Eastern National Championships had always ranked high on Steve Colclasure’s “bucket list” of things to accomplish before his life ends. “I’d been second here twice, and I’d always wanted to win it,” he said. Thursday in Jackson, Miss., the 38-year-old Cushing, Okla., trainer won the Open and the $3,000 Novice Open titles within a few hours of each other while riding two geldings sired by Smart Little Lena.
Well before sundown Thursday night, 2006 gelding Firecracker Bright (Smart Little x Daintys Cat x High Brow Cat), a horse owned by Steve and his wife, non-pro cutting rider, Heidi Colclasure, won the $3,000 Novice Open with a 220.5 score to earn $6,653.
Well after dark, competing from the last draw in the two-set, 25-horse Open finals, 10-year-old gelding Smart Little Crow (Smart Little Lena x Badge Of Courage x Peppy San Badger) carried him to an impressive 223.5 finish that won the Open and earned $4,798. Smart Little Crow is the first cutting horse owned by college professor Teresa Blakeley.
Steve’s wife, Heidi, will compete with Firecracker Bright in the Non-Pro division later at the same show. Thursday, she led a cheering section that included several clients. Steve’s father, Bruce Colclasure, also participated along with the same group of herd helpers that helped Steve win twice at an event he first competed at 25 years ago as a youth rider.
Reyn Storm (Dual Rey x Playboys Stormy x Freckles Playboy) and Shelbyville, Ky., trainer Gabe Reynolds, the same duo that dominated Wednesday’s $3,000 Novice Open finals with a 225 score, finished strong again as Open Reserve Champions with a 220.5 Thursday. They narrowly missed out on their bid to earn twin titles in two days. Their score from the No. 11 draw in the 12-horse first set took the lead until Smart Little Crow and Colclasure finally topped them while competing last in the 13-horse second set.
Rich N Snazzy and Austin Shepard, Summerdale, Ala., finished as Reserve Champions during Thursday’s $3,000 Novice Open finals with a 218.5 effort. Husband and wife cutters Mike and Libby Bowman, Simpsonville, Ky., own the 2007 mare (Cat Merada x Oh Cay Shez Snazzy x Oh Cay Quixote). Libby Bowman and Rich N Snazzy won the Classic Amateur title at the Augusta Futurity in Augusta, Ga., during late January.
The Eastern Nationals continue today with the first round of the $2,000 Limit Rider division, plus the $15,000 Amateur finals. The annual event for horses of all ages and riders who compete in various NCHA any-age categories continues through March 16.