Augusta Futurity $50,000 Amateur Any Age finals by four points at James Brown Arena.He’s two weeks from his 15th birthday, but Joey Varnadore had plenty to celebrate Monday, Jan. 20. The Appling, Ga., cutter made up for last year in a big way. Varnadore and Halos Rey marked a 222 to win the
“It feels really good winning in my hometown,” Varnadore said. “It’s really cool.”
Varnadore, who will compete later in the week in the Area 18 Youth Scholarship finals, won his first major title and collected $2,500. Laura Collins and Oh Cay Felix finished second with a 218 for $2,000, while Barnwell Ramsey and Sanjo Play marked a 217 to tie with Carrie Tiemann and Little Kitty Sista for $1,700 each.
Last year, Varnadore and Halos Rey won the go-round of this event, but they lost a cow in the finals. This time around, the pair marked 214.5 to qualify for the finals on the cut number.
“My horse was really good, but the cows weren’t that great,” he said about the go-round. “It just worked out.”
Halos Rey is an 8-year-old gelding by Dual Rey out of Haidas Halo and is trained by Skip Queen. Doug and Cathy Varnadore purchased Halos Rey in late 2012 from Queen’s mother-in-law, Becky Elliott.
Varnadore, a ninth-grade, home-school student, said he shows cutting horses about every weekend all over the Southeast, though he’s taken a break recently. Varnadore said he’s only ridden Halos Rey a couple of times the past few months, but the two made up for lost time in the finals.
“We’ve always had a connection since we got him,” he said. During his run, Varnadore said Halos Rey was ready for the challenge. And it was quite an adventure with the cows.
“The first cow I stayed on it felt like forever,” Varnadore said. “The same with the second cow, and it was really tough. I knew if I held my second cow I was definitely going to be up there.”
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