The Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity presented by Scooter Kat slid into the “Biggest Little City” for its seventh year, Sept. 13-17, 2023. The cow horse tradition was held at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Event Center with reined cow horse trainers, owners, non pro competitors, western trade show vendors and cow horse enthusiasts making their annual trek to Reno, Nev. for the triathlon of the western world.
“All of the snaffle bit futurity ingredients came together in Reno in 2023,” said John Ward, one of the founders of the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity. “The competitors, the horses, the cattle, the ground, the judging, the weather, the camaraderie, the show staff, the host hotels, the great dining, the vendors and the cow horse fans all comes together in Reno to make a great escape into horse show world.”
In addition to payouts, top finishers in the futurity divisions and horse show classes received trophy buckles made by Skyline-Vaquero Silversmiths, and awards sponsored by Classic Equine, John Mincer Silversmiths, Triple Crown Feed, Big D Products, Santa Cruz Animal Health/UltraCruz, Platinum Performance, The Chap Lady, Hats By Claudia, and Stable Mix – Elk Grove Milling.
Open Futurity Divisions
Justin Wright, from Santa Maria, Calif., claimed his second Open Futurity championship title at the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity riding Clint Kat Sugar with a composite score of 663. The champions started the week off with the high herd work score of a 221, and then marked a 222 in the rein work and a 220 down the fence, securing their top spot. Clint Kat Sugar is a 2020 gelding by Kit Kat Sugar, out of Cut N Klass, and owned by Janet Handtmann.
With the Open Futurity Championship sponsored by Markel Insurance, Wright and Kit Kat Sugar won a check for $35,000 and a trophy buckle sponsored by Lone Oak Large Animal Veterinary Services, Inc.
Wright first won the Open title in 2018 riding Metallic Flame, a gelding owned by Bill Stevenson.
Wright also took home the reserve championship title riding Talkin Schmack, a 2020 stallion by Smooth Talkin Style, out of Bobs Smarty Rey, and owned by Adan Banuelos. With a composite score of 662.5, the reserve champions took home a check for $19,000 and a buckle sponsored by J&S Farms.
The 2023 Intermediate Open Futurity championship title went to RBS Once Upon A Time and Cara Hencratt, from Lindsay, Calif., with a composite score of 654.5 (herd 219, rein 218.5 , fence 217). With the Intermediate Open Futurity Championship sponsored by Brother Jackson, RBS Once Upon A Time and Hencratt won a check for $15,000 and a trophy buckle sponsored by SC Ranch, Co., Inc., Charles and Vanessa Stevens. Hencratt was also seventh in the Open Futurity, adding another $4,800 to her 2023 Reno earnings. Owned by Rocking BS Ranch, RBS Once Upon A Time is a 2020 mare by One Time Royalty and out of SmoothEttaJames.
The Intermediate Open Futurity reserve championship title went to Ken Wold, from Wilton, Calif., riding ShezaBetOnBobbie with a composite score of 652, taking home a check for $8,000 and a trophy buckle sponsored by Sprigg Haven Farms, Pepper Snyder. The pair also placed eighth in the Open Futurity, adding an additional $4,200 to their 2023 winnings. ShezaBetOnBobbie is a 2020 mare by Brother Jackson, out of BetShezTheCatsMeow, and owned by Andrews Family Trust.
The 2023 Limited Open Futurity championship title was claimed by Roger Bias, from Bakersfield, Calif., and SR Shiney N Hot, a 2020 gelding by One Shiney Metallic, out of Soupahot. With a composite score of 643, the duo marked a 211 in the herd work, 213.5 in the rein work, and 218.5 down the fence. The Limited Open Futurity Championship was sponsored by DT Horses, and Bias took home a check for $5,000 and a trophy buckle sponsored by Mike Pressley. He also won $2,000 for a 15th place tie in the Open Futurity division and $2,766.67 for a sixth place tie in the Intermediate Open Futurity division. SR Shiney N Hot is owned by Gerrica Manda.
Bet Hesa Nu Star and Darrel Norcutt, from Fallon, Nev., won the reserve championship title in the Limited Open Futurity, winning a check for $3,100 and a trophy buckle sponsored by Santa Lucia Farm. They also placed 18th in the Open Futurity, winning a check for $1,900, and ninth in the Intermediate Open Futurity taking home an additional $2,000. Bet Hesa Nu Star is a 2020 stallion by Bet Hes Black, out of Zacks Nu Star, and owned by Ty and Melissa Fowler.
