An anxious crowd filled the grandstands of the Adequan® Arena on Tuesday night, waiting to see a runoff between three competitors vying for an Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship (NAAC) title.
Shelly Hartmann, Laura Bell Parker, and Sally Berg closed their performances with a 219.5 top score in the Adequan® NAAC Non-Pro and Intermediate Non-Pro classes and decided to run off for the title. Once the three horse-rider-combinations went back into the pen, Hartmann and Mistresses Milky Way (Chocolate Chic Olena x Shiners Mistress) posted the highest score – a 219 – to earn the Adequan® NAAC Non-Pro, Intermediate Non-Pro, $1,000-added NRHA Intermediate Non-Pro, and the $2,000-added NRHA Non-Pro.
The 7-year-old gelding was bred by Green Valley Ranch and is owned by Shelly and Chad Hartmann. “I’ve been blessed with an awesome horse – a once in a lifetime horse by the grace of God,” said Hartmann, representing Rocky Mountain Reining Horse Association (RHA). “Timing and everything else worked out today, and I had a good day.” The two qualified for OKC at the Mountain Affiliate Regional Championship (ARC), after earning fourth place in the Non-Pro, and fifth in the Intermediate classes. “He got turned a little better in our first run, but he was with me the entire way in both runs. I couldn’t have asked for more; he tried his guts out for me, and he is a special horse. He is like an overgrown dog. I have owned him for six years, and it was really exciting this year when [NRHA Million Dollar Sire] Chocolate Chic Olena reached his million dollar sire mark. He has the mind and heart of his dad. I could not do this without my husband and his love and support. We had the A team with us today.”
The Adequan® NAAC Non-Pro and Intermediate Non-Pro Reserve Championship, after earning a 215.5, was for Laura Bell Parker and Shirley Your A Tag (Whiz N Tag Chex x Pines BH). The 6-year-old mare is owned by her parents, George and Carol Bell, and was bred by NRHA Million Dollar Owner Lance Griffin.
“It was a crazy day because I ran over here, then showed in the Non Pro Futurity, and then I heard there was still a tie, and we all wanted to run-off,” said Parker, representing the Oklahoma RHA. “I had to do a super-fast change and get my horse ready to come show here.” The pair qualified at the South Central ARC and had their goal set on the Adequan® NAAC all year. “My horse was amazing; I couldn’t have asked for anything more from her, especially since she showed again on the same day. It was my last show with this mare before she gets bred, so it was like ‘let’s go do it, girl.’ It was an incredible way to end our year together. I don’t think I had time to be nervous; it was such a surreal day, I think I was too determined to feel any of the nerves.”
Taking third place honors in the Adequan® NAAC Non-Pro and Intermediate Non-Pro, after earning a 214.5 in the run off, were Berg and Highlanders Scandal (Conquistador Whiz x HR Short Wheel Base). Berg and her 8-year-old mare, owned by Barn 66 LLC, also came to OKC representing the Rocky Mountain RHA and the Mountain ARC. ‘Tot’ was bred by Greg Hill.
John Edd Tucker and Wimpys Lil Hollywood (Wimpys Little Step x Miss Hollywood Whiz) earned the Adequan® NAAC Prime Time Non-Pro Championship and $200-added NRHA Prime Time Non-Pro. Tucker and his own 9-year-old gelding, bred by 4 R Performance Horses, earned a 216.5. “This was the first time I have shown here,” said Tucker, representing the South Texas RHA. “I have been coming to the NRHA Futurity for around 30-35 years, but always as a spectator. All of my friends told me to qualify at the South Central ARC and come here and compete. I was fortunate enough to qualify, and I have really enjoyed this week; it has been a great experience. I am 72 years old, so I don’t know how much longer I will be able to do this. [NRHA Professional] Nathan Piper says I will just keep going.”
Next year, Tucker will no longer be qualified for the intermediate non-pro classes, so he plans to find a horse to enter derbies on.
“Mr. Tucker was my 4-H leader about 20 years ago,” Piper said. “He spent hours with me, teaching me how to pick up and change leads and all of the basics. To be able to coach and help him today is a great blessing.”
Tucker has stayed in touch with Piper all of these years, and even though they live over five hours away from each other, Tucker relies on Piper for his advice. “Nathan has always been so supportive and is my go-to guy when I am having any issue training my horse,” Tucker said. “I am just so blessed.”
Greg Gottschalk and Wranglers N Whiskey (Starlights Wrangler x Okie Lil Dokie) earned the Adequan® NAAC Prime Time Non-Pro Reserve Championship with a score of 215.5. The 4-year-old stallion is owned by Russet Stables Inc. The pair came to OKC representing the North Central RHA after winning the Prime Time Non Pro championship at the North Central ARC.
The Adequan® NAAC Champions received a Bobs Custom Saddle, a custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle, a Platinum Performance Gift Certificate, a Classic Equine fleece cooler, Bluebonnet Feed product, a $150 SmartPak Gift card, an embroidered halter from Brandt Blankets, and an Avila Pro Shop Blanket.
All Adequan® NAAC Reserve Champions received a custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle, a Classic Equine fleece cinch, Bluebonnet Feed product, an embroidered halter from Brandt Blankets, an Avila Pro Shop Blanket, and a gift from KO Trading. All Adequan® NAAC third place winners received a Classic Equine Legacy System and Bluebonnet Feed product, fourth place winners will receive Classic Equine Dyno No-Turn bell boots and fifth place winners will receive Classic Equine hanging groom bags. All top ten winners received a jacket sponsored by SmartPak equine.
Dianna Wolfson and her own Big Tejano (Big Chex To Cash x La Tiagra Tejana) won the USA Amateur Reining with a 205.