Wimpys Little Step and Smart Like Juice both became NRHA Million Dollar Sires during the event, and Shining Spark – the sire of Open Champion Shining N Sassy – became a Three Million Dollar Sire.
Shawn Flarida also crossed the $3 million earnings mark. Flarida, Springfield, Ohio, is the only rider to have reached that level of earnings. He and Tim McQuay, who rode the Open Champion, were the only riders to have reached $2 million in reining earnings.
Shining Spark (Genuine Doc x Diamonds Sparkle x Mr Diamond Dude), owned by Carol Rose, Gainesville, Texas, is the only stallion to have reached $2 million sire status in both the NRHA and NRCHA. He was an NRHA Futurity Open finalist in 1992, shown by Bob Loomis, and the 1993 AQHA World Champion in Junior Reining and the 1994 NRHA Derby Open Champion, shown by McQuay. He went into the NRHA Futurity with his get earning $2,851,367, according to NRHA records through Nov. 2.
Shining N Sassy (out of Sassy O Lena by Doc O’Lena), shown by McQuay for Rose, earned $150,000 for her Open Championship.
Other horses also contributed to Shining Spark’s newest milestone. Kitas Spark, shown by Todd Bergen for Arcese Quarter Horses USA, Weatherford, Texas, placed 12th and earned $22,222. Spark N Whiz, shown by Duane Latimer and also owned by Arcese Quarter Horses USA, placed 13th and earned $19,753.
In the Limited Open finals, Sir Shiner was shown by Adam Johnson for Rose, placing sixth and earning $2,894.
Wimpys Little Step (Nu Chex To Cash x Leolita Step x Forty Seven) had a brief but extremely successful show career. In 2002, as a 3-year-old, he won the All American Quarter Horse Congress Futurity and the New Tradition Futurity before heading to Oklahoma City and claiming the Futurity Open Championship with Flarida riding for owner Mark Schols, College Grove, Tenn. The stallion earned $185,756 in those three shows and then was retired to the breeding barn.
From his first foal crop, Wimpys Little Step sired an NRHA Futurity Champion, Wimpys Little Chic, who won the event in 2007 with Flarida showing for Arcese Quarter Horses USA. The mare, out of Collena Chic Olena by Smart Chic Olena, has earned $327,207 and is the only horse to sweep reining’s “Triple Crown” – the NRHA Futurity, National Reining Breeders Classic and NRHA Derby. She is the leading get of Wimpys Little Step, whose first foal crop has earned in excess of $760,000.
At the 2008 NRHA Futurity, Wimpys Little Step was represented by two horses in the Open finals: Out Shinin Wimpy (out of Shinaka by Shining Spark), ridden by Jordan Larson for Dorminy Plantation, Fitzgerald, Ga., to 10th place and $24,073; and Wimpys Red Berry (out of Custom Red Berry by Custom Crome), shown by Brent Wright and owned by Wimpys Red Berry Partnership, Maysville, Okla., to 13th place and earnings of $19,753.
The stallion also was represented in the Intermediate Open and Limited Open finals. Wimpys Minx (out of Cee Carmis Minx by Minx Cee) was shown by Brent Loseke for Green Valley Partners, Aubrey, Texas, to fourth in the Intermediate Open for earnings of $13,906. In the Limited Open, Wimpys Little Step get took first and second place. The Champion was Got Wimpys Mark (out of Gotta Marker Parker by Doc N Jose), shown by Trevor Dare for Albert Hawa Sarquis, Puerta De Hierro, Mexico; and the Reserve Champion was Lil Star Stepper (out of Starlights Slipper by Gallo Del Cielo), ridden by Roy Van Der Hoeven for Green Valley Ranch, Aubrey, Texas.
The Intermediate Non-Pro also was dominated by the stallion. Tish Fappani earned the Championship on Crome Plated Step (out of Crome Kist Dun It by Crome Plated Jac) and Lindsay Paul rode Wright On Wimpy (out of Tribeca Tucker by Lenas Wright On) to the Reserve Championship.
The first two foals of Smart Like Juice were born in 1999, and his first full crop was in 2000. His leading get is Juiced Up Doc, a 2000 gelding out of Jokes Startime by Joker Solano, with earnings of $136,119. He was successfully shown by Mike Flarida, Lee Schild (who owned the horse before Vazquez purchased him) and Vazquez.
At the NRHA Futurity, Smart Like Juice was well-represented in the Open and Non-Pro. Gorgeous Like A Star (out of Hustle Up A Star by Grays Starlight) was shown by Craig Schmersal for Greg Hill, Huron, Ohio, to fifth place in the Open, and earned $50,616. Little Lenas Solano (out of Get Down Sassy Sue by Joker Solano) placed 10th in the Intermediate Open finals, shown by Deon Locke for Reggie Dowell, Greenview, Ill., to earn $5,134. Two other Smart Like Juice get, both owned by Smart Like Juice Inc. – All Juiced Up (out of Come On And Dance by Reminic), shown by Bryant Pace, and Agaze Juice (out of Lena Del Cielo by Gallo Del Cielo), shown by Sam Smith – also earned money in the finals.
Vazquez showed two horses to tie for 11th place in the Non-Pro finals: SLJ I Like It Ruf (out of Ruf Catalyst by Lil Ruf Peppy) and SLJ Dun Juiced Up (out of Some Kind Of Dun It by Hollywood Dun It). They earned $4,740 each. Vazquez and SLJ I Like It Ruf also earned money in the first go-round.
At the NRHA Futurity this year, Flarida rode two horses to the Open finals. Aboard Whizs Chic A Dee (West Coast Whiz x Chic A Dee Hickory x Smart Chic Olena), owned by Arcese Quarter Horses USA, he placed seventh and earned $41,974. He also placed 24th on Skid Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Miss Solano Twist x Heza New Twist), owned by Bob Loomis Quarter Horses, Marietta, Okla., and added $11,358 to his record.
Flarida grew up riding reining horses, thanks to the influence of his parents, Bill and Betty. Before establishing his own training business, he worked for his brother, Mike, who has won the NRHA Futurity twice (in 1993 on Custom Crome and in 1996 on Whizard Jac). Flarida and his wife, Michele, have three children: Cody, 13; Courtney, 7; and Sam, 5.