Mallory Holland Valdez, from Lemoore, Calif., took home the Level 1 Open Futurity championship title riding Cats Gone Rogue, a 2020 stallion by Meteles Cat, out of Smart Lil Diva, owned by Terry and Deanna Johnson. Valdez and Cats Gone Rogue won the championship with a composite score of 633.5, which included the division’s high score in the herd work with a 212 and high score in the fence work with a 213. They took home a check for $1,500, plus an additional $1,000 for a ninth place finish in the Limited Open division, and trophy buckle sponsored by 808 Ranch.
Magnum Diamond Time and Kristy Santos, from Knightsen, Calif., won the reserve championship title in the Level 1 Open Futurity division with a composite score of 622. Magnum Diamond Time is a 2020 stallion by Time For The Diamond, out of Hollywood Dream Chic, and owned by Diane Egan and Kristy Santos. The pair won a check for $1,200 and a trophy buckle sponsored by Gowing Canyon Ranch.
Non Pro Futurity Divisions
Kitty Wilkins and Carmen Buckingham, from Bruneau, Idaho, slid into the Reno Winner’s Circle, winning both the 2023 Non Pro Futurity and Intermediate Non Pro Futurity championship titles with a composite score of 656 (Herd 217.5 , Rein 216.5 , Fence 222). The duo had the high scores in all three events for both divisions. Kitty Wilkins is a 2020 mare by WR This Cats Smart, out of Miss Bella Blue, and is owned by Tom & Carmen Buckingham. The champions won a check for $20,000 for their Non Pro win, and $2,500 for the Intermediate Non Pro, bringing their total 2023 Reno winnings to $22,500. The Non Pro Futurity championship was sponsored by Beal’s Quarter Horses/Rare Earth Coffee/Day & Night Markets, and the duo received a trophy buckle sponsored by Boot Barn. The Intermediate Non Pro Futurity championship was sponsored by 4-D Ranch and Gotta Go Get It, and Buckingham received a buckle sponsored by Jim and Linda Schrack.
Reason To Believe 67 and Mike Miller, from Big Piney, Wyoming, took home the reserve championship title in both the Non Pro Futurity and Intermediate Non Pro Futurity divisions with a composite score of 645. They received a check for $12,000 in the Non Pro and $2,200 in the Intermediate Non Pro. Reason to Believe 67 is a 2020 stallion by Call Me Mitch, out of Bucks Genuine Fever, and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Miller.
Abbigail Henstra, from Eagle, Idaho, rode Wicked Mitch to the Level 1 Non Pro Futurity championship with a composite score of 614, which included the high fence score of 211. Owned by Austin and Abbigail Henstra, Wicked Mitch is a 2020 stallion by Call Me Mitch, out of Gloreyous. The champions took home a check for $2,000 and a trophy buckle sponsored by Bonanza Casino.
The Level 1 Non Pro Futurity reserve championship was secured by Gina Liberini, from Lovelock, Nev., riding her horse, Rated P Gee, a 2020 stallion by Brother Jackson and out of PG Special Edition. The pair had the high rein work score in their division with a 209, ultimately winning $1,200 and a trophy buckle sponsored by Dave Archer for their second place overall finish in the division.
The 2023 Non Pro Boxing Futurity championship title went to Smooth Talkin Atmas and Becky Stockett, from Scottsdale, Arizona, with a composite score of 634 (Herd 212 , Rein 214 , Cow 213). With the Non Pro Boxing Futurity Championship sponsored by Los Banos Creek Cattle Co., Stockett won a check for $3,000 and a buckle sponsored by Jerry and Linda Gould, Imperial Ranch. Smooth Talkin Atmas is a 2020 gelding by Smooth Talkin Style, out of Catmas, and owned by Stockett.
BooBerry and Cassandra Krieg, from Tulare, Calif., won the Non Pro Boxing Futurity reserve championship title with a composite score of 632.5. The pair won a check for $2,000 and a trophy buckle sponsored by Triple Crown Feed. BooBerry is a 2020 mare by Lil Catbaloo, out of Coco Before Chanel, and owned by Krieg.
Jimmie Paul/Tenlight Memorial Open Two Rein Champions: Smooth Outta Style & Tucker Robinson
The Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity featured the 4th annual Jimmie Paul/Tenlight Memorial Open Two Rein at the 2023 event, sponsored by the family and friends of horseman, Jimmie Paul, who lost his life in April 2020. The Jimmie Paul/Tenlight Memorial Open Two Rein champion was awarded a perpetual trophy, created by John Mincer Silversmith, in memory of Jimmie Paul and his horse, Tenlight.
