Mandy McCutcheon checked off a couple of 2020 to-do items at last week’s Ride & Slide in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Aboard Coronas At Nite, the famed non-pro reiner picked right up where she left off, to borrow the pithiest of tried and true expressions, winning the Non-Pro Level 4 Derby at the Ford Arena. The twosome’s 218.5 earned Team McCutcheon $3,680.
That alone would have been worth the toll up the Turner Turnpike.
McCutcheon, though, also crossed off a big-ticket item, qualifying for The Run For A Million Non-Pro, set for August in Las Vegas.
The Ride & Slide was one of more than a dozen qualifiers for Non-Pro and Rookie Level 2 riders.
“I was relieved. Glad it’s over,” said McCutcheon. “I’m glad it’s something I don’t have to worry about the rest of the year.”
The much acclaimed and highly anticipated The Run For A Million, billed as the richest event in equine sports, debuted last year at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center with 12 open reiners vying for the biggest share — $500,000 — of a $1 million purse. It was the brainchild of Academy Award-nominee Taylor Sheridan, who chronicled the lives of competitors in a documentary leading up to the big night in Vegas in “The Last Cowboy.”
McCutcheon’s son, Cade, and Craig Schmersal split the biggest prize after finishing in a tie.
In addition to the main event, the competition also features a $100,000 open shootout, a $50,000 invitational freestyle and a $50,000 non-pro and rookie championship.
A $100,000 cow horse invitational will be added this year.
In total, five non-pros qualified last week in Oklahoma. Sarah Armenta (Gun Smoke Dennis), McKinnon Larcombe (Designed With Shine), Courtney Brooke Battison (Xtra Little Balou) and Elena Hurd (Magnum Style) were the others.
Five rookies also qualified, including Lydia Bell (Chics Want My Number), Payton Neiberger (Xtra Dun Step), Victoria Lyn Watchous (Dun its Shiney Son), Caleb Sturgeon (Hollywoodsmokee) and Sarah Flarida (Starbucks Jazz).
“I was hesitant to do it because I get really nervous before I show,” said Flarida on her decision to throw her hat in the ring, “but I think it could be a fun experience.”
Whether Coronas At Nite is that horse McCutcheon takes with her to Sin City has yet to be determined.
The 2016 mare, however, has demonstrated ability. Before winning last week, the daughter of Gunners Special Nite (out of One Last Corona x Magnum Chic Dream) won at the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity in Ardmore, Oklahoma, in October and followed that with a top-10 finish at the NRHA Futurity, both with McCutcheon in the saddle.
“She was good for me, and she came back this spring just as good,” said McCutcheon. “We’ll see how it plays out. Just getting qualified was something I wanted to get done. I’ll probably make that decision later in the summer.”
Party Nite, who finished seventh in Tulsa, and Tidal To The Buckles, also shown last week, are two other possibilities, McCutcheon said.
“You just never know what will happen once the show rolls around.”