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A Whiz-bang reining

Andrea Fappani, Tinker With Guns make it back-to-back Cactus Classic Conquistador Whiz Open Derby titles

Special to the Horsetrader - April 5th, 2012 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Brumley Managment Group kicked off its popular three-show reining series for 2012, the Cactus Reining Classic, on March 7-11 at Westworld, and the operative word was “deep” — deep in talented horses, riders and dedicated owners.

Event manager Amanda Brumley said entries were up 15 percent for the second straight year, with a roster of competitors that included horse-and-rider teams from Europe as well as from the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

Many of the owners competed themselves in Non Pro divisions ranging from Rookie to the Conquistador Whiz $23,000-added Non Pro Derby, some of them on the same horses that would compete with their trainers in the Open divisions.

“We’ve developed a reputation for putting on great events with lots of prizes and lots of fun, and I believe that we saw many new faces this year because of that,” said Brumley, whose trio of reinings also includes the Reining By The Bay in Woodside and High Roller Reining Classic in Las Vegas.

For all the new energy, a familiar face in the top tier of classes, Andrea Fappani and Tinker With Guns, made their presence felt with a dramatic win in the Conquistador Whiz $42,000 Open Derby.

Every group of 10 horse-and-rider combinations in the 69-entry class proved better than the last, and the lead went back and forth between Andrea Fappani on Arcese Quarter Horses’ Spook Off Sparks. He was first in the pen, setting the pace by marking a 222.5 which remained in the lead until Fappani bested himself on Rancho Oso Rio’s Custom Spook, marking a 223 for the first and second positions.

Six horses later, Craig Schmersal rode Tim Anderson’s Lost In Tinseltown, tying Fappani with a 222.5 for second. For 20 runs, this scenario remained until Schmersal returned on Lee V. Snyder’s Eyed Be A Royal Chic and marked a front-running 225.5.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere with only 10 horses to go, Gio Tazi’s Hollywood Golden Gun, ridden by Shane Brown, marked a career-high score of 227.5 to take the lead by full two points. Two runs later, defending Classic Open Level 4 Derby winners Andrea Fappani and Rancho Oso Rio’s Tinker With Guns were in the pen, winning the event with by a jaw-dropping three points.

Brown, who entered the Open Derby with one horse versus Andrea Fappani and Craig Schmersal’s strings of three each, went home the Open Level 4 Derby Reserve Champion as well as the Intermediate Open Derby Champion. What’s more, he had drawn 58th in the order. The 227.5 he marked was the highest ever on Hollywood Golden Gun.

“This was the first time I actually called on him,” he said. “All the other times, were kind of building him and putting the parts together. I felt he was ready for me to step him up — pull out all the stops. The more I called on him, the more he said, `yes, sir!’ In the stops, the more I pushed him, the bigger he stopped.

“It makes me feel really good to be in the company he was in, to be the next-best horse to Tinker With Guns with all the things he and Andrea have achieved,” he added. “You know you’re an achiever, just being in that company.”

Fappani returned the compliment.

“Shane was the underdog — the one that everybody wants to win,” said the defending champion. “When there’s a wild card, it adds a little bit of fun to it. It’s a good thing for reining because it gets boring if you always see the same guys on top all the time — takes the fun out of it.”

“A lot of people think it’s not reachable,” he added. “You see a Limited 1- or 2-eligible guy that kicks our butts, and it’s a good thing for the sport. It shows that anybody can do it. You don’t have to be the top rider out there in order to mark a big score. It’s a horse that he’s had in the barn that he’s trained. Every once in a while, it’s a good thing to have someone like this open the door up for newcomers to realize that they have a chance.”

In the Non Pro Division, Terry Holland of Lodi and her 8-year old Timber Winner (Boggies Timber Jac x Missy Rose Win x Honest Winner) had their work cut out for them in the SmartPak $8,000 Added Non Pro 7Up Maturity, having to run off twice to clinch the title of Hi Point Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro and Primetime Non Pro.

Holland, who rides with Kim Yancey of Ione, competed in the Intermediate Non Pro and Primetime Non Pro circuit during the week capping off her trip to Scottsdale with the SmartPak Non Pro 7UpMaturity. The pair competed in all 4 of the Non Pro Maturity divisions winning the Level 1and Intermediate in a run-off and placing 3rd in the Primetime and 4th in the Level 2 divisions.

Tanya Jenkins of Temecula continued her domination of the Cactus Reining Classic Ladies Reining and Hi Point Ladies titles. The two Open horses that helped make it happen this year were Roosters Shiner (Gallo Del Cielo x Shiney Dresser) and That Little Step Up (Wimpys Little Step x All Thats Dun), both owned by April Walewski of Los Gatos.

“Little Rooster (Roosters Shiner) is just a real easy consistent horse,” said Jenkins. “He can just about plus everything and not have to overwork. He’s not one that needs a lot of warm-up. We actually did buy him for April, but we wanted something I could show, and that she could show too. We bought him last year at the NRBC when he was five, and his first show with us was Reining By The Bay. After that, we tweaked a few things to get him in my program and by High Roller Reining Classic last year, he was perfect. He went on to win the Derby at the Scottsdale Classic, and he was Champion Novice Horse Open Level 2 here. April is the most awesome client…. she’s very supportive, she’s always there if I ever need anything, we have a really good relationship,” she added. “She flies down to Temecula and I fly up to Northern California helping her on her horses up there too. She’ll meet up with us at the shows with Taris Dance Step, who she keeps up north. We gave him a break, and its something for her to practice on at home.”

The six-year old full brother to Wimpys Little Buddy, That Little Step Up took the Reserve Championship honors in the Novice Horse Open 1 division.

“We just bought him,” said Jenkins. “I had seen him while looking for another customer, called April and said he’s nice — you can ride him, your son can ride him, just about anybody can ride him. She bought him off my word just like she did Little Rooster. This was the first time I’ve shown him, and we plan on April showing him as well.”

Results online: http://bit.ly/24AReining

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