Last year, the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) executive committee voted to produce a third National Championship show in Scottsdale, Arizona. The action kicked off on May 4 at the WestWorld of Scottsdale.
With 15 horses in the Open finals, which were held May 6, the stage was set for an exciting event. Two horse and rider teams – Bea Pure Cat and Morgan Cromer, and Starlights Lil Cat and Monty Buntin – came out on top to claim the Open co-championships.
Bea Pure Cat (High Brow Cat x Mae Bea Marie x Freckles Playboy), bred by Jim Crawford, and Cromer, an Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider, were the first draw out and laid down an impressive 223. Then, Buntin walked to the herd aboard Starlights Lil Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Starlights CD x Grays Starlight) and matched their score from draw No. 2. Both duos walked away with a check for $2,291.
Bea Pure Cat, who is owned by Jill and William Roth, of Paso Robles, California, elevated his lifetime record to nearly $114,000 with this title. Last fall, Bea Pure Cat and Jill won the second go-round and the average in the $25,000 Novice Non-Pro at the NCHA World Finals, which rounded out the horse’s 2016 show season with $47,778 earned.
Starlights Lil Cat picked up two titles while in Arizona. In addition to the Open Co-Championship, the mare and Buntin claimed the $25,000 Novice Horse Open title with a score of 224, which was worth an additional $3,221. Starlights Lil Cat, who is owned by Steven and Stacy Morgan, now has an Equi-Stat record of more than $69,000, and Buntin brought his lifetime record to nearly $561,000.
The 7-year-old mare was quite successful throughout her limited-age event career. In 2013, Buntin rode her to Futurity Open finals appearances at the Idaho Cutting Horse Association (ICHA) Futurity and the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Futurity, and then-owner/breeder Scott Gaddy picked up the El Rancho Futurity Non-Pro Championship. She continued to rack up checks through the end of 2016, then began her weekend career.
Pam and George Schaeffer’s Royal Red Play (Play Red x Peek A Boon x Smart Little Lena) and Todd Adolf picked up the $25,000 Novice Horse Open Reserve title with a score of 220.5, which was worth $2,713.
$5,000 Novice Horse Open
In the $5,000 Novice Horse Open, Dual N Gritty and Cody Lamont proved victorious in a field of 21 horses. Their score of 222 earned them a $2,380 paycheck. Prior to this win, Dual N Gritty (Neat Little Cat x Lilleth Merada x Meradas Money Talks), a 2012 mare bred by Scott and Suade Amos, of Loma, Colorado, and owned by KT Ranch LLC, had $5,684 in earnings.
Scott Amos piloted the mare to her first check back in 2015 before Lamont, who has lifetime earnings of more than $70,000 following this title, took over the ride in 2016. Last year, their biggest paycheck came when they topped a 4-Year-Old Open class at the Arizona Cutting Horse Association Aged Event in September, but this title was Dual N Gritty’s most lucrative payday thus far in her career.
Mike Wood piloted One Time At Night (One Time Pepto x Lenas Snow x Docs Stylish Oak), who is owned by Teresa Home, of Santa Ynez, California, to the $5,000 Novice Horse Open Reserve title. They took home $2,071 for their run, which was earned a 219.5 from the judges.
$2,000 Limit Rider
There was another tie for the top spot in the $2,000 Limit Rider finals. Out of 16 teams, Rittle Me This with Eric Ferreira and Cyndi Cat with Jameson Grimes put together solid runs that were both awarded a score of 218.
Rittle Me This, a 5-year-old gelding by Riosmysister and out of the Slip Down Lena mare Slip Down Girl, has had some success in limited-age events. He earned his first check with Buntin aboard in 2015 and has accumulated more than $55,000, including the $1,878 check he earned in Scottsdale with Ferreira in the saddle. Owner Adam Pollard has also shown the Adam Pollard-bred gelding to titles at the ICHA Futurity and PCCHA Futurity in the Amateur.
Cyndi Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Dox Little Cindy x Peppy San Badger), bred by Jerry and Melinda Black, has earned nearly $170,000 in the cutting pen with multiple riders. However, in Scottsdale, it was Grimes whom the 10-year-old mare carried to the winners’ circle as $2,000 Limit Rider Co-Champions. They also received a check for $1,878, bringing Grimes’ Equi-Stat record to $3,648.
Nicole Pietrafeso and Purely Badger have won a lot together since they became a team in 2013. Pietrafeso has shared the 11-year-old mare (Reys Dual Badger x Purely Bob x Bob Acre Doc) with her two sisters Jessica and Giana, but the majority of Purely Badger’s $89,000-plus record was won with Pietrafeso in the saddle.
They added another notch to their belts when they claimed the Senior Youth Championship at the NCHA Scottsdale Nationals with a score of 218. They garnered $97 for their efforts, which brings Pietrafeso’s lifetime earnings to nearly $59,000. At last year’s NCHA Western National Championships, the pair made the finals in both the Senior Youth and the $50,000 Amateur.
Claire Shelton and Boon Style (Mr Boonsmal To You x Ms Stylish Hickory x Doc’s Hickory) marked a 212 in the Senior Youth finals to take home $93 and the Reserve Championship.
Reytheon and Faith Farris made the most of their time in Scottsdale during their appearance in the Junior Youth finals. They were the first draw out after the exciting Youth Grand Entry and they laid down an impressive 222 that held throughout the rest of the set to clinch the Championship.
Their title came with a check for $122, which brought Farris’ lifetime earnings to more than $8,600. Reytheon (Dual Rey x Teninos Taco x Tenino San), who was bred by Trey Bell and is owned by Christine King, of Scottsdale, has an equally impressive show record.
This payday pushed the 15-year-old gelding’s Equi-Stat record past $221,000 in earnings. He began his show career in 2006, where he made Derby Open finals at the NCHA Super Stakes and Breeder’s Invitational with Tom Dvorak, and the Breeder’s Invitational Derby Non-Pro finals with Julie Hansma. After many successful years with the Hansma family, King took over the ride once the gelding was well into his any-age event years.
Farris attended the NCHA Eastern Nationals earlier this year, where she made the Junior Youth finals with Ginger Pepto (Peptoboonsmal x Stella Starlight x Grays Starlight). Her biggest payday to date came when she banked $918 at a West Central Texas Cutting Horse Association event in 2016.
Swing Thru The Drive (Hydrive Cat x Justaswinging Peanut x Justa Swinging Peppy), bred by SDP Buffalo Ranch, carried Emma Rapp to a score of 216, which resulted in the Reserve title and a paycheck for $113.
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