When National Reined Cow Horse Association Corporate Partner Cinch came on to supplement the already impressive Snaffle Bit Futurity prize with an additional $25,000 that brought the total added money for the Cinch Intermediate Open to $70,000. That meant a guaranteed check to the Champion of $30,000 – and it was Casey Branquinho on Nic The Wrangler who grabbed the coveted title with a 645 composite.
“It’s amazing that Cinch stepped up to sponsor the added money for the Intermediate Open. Cinch has been a part of my life for a long time as a sponsor of my brother Luke (World Champion Steer Wrestler Luke Branquinho), so I have always supported them,” he said. “My hat’s off to Keith Mundee and everyone there at Cinch. I really appreciate everything they have done.”
Owned by Holy Cow Performance Horses LLC of Santa Ynez, California, Nic The Wrangler, by Starlights Wrangler out of Nic N Chic, is a full-sibling to Branquinho’s first Snaffle Bit Futurity entry, Wranglin Reminicky. After making the finals of all three Open divisions at the 2009 Snaffle Bit Futurity, Wranglin Reminicky was unfortunately sidelined from the finals with an injury.
But because of his success, Holy Cow Performance Horses owner Nancy Crawford-Hall gave Branquinho the chance to ride Nic The Wrangler.
“Last year was tough. It was my first time to experience the competition and I made the Finals but wasn’t able to compete. Coming back on a full-brother to that mare makes this win more special,” he said. “I thank Nancy Crawford-Hall for giving me the chance to ride such great horses.”
Branquinho is surrounded by many well-known and accomplished trainers. Not only is his father-in-law John Ward a two-time Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion, his mother-in-law Laurie Ward is a former Non Pro Futurity Champion, and his grandfather-in-law Ronnie Richards is an NRCHA Hall of Fame member.
“Ronnie has taken me under his wing and taught me a lot. John Ward has been there every step of the way, along with Bobby Ingersoll, Doug Williamson, Corey Cushing, Todd Bergen – I pick everyone’s brain that I can,” said the trainer.
Along with the Championship check, Branquinho and Crawford-Hall received a Bob’s Custom Saddle and a Gist Silversmiths buckle, both sponsored by San Juan Ranch; a C.R. Morrison trophy and commemorative medallion; a monogrammed Cinch vest from Bob’s Custom Saddles; Platinum Performance; an ESP pad from Classic Equine; and a custom handmade hat from Shorty’s Hattery.
The Reserve Championship was a tie between Justin Wright on No Chic Flicks and Brandon Buttars on Halo Cat. Both entries finished with a 641.5, and each won $16,796.
Wright and No Chic Flicks, by Chic Please and out of Pandalita Star, had already won $21,000 earlier in the week, thanks to the Open 2-Year-Old Sale Incentive. No Chic Flicks and Laurie Ward, daughter of owners Ronnie and Karin Richards, won the Non Pro 2-Year-Old Sale Incentive check for $9,000. With go-round money from the preliminary competition added, No Chic Flicks, who is qualified for the Open Snaffle Bit Futurity finals, has already won $50,000!
Buttars and Halo Cat also made the Open Snaffle Bit Futurity finals. By WR This Cats Smart and out of Stylin Jewel, Halo Cat is owned by Deirdre Hill of Salt Lake City, Utah. Following the Cinch Intermediate Open finals, Buttars had to prepare for the Open Hackamore Finals, in which he qualified for with JJ Dual Cat.
Buttars and Wright divided the bounty for the Reserve Championship, including a Gist Silversmiths buckle sponsored by Stuart Ranch and one sponsored by Deer Creek Ranch; a monogrammed Cinch vest from Bob’s Custom Saddles; Platinum Performance, and a C.R. Morrison commemorative medallion.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, now in its 61st year, is the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Adequan, Bob’s Custom Saddles, Cinch, Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, John Deere, Markel Insurance, MD Barns, Merial products ULCERGARD and EQUIOXX, Nutrena, Pfizer Animal Health, Platinum Performance, Quarter Horse News, Rios of Mercedes, Running W Designs, the Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino, and Wide World of Horses, the Association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry.
For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at www.nrcha.com.