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Brady Weaver & SJR Reygun Win 2017 Stallion Stakes Open Championship

Brady Weaver SJR Reygun LV17 DSC_6070 WEB

SJR Reygun and Brady Weaver win Stallion Stakes Open & Intermediate Open Championships

A thrilling night of finals action at the NRCHA Stallion Stakes in Las Vegas, Nevada, wrapped up with Brady Weaver, Enterprise, Utah, scoring a career highlight when he piloted SJR Reygun (Dual Rey x Playguns King Badger x Playgun), a 2012 mare owned by Gary Ewell, to the Open and Intermediate Open Championships. Weaver guided SJR Reygun to a composite 662 score for the win, earning a 215 in the herd work, a 217 in the rein work, and a blistering 230 down the fence.

The Stallion Stakes Open Championship paid just over $35,000, and the Intermediate Open title came with an $8,087 paycheck. Weaver’s prize package included a custom saddle sponsored by the NRCHA, a Gist buckle, a CR Morrison Trophy, a pair of boots from Rios of Mercedes, and a gift certificate from Platinum Performance. The $3,500 Sire Award check went to Linda Holmes, who nominated SJR Reygun’s sire, Dual Rey, to the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion Program.

“I knew she was a good mare,” Weaver said of SJR Reygun, who came into his program as a 2-year-old. “I’m just glad it worked out.”

When describing his incredible 230 score in the fence work, Weaver said he came into the arena intent on doing the “same thing as always – get him across that back pen, and get out with him, and just let my horse do the rest.” He admitted, “I don’t remember much. I don’t know – I just kept spurring!”

It was the biggest career win for Weaver, who arrived in Las Vegas with just over $110,000 in NRCHA lifetime earnings. He came to the reined cow horse discipline after getting his start in the race horse industry.

“I started as a kid, cleaning stalls and riding all the pickles. And they started putting me on the ones that wanted to kill everybody else, and I was too dumb to say no. That was where we started. I wanted to ride cow horses, so I went out to California and worked for a guy named John McDonald. I was around [NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman]Tony Amaral a lot when he was an old man, and he told me a lot of stuff that I didn’t know even what he was talking about then. It just progressed to here,” Weaver said.

He thanked his wife, his support staff at home in Utah, and SJR Reygun’s owners, the Ewells, for supporting him since he first went out on his own as a professional horseman.

The Open Reserve Champion was NRCHA 2 Million Dollar Rider Todd Bergen, Eagle Point, Oregon, riding Metalic Dual (Metallic Cat x Dual Whisper x Kit Dual), owned by Dave and Kathy Ferguson, Cottonwood, California. Metalic Dual earned a 657 composite (218 herd/216.5 rein/223 fence). The Reserve Championship paid $25,939. As the highest-scoring offspring of Metallic Cat in the Stallion Stakes Open Finals, Metalic Dual also earned the $10,000 Metallic Cat Open Incentive check, sponsored by Alvin and Becky Fults of Fults Ranch, Metallic Cat’s owners. 

The Stakes Limited Open Champion was SJR Tachitas Cata (Metallic Cat x Tachitas Hickory x Docs Hickory), shown by Stephen Hutchins and owned by MC Performance Horses. Hutchins guided SJR Tachitas Cata to a 628 composite (209 herd/205.5 rein/213.5 cow) for the win, which paid $9,013. The $1,000 Limited Open Sire Award went to Fults Ranch.

Hope Miller, Brush Prairie, Washington, had a brilliant night in Las Vegas with her stallion, Dare To Sioux (A Shiner Named Sioux x Tari Darlin x Taris Catalyst), winning triple championships in the Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro, and Novice Non Pro divisions. They scored a 647.5 composite (203 herd/219.5 rein/225 cow), earning combined paychecks of more than $13,000. Their prizes included a custom saddle, Gist buckles, a CowTrac system sponsored by CowTrac, a CR Morrison Trophy, boots from Rios of Mercedes, custom spurs from Dennis Moreland Tack, and multiple gift certificates from Platinum Performance and Farnam. Three sire award checks totaling $2,000 went to Carol Rose, who nominated A Shiner Named Sioux to the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion Program.

