2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Updates

Jake Gorrell Plain Catty SBF17 DSC_5292 web

Jake Gorrell: Persistence pays off in the quest for Futurity gold
On his quest to win the biggest trophy in the sport of reined cow horse, Jake Gorrell has taken care of the little things with the hope that one day, the big things would take care of themselves. That’s exactly what happened last night in Fort Worth when Gorrell marked a composite score of 657.5 (214.5 herd/218 rein/225 fence) on Plain Catty to win the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Championship and $125,000. Bet Hes Black, owned by C Ranches Inc and ridden by Zane Davis marked a 654.5 to bank the $90,000 reserve champion’s check.
In Fort Worth, Gorrell knew he had a finals-type of horse if he could get him shown right. 
“I never know what it takes to win it. It’s persistence, consistency and trying to stay in the game. Usually if I can get to the fence work okay – because that’s probably my better event – then I kind of have a shot sometimes,” Gorrell said.
Gorrell and Plain Catty, nicknamed “Sparky,” had shown in the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Intermediate finals on Thursday, where they tied for third place to earn $12,000. With the hectic schedule, Gorrell let the stallion recuperate on Friday so that he’d be ready for the Open herd work Saturday morning. 
“He was a little fresh,” said Gorrell who’d been expecting Plain Catty to be tired. “He was a little more horse than I thought at first, but then he chilled back down.”
Gorrell and Plain Catty marked a 214.5 in the herd work which was won with a 221 by Myles Brown and Miss Scarlets Cat (Metallic Cat x Bee Miss Scarlet x Lenas Busy Bee).
“I’d hoped to do better, because without having to go make 225’s (in the fence work), you’ve got to be better than a 14,” Gorrell said of his score. “I was kind of bummed about it, but it was all right, so I thought that I’d keep going at it to see how high up the ladder we could get.” 
In the reining, which was won by Bet Hes Black and Davis with a 223, Plain Catty used his signature stops and good circles to mark a 218. While that run put them back into contention for the top spot, Gorrell knew that he’d have to score big in the cow work if he wanted the win. But he also knew that trying to force the run wouldn’t work out. 
“When the cow came out, he was a lot of cow,” Gorrell said. “He was coming at me and he was not an easy cow to read. I kept trying to settle him down and I was even telling him, ‘easy, easy, settle down’. I never really got the feel on him like I would on a normal cow, but I wasn’t going to get it so I thought, ‘let’s go, let’s see what happens’ and man, he took the turns on the fence great.”
After the first turn, Gorrell knew he had a shot at getting a big score but then, after his second turn, he questioned if he should make another one or go circle.
“I had a bit of hesitation and then I thought, ‘screw it, let’s just go’,” said Gorrell who went on to mark the highest cow work score of the night, a 225. “I turned him loose, and it worked.”
Plain Catty (Bet Hesa Cat x Miss Plain Plain x Just Plain Colonel) was ridden throughout his two-year-old year by Mark Luis. He was put through last year’s NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Sale but was then taken home again by his breeder/owner Kevin Cantrelle. The colt went to Gorrell after that.   
“He’s a rancher, he’s a horseman, he’s got a really good eye for a horse and he’s got really good horses,” Gorrell said of Cantrelle. “He’s got a knack at having nice horses. And Mark did an awesome job with this horse. He’s the brokest two-year-old I’ve ever had, so he was easy. I just kept stepping him up a little bit all the time.”
For Gorrell, who is sponsored by LMF Horse Feeds, Eagle Valley Animal Bedding and Stray Dog Saddles, this win belongs to his wife Sonia, as much as it does him.
“My wife is beautiful and she’s wonderful. She’s worked her butt off here for me this last couple of days. It’s been a chaotic three years for us, personally and business-wise. We put our heads down and struggled through it, and this will give us a little relief.” 
The reserve champion, Bet Hes Black (Bet Hesa Cat x Soula Jule Forever x Sola Jule Star), battled a minor illness during the preliminary rounds at the Snaffle Bit Futurity. Trainer Zane Davis felt that the stallion didn’t return to his usual form until mid-way through the herd work finals.
“I knew if I could get him back that I’d have a chance to win,” said Davis, “so I am extremely happy with this.”
Bet Hes Black has been in Davis’s training program since he was a yearling, when owner Billie Filippini’s son, Johnny, picked him out at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Select Yearling Sale.
 “He came and asked how much he should pay for the horse, and I said, ‘Don’t bid over 15 thousand’ and he bought him for 50 so I’m glad he didn’t listen to me,” Davis said. “This is a special horse. From the time we got him you could tell he was going to be a champion. He always looked the part, he could do everything and when he steps in the arena everyone knows who he is – it’s unusual for a horse to have that much presence. He’s got athletic ability and try and everything else you need.”

