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Tony Piggott takes ‘Rockin’ win at NCHA Futurity Open

Special to the Horsetrader - January 21st, 2010 - Show & Event News

Tony Piggott and Rockin W win the 2009 NCHA Futurity Open Finals.

Alan Gold photo

Tony Piggott and Rockin W win the 2009 NCHA Futurity Open Finals.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Tony Piggott riding Rockin W marked a record-tying 229 before a packed house at Will Rogers Coliseum to win the Open Finals of the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity on Dec. 13, 2009.

Owned Alice Walton’s Rocking W Ranch, Rockin W–a stallion by Dual Rey out of Walton’s former NCHA Horse of the Year Boon San Kitty–is a two-time winner of the NCHA Classic Challenge, and an earner of more than $498,000.

The 23-day event from Nov. 21-Dec. 13, 2009 included more than 1,800 entries who sought after a share of the $4 million purse.

Six of the 28 Futurity Open finalists scored more than 220 points, but it was the duo of Tony Piggott and Rockin W who claimed the prestigious NCHA Futurity Championship and the winner’s check of $250,000.

Michael Cooper and Yadacat, who immediately preceded Rockin W in the working order, took the NCHA Futurity Open Reserve title for owners Darol and Karen Rodrock, with a 226. Yadacat is by High Brow Cat out of Rio CD Yadayadayada.

Michael Cooper and Yadacat take the 2009 NCHA Futurity Open Finals Reserve.

Alan Gold photo

Michael Cooper and Yadacat take the 2009 NCHA Futurity Open Finals Reserve.

“It’s amazing,” said Alice Walton who raised Rockin W, a fourth generation Walton-bred out of 2004 NCHA Horse of the Year Boon San Kitty, a mare Walton fondly refers to as Miss Piggy because of her appetite for food and life. “For him to be Miss Piggy’s first baby and always so special, and then I’m silly enough to name him after my ranch; it’s kind of a Cinderella thing.”

This was Piggott’s first time to show in the NCHA Futurity Open Finals and although he works for Rocking W, he was catch-riding Rockin W for Gary Gonsalves who trained the colt, but opted to show two other horses instead.

“Rockin W turned heads three weeks ago in the first go-round of the Futurity, when he scored 220 points. He followed with 216 points in the second go-round, and advanced to the finals on a 218.5-point semi-finals score,” Walton said.

“I’m just a jockey,” said Piggott, 37, following the first go-round, and after having worked the colt for the first time just days before. “We really hadn’t gotten along all that well. He has a lot of draw and it’s been difficult for me to get with him and keep him up out of the herd.”

Piggott also qualified Rockin W for the NCHA Futurity Limited Open Finals on Dec. 10, 2009 where he placed fourth with 215 points and earned $15,496.

Yadacat, by High Brow Cat, also scored 220 points in the first go-round, but qualified for the Open Finals with 215.5. Only four other horses in addition to Rockin W and Royal Fletch have scored 226 or higher in the NCHA Futurity: High Brow CD with 226 in 2007; Oh Cay Felix with 227 in 2006; Highbrow Supercat with 226.5 in 2005; and One Smart Lookin Cat with 226 in 2003.

Kelle Earnheart and Badgers Perscription win NCHA Futurity Non-Pro.

Alan Gold photo

Kelle Earnheart and Badgers Perscription win NCHA Futurity Non-Pro.

Kelle Earnheart wins NCHA Futurity Non-Pro
Kelle Earnheart, 24, of Weatherford, Texas, was the winner of the NCHA Futurity Non-Pro division on board Badgers Perscription with 219 points — 1.5 points above reserve champion Dustin Adams, of Dublin, Texas, with 217.5 points.

“She is a blessing,” said Earnheart of the Reys Dual Badger daughter. “I didn’t have time to train one and I waited and waited before I found her. You usually don’t find them like that unless they cost an arm and a leg, but no one really wanted her.”

At 15, Earnheart became the youngest rider to claim an NCHA Triple Crown title, when she won the NCHA Derby Non-Pro division. This was her fifth time to qualify for the Futurity finals.

Kim Ziegelgruber and Jamie Goertz earn co-champion titles in NCHA Futurity Amateur
Kim Ziegelgruber and Jamie Goertz each scored 217 points to share the Amateur championship title.

Kim Ziegelgruber and Mates Special Boy earn the co-champion title in NCHA Futurity Amateur.

Alan Gold photo

Kim Ziegelgruber and Mates Special Boy earn the co-champion title in NCHA Futurity Amateur.

Goertz, of Bastrop, Texas, showed Desires Prissy Cat, who colicked the night before the finals. The mare was in top form for the finals, however, thanks to the efforts of trainer Eddie Flynn, who stayed up with her until 4 a.m.

The High Brow Cat daughter was a surprise Christmas present last year from Jamie’s parents.

“They wrapped her picture up in an eight-by-ten frame,” said Goertz, 27, who was showing in the NCHA Futurity for the first time.

Kim Ziegelgruber, of Edmond, Okla., a top-ranked PRCA steer roper, gave all of the credit for his title to his mount, Mates Special Boy, who survived a near fatal systemic infection last February only to founder in both hind feet.

“That little horse is all heart. He was supposed to be dead,” said Ziegelgruber, who swapped a 4-year-old for the Smart Mate gelding at two and trained him, before the infection struck. It wasn’t until last September that he was able to start riding the gelding again.

Geoffrey Sheehan wins John Deere Division of the NCHA Futurity Open
Geoffrey Sheehan, of Weatherford, Texas, rode JoJo Boon to claim the John Deere Division of the Open Finals with a 222-point score earning more than $23,000.

Jamie Goertz and Desires Prissy Cat earn co-champion titles in NCHA Futurity Amateur

Alan Gold photo

Jamie Goertz and Desires Prissy Cat earn co-champion titles in NCHA Futurity Amateur

JoJo Boon was raised by John and Hope Mitchell who sold the horse just days before the finals to Steve and Michelle Anderson of Victoria, Texas.

Tatum Rice and Shes Twice As Smooth, owned by William and Lisa Hefley of Little Rock, Arkansas, were reserve with a 220.

The John Deere Division of the Open class is offered to riders who have earned less than $200,000 NCHA dollars.

Ashley Snider wins NCHA Futurity Limited Non-Pro
Ashley Snider, of Burleson, Texas, and Bobs A Player secured the Limited Non-Pro Finals by marking a 218. The duo took home more than $14 thousand for the win.

Bobs A Player was a $4,500 purchase from the 2008 Western Bloodstock Futurity Sale.

“He got better with every run, and that is great for a 3-year-old,” Snider said. “He didn’t miss a lick, I was really proud of him.”

Purdy Play and Jack Waggoner, of Bridgeport, Texas, were reserve with 216-points.

The Limited Non-Pro class is based on Non-Professional earnings up to Dec. 1, 1995 plus all money won in all approved classes after that date whose lifetime earnings in NCHA approved and/or sponsored events equals less than $200,000 and is restricted to current NCHA Non-Professional card holders.

More complete results, visit the Web site: www.nchacutting.com

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