South Dakota trainer Dallas Cunningham rode RFR Voodoos Fuego to share top honors in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Level 1 Open.
The duo also tied for second in Levels 3 & 2 for a $24,348 payday. RFR Voodoos Fuego, by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr out of Show N Tag (by Whiz N Tag Chex), is owned and was nominated by Peter Smith.
Cunningham, of Mitchell, South Dakota, has been training professionally for the past decade. RFR Voodoos Fuego impressed him from the start.
In the Level 1 Open, they shared the co-championship with Tagin Stiletto Chics and Rodrigo Nieves. Both teams marked a 217.5.
“He’s a super nice horse. We started him as a 2-year-old and right away I thought he was awesome, I felt he was really special,” Cunningham said.
RFR Voodoos Fuego has been a pleasure for Cunningham to show all year and he had high hopes for the horse coming into the Futurity.
“I showed him at Vegas [at the High Roller] and won the Level 2 there,” Cunningham said. “I showed him in Memphis [at the Friends of Reining Futurity] and he was really good. He was a 218 in the first round, then when I showed him in the Finals and he fell out of lead to be a 224 (in Memphis), but he was awesome there.”
With 2020 being such an unpredictable year, Cunningham says he is thankful that the NRHA was able to produce the Futurity.
“I love this horse, so I was really looking forward to this show. I’m just dang glad we’re here,” he said, adding that he appreciates the help he gets from the many supporters who’ve assisted him to this point in his career.
“I went from being a bull riding, team roping, colt starter to doing this just by watching [Andrea] Fappani’s videos. I’ve got to thank that guy because he’s changed my career,” Cunningham laughed. “My wife, my customers, everybody is so supportive. I couldn’t do it without any of them.”