Jason Vanlandingham planned to ride Best Shine in the Million Dollar Competition at The Run For A Million (TRFAM) before he’d even qualified. The journey to Las Vegas and to the TRFAM championship wasn’t an easy one, though.
“It’s been grueling coming in here,” Vanlandingham said.
The EquiStat Elite $3 Million Rider qualified for this event during the Cactus Reining Classic in March, it was the second of two qualifier events.
Then, Best Shine’s show season didn’t go as planned.
“He hasn’t been great this year, you know. He wasn’t good enough to get in the finals at the [National Reining Breeders Classic],” Jason said. “In the go-round at the derby he was fantastic, but then I kind of ran over the top of him a little bit in the finals. I ended up pulling up and didn’t get to finish the run.”
Best Shine is a 2017 stallion by Shine Chic Shine and out of Best Stop (by Custom Chrome). Going into TRFAM he had $180,862 in earnings, according to EquiStat. He was a Reserve Champion at the NRHA Derby in 2022, and although he was having a tough year, Vanlandingham had faith in him and God.
“I thought this is going to be our opportunity to show how awesome God is, because we can take a horse that shouldn’t be doing this tonight and a rider that doesn’t belong in the same arena as a lot of these guys and go out and get it done,” Jason said.
Best Shine warmed up great, and when the duo entered the pen, Dany Tremblay was leading the event with a 230 on Tinker With Dreams — and there was only one other horse left to go.
“First off, he attacked the ground. He was trying to find his feet a little bit, but stayed in the ground,” Vanlandingham said, noting the horse he started his run in a similar fashion at last year’s Million Dollar Competition, but came out of the ground when he couldn’t quite find his feet.
“After that he was locked in. He turned huge both ways, circled beautiful on a big drape and was completely locked down. He was super good,” Jason said.
Super good enough for a 231 score, the Million Dollar Competition Championship. They also took home a check for $500,000.
“That’s just to show how awesome God is,” said Vanlandingham.
Million Dollar Competition Reserve Champions Dany Tremblay and Tinker With Dreams (Tinker With Guns x This Chicsdundreamin x Magnum Chic Dream) took home $95,000 to add to their lifetime earnings.
Casey Deary on Down Right Amazing (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x Shesouttayourleague x Walla Walla Whiz) tied for the third-place title with Gina Schmacher on Gunnastepya (Gunnatrashya x SDP A Lasting Step x Wimpys Little Step). They each took home $75,000.