In a dazzling showcase of reining prowess at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Level 2 Open Futurity, Gabriel Diano and Luca Fappani have etched their names into the history books as co-champions of the Level 2 Open Futurity. The dynamic duo mesmerized the audience in Oklahoma City, leaving an indelible mark on the reining world with impressive scores of 221.
Riding in on SS Whatcha Gun Doo (Tinker With Guns x Xtra Black Magic x Shiners Voodoo Dr) for owner Alpha Quarter Horses LLC was Gabriel Diano.
“Champion or not, he [SS Whatcha Gun Doo] did a great job and was there all the time for me. He stopped huge four times, which was the main thing today. We had a little bobble on the first turn, but he stayed between the reins. He was fun to show today and gave me 110 percent,” Diano said.
Young gun, Luca Fappani, and Playing With Da Boys (Spooks Gotta Whiz x My Berry Best Gun x Colonels Smoking Gun) had an exceptional futurity showing for the Neiberger-Camp Partnership.
“She [Playing With Da Boys] was remarkable. We ran into the bright lights and vibrations, but nothing changed. She stopped, turned, circled exceptionally. I was pushing her the whole time and she never left me. With her heart, look, and performance she’s meant to be a special mare for the rest of her life,” Fappani said.
The tense competition unfolded in a crescendo of precision and finesse as Diano and Fappani, both remarkable riders, engaged in a friendly yet fiercely competitive battle for superiority. The judges faced the challenge of adjudicating their stellar performances, ultimately declaring them co-champions.
“Winning is always good. We all have ups and downs, but when you have good horses, it always improves the process and makes you return. This horse worked a lot with my confidence,” Diano said.
The Co-Champions title came with more than just compliments, as Diano and Fappani each secured a share of $37,500 in prize money, along with prestigious hardware commemorating their triumph. The resounding applause from the audience echoed the appreciation for the riders’ skill, dedication, and the seamless synchronization they achieved with their equine partners. The event was a testament to the spirit of sportsmanship and excellence that defines the NRHA competitions.
“I just want to thank God first for putting me on this path, giving me this horse, and putting the heart in her that he did. She is such an incredible animal; thanks to Casey Deary for his help this year, mounting me up with good horses, but most importantly, the Neiberger-Camp families for their support with this horse; I’m not proven in the open and they gave me this horse, trusted me and believed in me, and I think it worked out well. I love this mare, and I love these people, so I’m happy for them,” Fappani said.
Diano and Fappani’s camaraderie, even in the heat of competition, added a touch of mutual respect to the grandeur of the occasion. As the applause resonated through the Jim Norick Arena during awards, Diano and Fappani stood side by side, united in their victory.
“I just want to thank everyone who makes this possible, my family, friends, team, and everyone who cheered for me when I showed,” Diano said.
The Level 2 Open Futurity co-championship highlighted their individual mastery and showcased the shared glory that can be achieved through exceptional horsemanship.