The 2018 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open finals featured a field 70 horses deep across the four levels and Prime Time division. At the end of the night after the last score had been announced, NRHA Million Dollar Rider Jason Vanlandingham, riding A Vintage Smoke for owner Diane Mesmer, secured the title of 2018 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Champion.
A Vintage Smoke, nominated by Karl Hapcic, is by NRHA Million Dollar Sire A Sparkling Vintage and out of Lady Smoke Peppy (by Mister Dual Pep).
“I had been struggling with some things this week,” Vanlandingham said. “I thought my turns went as good as they could be. In the warm-up pen, he was really locked in and gave me a ton of confidence.
“I went for it all and ran him through the gate as hard as we could run, and he swallowed that first stop up,” he added. The stallion went home with $142,500 earned for his owner and $7,500 for his nominator.
Isnt She Perfect and rider Kole Price took home the Level 4 Open Reserve Championship. Isnt She Perfect is by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Walla Walla Whiz and out of the Colonels Smoking Gun (Gunner) mare Miss Silver Gun. She is owned by Amy Meadows and was nominated by Tamarack Ranch LLC. The owner’s and nominator’s share of the purse was $130,352 and $6,518, respectively.
Level 3 Open
Winning the Level 3 and Prime Time Open divisions was NRHA Million Dollar Rider Mike McEntire aboard two similarly named horses. McEntire rode his first draw, Pale Faced Whiz (NRHA Million Dollar Sire Pale Face Dunnit x Ms Maggie Whiz x Topsail Whiz), for owner A4L-Equine to a score of 218.5 to earn the title of Prime Time Open Reserve Champion and a top 10 finish in the Level 3 Open division. Pale Faced Whiz was nominated by Ginger Schmersal.
McEntire’s second draw, Pale Face Whiz, slid to a score of 222.5, earning the duo the titles of Level 3 and Prime Time Open Champion, as well as more than $87,000 in owner and nominator earnings. The sorrel stallion is by Pale Face Dunnit and out of Lady Naskiia Whiz (by Lena Naskiia). He was nominated by Everett Wiggins and is owned by Everett and Karen Wiggins.
“It felt good; the horse has been so good all week. He has stayed real solid,” McEntire said about Pale Face Whiz.
Earning the Level 3 Open Reserve Championship were Vintage Jewels and NRHA Million Dollar Rider Dell Hendricks. Vintage Jewels, owned by Kristi Clark, is by A Sparkling Vintage and out of Jewels Lil Sparkle, who is by ARC Sparkle Surprise. He was nominated by Todd Vernon.
Levels 2 & 1 Open
Riding to the Futurity Levels 2 and 1 Open championships was Austin Lee Roush and Gunna Stop (NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya x Stop Little Sister x Magnum Chic Dream), who is owned by Alexandria Gokey and nominated by Toyon Ranch LLC.
“I felt pretty confident,” Roush said. “Both of my horses rode good for the whole horse show. I was ready to show today.”
Two horse-and-rider teams tied for the Level 2 Open Reserve Championship. The first was Smokin Paleface (Pale Face Dunnit x Lost In Tinseltown x Jacs Electric Spark) with Brent Naylor, followed by Mr Royal Hollywood (NRHA Million Dollar Sire Hollywoodstinseltown x Cee Miss Hollywood x Custom Crome) with NRHA Million Dollar Rider Cody Sapergia. Smokin Paleface is owned and nominated by Tim Anderson, and Mr Royal Hollywood is owned by George and Carol Bell and nominated by George Bell.
Tinker This (Tinker With Guns x Tejons Finally Dunit x Hollywood Dun It) and Thiago Sobral earned the Level 1 Open Reserve Championship for owners Mary Beth and Tim Ruckman. Tinker This was nominated by Silver Spurs Equine.
The 2018 NRHA Futurity Open witnessed the second-largest purse in the event’s history with nearly $1.5 million awarded Saturday night. Additionally, there was an 8 percent increase in horses entered – 399 – and a 14 percent increase in total entries (1,124).