Brad Lund Guides Ima Smart Catt to CINCH Intermediate Open Futurity Championship
Life may be about the journey, but sometimes one stop along the way will eclipse all others. That’s what happened last night in Fort Worth for National Reined Cow Horse Association Professional Brad Lund and the 3-year-old mare, Ima Smart Catt, when they won the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity CINCH Intermediate Open Championship. Their composite score of 652 in the three events of herd work, rein work and cow work, earned them $30,000.
“This is unbelievable, but it really is about the journey. You start them as 2-year-olds and you really get to know them, and this mare, she’s just got a big heart,” said Lund, La Cygne, Kansas. “I’m real fortunate that I’ve had good horses all year and good help all year and very good owners.”
Ima Smart Catt (WR This Cats Smart x Shiney Patrona x Shining Spark) is owned by Renee Cudd. This is the first reined cow horse that she has ever owned.
“I’m so excited I don’t know what to say. She’s a true athlete – she can do it all,” Cudd said. “My friend Ty Smith and Brad found this horse, so I bought it for Brad to show.” 
Cudd runs one hundred broodmares and eight stallions at her ranch in Woodward, Oklahoma, where she raises between 70 and 80 foals per year. For the past 35 years, Cudd has held an annual production sale. Cudd has always admired reined cow horses but was never been to watch the Snaffle Bit Futurity. In fact she’d never laid eyes on Ima Smart Catt until she’d owned her for 18 months.
“I raise a lot of roping horses and barrel horses and horses for everyday use, but this is the first horse like this that I’ve owned,” Cudd said. “I know people spend years trying to get one to the finals and for us to do that, and then to win it, there aren’t words to describe it. She’s also in the Open finals on Saturday so we’re not done yet.”
Lund and Ima Smart Catt got their Intermediate Snaffle Bit Futurity finals off to a good start when they marked a 216 in the herd work.
“The cows were waspy. We tried to get the cows drove up and out of the herd real good because usually, if she gets started right, then she’s real good. We got started in pretty much in the middle and she got settled in and got to moving good,” Lund said.
In the reining, the pair marked a 220.5 which surprised Lund, until he saw a video replay of his run.
“When I was out there doing it, I felt like she wasn’t really stopping, and then I came back and watched the videos and she slid forever and I was just sitting there enjoying it,” Lund said. “When I saw it, I was really happy with the way she stopped.”
A 215.5 in the cow work capped off Lund’s and Ima Smart Catt’s championship run.
“She boxed the cow real good but that cow was real numb-acting, he didn’t have a good feel about him so I wanted to drive around there. Normally I would have went one turn earlier but I went one more time and it worked out.”
Lund, 49, has claimed the reserve championship once before in the Intermediate Snaffle Bit Futurity. 
“I struggled there for a little bit, getting the right horse power. I’ve been trying to learn how to do this and get better for about ten years, and it’s a struggle, it’s a grind every day,” said Lund who is mentored by two-time Worlds Greatest Horseman champion Ron Ralls. “Ron took me under his wing and has been teaching me. I grew up roping and learning how to be a better horseman and now, here I am.”
Clayton Edsall rode Bet He Sparks (Bet Hesa Cat x Sparking Train x Shining Spark) for owner K&L Phillips, LLC, to a score of 651.5 to be the reserve champions of the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Intermediate Open. They earned $20,000.

Myles Brown Wraps Up Limited Open Futurity Title on Miss Scarlets Cat
Something a lot like real good – that’s how Myles Brown described winning his second championship at the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. Riding Miss Scarlets Cat, Brown marked a 645.5 to win the Limited Open and $15,514. This win came just two days after the duo won the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Level 1 Limited Open and $8,520 with a composite score of 651.
“It was fun,” Brown said. “I was real happy with my horse. She was real good.”
The pair started their finals in top form by marking the high score in the herd with a 218.
“I tried to do my job of cutting the cattle clean and in the middle of the pen. She read that cow so good and I thought I did a better job of staying relaxed, leaving my hand on her neck for the most part, and just letting her read that cow,” said Brown who was helped by Boyd Rice, Robbie Boyce, Todd Crawford and Ty Brown. “They’re the best help, bar none.”
Brown marked a 207 in the reining but blames himself for mistakes that lowered his score.
“The mare was good. I wasn’t quite on point. She ran and stopped and drug her rear end.”  
In the cow work, the pair shone with a 220.5.
“We were ready to go get them. I know this mare and she can be huge-she can run, she can stop and she can turn. She’s quick-footed and she’s got a lot of wind, she can run for a long time for a little horse. The first turn was okay, we went and open-fielded that cow for the left turn  and she was tight and then we got a right turn open field and she was good and then when we circled, she was unbelievable,” Brown said. “Down the fence, this mare never hardly misses. She’s on point 100% every time and that’s why we love her.”
Brown and Miss Scarlets Cat also placed 8th in the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Intermediate to earn $5,500.
A score of 641 resulted in a tie for the reserve championship which paid $11,247 to each horse. They were Metallic Chrome Cat (Metallic Cat x Teletrona x Little Trona) owned by Kirk Johnston and ridden by Clay Volmer and, Unos Blue Lightening (Uno What Time It Is x Miss Vibrant Chex x Nu Chex To Cash) owned by Julie Gibbons and ridden by Dustin Mills.