Western Bloodstock to manage 2017 Snaffle Bit Futurity Sales

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The cutting horse industry’s leading sale company, Western Bloodstock, Ltd., Weatherford, Texas, will oversee the 2017 National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity Sales, scheduled for October 13 – 14 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Western Bloodstock, established in 2000, is best known for producing the three major National Cutting Horse Association Sales: the Futurity, Super Stakes, and Summer Spectacular. The company was purchased in 2013 by Jeremy Barwick and his wife, Candace, of Stephenville, Texas. When the NRCHA announced in late 2016 that it was seeking a sale management partner for the Snaffle Bit Futurity’s new home in Fort Worth, Texas, Barwick said he immediately began working to earn the contract for Western Bloodstock.

“We are honored that the NRCHA chose us to manage the Snaffle Bit Futurity Sales. I have a huge respect for the community of reined cow horse trainers, owners, breeders, and horses. We have a good track record with the NCHA sales, and I think we will do just as well for the NRCHA sales. We take pride in putting on a professional top quality sale, doing everything we can to create a strong market for buyers and sellers.”

National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Sale Committee Chairman Todd Crawford looks forward to a productive relationship with Western Bloodstock.

“Jeremy is very easy to work with, and I think he’s going to do an excellent job promoting our sale in his existing network. Not only does he have connections in Texas, he also travels nationally all year long, looking at horses and recruiting quality consignments. We feel it will be a good fit with our NRCHA sales,” Crawford said.

The NRCHA and Western Bloodstock are working together to expand and enrich the Snaffle Bit Futurity Sale Incentive program. The incentive pays bonus money to high scoring 3-year-olds in the Snaffle Bit Futurity preliminaries that changed hands as yearlings and 2-year-olds through the Futurity Sales.

“The incentive previously paid just the high scoring sale horse in the prelims. Going forward, it will pay the top four in the Open and the Non Pro, with a substantially larger purse than in past years,” Barwick said.

While details of the incentive restructuring are not yet complete, it has been determined that the purse will be made up of sale repurchase fees and buyer enrollment payments.

“All sale repurchase fees will go into the Western Bloodstock NRCHA Yearling Sale Incentive purse,” Barwick said. “This year is the establishing year for the incentive, so when you purchase a yearling at the Futurity Sales, you will be offered the opportunity to participate by paying the incentive fee making them eligible. This year, for a discount, 2-year-old buyers can pay those horses up also as to not miss a year for a great payoff.”

Barwick and Crawford said further announcements regarding the incentive program will be made in the coming months as the fee structure and payouts are finalized.

Questions, feedback, or ideas about the NRCHA Sales can be directed to the Western Bloodstock office, which is operated by a year-round full time staff.

“This is not a part-time deal for us. We consider it our job to work with the association, to give the highest degree of service to each and every consignor, bidder and purchaser,” Barwick said.

Information, announcements, and updates about the 2017 Snaffle Bit Futurity Sales can be found at www.NRCHA.com and www.westernbloodstock.com as they become available.

Western Bloodstock, Ltd contact information:

