Morris Kulmer has been reining for a long time – decades, by his estimation. But he hadn’t shown a horse at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity until 2014, and on Friday, March 24, he rode that same horse, Chics Dream, to a 218.5-point win in the Protect the Harvest Derby Level 4 Non-Pro at the Cactus Reining Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Kulmer’s reining background included primarily local ancillary events until a few years ago. Kulmer, who calls himself “semi-retired,” found he had more time to devote to his passion, reining horses. So he bought a 3-year-old and headed to the big leagues. Chics Dream has taken him on the ride of a lifetime ever since.
While the duo didn’t earn a paycheck in Oklahoma City, they started to turn heads in 2015. At many shows, after Kulmer showed Chics Dream in the Non-Pro, trainer Dan Huss stepped aboard for the Open. Together, they added $21,238 to the horse’s Equi-Stat record.
Kulmer and Chics Dream (Magnum Chic Dream x First Ex Flame x Expensive Flame) built on that success in 2016 and hit their best lick at the NRHA Derby, where they were the Derby Level 2 Non-Pro Reserve Champions, and tied for third in Level 3 and 12th in Level 4. After adding up all of their paychecks that year – and there were many – the Bountiful, Utah, man who had rarely shown in aged events ended 2016 as the 14th leading non-pro in the country with earnings of $46,669.
“Last year I was eligible for levels 1, 2, 3 and 4,” said Kulmer, who is only eligible for the Level 4 this year, while his age keeps him active in the Prime Time and Masters divisions, which he also won at the Cactus Reining Classic.
“At my age, I’m just glad to still be riding,” Kulmer added with a laugh. “[Chics Dream] just keeps getting better every year. We had a great year last year. I’m really happy that he did as well as he did today.
This is Chics Dream’s final year of aged-event eligibility, and it started off well. Huss showed the gelding to multiple wins in the Level 3 Senior Reining at the Arizona Sun Circuit, an American Quarter Horse Association-approved show held in Scottsdale a few weeks prior to the Cactus Reining Classic. When Kulmer climbed in the saddle for the Cactus Reining Classic, Chics Dream was ready.
Competing as the 21st draw in the 55-horse Derby Non-Pro, Kulmer and Chics Dream put together a pretty run on Pattern No. 5. Judges Alain Allard, Jody Brainerd and Donnie Bricker rewarded their efforts with a score of 218.5, which topped Reserve Champions Kim Muehlstaetter and Tinselchex by 1 point.
“It was a good run today. It started off really good. I could have done a little better on my rundowns; I didn’t run him as hard as I could,” Kulmer said. “We’re going to do something a little different tomorrow – Dan Huss is going to show him in the Open.”
Huss and Chics Dream are draw No. 19 in the 74-horse Lucas Oil Derby Open on Saturday, March 25. The Open begins at noon in WestWorld’s Equidome. The live webcast can be accessed at horseshowglobal.com.
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