A seven-year-old gelding from a family of winning reiners brought the top bid of $250,000 at The Horse Sale at Rancho Rio in Wickenburg, Arizona. He was one of several reining or cutting-bred rope horses who commanded top dollar at the sale held Friday, March 5.
Consigned by 25-time rodeo world champion Trevor Brazile and agent Miles Baker, high seller Smartys Dunny is a 2014 gelding by Colonels Smart Spook and out of Bea With A Twist (by Dun It With A Twist).
The $250,000 bid by amateur roper Bryan Beaver, of Bucyrus, Kansas, made Smartys Dunny was the highest-selling horse in the history of The Sale at Rancho Rio. The previous high water mark for the sale was in 2020 when a cutting-bred gelding, Palo Duro Playboy, sold for $150,000.
Many of the consignments at the sale sported Western performance pedigrees.
Kari deCastro, marketing director for sale host Yost Events, said horses with reining, reined cow horse and cutting bloodlines often have the athleticism that ropers are looking for at the sale in Wickenburg, Arizona.
“I think that we’re starting to see a lot of, for sure, the reined cow horse and cutting bred,” deCastro said. “I think there’s always been a lot of cutting-bred horses that just never made it in the cutting pen, but they make phenomenal rope horses with some work, because they’ve got that foundation on them.
“So I think we just are going to continue to see more and more of that.”
Overall, receipts from the 2021 sale totaled $2.5 million with an average of $48,000. The sale had a top 10 average of $111,200 and a top 20 average of $78,700.
High Seller: Smartys Dunny
His new owner, Bryan Beaver, said he knew as soon as he tried the grandson of Equi-Stat Elite $6 Million Sire Smart Spook that the red dun horse fit him perfectly.
He likened riding Smartys Dunny to sitting in a rocking chair, saying he was particularly impressed by how the horse was responsive to him throughout the run. Roping can get dangerous when a horse tries to dictate what happens after the calf is roped rather than the rider calling the shots, he explained.
“What I found about this horse was he is so broke and so well-trained, he didn’t try to dictate anything,” Beaver said.
Smartys Dunny was sired by $44,857-winning reiner Colonels Smart Spook, who was an Open finalist in several big NRHA events and was ridden by Martin Larcombe in the FEI World Equestrian Games in reining for Team Australia.
Bred by Monte Strusiner, of Northbrook, Illinois, Smartys Dunny is one of three money-earning reiners out of his dam.
Reserve High Seller: Shine Sooo Fine
With a final bid of $170,000, the distinction of second-high seller went to another reining-bred horse, Shine Sooo Fine. Consigned by Mozaun McKibben, Shine Sooo Fine is a 2014 son of National Reining Breeders Classic Level 4 Open Champion Shine Chic Shine and out of Pines Fine Point (by Boggies Flashy Jac). He sold to Richard Tabish, of Missoula, Montana.
Late last year, another Shine Chic Shine gelding — Shine Stylin Shine — brought a $165,000 bid at the Diamonds In The Desert Premier Horse Sale in Fort Worth.
Stallions Colonels Smart Spook and Shine Chic Shine both stand at Toyon Ranch.
Diamonds In My Genes
Another notable Western performance-horse bred consignment in the rope horse sale, Diamonds In My Genes, competed in Open reinings with Equi-Stat Elite $6 Million Rider Andrea Fappani. Selling for $45,000 in Arizona, the gelding earned more than $34,000 in the reining pen and, with Fappani aboard, was the 2018 Reining By The Bay Level 4 Open Reserve Champion.
Consigned by Jenna Kellmer, the 6-year-old gelding by Whizkey N Diamonds and out of Electric Genes (by Jacs Electric Spark) is a half brother to the earners of more than $175,000, including last year’s NRHA Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro Reserve Co-Champion Joes Genes ($80,726, by Lil Joe Cash).