The Augusta Futurity, a well-known event for East Coast cutters, kicked off on Sunday, Jan. 17 with Area 18 Open cuttings, and the limited-age finals began Thursday, Jan. 21 with the Amateur competitors. With tough cattle and even tougher competition, the James Brown Arena was the place to be to watch top riders in action.
In the 4-Year-Old Unlimited Amateur, Lisa Reid rode GP Smooth Cat from the third draw to a 208, temporarily leading the 8-horse field. Only two runs later, Denny Branham piloted Smart Travelin Cat to a 212, a score that held through the rest of the class to win the Championship. Reid and GP Smooth Cat ended up as the Reserve Champions, which came with a $1,516 payday.
“I’ve showed it so many years and never made it to a finals. [This was] my first finals [at Augusta],” Branham, of Branchville, South Carolina, said.
Though he was elated, the win was bittersweet for Branham, who lost his mother eight weeks ago. Still, he was proud of his George and Karen Moore-bred mare (WR This Cats Smart x Suggies Travelin x Travelena), who he has owned since she was 7 months old. The duo banked $1,895, pushing Branham to more than $26,000 in earnings.
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