As the final horse-and-rider duo to go down the fence in eight sets of Futurity Open competition, Phillip Ralls and Call Me Mitch dominated the Protect the Harvest/Lucas Oil National Stock Horse Association (NSHA) Futurity Open.
The event, held Aug. 19-24 in Paso Robles, Calif., marked the home stretch for 3-year-old horses on their way to Reno, Nev., for the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity. Ralls and his mount went into the cow work comfortably with a 433 (217 herd/216 rein). After marking the fourth-highest score down the fence, a 220.5, Call Me Mitch and Ralls’ 653.5 total on three secured the Futurity Open Championship by a two-point margin.
Ralls and Estelle Roitblatt’s stallion son of Metallic Cat earned $18,526 for his win. Futurity Open Reserve Champions and Intermediate Open Champions Justin Wright and CR Stylish Danny Rey accumulated a 651.5 (221 herd/211.5 rein/219 cow) to take home checks totaling $16,273 for owner Eric Freitas.
Laurie Ward piloted Mak Daddy to the Futurity Non-Pro Championship after amassing a 628.5 total on three events (208 herd/209.5 rein/211 cow). Ward, who said her parents’ 3-year-old has a lot of potential she didn’t tap into at this show, won the class one point ahead of Reserve Champions Sister Siera and Molly Russell.
Mak Daddy and Ward earned $2,736 for their title, and Russell took home a check for $2,052 for her 627.5 cumulative score. Sister Siera also carried Russell to the Futurity Intermediate Non-Pro win, worth an additional $1,296.
With 43 horses entered in the Derby Open, it was a steep competition, but Jake Gorrell and Playin It Smooth were up for the challenge. The duo marked a 218 in the herd, a 216 in the reining and a huge 223.5 down the fence to win the class with a 657.5 total on three.
Gorrell and Playin It Smooth earned $7,675 for owner Kalpowar Quarter Horses. The horse debuted at the NSHA Futurity last year, and finished eighth in the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open.
Missing the top by just a half-point, Zane Davis and Brother Jackson took Reserve in the Derby Open to take home a $6,140 paycheck for owner John Semanik. Brother Jackson tied for ninth in the NSHA Derby Open last year.
Shannon McCarty and Hick Oleana have only been competing together for about a year, but they’ve been a standout team. They proved that in Paso Robles when they won the Non-Pro, Intermediate Non-Pro and Novice Non-Pro. The duo’s 650 (217 herd/215.5 rein/217.5 cow) total on three earned paychecks totaling $2,938.
Dave Ferguson and Smart Shiney Pistol finished as Derby Non-Pro Reserve Champions with a 643.5 to earn $1,381.
World’s Richest Stock Horse
The World’s Richest Stock Horse, which is held in conjunction with the NSHA Futurity and Derby, returned to a three-event class this year, featuring the typical reined cow horse specialties – herd work, rein work and cow work.
Dom Dualuise and Phillip Ralls, who won the four-event version of the class last year, were named two-time World’s Richest Champions after topping each event and accumulating a 665.5.
Ralls and “Hef,” owned by Chris Larson, marked a 223 in the herd, a 219.5 in the reining and a 223 down the fence to top his nearest competitor by a whopping 13 ½ points! They were trailed by Skeets Oak Peppy and Clayton Edsall. The championship paid $8,500 and Edsall earned $5,000 for his Reserve title.