Bet Sheza Pick & Leon Lewis
Bet Sheza Pick & Leon Lewis • Photo by Primo

Bet Sheza Pick and Leon Lewis Nab Level 1 Open Win

The excitement continued Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity, presented by Metallic Cat, with the conclusion of the Open cow work prelims. When it was all said and done, 30 entries advanced to the Open finals, and Bet Sheza Pick and Leon Lewis were crowned the Level 1 Open Champions.

Lewis said Bet Sheza Pick was a bit greener than he would have liked going into the Snaffle Bit Futurity due to some setbacks in her 2- and 3-year-old years, but the mare showed up better than he ever anticipated. They started off in the rein work prelims, marking a 217.5 that gave them an edge going into the herd work.

“That mare has always been a big stopper, so I just made sure she was thinking about running all the way,” Lewis said. “She stopped and turned around better in the show pen than she did in preparation.”

Lewis said the mare took advantage of having good cattle in the herd work and did her job, scoring a 216. As they went into Tuesday’s cow work, Lewis’ expectations were low, but Bet Sheza Pick responded by marking a 215, launching them to the top of the leaderboard with a composite 648.5.

“It was just one of those deals — a lot of people in this industry talk about one peaking too soon, but I’d say she peaked right at the right time,” Lewis said. “I tried to get the foundation laid on really thick, and I think probably when I got in the show pen, I quit worrying about trying to make her perfect and just let her do her job. I got out of her way.”

The pair collected $16,500 for owner Knight Land and Cattle Company. Lewis is the ranch manager and trainer on Tucker and Allison Knight’s ranch in Midway, Texas, and is working to develop mare power to build their horse program. He said Bet Sheza Pick (by Bet Hesa Cat), who he uses on the ranch, too, reminds him of her dam, Playin With Pick (by Playin Attraction), the first horse he won money on in the NRCHA.

“She’s very much like her mother,” he said of the Burnett Ranches LLC-bred mare. “One of the things that I worried about in preparation is she tends to be a little overreactive to a cow, and her mother was the same way. As far as showing up for the fence work, her mother was a scorpion down the fence, really good, and she’s going to be the same way.”

Taking Reserve with a composite 648 (H: 214/R: 219/C: 215) were Playin For Reyl and Sawyer Sanders, who banked a check worth $12,500. The gelding (Dual Smart Rey x The Last Playday x The Bug Doctor), who was bred by Michelle Horton, is owned by Kathleen Haydon.