Tammy Jo Hays Wins Snaffle Bit Futurity Discount Tire Non Pro Championship with Hat Six Keep Sparkin
Tammy Jo Hays collected her third NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro Championship last night when she marked a composite score of 650 on Hat Six Keep Sparkin to win $20,359. 
As the second to last rider out in the cow work of the 17 Non Pro finalist, Hays had to give it every thing she had to get by the eventual reserve champion, Laurie Richards, who had a composite score of 649.5. Richards and her mount Glitter N Glam won $12,528 for being second.
Having watched the cattle and seeing that they had a lot of gas, Hays and her trainer/husband Shawn Hays, developed a tactical plan that involved holding the cow at the end of the pen in the boxing, so that her gelding wouldn’t run out of air once they got going down the fence.
“That went according to plan,” said Hays whose 221 in the cow work was the highest score of the night. “The cow set up around the corner good for me. It was just a really good cow-it read right. When I  made that first turn, I’d been really schooling him hard on coming clear around in that turn and I’d almost over-schooled him to where he stalled out for a second but after that, he never got away from that cow, he stayed with it the whole time. After that second turn and we started circling, I was just along for the ride.”
In the herd work that morning, Hays and “Tater” had a 212 to finish in the top five. Their run didn’t get off to the best start when Hat Six Keep Sparkin didn’t hook up with the cow as well as Hays would have liked. On their next two cows, the big gelding was tied in tight.
“I’m so delighted with him because from that second cow on, he did everything according to plan for me,” said Hays who went on to be second in the reining with a 217. “He warmed up really, really good for the reining and then executed it for me. I couldn’t ask him to be better all the way through.”
Earlier in the year, Hat Six Keep Sparkin (Dual Spark x Hat Six Little Paws x Peptos Stylish Oak), who was bred by Hays’s parents Walter and Jocelyn Greeman, wasn’t one of her favorite horses. He finally earned her affection a few weeks prior to the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity.
“He was kind of heavy and he was hard for me to ride because he pulled too hard. My husband, Shawn, rode him a bunch for me and then Robert Smith came to work for us in May, and when Shawn didn’t have much time because he had his horses to get ready, Robert took him over and got him over some humps for me,” Hays said. “When I got back on him I liked him a lot better. Through the summer, Shawn rode him down the fence and got him more solid and working to the point where I could get on and do some of the work myself.”
It was at the Southwest RCHA Pre-Futurity in Fort Worth, which Hays won, that she really started to like Hat Six Keep Sparkin.
“He just started being with me and we started having runs like that (one we had tonight) down the fence,” Hays recalled. “I told my husband, ‘I think he might be the better horse.'”
Hays was the Non Pro Snaffle Bit Futurity champion in 2013 and 2014. She says that none of her wins would have been possible without Shawn.
“He’s always there supporting me and nobody roots louder for me. I can’t do this without him.”

Lanham Brown Wraps Up Intermediate and Novice Non Pro Futurity Championships on This Shiney Miss
Lanham Brown had to overcome a tragedy to be triumphant at the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, but with a little help from his friends, that’s exactly what the second year competitor did. Riding This Shiney Miss, a horse that was gifted to him by Wagonhound Land And Livestock, Brown marked a composite score of 638.5 to be the Intermediate Non Pro Champion, the  Novice Non Pro Champion and place third in the Non Pro for check amounting to $23,103.
“It’s a great accomplishment. It’s something that I’ve looked forward to all year although it’s the journey, of training her throughout, that I’ve enjoyed the most. I’m really proud of this mare,” Brown said.
The journey for Brown and This Shiney Miss (WR This Cats Smart x Shiney Miss Hickory x Shining Spark), who was worked as a 2-yaer-old by Matt Koch and Matt Frederick, began a year ago when he got a call from Wagonhound Land And Livestock in Douglas, Wyoming.
“I’d gone up to Wagonhound and helped brand last summer,” Brown said. “They called me after I lost a mare that I showed at the Snaffle Bit last year and said, we hate to hear it but if you come pick this mare up, we’ll give her to you. I can’t thank Wagonhound enough for their support and generosity.”
Brown and This Shiney Miss marked scores of 209 in the reining, 218 in the reining and 211 in the cow work. It’s the mare’s grit that Brown likes most about her.
“The heart that she showed is what I liked most about her here. It’s been a long week and she never gave up on me. When they’re in these little stalls and walking around on concrete, it’s easy for them to get tired but she stayed strong and with me the whole time,” Brown said. “This mare reins around real good and I think she’s got a lot of upside that we haven’t got to yet. We’ll give her a little time off, let her get strong and I think she’ll come back even better.”
Brown attends Texas Tech and is involved in his family’s ranching business. He and his cousin, Myles Brown, who won the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Level 1 Limited Open and the Limited Open championships,  both started competing in reined cow horse at the same time.
“We point out each others faults quite well but we’re also each others biggest supporters. We work with each other and try to help each other out when we can. We’re both really green but we’ve both been blessed with some really good horses,” Lanham said. 
Lanham would like to thank his parents, Donnell and Kelli Brown, for their support as well as all the trainers, including Matt Koch,  who have helped him learn about training cow horses.
Bret Paulick was the reserve champion of both the Intermediate and Novice Non Pro Snaffle Bit classes. He rode Smart Smoken Remedy (Very Smart Remedy x Miss Slic Smoke x Chic N San) to a composite score of 636 to win checks worth $6,111 and $2,348. 

