horse and rider
Oh Starry Nite & Duane Latimer

Stars Align for Oh Starry Nite and Latimer in Tulsa

The Tulsa Reining Classic saw huge numbers in the Futurity Open, contributing to the biggest show the event has had to date. With 116 riders going through the pen, the competition was numerous and tough.

From the 52nd draw, Oh Starry Nite and Duane Latimer, who recently topped the National Reining Breeders Classic with Modern Gun, rode to a 222.5. That score stayed on top for the rest of the class, and Latimer and the mare, who is owned by XCS Ranch, went home with a $15,116 check as the Level 4 Open Champions.

“It’s a good start,” Latimer said of his futurity season. “The destination is this fall at the NRHA [National Reining Horse Association] Futurity. She was excellent, I was very happy with her.”

He added that while the mare was a little looky in the show pen, she felt pretty solid. Her stops, which he said have always been good, were excellent, and she turned great.

“[I’m going to work on] just getting her more solid, just little things,” Latimer said. “I showed one-handed today so I can’t really pick her apart at all on what happened today.”

Gina Schumacher of XCS Ranch picked the mare out herself from the McCutcheon’s place in Aubrey, Texas, last November. Bred by Turnabout Farm, Oh Starry Nite is by Gunners Special Nite and out of the Smart Starbuck mare Chic Olena Starbuck, a producer of great horses like Hollywood Starburst ($37,187, by Hollywood Dun It), winner of the 2017 NRHA Derby Level 4 Non-Pro, and Belle Starr Dun It ($29,569, by Hollywood Dun It).

“She’s obviously a champion!” Schumacher said. “She’s cute, a sweet mare.”

“She’s a little bit of a different cat,” Latimer added. “She can get scared of something, but if you show it to her, then she’s good. But she’ll overreact sometimes. And the same thing training her – she’s an overachiever sometimes. You just have to slow everything down and just get her brain to catch up. She’s been good.”

Money Carlo and Andrea Fappani took the Level 4 Open Reserve Championship with their score of 222. The stallion, who is owned by Ross Conner, is by A Sparking Vintage and out of Chex Drive (by Bueno Chexinic). He kicked off his Equi-Stat record with a $9,201 check.

Futurity Level 3 Open

horse and rider
Spooks Gotta Crush & Ruben Vandorp

“This is probably as good of an arena and as good of ground as you can get,” said Ruben Vandorp of the Ford Truck Arena at Tulsa’s Expo Center. It was clear his mount, Spooks Gotta Crush, felt the same way, as the stallion rode to a 220.5, winning Level 3 and tying for fourth in Level 4.

“It [the Tulsa Reining Classic] always gives you a pretty good idea of where you’re going to be later in the year, so I felt really good about the horse and the way he showed. I was just happy,” Vandorp added.

He said Spooks Gotta Crush, who banked a total of $11,150, performed well everywhere. With an all-star pedigree, it’s no surprise. His sire, Spooks Gotta Whiz, is one of three reining Triple Crown winners, and his dam, Megas Sugar Baby (by Marthas Mega Jac), has produced $115,000-plus earner PS Mega Shine Chic (by Shine Chic Shine). Vandorp purchased Spooks Gotta Crush after last year’s NRHA Futurity.

“The guy who had him before, Trey Pool, had him really broke and he was just very easy to follow,” Vandorp said. “He did a good job on him and made my life real easy.

“My daughter named him ‘Archie’ after the Riverdale show,” Vandorp explained of the television series based on Archie Comics. “She wanted to name him ‘Jughead,’ but I told her I would not have a horse named Jughead, so Archie was her second choice!”

Smart As Hail and Mathieu Buton took the Level 3 Reserve Championship and $3,387 with their score of 220. The mare (Smart Spook x Hailstorm Jaci x Shine Like Hail) is owned by Addie Shelton.

Futurity Level 2 Open

horse and rider
Gunshine On Line & Gunny Mathison

Competitors in the Futurity Open agreed going to the Tulsa Reining Classic helps them gauge where their prospects are at as they gear up for the NRHA Futurity. For Futurity Level 2 Open champion Gunny Mathison, it was no different. He piloted Gunshine On Line, a mare owned by Mary Jansma, to a 219.5 for the title. They also placed third in Level 3 and eighth in Level 4, garnering $8,205.

“Knowing that you don’t have to double check and triple check things from here on out is going to help her stay sound of brain and of mind, so I think it’s a big part of it,” he said. “Win or lose, as long as I knew she would do her job, I think I was good with it no matter what the outcome was.”

Mathison said the mare was so good, his biggest thing to work on heading towards the big futurity is teaching her to go one-handed.

“I didn’t over show her, I just used what I had and didn’t try too hard,” he said. “I could have floored it I think and she would have been right there, but why? Not here. This is preparation for the next one. That’s kind of where I keep my focus. It keeps me confident in the process of it.”

Gunshine On Line is called “Kate” because “Kate can skate.” She is by Shine On Line and out of Guns R Reddy, a Nic It In The Bud mare that has produced four money-earners. Full brother Reddy Aim Shine On has won more than $81,000, while Magnums Guns R Reddy is an earner of $56,221 (by Magnum Chic Dream).

“The mother was already just a broodmare whenever we [Mary Jansma] bought her,” Mathison said. “We didn’t pay a whole lot of money for her, and I got this one and another one coming that is just as good, so it sure feels good when the plan works.”

Futurity Level 1 Open

horse and rider
Codalicious & Joe Schmidt

A 218 gave Codalicious and Joe Schmidt the Futurity Level 1 Open Championship along with Reserve in Level 2. They also tied for seventh in Level 3 and placed in the top 20 in Level 4, collecting a total of $3,638. The mare, who is by Electric Code and out of Custom Easy Breezy (by Easy Otie Whiz), belongs to Barn 66 LLC.

“She was very easy to prepare all week, just stayed getting better,” Schmidt said. “She handled the ground good, really turned and got shut off really good. She was easy. She’s a really good-minded mare, super fun to be around, no trouble really. Has been really easy to train pretty much the whole way.”

Schmidt, who trains out of Tom McCutcheon’s place in Aubrey, started the mare and has done all of her training. In addition to “Gracie,” he showed Gunna Cash Ya, who marked a 216 for fourth in Level 1.

“I knew I had a shot at being decent, I just had to kind of keep everything together,” he said. “I’ve been preparing for this and made sure that I just practiced to be ready. I thought she had a good chance of marking big.”

He plans to take the mare to the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity en route to the NRHA Futurity.

National Reined Cow Horse Association $2 Million Rider Todd Crawford rode Whizkeybenthellbound to a 217.5, which took the Level 1 Reserve Championship and a $523 paycheck. The MC Performance Horses-owned stallion is by Whizkey N Diamonds and out of Desire A Chic (by Smart Chic Olena).