The Tulsa Reining Classic, held at Expo Square Aug. 28 – Sept. 3, saw impressive runs on Thursday from riders in the Non-Pro ancillary classes, USA Reining Amateur and Green Reiner Levels 1 and 2 held in the Mustang Arena.
Mandy McCutcheon and Emily Morris shared the win in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Non-Pro ancillary class with a score of 145 to earn $531, each.
McCutcheon rode Always A Specialnite, who is by Gunners Special Nite and out of Always A Dunit (by Hollywood Dun It). Tom and Mandy McCutcheon have owned the star athlete since his 3-year-old year, and his talent continues to shine in the show pen. The now-5-year-old had been off for a year due to injury prior to the Tulsa Reining Classic and came back in prime form.
“He’s had a year off, so that’s why I showed him back in this class here instead of in the derby, just to give him a chance to get his horse show wheels back on,” McCutcheon said “He was very good, very easy to show. I’m proud of him.”
McCutcheon also took home the Championship in the USA Reining Amateur class with a score of 145 aboard Always A Specialnite.
Morris rode Cross Step Wrangler, who is by Starlights Wrangler and out of the Hollywood Jac 86 mare Hollywood Two Step, to the winning score. Morris has been partners with the 9-year-old since he was 3, and the two have formed a special bond over the years.
“I had a really good run today. He was very solid with his stops and his circles and was running very good for me,” Morris said. “He has improved for me greatly in this past year and has proven to be an amazing horse.”
Stephanie Nelson, riding Custom Banjo (Banjo Whiz x Custom Bobbie x Custom Crome), topped the Intermediate Non-Pro with a score of 144.5 to earn $470. Nelson also earned third in the Non-Pro for an additional $348.
Nelson and the 9-year-old gelding had a great showing in Tulsa today, which set them up for the NRHA regional affiliate finals.
“He’s given me confidence back in the pen and is getting me back into being competitive,” Nelson said. “We’re World show bound as well, so we’re hoping we’ll peak at the right place.”
Alexa Lovejoy rode 6-year-old ARC Chics Sparkle to the Limited Non-Pro win with a score of 143, worth $311. ARC Chics Sparkle, who is by Smart Chic Olena and out of Sparkle On Top (by Topsail Whiz), led her rider to the win with her smart maneuvers inside the show pen. The duo was especially proud of their showing today because it means they are one step closer to an NRHA world title.
“We’re second in the [NRHA] world right now, so we’re trying to get back up to the first spot,” Lovejoy said. “She’s a good horse all around. She’s always pretty calm.”
Lovejoy and ARC Chics Sparkle also earned third in the Intermediate Non-Pro and fourth in the Non-Pro.
Laura Day rode Chics Dream About Me (Wimpys Little Step x This Chicsdundreamin x Magnum Chic Dream) to the Prime Time Non-Pro win with a score of 142.5. The duo also earned second place in the Limited Non-Pro and fourth in the Intermediate Non-Pro.
The 8-year-old athlete holds a special place in Day’s heart and continues to impress his rider in the show pen.
“He’s probably the nicest horse I’ve ever had,” Day said. “I can count on him turning perfectly, I can count on him stopping perfectly – he’s just that kind of horse. I just love showing him.”
Today’s win for Day was extra special, because she hadn’t ridden in five weeks prior to the Tulsa Reining Classic because of an injury.
“There were places where I thought [my run] could be better, but we all think that,” Day said. “All in all it was really good, really fun. The most important thing was I had a great time out there.”