Gamble also qualified for all three Futurity Non Pro division finals on Friday, Oct. 2. He thanked his herd help and expressed great appreciation for the reined cow horse community of trainers and Non Pro competitors in the Pacific Northwest.
The Amateur Reserve Champion was Wilder Jones, riding Magicat (Metallic Cat x Magical Lena x Little Lenas Legend) to a 626 composite. He took home a $4,300 check, along with a Gist buckle from Crawford Performance Horses, a hat from JW Brooks Custom Hats and a jacket from Cinch. Magicat is sired by Metallic Cat and out of leading cow horse dam Magical Lena. Wilder and Magicat also qualified for all three Non Pro division finals on Friday.
Erin Russell and Under Lights (CD Lights x Shiners Missy Jay x Shining Spark) won the Futurity Non Pro Limited Championship, scoring a total 634.5 on three events (210 herd/209.5 rein/215 cow)to win a $3,983 check.
“I was first in the herd, so I knew I had the pick of the litter. I had Boyd Rice and Winston Hansma helping me, as well as Todd Crawford and Steve Metcalf. They were awesome help – huge thanks to my guys for helping me,” Russell said. “My horse was great in the reining – very clean. In the cow work, I was just praying for a great cow. He handled it so well. I pushed him up in there, he took a hold of it, I tried to be easy with my hands and keep my legs close to him and not fall off, and he was great!”
Russell’s Championship came with a pile of great prizes – a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by TKO Ranch, a Gist buckle sponsored by her horse’s sire, CD Lights, a CR Morrison Trophy from the NRCHA, a 30x hat from JW Brooks Custom Hats, a cooler from Classic Equine, a jacket from Cinch, product from Back on Track and Platinum Performance, and a $400 gift certificate for custom chaps from the Chap Lady.
Russell purchased “Buddy” from the Carol Rose dispersal sale last year. She had a feeling about the big, strong yellow gelding.
“I knew he was the one. It was meant to be,” she said.
Under Lights reminds Russell of her first cow horse, Bonnies Fancy Twist. They won a NRCHA Non Pro Limited World Championship together in 2007, but sadly, Russell lost “Twister” two years ago.
“I literally think my old horse is inside this one. They’re so much alike. I had a flashback when I was working the cow just then. Buddy really encompasses what Twister was, but without some of the quirks, so he’s even better,” she said.
Russell, who has not yet started showing down the fence, appreciated the new Non Pro Limited Futurity class.
“It’s awesome! I was so thankful for it. It’s another reason I went out tolook for a two year old last year.”
Russell thanked her trainers, Steve and Carol Metcalf; her cutting horse trainer, Ronnie Rice; Carol Rose; her friend and equine insurance agent, Dianne Passek; and her family.
The Non Pro Limited Futurity Reserve Champion was Marissa Greenberg, who rode her grade mare named Minnie to a 632.5 on three events (211 herd/204.5 rein/217 cow). Marissa’s $3,130 check came with a Gist buckle from Estelle Roitblat in memory of Harold Farren, a custom Randy Paul snaffle bit, a 30x hat from JW Brooks, a jacket from Cinch, and product from Back On Track and Platinum performance.
It took a 623.5 to advance to the Futurity Non Pro finals, where 16 riders will compete for the Championship in the clean-slate second go Friday, Oct. 2. In the Futurity Intermediate and Novice Non Pro divisions, the bubble was a 618.5. Fifteen will compete for the Intermediate Non Pro title and 10 for the Novice Non Pro.
In the Limited Open Hackamore class, it was Cruze Mode (Wimpys Little Step x Smart Lassie Chick x Smart Chic Olena) and Ben Baldus at the top of the heap, earning the championship with a total 424 score on two events. Cruze Mode, a 2009 stallion, is owned by the W.T. Waggoner Estate. The Championship paid $1,275 and came with a Gist buckle from the NRCHA and product from Back On Track and Platinum Performance.
“Cruze Mode has been a really good horse for us. I’ve shown him in the reining, and he’s done well in the reining derbies. He was good in the rein work today. On the cow, he boxed well and got a good first turn. The cow got really tough on the second turn but we handled it and got to the circles. He circled real good to the left, but I had heck going to the right because the cow still had plenty of air, but we got it done,” Baldus said.
A big group of 52 Open Hackamore horses competed Sept. 29 for a spot in the clean slate finals.
The high score in the prelims belonged to High Brow Shiner (Shining Lil Nic x High Brow Meow x High Brow Cat), shown by NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman and Million Dollar Rider Doug Williamson. High Brow Shiner, owned by Belle Meade Ranch, scored a 215 in the rein work and a 222.5 in the cow work for a 437.5 composite.
“My horse was really good. I’m excited about being in the finals. The toughest horses in the world are here, and they’re not just kind of good – they’re really good,” Williamson said.
Seventeen horses advance to the clean slate Open Hackamore finals on Thursday – it took a 427.5 to qualify.