Abbie Phillips and Special High Brow Top Non Pro Prelim Composite & Claim Amateur Championship
The National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro preliminaries are complete in Fort Worth, Texas. The top 16 riders will advance to the clean slate finals and a chance at the nearly $21,000 top prize on Friday, October 13, in the historic Will Rogers Coliseum. 
The NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Amateur in Fort Worth Texas came to a conclusion when Abbie Phillips and Special High Brow marked a  composite score of 646 in the preliminaries to win the championship and $5,451. This was the first time that the former rodeo competitor has competed at the Snaffle Bit Futurity.
“I’m super excited,” Phillips said of the win. “I have a lot of goals and this is one that I can check off my list.” 
In the reining portion of the run, it was the mare’s attitude that impressed Phillips most.
“She’s really pure and good-minded so I don’t have to worry about anything in the reining,” Phillips said. “She stays on pattern all the time for me and is just a good mare.”
Phillips was nervous going in to the cow work, but the mare stood up and took care of her.
“She stayed with the cow. I didn’t have to put her in any position, she just did it herself,” Phillips said.
Special High Brow (High Brow CD x PG Special Edition x Playgun) was initially bought for a client of Abbie’s husband, NRCHA Professional Kelby Phillips. When she didn’t mature into an Open horse, the Phillips bought her for Abbie. Kelby trained the mare throughout her 2-year-old year but then handed her to his wife to finish off this year.
“It’s been really fun and I’ve learned a lot but it’s been good,” Phillips said. “She has a great attitude and has been very easy to get along with which makes everything easy for me.”
Phillips, Scottsdale, Arizona, has been competing in the NRCHA for two years and has enjoyed furthering her horsemanship. Prior to that, she team roped and ran barrels. 
“In this, the horses are a lot more broke and they teach you to ride a lot better,” said Phillips, who pleased that she entered the Snaffle Bit this year. “I had a bridle horse that took care of me, so doing this, I knew that I had to ride better and be able to help them out  a little bit more so learning to do this has been exciting.” 
With finals berths in the Intermediate and Non Pro Snaffle Bit Futurity, Phillips has a lot to look forward to before the show ends on Saturday evening.
“I’m excited and just want to go have a good time,” she said.
Pete Rogan, who is believed to be the first Australian to compete in the Snaffle Bit Futurity Amateur, and Shirley Shiney (Very Smart Remedy x Shirley Shine x Shining Spark) picked up $4,266 for being the reserve champions. They marked a 641.5.

2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro Limited Champion Katherine Peterson/Dually Judged
Katie Peterson can’t put in to words what it feels like to be 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro Limited Champion, but it’s a feeling that she hopes will stay with her for a long time. Riding Dually Judged, Peterson had a composite score of 624.5 to take home $2,816 for the win.
Peterson works in inventory for Tractor Supply. This was just her first year to show cow horses and her second time to show Dually Judged. 
“It’s the allure of it,” Peterson said of why she took up the sport. “I love going fast, I like the cattle aspect and I like the horsemanship that’s involved. It’s something that I’ve always really wanted to get into.”

Peterson was nearly ready to quit riding horses altogether when her gelding of 13 years died of a heart attack. After giving herself a pep talk, she got online and found Dually Judged.
“I saw a headshot of this horse and I don’t even normally like the red-roans but he looked exactly like my previous horse. From that moment on, it’s been about him,” Peterson said.
Dually Judged (Judge Boon x Cattys Dual Jazz x Dual Jazz) was two at the time, and Peterson had her friend Brent Callahan get the gelding ranch broke and going throughout that year. Over the past year, she has turned to Chris Dawson and Carter Metcalf for help. It was the fact that Dually Judged was so good, that made her want to show at the Snaffle Bit.
“Everyone kept saying that he could be a good one,” Peterson said. 
In Fort Worth, all Peterson wanted to do in the reining, was to get a score and hope for the best.
“I get nervous with the lead changes and he just switched, it was easy,” Peterson said. “Carter and Chris have done an awesome job with getting me to calm down and go with it. The entire time I rode him like I stole him.” 
Once she got on a cow, the showmanship aspect became easier.
“He’s good with anything cow. With him it’s just the rider staying in the buggy and holding on,” Peterson said. “He’s such a good horse and we’ve used him out in the pasture with cattle too which has made me more confident. Dealing with wild heifers and separating them from their babies made me think that I could do this.”
Peterson lives in Krum, Texas with reiners Nancy and Kenny Eppers. The hardest thing she’s had to do to become competitive in the cow horse business, is to break all of her previously acquired bad habits. 
“I’ve been riding for 15 years and done an array of disciplines from show jumping, dressage and saddle seat to team penning and sorting. It’s hard to put all that aside and do this,” said Peterson, who believes that she’s found her forever sport.
Nicole Westfall rode On Line Chic Flick (Shine On Line x Chics Sompen x Smart Chic Olena) to the reserve championship for having a score of 617.5. She earned $2,346.