925 Santa Fe Drive, Suite 103
Weatherford, TX 76086

Phone: (817) 594-9210

Email: karon@westernbloodstock.com

John Swales Wins 2017 World’s Greatest Horseman Championship

John Swales Heza Diamond Spark FTW17 REW_7116

The 2017 National Reined Cow Horse Association World’s Greatest Horseman, held in conjunction with the Celebration of Champions in Fort Worth, Texas, attracted one of the largest, most unique set of entries in the event’s history. Thirty-six horse and rider combinations ran in an arduous quartet of preliminary events: herd work, rein work, steer stopping and fence work. They all craved one of the 10 available finals berths and a clean-slate shot at the title before a sellout crowd in the John Justin Arena on Saturday, February 18.
A diverse assortment of riders joined the quest for the $35,000 championship paycheck, part of a total $138,000 payout. The overall purse was up 42 percent over 2016, thanks to a 33 percent growth in entries and a $25,000 boost in added money from the World’s Greatest Horseman presenting sponsor, DT Horses.
When Canadian professional John Swales, of Millarville, Alberta, guided Heza Diamond Spark (Diamond J Star x Sheza Shinette x Shining Spark), to the World’s Greatest Horseman Championship, he became the first non-American rider to win the title. Heza Diamond Spark is a 2005 stallion owned by Jesse and Elyse Thomson of 7P Ranch, High River, Alberta, Canada.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. It’s pretty unreal,” Swales said, immediately following the win.
The tight-knit Canadian reined cow horse community claimed Swales’ triumph as further validation that their country’s horses and trainers belong among the NRCHA elite.
“It went as planned. It’s fantastic,” Jesse Thomson said. “It should open some eyes that Canada does have some nice horses, and some good horsemen, kicking around up here.”
Jesse and Elyse Thomson bought their World’s Greatest champion horse in a somewhat unlikely way: through public auction. They had wanted to own “Sting” for years, and when previous owner, Dr. Michael Garver, was phasing out of the horse business, he consigned the stallion to the February 2014 Billings
Livestock Commission Horse Sale in Billings, Montana. The Thomsons were ready to snatch him up, paid a sale-topping $45,000, and promptly put Heza Diamond Spark to work, under saddle and in the breeding shed.
“We had watched this horse his whole life. He was always a superstar, every- where we had seen him,” Thomson, a professional reined cow horse trainer, said. “When you watch that horse, any- body will tell you, he’s got a presence about him, whether it be roping or show- ing or just standing in the barn. What
ride him, that’s what he makes you feel like,” Thomson said. “He’s 14.2, but it feels like you’re on a mountain.”

John Swales Heza Diamond Spark FTW17 REW_7116If Thomson’s other career as a film and TV stunt performer and animal wrangler had not interfered, he likely would have been the one riding Heza Diamond Spark in Fort Worth.
“I darn sure would have loved to show him myself, but I’ve been in the movie business my whole life. I got a good gig last summer, I couldn’t turn it down, and I just couldn’t commit to show- ing,” he said. Thomson gave up his 2016 futurity prospects to other trainers, and recruited his friend Swales to show Sting.
After squeaking into the finals by a scant half-point, Swales and Sting had a rocky start in front of the World’s Greatest Horseman sold-out crowd in Fort Worth. They were first to work in the herd, scoring a lackluster 207, which put them in eighth place and 14 points off the high score, a 221 by Jay McLaughlin and Blind Sided. But Swales knew he was extremely well mounted on a horse that could shine in the next three events.
The began making a comeback in the next event, the rein work, where they earned the high score, a 222.5. This moved them in to fourth place after two events with a 429.5 composite. They still had plenty of ground to make up, as McLaughlin and Blind Sided maintained the lead with a 438.
Next was the steer stopping, with McLaughlin and Blind Sided first in the draw. McLaughlin’s loop was true for a clean catch, but the momentum was sucked out of his run as the steer quit on its own, before Blind Sided could go to the ground and stop it. The judges awarded him another steer and a chance to start over. Although McLaughlin made a textbook run on the second try, a bro- ken barrier penalty, five points per judge, took what would have been a 225 score down to a 210.
Swales and Sting, second in the draw, had an identical experience. Their steer also hit the brakes too soon, and they also received a second animal, which they roped in credit-earning fashion for a 218.
With three events down, Swales still clung to fourth place. He was nine points behind NRCHA Million Dollar Rider and past World’s Greatest Horseman Boyd Rice, who, with Royal Smart Fletch, had made a big 221.5 in the rein work and a 219 in the steer stopping, to become the composite leader heading into the fence work.
Rice was number two in the fence draw and, until his second turn on the cow, appeared on point to win another World’s Greatest Horseman title. But a tiny error coming out of the second turn resulted in loss of control, and his 204 score left the door wide open for another finalist to make a big run and claim the lead.
It happened minutes later, when the fourth horse to work, and the second in the composite, Tommy Boon, shown by Luke Jones, earned a 218.5 with a scorching-fast run. Jones moved into first place, with an 869.5 composite.
Swales was seventh in the draw, and needed at least a 222 score to win. In the dim, orange-tinted light behind the back gate, he tried to steady himself despite the deafening crowd noise and intense energy.
“It was pretty crazy. It’s hard not to get super, super, super nervous. It made a person try a little harder, I guess,” he said, adding that his plan was to “try to go down the fence with a lot of cow, and hope we can handle it.”
They boxed only briefly before heading down the fence. The steer shoved hard on Sting’s right shoulder the whole way, forcing him well off the fence, but the gritty stallion executed two turns in the open, then made a controlled set of circles, first right, then left.
The judges’ horn signaling the end of the run was barely audible in the roar of the crowd. The score – 226.5 – would seal the win.
“I just love this horse. He can run so hard, and feels so cool down the fence. I’m just lucky, I guess,” Swales said. “I can’t believe how good he was, you know? I’m amazed.”
He thanked his family and support team, and especially the Thomsons.
The Reserve Champion was Luke Jones, Allerton, Iowa, in the World’s Greatest Horseman Finals for the first time in his career aboard Tommy Boon (Thomas E Hughes x Chitas Blue Boon x Duals Blue Boon), a 2011 mare owned by Wayne Hanson, Creston, Iowa.
“It turned out really well. I got real excited at the end,” Jones exclaimed. “The crowd was behind it, and it was so loud I could barely hear the whistle… It was just amazing. This is the highlight of my career, right here. It is. It’s just wonderful,” Jones said. “I’ve never showed to this much energy in my life. It was unbelievable. The crowd was into it. It was totally awesome.”
Jones and Hanson picked out Tommy Boon as a yearling in the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Sales, and Jones has trained her from the beginning. Making the young mare’s performance at the World’s Greatest Horseman even more impressive—her training time in the bridle can be counted in weeks, instead of months or years.
“She is a wonderful mare. She was a bit of a last-minute decision to show here at the World’s Greatest. I showed her in the bridle twice before she came here.” Jones said.

