Athena Purdy Cat & Brad Mitchell Top Southern Cutting Futurity

AthenaPurdyAthena Purdy Cat & Brad MitchellThe Southern Cutting Futurity, held Oct. 20-26 in Jackson, Miss., featured the same hospitality this year that has made the event a fan favorite every fall. This year, a new stallion incentive program made attending even more worthwhile. In the end, it was Brad Mitchell and Athena Purdy Cat who wrapped up the Futurity Open title.

Athena Purdy Cat, owned by Toddy Pitard, of El Dorado, Ark., and her Canton, Texas-based trainer were first out in the nine-horse Futurity Open finals. The duo marked a strong 218 that held for the win, worth $11,000.

In addition to the champion’s check, the daughter of Athena Puddy Cat was qualified for the 2014 Southern Cutting Futurity Stallion Incentive. As the Futurity Open Champion, the horse earned an additional $5,893, bringing the mare’s show total to $16,893.

“She’s just gotten better and better, and it’s cool,” Mitchell said. “I was pleased with [my draw]. In this arena, it’s generally a pretty good spot.”

Amanda Standish’s Deluxe Checks, ridden by Summerdale, Ala., trainer Austin Shepard, finished as the Futurity Open Reserve Champion, earning a $10,000 paycheck. One Time Ina Catalac, owned by Ten/27 Ranch, of Denham Springs, La., finished second in the stallion incentive and fourth overall, pocketing a total of $10,536 under Shepard’s saddle.

Derby Open

Junie Wood (Nitas Wood x Tuffs Junie x Tuff Lena) and John Mitchell, of Weatherford, Texas, topped the Derby Open with a cool 225 from deep in the second of two bunches in the 21-horse finals. While the duo’s $10,000 paycheck made the run memorable, taking the lead in the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Open Horse of the Year race was even sweeter.

Mitchell, who admitted he and owner Glade Knight had not really pushed for the title until recently, piloted Junie Wood to the NCHA Super Stakes Open Championship this year in Fort Worth, Texas. That put him in a head-to-head battle with 2013 NCHA Futurity Open Champion Dual Smart Kitty.

“She’s been really good,” Mitchell said. “She’s getting more consistent and it’s getting easier for her. She’s outstanding and has a heart of gold.”

A 219 earned Gini One Time and Austin Shepard the Derby Open Co-Reserve title, along with a check for $8,500. Gini One Time is owned by Gary Dellinger. Paul Hansma, of Weatherford, Texas, and MK Smooth Runnin Cat (Smooth As A Cat x Runnin Mate x Smart Mate), owned by Gary and Michelle Reichart, of Frankton, Ind., tied with them.

Classic Open

Skip Queen, of Lipan, Texas, piloted TGI Playtime to a 225 for the Classic Open Championship. That mark bested the competition by a six and one-half-point margin, picking up a $10,000 check for owner Carrolls Cutting, of Turkey, N.C.

TGI Playtime (One Time Pepto x Play Miss Lena x Smart Little Lena) went over the $100,000 mark in NCHA lifetime earnings with this win. Trainer Skip Queen is approaching the $2 million milestone.

A tie for reserve split second and third between Cats Super Smart (by WR This Cats Smart), ridden by Paul Hansma, and Desire A Lil Pepto (Sweet Lil Pepto x Playguns Desire x Playgun), ridden by Lee Francois for Reagan Lancaster. Both horses marked a 218.5, which paid $8,500 to each. Cats Super Smart is owned by Dub and Christy Leeth, of Cleburne, Texas.

Futurity Non-Pro

RLVelvetRL Velvet Revolver & Reagan LancasterIn a two go-round pencil finals, Reagan Lancaster, of Pilot Point, Texas, rode RL Velvet Revolver to a 430 composite score (213/217). The 3-year-old red roan gelding bested his nearest competitor by a whopping 16-point margin to win $3,000.

“Sometimes you come to cuttings and you don’t have all this success,” Lancaster said. “There’s lots of variables in the sport. This just feels good.”

Jordan Vaughn, of Forsyth, Ga., and Wild Haired Fitz earned $2,300 and the Reserve Championship after accumulating a 414 (206/208). The Non-Pro Stallion Incentive title, worth $1,608, went to One Time Ina Catalac, ridden by Todd Quirk to a 410 (211/199).

Derby Non-Pro

Purple Reyn (Metallic Cat x Miss Ella Rey x Dual Rey) and Brandon Dufurrena, of Gainesville, Texas, won the Derby Non-Pro with a 219 from the first draw in the 11-horse finals. The homebred mare and her owner garnered $7,000 for their performance.

“This is our last one for this year, so it’s good to go out strong,” Dufurrena said. “I just wanted to get my cows drove up and cut clean. Our third cow was really good, and that’s what really made our run.”

The Derby Non-Pro Reserve title went to Blakley Colgrove, of Boligee, Ala., riding One Time Jazz. The duo marked a 214.5 from the seventh draw in a tough bunch of cows to finish second and earn $6,000.

Classic Non-Pro

Some cutters like to draw first and others like to draw last, but either draw was the money spot in the Classic Non-Pro. Cade Hansma and Chucks Little Pepto walked to the herd first in the 11-horse finals to mark a solid 217.

“Since I was first, we knew what cows we really liked,” Hansma said. “I would rather be first than last. I just wanted to be clean because I know my horse is capable.”

From that point forward, cattle challenged the riders and horses, with three duos leaving the working area before time expired. But from the final hole, Reagan Lancaster and Desire A Lil Pepto matched Hansma’s effort to share the glory.

“We had pretty much run out of cows because I was last,” Lancaster said. “The cows put it on us, and that’s what made our run. The horse was just awesome.”

Lancaster and Hansma each earned $6,500 for their Co-Championship, and Hansma, who won the Classic Limited Non-Pro, pocketed and additional $2,058.

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