The Southwest Reining Horse Association Billingsley Ford Open Futurity Finals were held the evening of October 30 – and the competition provided more thrills than any haunted house. The scored runs in the Open Finals averaged a 220 – with a 225.5 from Brett Stone and Smoking Whiz setting the pace as draw three.
It looked like no other entry could surpass that score until Jordan Larson and Mr Jerry Lee Surpriz, owned by Heritage Farms of Ogden, Utah, entered the arena as draw 17.
With great precision, the Whitesboro, Texas, trainer piloted the Jerry Lees Surprise gelding through a picturesque reining pattern – one that was rewarded handsomely by the judges with a score of 228.5!
“It’s funny how runs like that just come together. I truly had no preconceived idea of winning – I was just happy to make the finals on him,” noted Larson. Throughout the big circles the crowd could hear Larson urging his horse to go faster – and on the stops, the slack never left the reins. “He makes me feel confident in my circles and stops. He just focused and did his job tonight.”
Recently gelded, Mr Jerry Lee Surpiz was not one of Larson’s top three horses, but when the horse he thought was his best was sent to a different trainer just weeks ago, that changed. “I called the owners and told them he was now in my top three – but we’d need to geld him because I knew I couldn’t do well at the Futurity with him a stallion,” he explained. “It was tough when I lost that other horse, but now I’m seeing that it might have been the best thing that could have happened.”
For the Championship, Larson was presented with the signature golf cart from the SWRHA, an NRHA Lawson bronze, and a check for $15,817. “As a trainer you want the horse to compete in the arena, and that’s what he did tonight,” said Larson.
Brett Stone and Smoking Whiz Win Intermediate and Limited Open Futurity
Former National Reining Horse Association Futurity Champion Brett Stone not only finished as the Open Reserve Champion on Smoking Whiz, by Topsail Whiz out of Glendas A Smokingun – he also won top honors in the Intermediate Open and Limited Open Futurity, taking home $20,223. His bevy of prizes also included a pair of Anderson Bean boots, two Bob’s Custom saddles, and two NRHA Lawson bronzes.
Stone admitted that prior to the Finals, he worked to mentally prepare himself for the early draw. “I knew I just had to hang it all out there,” he said. “It’s been a while but I remembered how to do it. When I was showing Boomernic I seemed to always draw early, but it kind of pumped me up because I knew I’d have to make them beat me. They did beat me tonight, but I’m glad I made them work for it.”
Stone, who trains for Silver Spurs Equine of Cave Creek, Arizona, explained that it was the first time to train and compete on a Topsail Whiz, but Smoking Whiz made him a believer. “I was talking to Bob Loomis and I told him that now I know why Topsail Whiz is a $7 Million Sire. I went out and bought another one because of this horse. Now, not only am I a Boomernic fan, I’m also a Topsail Whiz fan!”
The Reserve Championship in the Intermediate Open division went to Nathan Piper and Thechexkeepmestylin, owned by Mark Bradford. Piper and Thechexkeepmestylin, by Nu Chex To Cash out of UB Stylin With Me, marked a 225 in the finals, collecting $4,761 for the Intermediate Open and an additional $7,221 for a third place finish in the Open division. He also received a pair of Anderson Bean boots, a Dennards winter blanket, and a SmartPak gift certificate.
Ann Salmon and her horse Dunit A Lil Ruf, by Lil Ruf Peppy out of A Bueno Poco Dunit, marked a 221.5 to take the Limited Open Reserve title. Salmon took home a pair of Anderson Bean boots and a check for $1,688.
Nick Valentine and Shiney Chic N Top Open Level 1 Futurity
It was only his first time to show Shiney Chic N, by Twice As Shiny and out of Chics Little Pistol, but Nick Valentine not only made the Intermediate Open and Limited Open Finals, he also won the Level 1 Open Championship. The win garnered a check for $434, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, and a C.R. Morrison trophy. Valentine and Shiney Chic N, owned by John and Diana Royer of Tioga, Texas, won $2,967 in the other Open divisions.
“He surprised me that he was as quiet and confident as he was because of it being the first time I showed him.” Valentine, who works as an assistant trainer for NRHA Million Dollar Rider Dell Hendricks, explained, “Colin Fitzpatrick, the other assistant trainer, has done all the work on him, but Dell had us swap horses to mix it up a little bit. Everything seemed to fit really well.”
And while the fit works, Valentine noted that he won’t be the one showing Shiney Chic N at the NRHA Futurity in Oklahoma City – that honor will go to his owner Diana. “She’s going to show him at the big Futurity. He’s a really good horse and they’ve got a really good chance at doing well.”
Riding Ms Hollywood Whiz, by Topsail Whiz and out of Bosses Reminic, and Khristina Chic Olena, by Smart Chic Olena and out of Sparkling Crome, Mathieu Buton tied himself for the Reserve Championship with scores of 217. Each of his entries received a check for $231, with one earning a $100 Dennards gift certificate and the other taking home a $100 Purina gift certificate. Ms Hollywood Whiz is owned by Buton and Angela Rybar, while Khristina Chic Olena is owned by Arizona Reinmakers.
Complete results can be found on the SWRHA website at www.swrha.com.
For more information on the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity, or to inquire about the SWRHA, please call 580-759-2572, or visit www.swrha.com.