Hackamore Classic Open Champion Shine Smarter/Sarah Dawson
Marking a composite score of 442 and riding Shine Smarter, Sarah Dawson claimed her first Hackamore Classic Open championship and a check worth $14,562. 
“I feel like I’m out here amongst my heroes,” Dawson said after the win. “For that mare to shine like she did, and especially because she’s five and this is her last big derby, to go out with a win like this, is very special.” 
Shine Smarter (WR This Cats Smart x Shiney Tari x Shining Spark) has been in training with Dawson from the get-go. She first caught Dawson’s eye as yearling when she was making big moves in breeder Carol Rose’s round pen. Earlier this year the mare was purchased by her current owner, Linda Mars, from Dawson’s parents Cheryl and Richard Winters.
“We’ve been through a lot together,” Dawson said of Shine Smarter. “She was my first great horse. She was the first horse I made the open finals on at the Snaffle Bit and the first horse that I made open finals on at the derbies, so she’s been a very special horse for me.”
Shine Smarter marked a 148 in the herd work to share second place with two others. 
“She was great in the herd. I was very happy with her. She cut three good cows and went out and did her job and I did mine and it all worked out,” Dawson said.
Their 146 in the reining had them amongst the top ten.
“That mare can really run down and stop and she did that great, you can’t hardly get her to not stop,” Dawson said. “She turned pretty good too. She’s pretty solid in the reining and if you have her mentally with you, she’ll go be good.” 
A 148, the second highest score marked in the cow work,  sealed the win.
 “She’s a fence horse. She’s an extremely cowy and smart horse,” Dawson said. “We got two good turns each way and went and circled up in the middle. She answered me everywhere and never lost working advantage with that cow. She was exceptional.”
Dawson has enjoyed showing at the Hackamore Classic in Fort Worth.
“The Will Rogers has so much history, especially with the cutting, so for us to be in Fort Worth and to show in that pen is pretty cool,” Dawson said.
Dawson’s composite score was two points ahead of reserve champions Peptosboonshakalaca (Peptoboonsmal x Arosesuchaclatter x Smooth As A Cat) and Cayley Wilson who marked a 440 to win $11,201. The Canadian duo also claimed the Intermediate Hackamore Classic Open championship. 

Hackamore Classic Intermediate Open Champion Cayley Wilson/Peptosboonshakalaca
Cayley Wilson hopes the exchange rate will work in his favor when he heads back up to British Columbia at the conclusion of the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity where he won big at the Hackamore Classic. Marking a 440 on Peptosboonshakalaca, owned by Jenta Madsen, Wilson won the Intermediate Open Hackamore Classic and $3,431 and was the reserve champion in the Hackamore Classic Open which was worth $11,201.
“It’s a very exciting win. We go to a lot of these shows and there’s a very good group of horses here so I’m tickled to be able to compete at this level against some really great horses,” Wilson said.
In the herd work, Wilson felt that Peptosboonshakalaca was ‘comfortable’ when he marked a 148 to have the second highest score.
“It felt like I cut soft cows but everything worked out nice and he had a good look,” Wilson said. “My help, Todd Bergen, Boyd Rice, John Swales and Mark Luis, were amazing and I wouldn’t have been able to get it done without them.” 
In the reining, being tidy and clean delivered a score of 146.5 to be second. 
“Before I got in the arena I thought the ground was going to be tougher to stop in but he handled it really well and it was a tidy little reining run,” Wilson said.
A gentle cow made wowing in the cow work hard to do but Wilson got the job done to mark a 145.5.
“It didn’t want to box much and I had a little bit of trouble circling it but I felt like my horse rated pretty good and wanted to listen to me,” Wilson said.
Peptosboonshakalaca (Peptoboonsmal x Arosesuchaclatter x Smooth As A Cat) was bought out of the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Sales as a yearling. He has been in training with Wilson ever since.
“He came along nice from the beginning. He was a really nice 3-year-old last year and he’s only 4 now so we can bring him here next year again,” said Wilson, Abbotsford, British Columbia.
The reserve champion was SJR Reygun (Dual Rey x Playguns King Badger x Playgun) owned by Gary Ewell and ridden by Brady Weaver. They marked a 439 to win $2,745. They also split third and fourth in the Hackamore Classic Open to win another $8,214.

Hackamore Classic Limited Open Champion David Dillman/Playing With Rey
When David Dillman bought Playing With Rey in August of her 2-year-old year, his plan for the mare who’d had just a handful of rides, was to buy, ride and sell. When the youngster proved to be a quick study, the plan changed and just over a year later, she claimed the championship at the Limited Open Hackamore Classic to earn $2,742 for marking a 432.5 on three events.
Playing With Rey (Play Dual Rey x ARC Holly Cee Lena x Smart Little Lena) got her run off to a great start when she marked 145.5 in the herd work. 
“This mare is really cow smart and really good on a cow. Everything was smooth. I cut good cattle and I had great help,” said Dillman, Calhan, Colorado who went on to mark a 142 in the reining. “The reining was really good. She’s really broke and steady and easy to show. She always circles good, she changes good and she runs really good to her stops but I didn’t get her run to the stop as good as I’d have liked in the second stop. She’s a big stopper and she’s got quick feet in the turns.”
A 145 on the cow, delivered Dillman the Limited Open Hackamore Classic win. Their composite score also split 14-16 in the Hackamore Classic Open and fifth in the Intermediate Open.
 “She was excellent on our cow. She boxed really good and had a good read on that cow. I left the corner well and she rated. It was a good cow. She made two good turns and circled,” Dillman said.
Looking on from the sidelines was Dillman’s wife, Reanna Dillman. 
“I thought they worked their cow great. Everything came together and that doesn’t happen very often,” Reanna said. “She has such a good read on a cow that she can get hung up on the shoulder and not get by but she was spot on and went by right on time every time he asked.”
The reserve championship went to No Big Dual (Dual Spark x Unos Charm x Smart Little Uno), owed by  Becky Smith and ridden by Robert Smith III. They had a score of 427.5 to earn $2,270.

