Big stops, flying lead changes and flashy horses took over the Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore, Oklahoma, during the Scottsdale Western World Futurity Non-Pro at the Southwest Reining Horse Association (SWRHA) Futurity Oct. 28. The Futurity Non-Pro was the highlight of the day, featuring 44 entries and paying out a total of $36,709.
Topping the Level 4 were two top-shelf performances put in by Kelle Smith, riding Gotta Shiney Whiz, and Cade McCutcheon aboard Whiz My Freckles. Smith and McCutcheon piloted their mounts to matching scores of 218.5, which earned each the Co-Championship after the decision was made to forego the runoff option. Each team pocketed $4,290 plus championship prizes.
Smith rode Gotta Shiney Whiz (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Cee Bee Shine x Shining Spark), who she says is her “comeback” horse. The duo has only been partners for a few months, and the connection seems to be a perfect fit.
“I tried her literally for five minutes at the [Tulsa Reining Classic],” Smith said of purchasing the mare. “After that horse show I went to Waco [Texas] just to see what she was, and then I took her to the [All American Quarter Horse] Congress and had a couple of bobbles and still won money on her.”
In preparation for the SWRHA Futurity, Smith was coached by Dany Tremblay, and the team was able to get those few bobbles ironed out. The hard work paid off in big ways for Smith and “Shiney,” who also took top honors in the Level 3 Non-Pro.
Whiz My Freckles, who belongs to James McCutcheon, is also by Spooks Gotta Whiz. The mare is out of Dun Lost My Freckles, who is by Hollywood Dun It. McCutcheon said that though he and Whiz My Freckles were still figuring each other out, he was happy with his run and confident for their future.
“I feel good about going to the big [National Reining Horse Association] futurity, because there’s stuff I could improve on and she was really easy for me to show,” McCutcheon said. “She turned really good to the right, just how I wanted her to. The left we had a little bobble; she started her turn and I kind of rushed her and she missed a couple of steps, but she finished good.”
There was a three-way tie for third place in the Level 4 between Mandy McCutcheon, who rode One Last Nite (Gunners Special Nite x One Last Corona x Magnum Chic Dream) and Customized My Gun (Gunner x Custom Made Dunit x Hollywood Dun It) to twin scores, and James Morgan on Gals N Guns (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x Dun Step N Out x Wimpys Little Step). All three rides scored a 216.5.
As a stallion that participated in the SWRHA Stallion Auction, Gunners Special Nite earned distinction for siring the highest-scoring Futurity Non-Pro horse, winning the SWRHA signature golf cart.
Futurity Level 2 Non-Pro
The Futurity Level 2 Non-Pro champion was Deb McCandless riding One Fancy Magnum (Magnum With A Dream x Ms Diamonds Fancy x Royal Diamondnic). The pair scored a 216 and won $1,102.
McCandless and One Fancy Magnum had only shown once prior to the SWRHA Futurity, and “Rio” shows talent, which makes his owner excited about his future. Having just purchased Rio in August, McCandless said he was quickly finding his stride in the show pen.
“He was very green,” McCandless said of her gelding. “He’s just been a real good guy. He was behind, but he’s catching up very quickly.”
Futurities hold a special place in McCandless’ heart. She loves the challenge and connection of starting a young horse. In the Futurity Non-Pro, she relied on her connection and skills as a rider to prepare One Fancy Magnum for his run.
“He was a little green on one side, but we worked it out, outside [in the warm up area],” McCandless said. “He’s so quiet and so cute loping. He’s stylish that way –so that helped us a lot, I think. And he ran down and stopped, I mean, that’s a big part of our game. It was just a really fun ride.”
Futurity Level 1 Non-Pro
The McCutcheon team won big in one way or another throughout the entire Futurity Non-Pro. Audrey Jewell, who works in the McCutcheon Reining Horses office by day and shows a Gunners Special Nite son in her time outside of work, went home with the Level 1 Non-Pro Championship. She rode Special Nite Time (out of KR Anniegityergun x Gun Start) to a score of 214.5 and collected $238.
“I’ve always loved Gunners Special Nite, and when I bought him [Special Nite Time], it was before I started working for Tom and Mandy,” Jewell said. “It’s actually kind of fate that I had a Gunners Special Nite and I started working for them, so it’s been pretty cool.”
The SWRHA Futurity was Special Nite Time’s first show, and Jewell admitted that when she purchased him in February, he was a little behind. The duo has been making great progress, as proven by their victory. The win was even more special for Jewell because Special Nite Time is her first futurity horse.
“This was kind of awesome that he’s doing so well,” Jewell said. “He’s a really cool horse. He’s really quiet, super chill and he’s the calmest horse I’ve probably ever shown in my entire life.”
Futurity Prime Time Non-Pro
It was a bittersweet victory for Dr. James Morgan during the Scottsdale Western World Futurity Non-Pro. Morgan’s brother died Friday morning prior to the Futurity. A day which would have normally been filled with thoughts of preparation for his run was clouded with the passing of his brother.
“Today it was a little hard for me to focus,” Morgan said. “It was one of those kind of days where I just had to drive myself away from those thoughts and I just tried as hard as I could. My emotions were just everywhere about the whole thing. I really don’t want to glamorize the death of my brother, but if I didn’t mention it, it really wouldn’t be what today was all about, because he used to ride horses with me way, way back.”
Morgan rode Gals N Guns to the Futurity Prime Time Non-Pro Championship, Reserve in Level 3 and a tie for third in Level 4. Morgan has only had the mare about a month.
“She’s the kind of mare that she’d been passed around and she really wasn’t working out for people. When she came down to Brian Bell’s for training I just saw her and loved the way she looked, her conformation,” Morgan said. “I’d ridden a couple of other horses that looked just like her a long time ago. I got on her and I thought that I felt that there was a very special horse in there.
“With the help of Brian Bell and myself, we spent a ton of time on her, and we just decided that we were going to have a try out between my No. 3 and No. 4 horse. She was my No. 4 horse. There’s something really special about that mare. She didn’t win Level 4, but it was a huge thing for her to mark a [216.5]. One judge even had the courage, I would say, to plus 1 her circles, and to get a plus 1 maneuver on a horse that was pretty far behind was very rewarding.”
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