Special Nu Baby put an exclamation point on her incredible National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Open World Championship as the NCHA World Finals concluded Dec. 5 in Fort Worth, Texas, with action in the show pen and an awards party to celebrate the World and Show champions. The NCHA World Finals is held in conjunction with the NCHA Futurity. Cutters compete all year for World Championships, which are based on earnings, and the top 15 in the standings are invited to compete in the NCHA World Finals.
Gary and Shannon Barker’s Special Nu Baby (Dual Rey x Nu I Wood x Zack T Wood) came to Fort Worth with her Open World Champion title secured with almost double the earnings of her nearest competition. Matt Gaines stepped aboard for one final ride before the 9-year-old mare was retired, and it’s a ride that he – nor those watching – will soon forget. After winning five of the Mercuria World Series of Cutting events in 2015, “Baby” and Gaines had one more spectacular run in the fourth round of the World Finals. The pair marked a 231 to win the round and end the year with $142,346 in earnings.
“We’ve done everything that we’ve set goals to do, and I just wanted to get her shown one last time,” Gaines said. “There are a lot of people here tonight, and I wanted them to see what a great horse she is and go out on top like she deserves. It was awesome to pull it off and survive those cows that I put in front of her. Once again she bailed me out, which she has done all year. It is so important to her because she tries so hard. Every time she gives you all she’s got. It’s just amazing. I can’t say enough good things about her.”
Boyd Rice and CR Sun Reys (Dual Rey x Play Peek A Boon x Freckles Playboy) put together four great runs to win the Open World Finals Show Championship for the second year in a row. The pair won the first round with a 228 and placed second in the next three rounds marking a 227.5, 228 and 229 respectively. CR Sun Reys, who is a 7-year-old mare owned by Center Ranch, accumulated 912.5 points in the four rounds at the World Finals, which was 7.5 points more than her nearest rival. CR Sun Reys entered the World Finals in ninth place, but her show earnings of $25,950 pushed her 2015 earnings to $59,659, catapulting her to third place in the year-end standings.
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