Shiney Outlaw and Sarah Dawson Claim Open Hackamore Championship
Marking huge scores of 222.5 in the reining and 225.5 in the cow work on Shiney Outlaw, Sarah Dawson took home the Open Hackamore title from the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Horse Show and a check worth $8,120.
“He’s a great little horse. He’s easy to show. He’s pretty much always good in the rein work and it’s just drawing a cow that can let him go score big enough because he’s huge down the fence,” Dawson said. “It all fell in to place tonight. He was spot on in the reining and he drew a good cow and it just worked.”
Throughout the reining, Dawson could feel just how good the horse was so her score didn’t surprise her one bit.
“He felt like he was being good and he didn’t miss anything so I knew that they were going to like him,” Dawson said of the stallion. “He’s a huge stopper. You can’t hardly get him to not stop. You say whoa and he slides for miles and he does it every single time-you can’t teach one to do that, they just do it or they don’t.”
During the cow work, Shiney Outlaw (Shiners Nickle x Mereyada), owned by Michelle Cannon, didn’t disappoint and neither did the cow.
“That cow was good all the way through. He didn’t really take a wrong step in the boxing,” Dawson said. “He honored my horse and gave us a good feel when he came out of the gate. Then he ran down the fence nice until he threw us a little dirty in that first turn but Outlaw just gathered himself up and went and got it.” 
Shiney Outlaw, 5, was originally trained by Zane Davis. At 3, that duo made the Snaffle Bit Futurity Open finals together but had to scratch due to an injury that was sustained during competition. 
“Zane did a great job training him because you can just step on him and go,” Dawson said. “He’s a real good horse and good minded.”
The reserve champion, Cashed My CD (CD Lights x Shiney Sushi x Shining Spark) owned by Aaron Ranch and ridden by Jay McLaughlin, marked a 447 to win $6,496.

Limited Open Hackamore Champion Daniel Sanchez/Workin Mans Blues
There’s nothing about firsts that Daniel Sanchez doesn’t like, especially when it is his first horse show class win at the Snaffle Bit Futurity. It was also his first time to enter the Limited Open Hackamore at the Snaffle Bit Futurity and it was his first time ever to show Workin Mans Blues. If those firsts weren’t enough, he also won his first championship and $1,500 for marking a 280 (145 rein/135 fence).
“Getting this win on him really makes your confidence come up,” Sanchez said. “It’s awfully exciting coming down to Texas for the first time and getting this win.” 
Sanchez works for Justin Wright, Santa Maria, California, who trains horses for the owners of Workin Mans Blues (Yellow Roan Of Texas x Topi Chexx x A Cowboy At Heart), Michael and Jessica Draper.  
“I’ve ridden this horse multiple times at the house and Jessica was bringing him here to show and I asked if she’d mind if I showed him too,” Sanchez said. “I’m really happy and thankful that they let me show him.”
Jessica Draper and Workin Mans Blues won the Non Pro Limited Hackamore and  $1,215 earlier in the week but as participants in the boxing classes, Workin Man Blues rarely goes down the fence.
“He boxed really good,” Sanchez said of his run, “but we had a little tough cow that threw a few tricks at us going down the fence. He had a huge first turn but we had a little trouble getting our second turn but he was completely honest for a horse that hasn’t done it in a while,” Sanchez said. 
Workin Man Blues marked a 145 in the reining.
“This horse runs down and stops huge, he sticks his butt in the ground and slides for days. It’s easy, you just sit back and enjoy it,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez is in his second year of showing in the NRCHA. Prior to that he worked in reining and started 2-year-olds. 
Little Reytallicat (Metallic Cat x Little Reygena x Dual Rey) owned by MC Performance Horses – OK was shown by Wilson McCray to a score of 278 to be the reserve champions. They earned $1,000.

CJ Shopbell Pilots Shes Playin Rey to Open Bridle Championship
Shes Playin Rey and CJ Shopbell made it two for two in the Open Bridle at NRCHA Premier Events in Fort Worth when they marked a 238 to win that class and $6,440 the Snaffle Bit Futurity. Back in February, the pair had won the same class at the NRCHA Celebration of Champions.
“This is exciting. She felt pretty with me. She’d been at home (at the owner’s Gregg Lafitte’s place since the NRCHA Celebration of Champions) so I didn’t know what she’d be like,” Shopbell said. “We ended up entering her late a couple of days before the prelims and decided to try it and it worked out.”
During her reining run in the finals, the mare showed off her powerful stop.
“She stopped huge,” Shopbell said. “She felt really good in her circles and was with me.”
Shopbell knew he needed a big score down the fence get the win and didn’t hesitate to let Shes Playin Rey (TR Dual Rey x Playin Acre x Playin Stylish) go.
“I felt like I got past the center on her the first turn. She stepped by it and was a little bit  long feeling but when I picked up on her, she gathered herself back up and came through there and then went and gathered that cow up and we swapped sides after the left turn and circled up,” recalled Shopbell. “I didn’t know if we were going to get there on the second set of circles by golly, she got me there. In the fence work, I’m most proud of her circling. She is always been a great circler, you can throw the reins to her and go to spurring and she’s going to get you there.” 
Randy Paul rode Lenaliltothewright (Leas Wright On x Shining Survivor x Shining Spark) to a score of 437.5 for owner Linda Katz to be the reserve champion. They earned $5,152.

