Some people live and die by the World standings, checking the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) website with a fervor that borders on obsession. Are they going to make it? Will they be among the top 15 money-earners to be invited to the World Finals in Fort Worth? That wasn’t the case with Marilyn Kittelman.
According to Kittelman, she was just going about her business, enjoying success at her local shows in the Pacific Northwest, when friends broke some surprising news: She and her mare, Smooth Like Foxetta, qualified for the 7 Ranch NCHA World Finals in the $5,000 Novice Non-Pro.
“I was fourteenth and I wasn’t going to go, because I’m not going to Texas for one class,” she recalled, laughing. “And, they all said, ‘Oh yes you are!’ So, peer pressure ruled the day, thank God.”
It’s a good thing. Kittelman and the 2013 daughter of Smooth As A Cat won the first go-round with a 223 and marked a 220.5 to be second in the second round. That gave them the top composite of 443.5 and $4,158 in winnings, which topped the class and gave them the World Finals Show Championship, which goes to the competitor who wins the most money during the show.
The $5,000 Novice Non-Pro World title, which goes to the horse and rider who won the most money in the division during the entire year, went to Katherine Whitby and her horse, Dual Rider.
Whitby, of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and the 2011 gelding (Flo Rider x Bella Dual x Dual Pep) entered the World Finals with a massive lead – they had a $27,000 advantage over their next-closest pursuer – and finished with a whopping $47,000 in earnings.
For Kittelman, the chance to be one of the fifteen riders to compete in Fort Worth’s W.R. Watt Arena during the World Finals was a great experience. A number of people she competed against were there, and a trio of helpers also made the trip. Her husband and horse co-owner, cutting horse trainer John Kittelman, was there to support her as well.
“I worked for trainers in the past, so I’ve been here a lot during the Futurity and stuff, but [that was as] a loper girl 35 years ago,” said Kittelman, who often rides with the Cascade Cow Cutters Club in Washington State. “So, this is the first time I ever got to show here, and it’s been an amazing experience and it’s been fun because I have lots of friends here.”
Winning the World Finals Show Championship also meant a lot.
“I feel real blessed and I feel really humbled,” she said. “Honestly, I am so humbled to have been here and won this, and it’s just amazing.
Bred by Glenn & Debbie Drake, Smooth Like Foxetta has banked more than $13,000 in earnings and is one of three money-earners out of Travs Foxetta (by Travalena). Her dam’s other earners are multiple aged event finalist Metallic Etta ($63,588, by Metallic Cat) and NCHA Eastern Nationals Champion Ettafied ($49,941, by High Brow CD).
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