Cutting enthusiasts attending the Mercuria/National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World Series Open and Non-Pro finals on Wednesday, July 8, got their money’s worth and more for the Calgary Stampede tickets they purchased. The world-class competitors put on a show that was impressive and unforgettable.
Winning the Open finals with a score of 223 was reigning NCHA Open World Champion One Time Choice (One Time Pepto x Hickory Choice x SR Instant Choice) and NCHA Hall of Fame Rider Chubby Turner, of Weatherford, Texas. Before arriving in Calgary, One Time Choice’s Equi-Stat record was more than $260,000, to which Turner added the $11,304 winner’s share for owner J Five Horse Ranch Management LLC, also of Weatherford. Walt and Lou Anna Burdette, of Myton, Utah, bred the 2007 mare.
After winning consecutive Open Championships – the pair also won in 2014 – Turner said he was thrilled to be in Calgary. “It’s my favorite place and I promise, if I have to walk, I’ll be back next year!”
Another rider actually took home the largest share of the Open purse. Matt Gaines, of Weatherford, rode two horses in the finals for Barker Ranch Cutting Horse LLC, of Madill, Oklahoma, and finished second and third, taking home more than $15,000. Carrying Gaines to the Reserve Championship was Special Nu Baby (Dual Rey x Nu I Wood x Zack T Wood), a 2006 mare bred by Crystal Creek Ranch and E. Longley, of Fort Worth, Texas. After winning the first go with a 225 score, Gaines and Special Nu Baby came back to score a 220.5 in the finals, earning $8,978.
In the 12-head Non-Pro finals, Dirty Dreamin (SR Instant Choice x Saddle My Dreams x Smart Aristocrat) and Marla Gonnet were the standout performers with a 221. Gonnet’s excitement about the run momentarily vanished when a review was called.
“I didn’t know who they were reviewing, but I was pretty darn nervous,” said Gonnet, of Cayley, Alberta, Canada. “Then when they said they were adjusting the score for Marla Gonnet, my heart stopped for a minute!”