The final five champions were crowned at the Four Sixes/National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Western National Championships, held at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center, in Reno, Nevada. In the Non-Pro, it was Jann Parker and her horse, Merada Jo, who won the championship with a 218.
“It’s kind of unreal, I’m kind of like, ‘Did it really happen?’” Parker said of her win.
She and Merada Jo earned a paycheck worth $3,843 for their win, bringing Parker’s Equi-Stat record to $205,491. Her win continues a successful streak for 2015, for at The Cattlemens Derby & Classic, she and her horse Mr CD Olena won the 5/6 Unlimited Amateur Gelding Championship and tied for third in the 5/6 Unlimited Amateur.
Parker has owned Merada Jo for only about a month, but the pair has obviously clicked. The 6-year-old gelding (Cats Merada x Sanjo Sue x San Jo Lena) was bred by Pete and Sally Lowry, of Dallas, Texas. He boasts his own impressive Equi-Stat record, with earnings of more than $68,000. With this win, he is the tenth-highest-earning performer by Cats Merada, whose 251 offspring performers have won more than $4,266,900. Merada Jo is the second-highest-earning performer out of Sanjo Sue.
The Non-Pro Reserve Championship went to Pamela Shaeffer, of Banner, Wyoming, and her gelding Royal Red Play (Play Red x Peek A Boon x Smart Little Lena), who was bred by Double Dove Ranch, of Benbrook, Texas. The duo scored a 215.5 and brought home $3,154 in earnings.
The $35,000 Non-Pro Championship went to Ogden, Utah resident Denise Cox and Hillbilly Handfishin, who scored a big 220. The win came with a check for $5,209, which brings Cox’s record to $57,693, an amount acquired only in the last 5 years. But Cox said that she didn’t earn the winning score all by herself.
“The turn back help is what makes it at the end of the day,” Cox asserted humbly, crediting Todd Adolf, Will Nuttall, Lawson Hadlock, and Tim Johnson for their help with her win.
Her horse, “Hillbilly” (Autumn Acre x Little Red Bet x Smart Little Lena), now sports $88,870 on his Equi-Stat record. The 6-year-old gelding was bred by Bobby and Lori Gale, of Conway, South Carolina, and Cox has owned him for 2 years.
Tracey Teixeira and her Peptoboonsmal mare Absolut Pepto (out of the Smart Little Lena mare Absolutely Stunning) were the Reserve Champions with a score of 216. Together they earned a check for $4,170.
$15,000 Novice Non-Pro
In the second draw during the finals for the $15,000 Novice Non-Pro, a horse-and-rider pair scored a 218, and many supposed that would be the winning score. But in the fourth draw, Barbi Madgwick and her horse Sweet Southern Grace (PT) managed to top that score by earning a 221, thus taking home the Championship.
Madgwich was very proud of “Grace” (Sweet Lil Pepto x Lil Southern Grace [PT] x Grays Starlight), who is aptly named.
“Every time I go to the herd, Jesus is in my corner too riding in the saddle right with me, and the fact that her name is Grace is just a constant reminder of that,” Madgwich said.
The team earned a paycheck of $4,020, which bumps Grace’s record to $33,514 and Madgwick’s to $225,592.
The 218 ended up as the Reserve Champion score, but the excitement didn’t end with only one Reserve Champion. In fact, there was a 3-way tie, and each participant earned $2,544. The first Reserve Champion in the tie was Clarkston, Washington, resident Michelle Barnes and her horse Timely Addition (One Time Pepto x Flo Little Lena x Smart Little Lena), who was bred by Mark and Anne Pearson, of Spearman, Texas. The second Reserve Champion was Jenifer Whisler, of Tenino, Washington, and her Double Dove Ranch-bred mare, Hallie Reycious (Halreycious x Sweet Shorty Lena x Shorty Lena). And the third Reserve Champion in the tie was Julie Clarke and Bend, Oregon-based Clarke Butte Ranch’s mare This Kittys Smart (WR This Cats Smart x Nurse Gray x Grays Starlight). This Kittys Smart was bred by Sunrise Ranch LLC, of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Also scoring a 221 were Linda Davies, of Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada, and Cetas Ahoy Mate. The duo was the third pair in the draw out of 27 horses, but Davies wasn’t worried while waiting to see the rest of the scores.
“It was almost like, I’d already made the finals, and this was just icing on the cake. The fact that I got there was more than I thought I’d do,” Davies said.
The $15,000 Amateur Championship came with a check for $5,780, which brings “Chief’s” Equi-Stat record only $152 short of $100,000. He is the highest earning offspring out of the Doc Quixote mare Cetas Lady, and he is the tenth-highest-earning offspring by Smart Mate. The twelve-year-old gelding was bred by Mark Nelson, of Wilton, California.
Virginia Kilduff and Wood I Jazz won the Reserve Championship after coming out of the first draw to score a 218. The thirteen-year-old Ryan Clayton-bred mare is by Zack T Wood and out of the Jazzy Joe Lena mare Jazzy Bay Loxie. Kilduff and Wood I Jazz took $4,600 home to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the Reserve Championship.
$5,000 Novice Non-Pro
In the $5,000 Novice Non-Pro, Brian Butlin and This Whisps A Cat scored a 217 to take home the Championship and a paycheck for $4,043. “Flirt” is owned by Butlin and his wife, Linda Butlin, who are based in Scottsdale, and the 9-year-old mare (WR This Cats Smart x Miss Whisp x Docs Okie Quixote) now boasts earnings of $43,174. Butlin praised the Tom Mertle-bred mare’s cow sense and determination for helping the team achieve its winning score.
“She’s just very gritty and very cowy, doesn’t want to get beat in the cutting pen,” Butlin said of his mare. “She wants to help me out as much as she can. That’s the best thing about her.”
Butlin himself now sports earnings over $73,800, a phenomenal feat considering that fourteen years ago he had never been on a horse.
There was a tie for the Reserve Championship between Michelle Lemaster and her horse Scoot Justa Lil, and Cody Lee and his horse Bluish. Each team scored a 216 and received a check for $2,936. Scoot Justa Lil (Smart Lil Scoot x Justa Swinging Jane x Justa Swinging Peppy) was bred by St Nicks Pines LLC, of Gillett, Wisconsin, and Bluish (Mecom Blue x Badge To The Bone x Freckles Playboy) is a Bar Nothing Ranches LLC-bred.
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