Equi-Stat Elite $7 Million Rider and National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Hall of Fame Rider Matt Gaines has won many championships during his 35-year show career. However, until recently, Gaines, pictured in the early 1980s showing Trixie Tari, a daughter of Doc Tari with more than $20,000 in lifetime earnings, had failed to win the one prestigious championship title every cutter dreams of winning – the NCHA Futurity Open. That changed on Dec. 10, when Gaines rode Second Spot (Spots Hot x Reycy Moon x Cats Moonshine) to the Futurity Open winner’s circle.
Gaines and Second Spot, a mare bred and owned by Gary and Shannon Barker, of Madill, Oklahoma, had won the Dec. 9 semifinals with a 225, and then topped that with a finals score of 229. The pair left the Will Rogers Memorial Complex with earnings of $225,395 added to their show records, as well as an impressive array of awards– including the sought-after NCHA Futurity Open Champion trophy buckle!
Gaines, 47, who also showed Second Spot’s mother, Reycy Moon, whose lifetime earnings total $209,043, grew up in the cutting industry. His father, NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame and Rider Hall of Fame inductee Dick Gaines, earned more than $1.2 million.
After Matt, who won the 1990 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro at age 21, graduated from Tarleton State University with an agricultural business degree, he spent a year working for Cowboy Tack before deciding he wanted to pursue a cutting career. He turned pro in 1992 and from that time forward, he has reached one milestone after another with perhaps the NCHA Futurity Open win being the pivotal moment of his career.
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