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Clock work!

Cody Clock and 'Artie' shine in record-setting High Roller Reining

Special to the Horsetrader - October 4th, 2012 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The 2012 High Roller Reining Classic held at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center Sept. 9-15 drew more raves this year, with entries up 37 percent over 2011 and competition that continues to impress.

The depth of entries in each class resulted in some of the toughest competition in the country. And, while familiar faces like Andrea Fappani rose to the top, so did young talent like 27-year-old Cody Clock of Day Creek Ranch in Simi Valley, who took Intermediate, Limited and Level 1 championship honors in the $70,000 Added Spooks Gotta Gun Open Futurity on Chics Dream About Me.

If there were a stop-of-the-show award, it would have gone to Clock, who is having his best year yet since launching his independent training career in 2009 with Day Creek Ranch after working under Pete Kyle and Tom Foran. He and Laura Day acquired the Palomino stud from Rhodes River Ranch in Washington last June.

John O’Hara photo

Cody Clark and Chics Dream About Me at the High Roller Reining in Las Vegas Sept. 9-15.

“Even as a 2-year old, he went around so easy,” said Clock, who’ll take “Artie” and two other 3-year-olds to the National Reining Horse Association Futurity this winter. “There’s nothing man-made about it. It’s all him. He’s a good boy.”

“He’s a huge stopper and so easy to ride,” he added. “Nothing fazes him. He wants to go out every day and do his job. He’s just a great-minded individual.”

Californians fared well throughout the seven days of the High Roller Reining Classic. After a three-year hiatus, Sandy Bentien of Auburn picked the High Roller Reining Classic for her return to the show pen aboard her 10-year old Make It With A Twist (Dun It With A Twist X SR Mischief Maker), who came out of retirement for the show as well.

“I just decided that her earnings were so close to $100,000 why not leg her back up and bring her out for the Maturity classes,” she said.

The duo’s first outing resulted in a three-way runoff in the $500 Added Non Pro #2 class with Jill Bradley and Busy Chex N Lena and Kylie Warn on her Getting Magnumtized all scoring a 144.0.

John O’Hara photo

Andrea Fappani and Smoking Whiz take Open Derby Level 4 title.

“I was really nervous for some reason, coming back out after having such a great career with her,” Bentien added. “I came out, made a couple of mistakes, and the tie gave me a chance to go back in and show her. She was awesome. She went out there and did her job like she always does.”

After riding for 40 years — and reiners for 14 -– 79-year-old Dewayne Copus of Santa Barbara won his first Bob’s Custom trophy with his gelding, Crome Plated Step (Wimpys Little Step x Crome Kist Dun It). Trained by Foran, he took home both the Primetime Non Pro High Point Champion Saddle, the Rhodes River Ranch CDR Farms Masters Non Pro High Point Award and a Gist Silversmith Reserve Champion Buckle in the Primetime division of the SmartPak Non Pro Maturity Challenge for their efforts during the week.

“He’s what every Non Pro should have,” said Copus. “He’s like a puppy. He’s very loyal to you. He’ll stand there for a half an hour with nothing on him. He likes for you to love on him, he never gets upset. He’s just a great Non Pro horse.”

John O’Hara photo

Dewayne Copus and his Crome Plated Step took home the Primetime Non Pro High Point Champion Saddle.

“I’d never won a saddle and had no dream of winning one,” he added.

Loren Booth of Orange Cove has a decision ahead of her: When should she book her trip to the Four Seasons Resort in Whistler, British Columbia.

As the winner of the 2012 Trifecta Non Pro Derby Challenge, Booth, trained by Tracer Gilson, and her Brennas Dream (Magnum Chic Dream-Brennas Red Dunit) were able to maintain their substantial lead coming into to the final of three Non Pro Derby events for the win.

“This really wasn’t on the radar screen, as I had just started getting together with this little mare at the Cactus Reining Classic,” she said.

Brian Welman of River Falls, Wisc., took home the top honors in the SmartPak Open Maturity Challenge Open Level 4 and Intermediate Open, marking a 225.5 on 7-year-old Reminhick (Reminic Ringo x Hometown Hickory). No stranger to High Roller Reining Classic as a judge, this was the first time Welman has shown at the venue.

More than $270,000 in added money and prizes brought out the top horses and riders, and not just from the U.S and Canada. Eighteen-year old Philip Loesch came all the way from Munich, Germany, to show his Wimpys Lil Star in the $40,000 Added Conquistador Whiz Non Pro Derby.

