The National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Celebration of Champions World Show wrapped up Feb. 18, crowning the last of the 15 2016 World titles in cow horse competition. The Open Bridle Championship went to Shes Playin Rey and C.J. Shopbell.
Shes Playin Rey (TR Dual Rey x Playin Acre x Playin Stylish), bred by Richard Carney, of Kemp, Texas, marked a 218 in the rein work and a 217.5 in the cow work for a 433.5 that tied One Fine Vintage and Phillip Ralls for the high score. With first-place honors split on the fence work, the 2010 mare and her Sadler, Texas-based trainer finished as World Champions.
Owned by Gregg Lafitte, of Dallas, Shes Playin Rey added $9,002 to her record for this win. The mare also garnered $2,943 for placing third in the Open Two-Rein with a 432.5 composite score (214.5 rein/218 cow). That $11,945 paycheck pushes Shes Playin Rey’s lifetime earnings past the $45,000 mark. Shopbell’s Equi-Stat record reflects more than $60,000.
“I don’t have words,” Shopbell said after his win. “I can’t describe how it feels. She did everything she was supposed to. She gave me everything she had.”
One Fine Vintage (One Time Pepto x Shiners Siena x Shining Spark), owned and bred by Robertson Ranches, of Plymouth, California, took home the Open Bridle Reserve World title. The 2009 stallion and Ralls, of Paso Robles, California, pocketed $7,073 for the performance, which the judges scored a 433.5 (219.5 rein/216 cow).
Tough cattle made for a challenging Non-Pro Bridle class, but Frances Labourdette kept her cool aboard Smart Chic Aloha. The duo took home the World title to Folsom, Louisiana, after accumulating a 436 composite (216 rein/220 cow).
Smart Chic Aloha (Smart Chic Olena x Lei Aloha x Doc Tom Tucker) is no stranger to success. The 2001 Stan Fonsen Inc.-bred mare arrived in Fort Worth, Texas, with more than $38,000 to her credit, including $443 in cutting. That overall number increased by $4,505 thanks to her new Championship.
With this win, Smart Chic Aloha’s dam surpassed the $100,000 milestone in offspring earnings. A $54,281-earner in her own show career, Lei Aloha has four money-earners on her dam record, including the 2002 Chic Please mare Dixie Chic Please ($54,281).
Labourdette, who purchased Smart Chic Aloha in 2008, posted her first check to Equi-Stat in 1997. Since then, she has amassed nearly $35,000, including the paycheck she received at the World Show.
Ashley Lembke, of Northfield, Minnesota, picked up the Non-Pro Bridle Reserve title with her 2007 gelding Sir Rey Of Oak (Dual Rey x PCR Starlights Oak x Grays Starlight), bred by Tree Top Ranches LP, of Parma, Idaho. The duo marked a 213.5 in the rein work and a 218 down the fence for a 431.5 total, worth $3,604.
$1,000 Non-Pro Limited
The 2016 show season saw a new class in reined cow horse arenas – the $1,000 Non-Pro Limited. Designed to help newcomers get into the sport, the $1,000 Non-Pro Limited proved to be a big hit, bringing more back to the finals at the Celebration of Champions than any other class.
Suddenly Nic (Nic It In The Bud x Suddenly Shiney x Shining Spark), bred by Carolyn Edson, of Anacortes, Washington, carried Annabelle Burgher to the inaugural $1,000 Non-Pro Limited World Championship. The duo added a stellar 218 from the boxing to their 213 dry work score for a 431, which topped the class by 3.5 points.
Burgher, of Coppell, Texas, earned her first paycheck in 2012, according to Equi-Stat records. After a successful year showing in the Southwest Reined Cow Horse Association, she surpassed the $1,000 mark in earnings last year. That total tripled to $3,447 after she won the $1,000 Non-Pro Limited World Championship and a $2,210 check.
Suddenly Nic, whose Equi-Stat record shows nearly $25,000 after this event, is one of nine money-earners out of Suddenly Shiney, a mare with $4,114 to her credit. The 2009 gelding is a half-brother to full siblings Instantee ($63,166), Vintage Tejonshine ($62,102) and Shiney Tea Pot Dox ($29,681), all by Tejons Peppy Doc.
The $1,000 Non-Pro Limited Reserve title was shared by young Maisen Avent and Monica Duflock. Avent, of Elbert, Colorado, and Jojo Tari (Little Polo Joe x Tari Acre x Bob Acre Doc), bred by Larry Sullivant, of Gainesville, Texas, marked a 214.5 in the rein work and a 213 in the boxing. Duflock, of Ross, California, piloted the Billy Martin-bred mare Oh Cay Meriah (Light N Lena x Meradas Oh Cay x Freckles Merada) to a 215 in the boxing and a 212.5 in the dry work. Each team received a $1,519 paycheck.
CD Dee Vee Dee and Cutter McLaughlin need no introduction. The longstanding team has made a mark on the sport of cow horse that will not soon be forgotten. In addition to competing in the NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman competition for the first time this year, the duo dominated the Youth Bridle class to win the World title.
McLaughlin, of Commerce, Texas, is the son of Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider Jay, who trained CD Dee Vee Dee (CD Lights x Shiners Missy Jay x Shining Spark). The Carol Rose-bred gelding and his 13-year-old rider won the Youth Bridle from the next-to-last draw with a 217 in the rein work and a 223 in the fence work. Their 440 composite came with a $1,008 check.
“I finally won an NRCHA World title going down the fence,” McLaughlin said, admitting it felt good to bounce back after missing the World’s Greatest finals. “He was great in the rein work. I had a pretty good cow that would look at me and it was good.”
Luke Paulus, of Coal Grove, Ohio, rode Im No Wimp to second place in the Youth Bridle class. The 2006 gelding (Wimpys Little Step x Smart Little Calena x Smart Little Calboy), bred by Kirk’s Rockin K Ranch Inc., of Celina, Texas, amassed a 436.5 (218.5 rein/218 cow) for Reserve honors and $792.
Emily Kent was one of three riders who got two hoses back in the Youth Limited finals. Those odds didn’t stop her from giving it her all, though, and she left Fort Worth as the Youth Limited World Champion. Riding mom Leslie’s horse Mr Dual Brooksinic, the young horsewoman earned $1,290.
Mr Dual Brooksinic (Mister Dual Pep x Brooksinic x Reminic), bred by Ward Ranch, of Kingsburg, California, carried Kent to a 433.5 composite score (216 rein/217.5 cow). That total on two tied Youth Limited National Champions Lannie-Jo Lisac and Soulanova, who finished Reserve due to a half-point difference in her cow work.
Kent, of Sandborn, Indiana, was quick to thank her trainer, Chris Dawson, for his recent help and advice. She also encouraged her fellow youth to continue following their dreams.
“I love this horse so much,” Kent said. “I’m just thrilled I got in the finals.”
Lisac, of Pueblo, Colorado, and Soulanova (Soula Jule Star x Round Oak Annie x Smokum Oak), bred by Deward and Kim Strong, of Centrahoma, Oklahoma, pocketed $1,032 for their 433.5 (216.5 rein/217 cow).
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