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A Classic in just 2 years

Corey Cushing reels in another big win with Smart Boons

From Horsetrader staff reports - March 18th, 2010 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

TULARE – Even with an untimely rain, there were no blues felt Feb. 23-28 at the Second Annual National Stock Horse Association Classic.

But red felt just right.

With his lucky red shirt on his back and the red roan stallion, Smart Boons, under him, Corey Cushing of Scottsdale, Ariz. clinched another big aged event win – the NSHA Open Classic held at the Ag Center.

Cushing needed — and got — a clutch performance in the fence work to outduel Jake Gorrel on Smooth N Cash. He scored a 152 to Gorrel’s 148 in the final event to finish with a one-point overall lead, 444-443, and an Open title that paid $12,141.

Kat Rodgers

Todd Bergen and Billys Cool Cat, owned by Cable Creek Ranch, won the Bridle Sweepstakes with a 445.5 and collected $6,150.

“I feel pretty lucky,” said Cushing, who also won the2009 National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby Open Championship on Smart Boons (Peptoboonsmal x Smart Little Easter x Smart Little Lena), who is owned by Kevin and Sydney Knight. “There are so many great horses andgreat trainers out there. I knew going into the fence work that it was possible to pull it out, but I had to draw a cow that would be good enough to do what I needed to do.

“Luck plays a big part of it,” the rider added. “I knew I had to be big, and I went in there and boxed a cow a little bit, and I needed to have enough cow so the degree of difficulty would be in my favor going down the fence.

“I knew he could handle it, but it’s one of those things that if you leave too soon out of that corner and that cow has too much run, it can ruin your run.”

Instead, he earned the event’s best cow work score from judges Todd Crawford and Bobby Ingersoll,

“Everything just fell into place for me,” he said. “My horse was right on. It was a real confidence builder for me – and for him. I can call on him for anything, and he just falls right into place.”

And the lucky shirt?

Kat Rodgers

Rick Drayer took Mr Fever to a Classic Non Pro victory that paid $2,700.

“That red shirt’s been really good to me,” he said, pointing to his three big wins with Smart Boons while wearing the red threads on his back, including last year’s wins at the NRCHA Derby and the Sun Circuit. “There’s something about it. Between my wife saying it looks the best and me having good luck with it, it’s kind of the first thing I go to when I show him.”

Opponents may see more red again this year at the NRCHA Stallion Stakes March 24-28 in Idaho and the NRCHA Derby June 15-20 in Paso Robles – two events Cushing looks forward to.

The Open reserve finalist, Gorrell and Smooth N Cash, owned by the Roloff Ranch, earned $9,265.50. In third ($7,029) was two-time NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman Ron Ralls of Gainesville, Texas, on CD Dee Vee Dee, a gelding recently acquired by Shannon and Hershel Reid.

Todd Bergen won the 2010 NSHA Bridle Sweepstakes, riding Billys Cool Cat, owned by Cable Creek Ranch, to a combined 445.5 that earned $6,150. Defending Open Bridle Sweepstakes champion pair Ron Emmons and Olena Oak finished reserve with a 438.5 score that paid $5,125.

Kat Rodgers

Jake Gorrell and Smooth N Cash, owned by Roloff Ranch, fell one point shy of the Bridle Classic Open title.

“It was a great show,” said Gorrell, the NSHA board member who managed the Classic this year. “The caliber of horses that were here is unbelievable. It was tough – real competitive .”

Kat Rodgers

A bridle horse consigned by Larry Bell (left) and Kalpower Quarter Horses of Texas topped the Classic Horse Sale at $15,000.

The second NSHA Classic attracted 552 entries, offering a total payout of $128,757. There was $33,400 in added money.

“It’s just our second year, so you might look at this year as kind of a `make-it-or-break it’ year,” said Gorrell, “It grew a lot this year. Last year we had 330 runs, and this year we had 550, which is wonderful.

“We want to have a good place to go show our horses, and this event accommodates us during the winter,” he added. “We had some downpours, but we handled the bad weather.”

This year, in addition to attracting participation of top horses, riders and owners from out of state, the event excited Gorrel by luring Europeans like Martin Schemuth of Germany and Austrian Gerold Dautzenberg, who competed in the Non Pro Classic on Lights R Red. Both he and Schmeth flew from Europe for the NSHA Classic.

For complete results, go to: http://www.nationalstockhorse.com

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