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Californian Leah Boylan tops Rookie divisions at High Roller Reining Classic

Shawn Flarida wins $40,000 Open Futurity in Las Vegas

Special to the Horsetrader - October 1st, 2009 - Show & Event News
Shawn Flarida and Whizkey N Diamonds win the $40,000 Open Futurity at High Roller Reining Classic.

John O’Hara photo

Shawn Flarida and Whizkey N Diamonds win the $40,000 Open Futurity at High Roller Reining Classic.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Some of the nation’s best riders, including many from California, tried their luck and skill at the High Roller Reining Classic held Sept. 4-12 at South Point Equestrian Center and Casino. The NRHA “AA” rated event, managed by Brumley Management Group LLC, featured $200,000 in added money and prizes and also included an FEI qualifier for the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky.

Shawn Flarida wins $40,000 Open Futurity
In the $40,000 Open Futurity, Shawn Flarida of Springfield, Ohio, and Whizkey N Diamonds, owned by Clinton Anderson and Kathy Worley, nailed each spin, rode quickly through their circles, and slid into their stops with ease to earn a score of 221 for the championship trophy and $14,657.58 payout.

“This horse is really sweet and he’s really fun to show. He walks in and he’s very docile even though he’s a big stud,” Flarida said. “Today, he turned really good to the left and turned a little better to the right. For the circles, he loped off and took a big breath of air and waited for me.”

Leah Boylan and Whizzle Fritz win in both Rookie 1 and Rookie 2 divisions.

John O’Hara photo

Leah Boylan and Whizzle Fritz win in both Rookie 1 and Rookie 2 divisions.

Flarida continued: “During the circles to the left, I tried to run him just a little bit harder and he was good. The first stop was really nice, but he didn’t he hit the second stop as well as I thought he could. The third stop was really good though, and overall I was really happy with his performance today.”

Flarida traveled to the High Roller Reining Classic from a horse show in Tulsa, Okla., and said he enjoyed competing at the venue. “It has been great here,” he said. “It’s neat when you don’t have to leave the complex. You can gamble, eat, and show. I love it.”

Gabe Hutchins riding Smart Documentary, owned by Robert Webb of McAlester, Okla., scored 220.5 for the Open Futurity reserve title and $8,922.01 payout.

Andrea Fappani of San Marcos, Calif., scored 219 aboard Custom Slidetracks, owned by Steven Simon, for third place.

Leah Boylan wins Rookie divisions
Leah Boylan of Grass Valley, Calif., had an exciting round aboard Whizzle Fritz, earning her the win in both Rookie 1 and Rookie 2 divisions at the High Roller Reining Classic.

Boylan riding Whizzle Fritz began pattern eight by expertly executing four fast spins to the left and four fast spins to the right. They then moved into the circle portion of the pattern where they pushed hard to go fast during the large circles. The pattern included three stops that Boylan and Whizzle Fritz also hit perfectly. The crowd cheered loudly as they exited the ring to the score 70.5, which none of the other riders would be able to catch.

“I’m just thrilled to have done so well,” Boylan said. “We did really good through the first spins and our large fast circle was really good. We tried to stay faster than normal there, since it’s a pretty big show and we knew that would be important. Whizzle usually likes to go pretty slow, so I had to keep him going pretty fast for the stops too. Overall, he did a really great job, I’m really proud of him.”

Whizzle Fritz is a 7-year-old stud by Top Sail Whiz out of Madame Fritz that Boylan has owned for three years. He originally showed in the Derby classes with Kim Yancey of Boyle Ranch, but Boylan began showing him last year and now he only competes with her in the Rookie divisions.

“He’s a wonderful horse because he’s so easygoing,” Boylan said. “He’s a stud but you would never know it. He is my first horse and he’s been just a really good guy to take me through the classes. He has been the best horse for me to learn on because he never spooks and he never gets out of line. He knows his job and he’s very easy to get along with.”

Boylan said there are no tricks to Whizzle Fritz, and that stopping is one of his strongest skills. “He’s a really good stopper, so the stopping is the best part for him,” she said. “He likes to go slow, so it’s just keeping him going up to the stop that is the hard part. The biggest thing with him is you just have to keep his energy up. You canĂ•t just sit there and let him go through the pattern; you have to ride him all the time. He’ll want to slow down and take it easy, but you have to stay on top of it and keep him going.”

The next stop for Boylan and Whizzle Fritz will be their regional affiliate finals in Idaho in October. The pair has shown 10 times this year and hopes to qualify out of the Rookie division and compete in the Non-Pro Limited division during the 2010 competition season.

