On the evening of Dec. 1 in Oklahoma City, the $50,000 Silver Spurs Equine Team Challenge saw 14 riders leave their mark in the Jim Norick Arena, where the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity is held. The payout for the class was $40,000, with a $10,00 bonus to be split evenly between all team members on the winning squad.
In the head-to-head competition, the top two riders entered, based on 2016 earnings as of Nov. 4, were appointed the Team Captains: NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani and NRHA Million Dollar Rider Jason Vanlandingham. The two NRHA Professionals selected their teammates from all remaining entries, alternating back and forth, with the first choice determined by a coin flip.
Competition was tough from the moment the first horse performed NRHA Pattern No. 12. NRHA Professional Brian Bell, riding B-C Partnership’s Turn Down For What for Team Fappani, opened the challenge and set the bar by posting a 221. Fappani answered back with an impressive ride aboard Tricked Out Spook, a Sire & Dam offspring owned by Tricked Out Spook Partners. Once he left the pen, a 223.5 appeared on the scoreboard but, last to go, Fappani tied himself to win on Platinum Vintage, the talented 6-year-old palomino stallion owned by Silver Spurs Equine. Additionally, Team Fappani beat Team Vanlandingham by 2 points to win the Team title.
“I feel great!” Fappani said following the awards presentation. “I don’t usually do ties, but it didn’t make any sense to go back in the arena tonight! It was also my first time showing Tricked Out Spook. He’s a horse I’ve watched since he was 3, and I’ve wanted to buy him but knew he wasn’t for sale. He fits my style.”
Regarding Platinum Vintage, who boasts close to $221,500 in lifetime earnings, the Fappani only had good things to say.
“I’ve shown him quite a bit this year; we’ve been on the road a lot with him and he’s been great. Because he is going to breed next year, we wanted to bring him here just because there are a lot of people who don’t get to come to the shows to see him. He didn’t disappoint.”
Fappani took home $21,696 for the win and the Reserve Championship. Brian Bell settled for third place honors and a paycheck worth $7,377.
Michael Miola, owner of Silver Spurs Equine along with his wife, Michelle, was thrilled with the turnout, and the enthusiasm and cheering from the stands.
“We wanted to step up and sponsor the Team Challenge because it draws people to reining. It’s all about the fans and they loved it tonight!”