The 2015 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World Finals awarded its first World Finals Show Champion titles on Thursday, Dec. 3 in Fort Worth, Texas. The year-end finals event for the 10 cutting divisions is held in conjunction with the NCHA Futurity. Cutters compete all year for year-end World Titles, which are based on earnings, and the World Finals allow competitors the chance to earn additional money and show champion titles.
The $15,000 Novice Division kicked off the day with the second round of action. Andrew Coates marked a 227 on Clarke Butte Ranch’s This Kittys Smart (WR This Cats Smart x Nurse Gray x Grays Starlight) to win the second round and complete the sweep to win the average for the 2015 NCHA World Finals $15,000 Novice Division Show Champion title. The pair marked a 222 in the first round. Coates won $1,485 for each round and for the average, which boosted his earnings by $4,455. The team came to Fort Worth in sixth-place in the year-end standings with earnings of $20,377, and he finished in that same spot with $24,832 in earnings.
Mike Wood and El Gato Bonito (WR This Cats Smart x Unique Badgette x Playboys Badge) padded their lead in the $15,000 Novice Division by earning $1,782 in Fort Worth. Marking a 222 in the second round placed them second and earned the pair $1,188 and an additional $594 for placing in the average. Wood and El Gato Bonito earned the World Champion title with year-end earnings of $43,267. El Gato Bonito is owned by Michelle and Jeff Lemaster of Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the $35,000 Non-Pro Division, Tessa Buntin of Lockeford, California, and Smooth And Mighty (Smooth As A Cat x Might Smart Play x Mighty Docs Playboy) had already clinched the World Champion title before arriving in Fort Worth, but the pair added some icing on the cake with a show champion title, too. In the first round, Buntin marked a 218.5 for second-place and $696 in prize money. Marking a 220 in the second round meant an $870 paycheck times two as it also secured the winning average. Buntin added $2,436 to her bank at the World Finals for a year-end champion total of $19,465.
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