The National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Stakes wrapped up on April 1 in Las Vegas with the finals for the Open and Non-Pro divisions. The exciting night came to an end with SJR Reygun and Brady Weaver taking home top honors in the Open and Intermediate Open divisions.
The duo’s 653.5 composite (216 herd/218.5 rein/219 cow) from the preliminaries put them at the top of the leaderboard in the Intermediate Open going into the finals, and they easily made the Open finals, as well. When they returned for the herd work finals on March 31, they marked a 215. The next day, they earned a solid 217 in the rein work, which put them within striking distance of the title.
The most exhilarating part of the evening came during the cow work, when Weaver and the 5-year-old mare (Dual Rey x Playguns King Badger x Playgun) came in as the fourth-to-last draw and scored a huge 230, bringing their composite score to a 662. That run secured both the Open and Intermediate Open championships, and they sent home a total of $43,292 to owner Gary Ewell, of Las Vegas.
This is, by far, the largest payday ever banked by Weaver or SJR Reygun. Prior to arriving at the NRCHA Stakes, the mare, who was bred by San Juan Ranch, had an Equi-Stat record of $12,852. Now, her lifetime earnings stand at $56,144. Weaver, of Enterprise, Utah, who posted his first check to Equi-Stat in 2005, had a record of $107,254 before adding his winnings from Las Vegas.
In 2016, the duo tied for 13th in the Intermediate Open at the NRCHA Stakes and made the Open and Intermediate Open finals at the NRCHA Derby. During the mare’s 3-year-old year, Weaver piloted her to a finals appearance at the Utah Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity, where they were reserve in the Open and won the Intermediate Open. They also made the Open finals at the Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity and tied for the Reserve Championship in the Intermediate Open.
“It’s kind of hard to soak it in right now,” Weaver said, admitting that he was still in disbelief after accepting all of his awards. “She was good in the prelims and she schooled good, so we just tried to leave her alone.”
Todd Bergen piloted Dave and Kathy Ferguson’s Metalic Dual (Metallic Cat x Dual Whisper x Kit Dual) to the Reserve Championship with a composite score of 657.5 (218 herd/216.5 rein/223 cow). They took home a check for $25,939 and also won the Metallic Cat incentive bonus check, worth $10,000.
Stephen Hutchins and MC Performance Horses’ SJR Tachitas Cata put in a performance that earned them the Limited Open title at the NRCHA Stakes. Their composite score of 628 (209 herd/205.5 rein/213.5 cow) was just what they needed to bank $9,013.
This was Hutchins’ first check aboard the 4-year-old mare (Metallic Cat x Tachitas Hickory x Doc’s Hickory), who had previously won $6,500 with Tucker Robinson in the saddle. Her lifetime earnings now total $15,513. Hutchins, of Lineville, Iowa, elevated his Equi-Stat record to $26,847.
Mi Smart Ichi Cat (Cat Ichi x A Smart Laker Girl x Laker Doc), who is owned by Mary Hobbs, carried Daniel Sanchez to the Limited Open Reserve title, which paid $6,760.
Non-Pro and Non-Pro Limited continued on page 2