After many days of exciting competition in Oklahoma City at State Fair Park, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity came to a close the evening of Dec. 3. In the end, Andrea Fappani piloted Spooky Whiz to the Level 4 Open win.
In 1997, Andrea Fappani left his mark in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) history books by winning the Futurity Limited Non-Pro riding Best By Tari (Taris Catalyst x Pocono Annie). He was the first European to earn a Futurity title in the most coveted reining show pen in the world!
In 2001, Fappani came back to write yet another important chapter by claiming the NRHA Futurity Open Championship riding RR Star (Like A Diamond x RL Miss Kitty), owned by Lundin Farm, and then went on to claim the title again in 2011 aboard Lil Joe Cash (Nu Chex To Cash x RS Lilly Starlight) for Russel Giles.
On Dec. 3, with only one contestant left to go, the NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider once again proved his worth by reining Rancho Oso Rio LLC’s Spooky Whiz, a son of Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Myo Starlight, to top honors.
The score to beat when Fappani rode in the pen was a 221 posted by both All American Quarter Horse Congress Futurity Level 4 Open Champions Franco Bertolani and Dun It For Whizkey (Topsail Whiz x Dun It For Chex), owned by Cardinal Hill Training Center LLC, and NRHA Five Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida riding Whiz Gata Prize (Topsail Whiz x Smart Little Prize) for owner Alberto Casasco, of Argentina.
Fappani was determined to take home his third Futurity championship and rode Spooky Whiz through NRHA Pattern No. 10, performing deep stops, fast spins and controlled transitions. He secured his third title with a 225.5.
“This is a pretty special horse. He’s pretty solid; we changed our program a little bit with him, and I went pretty easy in the go-rounds, even though I knew we had a horse that could do well in the finals, although I did not know how much he would step up. I asked him and he did step up!” said Fappani, who took home the guaranteed champion’s paycheck of $150,000 aboard the gelding, who was bred and nominated by Spence Bell.
Bertolani and Flarida settled for Reserve honors and each added $109,855 to their records.
Futurity Level 3 Open
With a 222, Arno Honstetter rode Marilyn Overgaard’s Whizkey Chaser (Whizkey N Diamonds x Sparklin Chic), nominated and bred by Matt Armenta, to a 222.
“It was a good ride!” said Honstetter, who added $29,538 to his earnings for the win. “I made a few mistakes in the go-rounds, which kept me out of the Level 4, and since I did not show much last year, I went back to the Level 3. I’m really happy with my ride tonight; he’s a lot of horse and really talented.”
With a pair of 219s, Reserve honors went to Nathan Piper riding Toyon Ranch LLC’s Dun Gotyer Guns Up (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x Always A Dunit), nominated and bred by John and Nancy Tague, and Gabriel Diano riding AC Quarter Horses LLC’s Oops Itsa Spooks (Spooks Gotta Gun x Tejons Finally Dunit), nominated by Michelle Miola and bred by Silver Spurs Equine. The Co-Reserve Champions won $19,866 each.
Futurity Level 2 Open
Claiming the Futurity Level 2 Open title and a paycheck worth $19,261 was Pedro Baiao riding Michael Garnett’s Hollywood Nites (Gunners Special Nite x Dun It For Chex), a palomino stallion owned by Michael Garnett, nominated by Cardinal Hill Training Center LLC and bred by Oldenburg Farm LLC. The horse-and-rider duo marked a 218.5.
“I work for Martin Muehlstaetter and, since I was without a horse to show, he felt I could ride this one. Most of the work done on him is thanks to Martin, and I cannot thank him enough!”
With a 218 score, Reserve honors went to Fernando Salgado and Loveya (Gunnatrashya x Love Em N Lena), owned and nominated by Cam Essick. The duo added $13,935 to their earnings.
Futurity Level 1 Open
It was a special night for Josh Murphy, who rode his own Got That Iowa Shine (Smart And Shiney x SLJ This Is My Juice), nominated by Mark Mahaffey, to a 215 and the Level 1 Open Championship. The NRHA Professional also reined CBK Hang A Wright (Hang Ten Surprize x HR Wright On Cash), owned and nominated by William & Corliss Kellogg, to Reserve with a 214.5. Murphy won $15,737.
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