Open Two Rein Champion Call Me Mitch/Phillip Ralls
Call Me Mitch, ridden by Phillip Ralls, was calling the shots in the Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Two Rein class, marking a 439 to win the Championship and $3,080. 
The run got off two a good start when the pair marked a 217 in the reining. 
“He’s been a really good horse and carries himself with a lot of presence and allows me to keep him on a pretty loose rein and he runs his circles pretty. He circled really good today, changed leads good, and ran and stopped really nice all three times and let me do it on a loose rein – I felt like he executed that very well,” said Ralls, who was enjoying his first win in this class at this show. “Overall, I felt like his rein work was very solid.” 
The pair followed up with a 222 in the cow work. 
“He’s so cow smart and that cow wanted to be a little bit numb boxing so I had to get up there close and take a hold of him and he was so smart and controlled him. Our first turn was big – that cow didn’t want to take it, and he allowed me to put him in a good spot there and get a big first turn which set up our second turn for us. I felt like we were in good control of that cow and then he circled up nice both ways,” said Ralls, Paso Robles, California.  
Call Me Mitch (Metallic Cat x Miss Hickory Hill x Docs Hickory), a 6-year-old stallion, is owned by Estelle Roitblat. Earlier this year, Ralls and Call Me Mitch won Open Two Rein at the NRCHA Derby in Paso Robles, California.
“Estelle’s been with me for quite a while now and we’ve had several horses for her but this one has definitely been special for us. She allowed me to pick him out. We bought him as a yearling and we’ve gone through the process of the futurities and derbies and we’ve had a lot of success on him. It takes good owners and a great crew – my wife Teresa and Magda Arbes and the whole crew at home-to keep us going down the road.”  
Arbes, who lives in Colorado, is originally form Germany. She had worked for Ralls previously and flew in to help him at this show.
Ralls plans on bringing Call Me Mitch back to Fort Worth  in February.
“We’re aiming him towards the World’s Greatest this year, which will be his first one, and hope for big things for him,” Ralls said. “He’s a horse that gives you a chance to win every time you go out there. I feel like he’s progressively getting better. That horse’s consistency has always been a part of his MO.”
Shiners Lil Nickle (Shiners Nickle x Lil Lena Long Legs x Smart Little Lena), ridden by Clayton Edsall and owned by Michelle Cannon earned $2,310 for marking a 437 to be the reserve champion.

Amy Bailey and Callme Mister Mister Gallop Away With Non Pro Bridle Championship
Amy Bailey had never shown a horse at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Horse Show before, but she came to Fort Worth firing on all cylinders. Bailey marked a 291.5 on her gelding Callme Mister Mister (Mister Dual Pep x Travelin With Sass x Travalena) to win the Non Pro Bridle and $3,792.
“I’m very excited about it,” said Bailey, “I never went to Reno (where the show used to be held) because I couldn’t justify making such a long trip for just one class. It was that, and it is so close the AQHA Worlds that it made it hard.”
 Bailey, Sparta, Tennessee, leaves her horse with trainer Robert Chown, Gainesville, Texas, year-round and describes herself as Callme Mister Mister’s catch-rider.
“His heart is what makes him special,” Bailey said of the gelding that gets called Hiram in the barn, after Hank Williams Senior’s real name. “He tries so hard and will not quit. He can read the cow better than I can. Today I was just a monkey on his back. He is so physical in his turns and working and at times he’s hard for a non pro to ride because he could be an Open level horse.” 
Prior to the horse show, Bailey worked at improving her competitiveness in the reining.
“My large fast circles were much improved because a lot of times I won’t go fast enough. On my run down to the stops, we were very aggressive today. Here at the show Robert has let me practice hard and go hard because I don’t get to ride every day,” said Bailey, who works at her family business, Charles Bailey Trucking. “I work in an office setting and am sitting down at a desk every day, but I try to get to the shows three to four days before I show so I can practice. I’d like to thank Robert because he is dedicated to these horses and to making them fit me and be the best they can on show day.”
Bailey and Callme Mister Mister won the 2014 NRCHA Non Pro Hackamore World Championship at the Celebration of Champions, which is held in Fort Worth each February. She has enjoyed returning to Cowtown for the Snaffle Bit Horse Show.
“There are plenty of riding areas here to exercise your horse and warm up,” Bailey said. “I like showing here because you don’t have to qualify for the show so anyone can enter, but what I really like is that the main focus here is the Snaffle Bit Futurity so there’s less pressure on you at the Horse Show. I’d recommend that everyone come show here.”
Bailey’s husband, Paul Bailey, was on hand to see his wife win.
“I want to thank him because he pushes me and pushes me to excel and to succeed,” Amy said.
Terra Micek marked a 291 to be the reserve champion in Non Pro Bridle on Nic N Chics (Nic It In The Bud x Desire A Chic x Smart Chic Olena). They scored a 291, winning $3,033 for their efforts.

