Lee and Holly Francois

Elseware & Lee Francois Top Southern Cutting Futurity Open

Lee and Holly FrancoisLee and Holly FrancoisThe Southern Cutting Futurity descended on Jackson, Miss., Oct. 21-27, bringing some of the sport’s greatest limited-age horses out to compete. As the dust settled on the Futurity Open finals Thursday, Oct. 24, Elseware and trainer Lee Francois were sitting at the top of the scoreboard.

Elseware, who picked up a Futurity Open title earlier in the year at the West Monroe, La.-based Cotton Stakes, carried Francois to a 221.5, besting Reserve Champions Circle S and Austin Shepard by a one-and-one-half-point margin. The duo’s performance was worth a $9,000 paycheck. Circle S and Shepard took home $8,000.

In the Derby Open, which was held immediately before the Futurity Open finals, the roster of horses was impressive. With a 225.5, 2012 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Co-Champions He Bea Cat and Tarin Rice topped the class. Rice and the Jim Crawford-owned horse pocketed $9,000 for their efforts. They also took the lead for NCHA Open Horse of the Year.

Once again, Shepard finished as a Reserve Champion, this time piloting his 2012 NCHA Futurity finalist Bamacat. The stallion, owned by Bamacat Syndicate, earned $8,000 for his 224 score.

In the Classic Open, Shepard rode Divas On Time to a 221, good for the Co-Championship. Their score was matched by Tapt Out, ridden by Steve Oehlhof. Both competitors garnered an $8,500 check for their performances.


The Futurity Non-Pro Championship went to Stacy Shepard, who rode the show’s Futurity Open Reserve Champion, Circle S. Stacy owns the horse with her husband, Austin. Stacy and Circle S’s 428 composite score earned them $5,000.

Second place in the Futurity Non-Pro went to Jerry Roper and C Y Ima Tesoro, who accumulated a 419 two-go total. The duo also won the Limited class, bringing their show total to $3,888.

Light Of Grace and Missy Jean Oehlhof took home the Derby Non-Pro and Derby Limited Non-Pro titles. Oehlhof, the wife of Classic Open Co-Champion Steve Oehlhof, marked a 219 to best reserve by three points.

A 216 earned Sasha Thompson and One Time Player the Derby Non-Pro Reserve Championship, worth $7,000.

In the Classic Non-Pro, Robert Fullwood rode Catmerize to a 221 for the win. Beating their closest contenders by a full point, Fullwood returned how with a check for $8,000.

Reserve Champions Light N Lily and Kaitlyn Wimberly marked a 220 to earn $7,000. That finish also edged her farther in front of nearest NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year competitors Mary Ann Rapp and Reyzin.


Sunday, Oct. 27 was finals day for the Amateur cutters that came to the Southern. MK Smooth Texas carried Michelle Sly to the Derby win with a 214.5, worth $1,800. The Derby Unlimited Amateur title, worth $3,800, went to Alexis Stephas riding Once You Go Black.

The Classic Amateur was won with a 218 by Jordan Thompson and Hard Eight BBQ. The Reserve Champions in that class, TR Reydar and Bridget Olivier, also won the Classic Unlimited Amateur.

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