Two horses -- Vinny Gun, left, and Gunnbebigtime, right -- were tied after the first go of the 2020 NRHA Futurity. * Photos by Waltenberry.

Gunnbebigtime & Vinny Gun Lead NRHA Futurity After First Go

Two talented reining horses emerged as leaders after the first go of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Competition began Thanksgiving Day at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, with the top 3-year-old reining horses in the nation competing not only for the prestige of being among the 75 horses to make the second round, but also for some big paychecks.

This year, the NRHA Level 4 Open Futurity Champion will be decided during the clean-slate MS Diamonds TX Futurity Level 4 Open finals on Saturday, Dec. 5. Then, for the first time in NRHA history, the champion will receive a check for $250,000.

Now, many are one step closer to that goal.

Unofficially, it took a score of 217 to advance to the semi-finals of the Level 4 Open, which will run Wednesday, December 2.

Currently leading the Level 4 Open are Brian Bell and Fernando Salgado, who both marked a 223.5 in the round that concluded on Saturday, Nov. 28.

The semi-finals for Open levels 1 – 3 will be held Monday and Tuesday, while the Level 4 Open semi-finals sponsored by Not Ruf At All and Tamarack Ranch will be held Wednesday, Dec. 2. The top 30 from the composite of the first go and semi-finals in Levels 1 – 4 will earn a spot in Saturday’s clean-slate finals, as will the top 10 in the Prime Time Open.

Level 4 Open

Bell, who competed in the first section on Thursday, rode Gunnabebigtime to the high score. Owned by Tami Nelson, Gunnabebigtime is by Equi-Stat Elite $4 Million Sire Gunnatrashya and out of Big Time Jazzy (by Shine Big Time)

Salgado rode Vinny Gun, owned by Guillermo De Anda Martinez, during the second section on Friday. Vinny Gun is by Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Sire A Sparkling Vintage and out of Dolled Up Gunner (by Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner]). The talented colt is a graduate of the 2018 NRHA/Markel Select Yearling Sale.

Level 3 Open

It took a 213.5 to advance to the semi-finals of the Level 3 Open, and Kole Price and Trendsettter topped the level with a score of 223, which also was good enough for a third-place tie in the Level 4.

Trendsetter, owned by Price and Thomas Moffitt, is by NRHA Triple Crown Champion Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Timed To Shine.

Level 2 Open

A 210.5 was the score to have or beat in the Level 2, and Arno Honstetter and Sean Johnson, who each marked a 220.5, lead the field going into the semi-finals round.

Honstetter rode Blue Inferno, a son of freshman sire Inferno Sixty Six, while Johnson showed River Of Diamonds, by HF Mobster.

Blue Inferno, who is out of the mare Showtimes Lil Step (by Wimpys Little Step), is owned by Story Book Stables. River Of Diamonds is owned by Denise and Terry Martin, and is out of the mare Starlight N Diamonds (by Grays Starlight).

Level 1 Open

Level 1 exhibitors with a score of 203 or better earned a semi-finals berth. Dalton Cunningham piloted RFR Voodoos Fuego to a 219.5 to lead the division. RFR Voodoos Fuego, owned by Peter Smith, is by Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Show N Tag (by Whiz N Tag Chex).

Prime Time Open

Duane Latimer riding CSboomboomwalla, and Casey Hinton on Magnum Custom Dream, both have a score of 221 (including handicap) to top the Prime Time Open division. CSBoomboomwalla, owned by XCS Ranch LLC, is by Equi-Stat Elite $3 Million Sire Walla Walla Whiz out of Cheeky Boom (by Smart Chic Olena). Magnum Custom Dream, owned by Nancy Murfin-Moxley, is by Equi-Stat Elite $6 Million Sire Magnum Chic Dream and out of Gunna Be Custom (by Gunner)