Sunday, October 8, 2017
At the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity in Fort Worth, Texas, horses and riders in the Futurity Open divisions completed the second leg of preliminary competition, the herd work, on Sunday, October 8.

Two offspring of NRCHA Million Dollar Sire WR This Cats Smart earned identical 222 scores to share the win in the herd work preliminaries. On Friday, California professional Justin Wright guided Shiners Diamond Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Shiners Diamond Lady x Shining Spark), owned by Mike and James Draper, to that score. The mare also holds the lead in the composite on two events, with a 442.5 (220.5 rein/222 herd).

The other 222 came on Saturday, from Opus Cat Olena (WR This Cats Smart x Opus Chic x Smart Chic Olena), shown by Texas horseman Clay Volmer for owner Jecca Ostrander. They are tied for third in the Open composite on two events.

Monday, October 9, is the first day of Open fence work preliminaries. All Snaffle Bit Futurity finalists in all Open and Non Pro divisions will be determined by the end of the day Wednesday, October 11.

Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro riders had their first taste of competition on Sunday, with the herd work preliminaries.

Australian rider Pete Rogan’s name appeared at the top of the results sheet in four divisions when he scored a 216, riding Shirley Shiney (Very Smart Remedy x Shirley Shine x Shining Spark). Rogan has the lead in the Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro, Novice Non Pro and Amateur.

In the Non Pro Limited division, the Champion will be determined by the preliminary scores, so every run counted today. The Limited does not require riders to go down the fence. They are judged in herd work, rein work and boxing.

The top score in the herd work belonged to Abrian Harris, of Cleburne, Texas, who showed her gelding A Hard Fact (Cats Quixote Jack x Dualin Safari x Playin Safari) to a 214.

The Non Pros come back for their second event, the rein work, on Monday, October 9.

Saturday, October 7, 2017: NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Herd Work Prelims Continue in Fort Worth, Texas
The National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity Open herd work preliminaries continued Saturday, October 7 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The judges marked eight sets of horses, and a highlight of the day came when Opus Cat Olena (WR This Cats Smart x Opus Chic x Smart Chic Olena) walked to the herd. 

The stallion, shown by Clay Volmer, Millsap, Texas, and owned by Volmer’s aunt, Jecca Ostrander, earned a 222, tying for the high score in the go-round. The other 222 came on Friday, October 6, from Shiners Diamond Cat and Justin Wright, who maintain the current lead in the Open composite with a 442.5 (220.5 rein/222 herd). 

Friday, October 6, 2017: NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Herd Work Prelims Underway in Fort Worth, Texas
The National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity Open herd work preliminaries began Friday, October 6, at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Nine of the total 19 sets worked on Friday, and the high score, a 222, belonged to Shiners Diamond Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Shiners Diamond Lady x Shining Spark), a mare shown by Santa Maria, California, professional Justin Wright. She is owned by Mike and James Draper. 

Wright and Shiners Diamond Cat also have the composite lead in the Futurity Open, with a 442.5 (222 herd/220.5 rein). 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017: NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Rein Work Prelims Complete in Fort Worth, Texas
The National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity Open rein work preliminaries wrapped up Thursday, October 5, at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The high score in the Open and Intermediate Open, a 223.5, belonged to Metallic Rays (Metallic Cat x Margaret Rey x Dual Rey), a stallion shown by NRCHA Professional Ricky Nicolazzi, of Scottsdale, Arizona. Metallic Rays is owned by Sarah Davis.

High scorers in the three Futurity preliminary events – rein work, herd work and cow work – always receive paychecks and awards for their top performances. In 2017, the go-round money for the Futurity Open is more than double the 2016 payout, thanks to increased purses resulting from the Futurity’s move to Texas this year.  Nicolazzi collected approximately $5,000 for the high score in the open, and another $2,000 for winning the Intermediate Open rein work go-round.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017: NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity & Hackamore Classic Underway in Fort Worth, Texas
The 2017 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Hackamore Classic, the largest and richest event for 4- and 5-year-old horses shown in the traditional bitless hackamore headgear, began October 3, 2017 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

For the second year, the Hackamore Classic has been  incorporated with the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity schedule, giving reined cow horse fans an opportunity to experience two NRCHA Premier Events in one. Hackamore Classic entries are judged in herd work, rein work and cow work, with a single go-round determining the Champions in multiple Open and Non Pro divisions. 

A big group of 77 Hackamore Classic Open entries walked to the herd in the historic Will Rogers Coliseum, an increase of nearly 7 percent over 2016.

The high score in the Open and Intermediate Open belonged to the proven combination of CD Highlights (High Brow CD x Go Little Starlight x Grays Starlight), owned by Linda Katz and shown by Randy Paul of Buellton, California. Working from the 5th draw position in the 5th set of the day, Paul guided the 2012 stallion to a 149.5 score.

There are still two demanding events to go before a Hackamore Classic champion is crowned. Later in the event schedule, Hackamore Classic entries will be judged in rein work and cow work, concurrent with the Snaffle Bit Futurity Horse Show Hackamore classes.