Tom McCutcheon and One Stormy Nite slide to the North Central Reining Horse Association Futurity Level 4 Open Championship. -- Photo by Molly Montag.

One Stormy Nite Takes Top Prize in North Central Reining Horse Association Futurity Open

Tom McCutcheon’s first two runs didn’t go as well as he’d hoped at the North Central Reining Horse Association (NCRHA) Futurity, but the Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider’s final horse, One Stormy Nite, made up for the earlier mishaps.

McCutcheon, of Aubrey, Texas, and the 2014 gelding (Gunners Special Nite x Whatta Royal Vintage x Hollywood Vintage) marked a 222.5 to win the NCRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Championship held Saturday, Aug. 5, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“I liked all of mine going in and I had some bobbles with my first two, so when I went in on [One Stormy Nite], maybe my confidence was a little bit lower,” McCutcheon said. “He had to step up and overcome my own problems for having my first two just having those problems.”

The win earned $5,509 for McCutcheon and his wife, Mandy, who bought the bay gelding from breeder Sarah Willeman’s Turnabout Farm at the 2015 Legacy Reining Breeders Sale.

McCutcheon didn’t get much time to savor the victory. In fact, he left the Minnesota State Fairgrounds before he knew he’d won. 

The quick departure was necessary because McCutcheon and his son, Cade, had to catch a plane to Switzerland, where the teenager will be competing in the SVAG Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) World Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders.

“I literally got off of (One Stormy Nite) and I didn’t even have time to watch his replay of his run,” said Tom, who is approaching $1.8 million in lifetime earnings. “I had to jump in the car and head for the airport. We made it with 30 minutes to spare before my plane took off.”

The Futurity Level 4 Open Reserve Championship went to Cashing In Diamonds and Vanessa Strotmann, who marked a 222.

Strotmann and Stefano Calcagnini’s mare (Lil Joe Cash x Diamond Steppin Whiz x Topsail Whiz) also won the Open Championship in Levels 3, 2 and 1. They earned$8,892 for Calcagnini, of Pilot Point, Texas.


Kelsey Huffman had never been to the NCRHA Futurity before, but she might want to come back after winning the Levels 4, 3 and 2 Non-Pro championships with Blonde Ambishen.

The 217.5 Huffman and the 2014 mare (Shiners Voodoo Dr x Relaxin With A Bud x Nic It In The Bud) marked was just enough to edge Cade McCutcheon’s 217.

It was Blonde Ambishen’s first show. Although it’s hard to know how a 3-year-old is going to show the first time out, Huffman said the mare, nicknamed “Marlie,” acted like she might be ready to put in a big performance.

“I did feel confident,” said Huffman, of Fort Worth, Texas. “[The mare has] so much horsepower, I was really nervous that I couldn’t control all the horsepower, but I was confident and I definitely thought I had a chance.”

Huffman bought Blonde Ambishen last year from breeder Lisa Neiberger, of Argyle, Texas.

McCutcheon, who won last year’s NCRHA Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro, took the 2017 Reserve Championship with Lil Code Red (Electric Code x Smart Bueno Chic x Smart Zanolena).