Franco Bertolani sliding to a stop aboard Hollys Hijacker a top contender for the 2019 NRHA Futurity
Hollys Hijacker & Franco Bertolani • Fletch Photos

2019 NRHA Futurity Preview

The NRHA Futurity showcases the best 3-year-old reining horses in the country at the historic State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity is more than just a horse show. It’s the pinnacle of a 3-year-old reining horse’s season. Horses and riders that deliver during the show, held Nov. 27-Dec. 7, will forever etch their names in the sport’s history. And, they’ll do so in front of a crowd hailing from across the globe to witness the excitement in Oklahoma City.

Last year, Jason Vanlandingham rode the striking black stallion A Vintage Smoke to the Level 4 Open Championship. It was Vanlandingham’s second win in the sport’s biggest event and launched A Vintage Smoke into an incredibly successful derby year during the 2019 season.

Diane Mesmer’s son of A Sparkling Vintage continued to build momentum since his Futurity win. He and Vandlandingham earned the National Reining Breeders Classic Level 4 Open Co-Championship, placed third in the NRHA Derby with an incredible 230.5 run, and then won $60,000 while competing against older horses in the Million Dollar Invitational at The Run For A Million.

Will the 2019 NRHA Futurity winner match his level of success?

In addition, the show will again showcase the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships (NAAC), where divisional championships will be awarded and World title contenders will have one final opportunity to wi money toward their year-end standings.

Spectators will also be treated to the $20,000 NRHA Invitational Freestyle Reining, and those looking to buy or raise a future Futurity horse will have the chance to find one during the three-day NRHA/ Markel Futurity Sales. And, they won’t be hungry while they look, as there will be two sale dinners during the evening sessions on Dec. 5 and 6, and the Quarter Horse News pre-sale breakfast on Dec. 7.

Top Contenders for the 2019 NRHA Futurity

The NRHA Futurity is the proving ground for champions. Names of horses that rise to the challenge in the Jim Norick Arena in late November and early December of their 3-year-old season will be etched alongside th champions of the past.

Will this year’s winner be a horse no audience has ever seen? Or, will it be one of the many horses that have tested their readiness at early futurities across the country? Only time will tell.

A fleet of talented reiners showed their mettle at shows from the edge of the Pacific Ocean to major reinings along the East Coast.

The leading early contender looks to be Hollys Hijacker, a son of HF Mobster who Franco Bertolani rode to Level 4 Open wins at the All American Quarter Horse Congress and Rocky Mountain Reining Horse Association (RMRHA) Summer Slide.

Top 10 NRHA Futurity Open Riders
(Open earnings only)
1. Shawn Flarida (OH) – $2,389,626
2. Andrea Fappani (AZ) – $2,156,450
3. Tim McQuay (TX) – $1,417,885
4. Craig Schmersal (AZ) – $1,387,968
5. Todd Bergen (OR) – $1,229,690
6. Duane Latimer (TX) – $922,997
7. Jordan Larson (CA) – $889,504
8. Todd Sommers (TX) – $740,586
9. Casey Deary (TX) – $726,281
10. Jason Vanlandingham (TX) – $674,408

Top 10 NRHA Futurity Non-Pro Riders
1. Mandy McCutcheon (TX) – $1,013,020
2. Jim Morgan, DVM (OK) – $370,558
3. Kelle Smith (OK) – $334,813
4. Tish Fappani (AZ) – $326,406
5. Samantha Griffin Smith (OK) – $278,927
6. Charlie Wiederholt (MN) – $256,279
7. Jose Vazquez (IL) – $171,303
8. Nelle Murphy (TX) – $164,694
9. Quincy Allen (TX) – $163,239
10. Veronica Deans (TX) – $160,394

Top 10 NRHA Futurity Owners
1. Arcese Quarter Horses (TX) – $1,019,480
2. Rancho Oso Rio LLC (AZ) – $873,705
3. Lance Griffin (OK) – $836,471
4. Vaughn Zimmerman (MO) – $701,152
5. Tom & Mandy McCutcheon (TX) – $682,785
6. McQuay Stables Inc. (TX) – $599,872
7. Frank Bolea (CA) – $496,807
8 Rosanne Sternberg (TX) – $451,488
9. Hickory Creek Ranch LLC (AZ) – $449,949
10. David Silva Sr. (TX) – $397,796

Top 10 NRHA Futurity Breeders
1. Bob Loomis Quarter Horses Inc. (OK) – $831,401
2. Arcese Quarter Horses (TX) – $799,293
3. Steve Simon (OK) – $792,190
4. McQuay Stables Inc. (TX) – $781,400
5. Rosanne Sternberg (TX) – $778,947
6. Lance Griffin (OK) – $785,585
7. Hilldale Farm (TX) – $740,019
8. Rancho Oso Rio LLC (AZ) – $691,741
9. David Silva Sr. (TX) – $558,415
10. Carol Rose (TX) – $547,030

This article was originally published in the November 15, 2019, issue of QHN.