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Austin Shepard and Bama Jelly won the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity 4-Year-Old Open Championship. • Photo by Dawn Baxstrom

Bama Jelly And Austin Shepard take Arbuckle Mountain Futurity 4-Year-Old Open

The Arbuckle Mountain Futurity saw 30 competitors ride through the herd in the 4-Year-Old Open finals in Ardmore, Oklahoma. When the dust settled, Bama Jelly and Austin Shepard were the champions by a half-point over Reserve Champions Sugrspiznevrthingniz and Matt Gaines. 

With a 222.5, the stallion, out of Wood She Be Neat (by Nitas Wood), secured a check of $30,000 for breeder and owner Madalyn Colgrove, of Boligee, Alabama. Their huge win in Oklahoma came on the heels of Equi-Stat Elite $7 Million Rider Shepard and Bama Jelly claiming the Augusta Futurity 4-Year-Old Open in January.

With $45,873 in earnings prior to the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity, Bama Jelly is the highest money-earner out of his dam. His sire, Bamacat, who was bred by Shepard, set a high standard for his get with $352,194 in lifetime earnings of his own.

Reserve Champions Sugrspiznevrthingniz (Kit Kat Sugar x Jewels Gotta Lizzy x Lizzys Gotta Player) and Gaines marked a 222, earning $25,000 for owner Jim Vangilder, of Weatherford, Texas. The mare was bred by Robert and Connie Rust.

4-Year-Old Unlimited Amateur

Gary Barker, of Madill, Oklahoma, made a short drive for a big payout to compete with homebred Exs N Ohhs at the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity. The duo topped a field of 16 with a 222 to bring home a check of $3,034. 

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Gary Barker and Exs N Ohhs • Photo by Dawn Baxstrom

The 4-year-old mare by Kit Kat Sugar and out of the Cats Moonshine mare Reycy Moon, who recently rode to the finals with Barker’s trainer Lloyd Cox in the Abilene Spectacular Futurity Open, had $14,871 in earnings prior to riding into Ardmore.

The Arbuckle Mountain Futurity is an arena in which Barker continues to excel. In 2016, the competitor swept the 4-Year-Old Unlimited Amateur finals as well as the 5/6-Year-Old Unlimited Amateur finals with Smooth N Savvy and Kitkat, respectively.

The Reserve title went to Calvin Baloo and owner and rider Ken Schultz, of Sacramento, California. The 2015 gelding by Lil Catbaloo and out of Spookywearinstiletos (by Dual Rey) scored a 218.5 and a check of $2,533 to add to the $15,311 in earnings he had prior to the show.