2017 WORLD’S GREATEST HORSEMAN PRESENTED BY DT HORSES
Fort Worth, Texas – February 18, 2017
36 Entries – $75,000 Added – $138,000 Total Purse Event/Horse/Rider/Pedigree/Owner/Score/Money
1. Heza Diamond Spark; John Swales; 05S (Diamond J Star x Sheza Shinette x Shining Spark); 7 P Ranch; 874 (H: 207/R: 222.5/S: 218/C: 226.5); $35,000
2. Tommy Boon; Luke Jones; 11M (Thomas E Hughes x Chitas Blue Boon x Duals Blue Boon); Wayne Hanson; 869.5 (H: 216/R: 213/S: 222/C: 218.5); $23,000
3. Blind Sided; Jay McLaughlin; 10S (Peptoboonsmal x Lil Miss Shiney Chex x Shining Spark); Aaron Ranch; 864 (H: 221/R: 217/S: 210/C: 216); $15,500
4. Travelin Jonez; Chris Dawson; 08S (Smart Chic Olena x Travelin With Sass x Travalena); Chris Dawson; 862 (H: 209/R: 218.5/S: 214/C: 220.5); $13,000
5. Smooth N Cash; Jake Gorrell; 05G (Smooth As A Cat x Dox Gavacash x Miss N Cash); Roloff Ranch; 861.5 (H: 206/R: 218/S: 216/C: 221.5); $10,000
6. Royal Smart Fletch; Boyd Rice; 10S (Royal Fletch x Little Smart Ginger x Smart Little Lena); Kit and Charlie Moncrief; 860.5 (H: 217/R: 220.5/S: 219/C: 204); $8,000
7. Onetimeatbandcamp; Corey Cushing; 09G (One Time Pepto x Shortys Rooster x Gallo Del Cielo); Allan Kaplan; 858.5 (H: 210/R: 221.5/S: 213/C: 214); $5,750
8. Roobiesscoobiedoobie; Brad Lund; 09G (Smart Chic Olena x Playin With Rubies x Lectric Playboy); Rockin’ K Remuda; 856.5 (H: 209/R: 211.5/S: 225/C: 211); $5,750
9. Dueling Chic Olena; Shane Steffen; 09M (Smart Chic Olena x Dual Lena x Dual Pep); McSpyder Ranch; 855.5 (H: 213/R: 211.5/S: 214/C: 217); $5,250
10. Hes Shinettes CD; Jake Telford; 07S (CD Olena x Sheza Shinette x Shining Spark); Holy Cow Performance Horses; 840.5 (H: 193/R: 216/S: 215/C: 216.5); $5,000