Tucker Robinson, from Shandon, Calif., and Smooth Outta Style (a 2017 gelding by Smooth Talkin Style) rode into the winner’s circle after earning a composite score of 440. For their 2023 win, Robinson and Smooth Outta Style, owned by Julie Weinhardt and F. Velazquez, took home the perpetual trophy, a check for $1,880 and a buckle sponsored by Tim Terkelsen. Added money for the class was sponsored by Peg Green and Jim Cleary.
Reserve champions were Lance Johnston and Lil Starlight Cat (a 2017 stallion by High Brow Cat), owned by Kenneth & Karen Haugland, winning a check for $1,410.
Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Open Bridle Champions
On Thursday, Sept. 14, the Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Foundation presented the annual Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Open Bridle at the 2023 Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity, honoring the cowgirl who won the Open and Limited Open Bridle championship titles in 2005 in the Reno arena. Added money for the class was sponsored by PEDIGREE®.
Nick Dowers, from Dyer, Nev., and Santiago Time (a 2014 stallion by One Time Pepto, out of Reymanising) were crowned the 2023 Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Open Bridle champions after marking a composite score of 443.5. Santiago Time is owned by Clinton Marshall. The champions were presented with the traveling bronze “Boots” trophy, which is a cast of Gilkerson’s boots and spurs donated by Marc & Lauren Gilkerson, a check for $5,824, a gold and silver headstall sponsored by Jack Hammond and family, and trophy buckles sponsored by Mike Gilkerson.
With a score of 442, the Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Open Bridle reserve championship was split three ways between Soulas Hickory Star (a 2013 gelding by Soula Jule Star, out of Turn Liz Loose), owned and shown by Darrel Norcutt of Fallon, Nev., and Phillip Ralls, from Paso Robles, Calif., riding both Son Of A Mitch (a 2017 gelding by Call Me Mitch, out of Jackies Sparkle), owned by Billie Jo Ralls, and Call Me Mitch (a 2011 stallion by Metallic Cat, out of Miss Hickory Hill), owned by Estelle Roitblat.
Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Youth Bridle & Youth Boxing Payout $10,000 in Scholarships
The Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Foundation honors the life of Sherri Gilkerson each year through scholarships presented to reined cow horse youth. Gilkerson was a rising star in the cow horse industry when she unexpectedly passed away in 2006 at the age of 34, and Gilkerson’s family and friends keep her memory alive through the enrichment of young lives through education and sport.
On Friday, Sept. 15, the Foundation awarded a combined total of $10,000 in scholarships to the top competitors in the Youth Bridle and Youth Boxing classes at the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity with added money sponsored by Tres Osos Performance Horses.
The 2023 Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Youth Bridle champions, Elizabeth Billman and Bitsy Itsy Boon (a 2012 gelding by Mr Boonsmal To You, out of Merada Bitsy), took home a $2,500 scholarship, a bronze perpetual trophy “Scene Of The Crime” by Deborah Copenhaver-Fellows and donated by Linda Mars, a gold and silver headstall sponsored by Jamie & Debbie Hotaling-Richards and Mike Doud, Doud Development & Construction, and a buckle sponsored by Murray Thompson, Broken Arrow Ranch.
Reserve champions, Brett Pura and Bet Hesa Scotti (a 2013 gelding by Bet Hesa Cat and out of Lenas Scotti) received a $1,500 scholarship and a set of Skyline-Vaquero rear cinch buckles sponsored by Robert & Cynthia MacDonald Singer. Finishing in third place was Olivia Blethe riding Smart Dual Cat (a 2015 gelding), receiving a $1,000 scholarship and a handmade “Sherri” scarf slide created and donated by Abby Cosenza.
McKinley Blake and Tex Me A Cat (a 2013 mare by Zezes Pepto Cat, out of Texas Switch) took home the 2023 Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Youth Boxing championship title and a scholarship for $1,500. The champions also received a bronze traveling trophy “Biting Off More Than He Can Chew” by Copenhaver-Fellows and donated by Linda Mars, a gold and silver headstall sponsored by Paula Gentry, Tres Osos Performance Horses, and a buckle sponsored by Mac Stein and Teresa Home. Tex Me A Cat is owned by Rainy Walker.