“I have parents who support me in whatever I want to do, and this is the sport I love,” he said. “Reining in Europe is getting pretty big, but still the best horse trainers are over here.”

He added that his parents wanted to buy him a good horse, “because if you don’t have the horsepower over here, you don’t have a chance to compete.”

They flew to the National Reiners Breeder’s Classic last year and found Wimpys Lil Star (Wimpys Little Step x Starlights Reba) who was 4 at the time, then they put him in training with Jordan Larson to Jordan to show in the Derby.

“I’ve just graduated from high school, so I’m going to take a year off to ride, then I’ll fly back and forth for the horse shows,” he said.

Loesch, who had ridden Wimpys Lil Star a handful of times but had never shown the stallion, finished 12th with a 215.5 in their first appearance at the High Roller Reining Classic. Loesch may have come the farthest to compete in the $40,000 Added Conquistador Whiz Non Pro Derby, but it was Otto Stanislaw DVM of Phoenix, Ariz., on his 6-year-old Miss Silver Gun (Colonels Smokingun x Miss Taris Rey) who dominated it, marking a 221.5 — and winning every division he was eligible en route to $14,590 in earnings.

“She’s awesome,” the humble Dr. Stanislaw said of his gorgeous gray mare. “A monkey on her back could have done the same thing. Last year, Martin Muehlstaetter won the Intermediate Open Derby here. I did not show her in the Derby here last year, just the Non Pro Open and I won it on her last year. I love coming to this show.”

Casey Deary of Weatherford, Texas, and Americasnextgunmodel (Colonels Smoking Gun x Cee Dun It Do It) marked a 226.5, edging out Andrea Fappani and Son Of A Twisted Gun who marked a 225.0 to win the $70,000 Added Spooks Gotta Gun Open Futurity Level 4 bragging rights and a check for $12,870.80.

“Lili” holds a special place in Deary’s heart as he co-owns her with Dana Conrad.

“She’s a mare that we bought at the 2 year-old Futurity sale from David Silva — she’s the first one I get on every morning,” Deary said. “She’s a really, really great-minded mare. She loves her job, easy to ride, easy to work with, very naturally talented. She had a little reaction to the Flu-Rhino vaccine two weeks ago, and nearly didn’t get to bring her. She basically had two days work between Cowtown Classic (where she was third in the Futurity) and here.”

Fappani and 5 year-old Smoking Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Glendas A Smokingun) continued their winning ways in the $70,000 Added Boom Shernic Open Derby Level 4. The duo went 5th out of 38 in the draw and their score of 230.5 could not be beaten for the rest of the class earning the pair a $12,521 payday.

Fappani and “Hamster”, as he is lovingly called by owners Michael and Michelle Miola of Silver Spurs Equine, LLC in Cave Creek, Ariz., have only been together since April of this year.

“I really liked the horse when I saw Brett (Stone) ride him,” he said. “I tried to buy him as a 3-year old, but of course they wouldn’t sell him. I always bugged Michael, Michelle and Brett to let me show him one time that I’d love to have a shot to try him.”

“At the beginning of the year, Brett and I were talking about working together on me riding the top (Silver Spurs) show horses and trying to select some of the top prospects in years to come, and what Brett was thinking about doing,” Fappani added. “In that talk, Brett said he had come to the point where he realized he had done what he wanted to do with the horses and he had had success with Smoking Whiz, but he wanted to give him a shot with another trainer and see what the horse could do.”

Fappani said there was really no plan.

“I started riding him before the NRBC, and within a week of me riding him I took one of my three that I was riding out to make room for him because I fell in love with the horse right away,” he said. “The horse was everything I thought he would be.”

At every show, Fappani says, he is learning a little bit more about the horse — and it is showing in the results.

“At this show, he was as good as Reining By The Bay,” he said. “I wasn’t sure how he was going to be in the smaller arena because strong point is the circling part. I trusted him and I went as fast as he wanted to go and he held on good.”

Fappani compares him to a smaller version of Custom Legend.

“It’s the try that he has in the show pen,” said the trainer. “These are the only two horses in my life that I’ve ever marked a 1 ½ in the circles consistently, and I’ve been doing it with this horse as much as Custom Legend — both in big arenas and small arenas.”

A quick-moving storm added excitement, providing floods, loud thunder and a direct lightening strike to the hotel, rivaling any show on the Strip.

MORE RESULTS: See website http://bit.ly/210A_REIN

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