This is the first year that Boylan has competed at the High Roller Reining Classic and she has been enjoying her stay at the South Point Hotel and Casino. “It’s a wonderful place because you don’t have to drive anywhere, everything is right here,” she smiled. “The horses love it because it’s climate controlled, so they’re comfortable and happy. The staff has been wonderful, and it’s a really comfortable place for not just the exhibitors, but the horses as well, so we really like it!”

Twenty-two other riders competed in the Rookie 2 division and three riders tied for the second place with scores of 69.5. Those three horse-and-rider combinations included Kellie Meier of Danville, Calif., aboard West Coast Connection; Joshua Green of Redmond, Wash., riding Slide To Be Safe; and Renee Lieffort of Skull Valley, Ariz., with Moon Stones Finest.

The Rookie 1 division featured 26 exhibitors and four horse-and-rider combinations tied for second place with scores of 69.5. In addition to Meier and Green, Mary-Anne Van Degna riding Ruf N Dun It, owned by Bar Double C Ranch of Cave Creek, Ariz., received the second place score. Brenda Joyce also earned a 69.5 with Red White Starlight, owned by Story Book Stables, Inc. of Tucson, Ariz.

Shaunda Ruckman wins Non-Pro, Int. Non-Pro classes
Shaunda Ruckman of Phoenix, Ariz., rocked the arena aboard Peppy As Einstein to claim both Non-Pro division and Intermediate Non-Pro division wins. The pair was fast and precise throughout their pattern and it showed in their score of 72.5.

“I’m very excited; he was awesome today,” Ruckman said. “He was really dialed in and he felt awesome. During each part of the pattern, he waited for me and he took really good care of me.”

Three California riders tied for second place in a Non-Pro class with scores of 71: Lindy Longfellow of Handford on Peppy Chic Finale, Debi Murnan of Grass Valley riding Ruf Cut Pine, and Patrick Yancey of Ione aboard Kim Yancey’s Remchic Yankee.

Other Highlight Winners:
Gabe Hutchins and Smart Documentary, owned by Robert Webb of McAlester, Okla., won the $10,000 Intermediate Open Futurity, as well as the second place prize in the $40,000 Open Futurity.

Michael Boyle won the $7,500 Limited Open Futurity, with a score of 215.00 aboard Hick A Shine, owned by Janene Borror of Springville, Calif. Second place honors were presented to Billy Williams, who rode Terre and Elden Peterson’s Colonels Smokin Oak to a score of 214.

There was a two-way tie in the Intermediate Non-Pro division between Patrick Yancey and Ashley Anixter of Scottsdale, Ariz. Anixter was aboard Whiz Bing Bang Boom, and both riders received the second highest score of the day, a 71.

Also at the High Roller Reining Classic, 16 riders competed in an Open division, and Matt Mills garnered the blue ribbon aboard Whiz Bing Bang Boom, owned by Ashley Anixter of Scottsdale, Ariz.

Randy Paul earned the top spot in a CRI** USEF Qualifier for the second time. Paul rode Taris Designer Genes, owned by Rancho Oso Rio, LLC, of Scottsdale, Ariz., to a score of 147.5. Paul recently won the CRI** USEF Qualifier victory at the 2009 Reining By The Bay competition with Rancho Oso Rio’s Starbucks Finest. Andrea Fappani riding Tinsel Jac, owned by the Tinsel Jac Partners of Guadalupe, NL, were second with a score of 143.5. Tied for third place with scores of 143 were Tom Foran riding Fancy Red Short Oak, owned by Copus Performance Horses, Inc. of Santa Barbara, Calif.; and Gabe Davide on CF Glad Rags, owned by Eileen Maxinoski of Watsonville, Calif.

The top prize in the $15,000 Added Non Pro Futurity was awarded to Samantha Griffin and KJ Tag, owned by Lance Griffin of Dewinton, AB, who earned a score of 207.5.

Kristin Foran of Santa Paula, Calif., and her Wild Card Wrangler won the $7,500 Added Intermediate Non Pro Futurity with a score of 206.

The last day of the High Roller Reining Classic was also the final day that 6-year-old Sparkling Wave would be eligible to compete in a derby event, so rider Craig Schmersal decided to make sure “Sparky” left his mark in Las Vegas, with a 225 score to win the $15,000 Open Derby. “I feel really good because this is Sparky’s last year to show in the derbies, so that was his final derby run of his career,” Schmersal said. “I drew early and he’s been such a good horse all along that I just went out there and tried to make the best run I could make on him. I knew it was going to take a pretty good score to win so I just went for everything I could get.”

Andrea Fappani and Shiner Olena, owned by Katazyna Roleska, of Tarnow, Poland, took second in the Open Derby with a 222.5 score.

For complete results from the High Roller Reining Classic, visit: www.highrollerreiningclassic.com

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