horse sliding in dirt
On Saturday, Cade McCutcheon won his second NCRHA Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro in recent years when he and This Gunners Dreamin took top prize in St. Paul, Minnesota. • Photo by Molly Montag.

McCutcheon Pilots This Gunners Dreamin to Debut Win at NCRHA Futurity

Cade McCutcheon grew up in Texas, but every year he returns to his family’s Minnesota roots.

The 18-year-old from Aubrey, Texas, and his parents, Tom and Mandy McCutcheon, and grandparents, Tim and Colleen McQuay, left the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area years before Cade was born, but almost always return for the North Central Reining Horse Association Futurity in St. Paul.

Riding This Gunners Dreamin, McCutcheon once again took the NCRHA Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro Championship when they marked a 218.5. He also took the Reserve Championship with a 215 aboard A Ruf Spook who, like the winner, is owned by McCutcheon’s parents, Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider Mandy McCutcheon and $1 Million Rider Tom McCutcheon.

Mandy and Tom both competed in the Futurity – Mandy showed in the Non-Pro and Tom in the Open – and Cade’s grandfather, Tim McQuay, was on hand as well.

Although Tim’s wife, Colleen, wasn’t there this year – she and Cade’s younger sister, Carlee, were at a hunter-jumper show in the Chicago area – much of the extended family gathered, as usual, at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds to give their 3-year-olds a shot at what is, in many cases, the first show of their lives.

Cade said he enjoys the annual trek to the North Star State to show young horses for the first time.

Horse running
In addition to winning the NCRHA Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro, Cade McCutcheon also earned the Reserve Championship with A Ruf Spook. • Photo by Molly Montag.

“It’s a little cooler, so they get out of the heat, which is nice to have a week where [it’s] not really hot. I think it’s a good place to show,” he said, of the event held in Lee and Rose Warner Coliseum. “It’s easy for me to get ready. I just like coming up here, and I like seeing my family and all that.”

Nicknamed “Herm,” the winner has been an easy horse to ride since McCutcheon got on him last year. The horse was so easygoing leading up to the show that he was starting to worry McCutcheon.

“All week I was thinking well maybe I’m not doing enough, because he was just easy for me all week…And, he showed easy,” said McCutcheon, who has already compiled an Equi-Stat record of more than $415,000. “He was pretty much what I expected. I thought he’d be pretty good. He’s a good-minded horse. Really, a good horse.”

This Gunners Dreamin was only one of the NCRHA champions sired by stallion Gunners Special Nite. In the Futurity Open, the 2004 stallion by Colonels Smoking Gun (Gunner) out of Mifs Doll (by Mifillena) was represented by Level 4 Champion Gunnersspecialwoman (out of Shiners Woman, by Shining Spark) and the three horses that tied for the Level 4 Reserve Championship: Gotta Good Nite (out of Gotta Git Ya Dun, by Hollywood Dun It), Gunnersrufride (out of Lil Ruf Showgirl, by Lil Ruf Peppy) and Maverick The Gun Boy (out of Poco Peppys Girl, by Lil Ruf Peppy).

Gunners Special Nite
Gunners Special Nite (Colonels Smoking Gun x Mifs Doll x Mifillena).

Maverick the Gun Boy, ridden by Andy Chwala, also was the Futurity Level 3 Open Reserve Champion, Chwala and and won the Futurity Levels 2 and 1 open championships.

As for A Ruf Spook, McCutcheon really likes the son of Equi-Stat Elite $5 Million Sire Smart Spook, saying “he’s probably my favorite one in the barn to ride, just if I had to go pick one to go ride around,” but said the son of Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Sire Gunners Special Nite showed his inexperience while trying to navigate his spins.

“He was looking at the crowd a little bit, not really focused,” he said. “Then, after that he was really good.”

Given the positive performance from both horses in St. Paul, McCutcheon and his family now have to map out a plan for both horses. Some horses they show annually in Minnesota go on to the National Reining Horse Association Futurity – Cade won last year’s NRHA Futurity Youth Championship aboard One Stormy Nite, a horse his father rode to the 2017 NCHRA Futurity Level 4 Open Championship – and some do not.

“A Ruf Spook, I’ll probably take him home and try and get him ready for my sister to show either in Tulsa or somewhere down the line. Or, I might show him again. But, me or my sister will show him,” McCutcheon said.

“Herm, [aka] This Gunners Dreamin, I think I’ll keep riding him. I’ll probably show him one or two more times. I don’t know if he’ll be in my three for the [NRHA] Futurity, but if he stays like this he probably will be.”

The win earned $4,427 for McCutcheon’s parents, Mandy & Tom McCutcheon, of Aubrey, Texas.

This Gunners Dreamin is the tenth money-earner out of This Chicsdundreamin, a Magnum Chic Dream mare bred by the late Joe Hayes, of Gainesville, Texas.

A winner of $124,408 in the show pen, This Chicsdundreamin (out of Hermosa Dun It, by Hollywood Dun It) has now produced performers with an Equi-Stat record of $234,722, with average earnings of $25,588. Her leading earners are Tinker With Dreams ($73,794, by Tinker With Guns) and Chics Dream About Me ($63,762, by Wimpys Little Step).

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