The Augusta Cutting Horse Futurity, held Jan. 17-24 in Augusta, Georgia, finished with a bang on Saturday night. In a tough class of 14 Open-caliber horses, Austin Shepard rode four finalists. The 222 Shepard marked aboard Paradox Cat from the ninth draw earned the duo the 4-Year-Old Futurity Open Championship by a 5.5-point margin.
Paradox Cat (High Brow Cat x Thimblerey x Dual Rey), bred by M.J. Christensen, DVM, of Waterloo, Nebraska, proved he had the stuff Open champions are made of during the finals. The three horses that drew before him had lost cows, so the pressure was on for Shepard and the stallion to perform.
“The cattle were tough, which that can happen in a finals,” Shepard said. “[Paradox Cat] really liked this pen. He’s got a lot of look on a cow, so when a cow wants to speed up a little bit, he tends to slow it down.”
Blakley Colgrove, of Boligee, Alabama, owns the stallion and piloted him to the 2014 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Amateur Championship in December.
Prior to showing in Augusta, Paradox Cat boasted nearly $10,000 in earnings. That total more than doubled at this event, thanks to his $12,000 4-Year-Old Open paycheck. Shepard’s lifetime record is approaching the $6 million milestone.
Shepard, of Summerdale, Alabama, also finished second riding One Catty Cupid (One Time Pepto x ARC Catty Dual x Dual Pep), owned by Joel Colgrove Sr., also of Boligee. The duo’s 216.5 was worth a $10,000 payday, bringing the Arcese Quarter Horses-bred mare’s Equi-Stat record to nearly $25,000.
For Barnwell Ramsey, winning The Augusta Futurity 4-Year-Old Non-Pro seemed like a distant dream before the finals began. Since he was entered in three classes within the class, he was simply hoping for the biggest check possible.
Mia Sugar Baby (Smart Sugar Badger x High Brow Tinker Mia x High Brow Hickory) and Ramsey walked to the herd fourth in the 14-horse finals, and when the buzzer sounded and the scoreboard lit up with a 216, he was ecstatic.
“I’ve had a rough week. I cut some cows earlier in the week that you couldn’t have stopped with a shotgun,” Ramsey said. “Tonight, that little mare was as good as she could be, and I just hung on for the ride.”
Although Ramsey, of Huntersville, North Carolina, was excited about his performance, he never imagined it would hold to the end, earning him and his Anne Thompson-bred mare the championship. But that is just what happened. Ramsey and Mia Sugar Baby garnered four titles – Non-Pro, Limited Non-Pro, Senior Non-Pro and Non-Pro Stallion Incentive – with that one run.
The Reserve Championship went to Kaitlyn Wimberly, of Millsap, Texas, and her father, Billy Martin’s, Kat. The duo marked a 215 from the second draw to pick up a check for $2,900.
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