Reserve champions, Carrissa Schaafsma and Jills Last Bet (a 2014 mare by Bet Hesa Cat, out of Shiners Diamond Jill), won a scholarship for $1,200 and a set of Skyline-Vaquero rear cinch buckles sponsored by Home and Stein. Anna Antongiovanni and Pearl Master (a 2014 gelding by Smart Little Pepinic, out of Sugar Babe Taffy) finished in third place, winning a scholarship for $9000 and a handmade “Sherri” scarf slide from Abby Cosenza. Pearl Master is owned by Monical Etcheverry. Fourth place winners, Avalon Goldstein, riding One Time Chita, received a scholarship for $600; fifth place winners, Gianna Martin, riding One Rusty Diamond, received a scholarship for $500; and sixth place winners, Rachel Kozak, riding CR Lookin Cat, received a scholarship for $350.
For more information on the Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Foundation’s scholarship program, visit www.sherrifoundation.org.
Benny Guitron Memorial Open Hackamore Champions
Benny Guitron was a legendary horseman, trainer, coach and friend who was famously known for his expertise with a hackamore. His family and friends have been working with the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity since 2017 to honor Guitron’s legacy with the Benny Guitron Memorial Open Hackamore.
On Saturday evening, Sept. 16, Dowers and Republicat (a 2018 stallion by Metallic Cat, out of Play Corn) took home the 2023 Benny Guitron Memorial Open Hackamore championship after a flawless run that scored a 451.5. Republicat is owned by Triple D Ranches. This was the duo’s second major title win at the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity after winning the 2021 Open Futurity championship. Dowers’ achieved the same feat on the 2019 Open Futurity champion, Smart Shiney Playboy, in 2020. Republicat won the perpetual Benny Guitron Memorial bronze donated and presented by Guitron’s family, a check for $6,100, a “Benny Hackamore” and mecate donated by Steve Guitron Custom Braiding, a signed copy of “The Art of Hackamore Training” written by Benny Guitron and Al Dunning, which was donated by Dunning, and a trophy buckle sponsored by Flying Two Ranch, Dan Macedo.
Tina Robinson and Ragtimes CD Rey (a 2019 gelding by Dual Smart Rey, out of Ragtime CD Cat), had the crowd roaring with their fence run, securing a composite score of 448.5, winning the reserve championship title and a check for $4,880. Ragtimes CD Rey is owned by Olivia Bethe.
2023 Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity Horse Show Champions
Limited Open and Non Pro class horse show champions for the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity included:
- Non Pro Two Rein: Brothers Belledancer (Brother Jackson x Belle Dancer), owned and shown by Paul Wilinski, won $960 with composite score of 421
- Non Pro Bridle: Smooth Dera Max (Smooth As A Cat x Dera Dually), owned and shown by Katherine DeHaan, won $2,700 with composite score of 436.5
- Intermediate Non Pro Bridle: Scrub Oak (High Brow Cat x Reymanising), owned and shown by LaDona Emmons, won $1,620 with composite score of 430.5
- Level 1 Non Pro Bridle: Nic It Ona Full Boon (Nic It In The Bud x MH On A Full Boon), owned and shown by Nicole Ditmars; won $1,320 with composite score of 426.5
- Limited Open Bridle: Rule Breyker (Metallic Cat x Reymember Me), owned and shown by Cain Eaton, won $1,600 with composite score of 426.5
- Non Pro Boxing & Intermediate Non Pro Boxing: Jills Last Bet (Bet Hesa Cat x Shiners Diamond Jill), owned and shown by Carissa Schaafsma, won $2,258.60 in Non Pro Boxing and $1,812.50 in the Intermediate Non Pro Boxing with a composite score of 441.5
- Limited Non Pro Boxing: Spooky N Smart (Spooks Smart Chic x Expressly Above Par), shown by Marisa Julian, owned by Patty Julian, won $1,765 with a composite score of 439
- Limited Open Hackamore: CR Be Lethally Tuff, shown by Lilla Bell, owned by Lacy & Wyatt Bourdet, won $1,500 with a composite score of 436
- Non Pro Hackamore: Bet Shesa Playmate (Bet Hesa Cat x Very Smart Playmate), owned and shown by Garrell Reilly, won $1,890 with composite score of 434.5
Save the Date for the 2024 Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity, September 11-15
The 8th annual Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity presented by Scooter Kat and Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity Sales will be held Sept. 11-15, 2024 at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.