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Desert Rein

Cactus Reining Classic reaches new heights; Californians shine brightly

From Horsetrader staff reports - March 21st, 2013 - Show & Event News

John O’Hara photo

Bill Coburn and his Nics Little Bud won two events at the Cactus Reining Classic in Scottsdale, AZ.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Cactus Reining Classic enlivened reining with another high-powered winter event, and a number of Californians brought home rewarding victories to start off their year after the five-day competition at Westworld.

This event, part of a three-show series that includes Reining By The Bay and High Roller Reining Classic, posted a double-digit increase in entries over the previous year for the third straight year. The March 6-10 reining in the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center lured top American and international horse-and-rider combinations, some traveling from Italy, Brazil and Canada as well as all over the U.S.

A huge increase in prize money this year brought out the big guns — and a lot of them. Last year’s field of 69 competitors swelled to 93 this year, 52 of whom were in the Level 4.

The catch-phrase for this year’s three-show reining series is “Expect the Unexpected”,” and a conscious effort was made to increase recognition of Non Pro riders. Six of the eight Bob’s Custom Saddles were awarded in Non Pro divisions. In addition, the Four Seasons Silicon Valley Trifecta Non Pro Reining Challenge six-day vacation to the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele Lanai, Hawaii, which will be awarded to the Non Pro Derby horse-and-rider combination with the most prize money won in the Non Pro Derby Divisions in all three shows in the series.

John O’Hara photo

Suzanne Bond and her Blonde Lil Charmer captured three titles in Scottsdale.

Two Californian Non Pros made their presence felt, finishing in the Top 10 of 39 entries in the Conquistador Whiz $42,500-added Non Pro Derby. Bill Coburn of Sherman Oaks took his Nics Little Bud to a 219 that put him smack in the middle of a four-entry tie for fourth place, earning $2,355. Mandy McCutcheon of Tioga, Texas –- the only woman Million Dollar Reiner to date – captured the Non Pro Derby title on Customized Gunner, winning winner’s purse of $7,222.

On Coburn’s heels was Marilyn Scheffer of Riverside, who took her 6-year-old mare, This Belle’s Smokin, to a 218.5 that put them in a Non Pro Derby eighth-place tie with McCutcheon on Shiney Enterprise.

“I’m so proud of my horse’s performance,” said Scheffers, who is secretary of the California Reining Horse Association. “She stayed right with me through the entire pattern and made the run so much fun. My favorite part was her slow-down in her circles — she was really incredible.”

Scheffers, who picked up $1,413 with the placing, starts and trains her own reiners. She selected “Tink”, she says, because she was by Gunner. “He’s known for his style, ability, stamped looks — and most importantly for me – gentleness,” she said.

For about a year, Scheffers has been coached by trainer Bill Norwood of Temecula, who won the AQHA Reining Championship at the Cactus Reining Classic on Quinberry, owned by Peggy Aldrete. Scheffers says she’s looking forward next to the National Reining Breeder’s Classic in Katy, Texas, April 15-21.

John O’Hara photo

Tanya Jenkins took Story Book Stables' Supriseinadarkalley to the Open Circuit Championship.

When it came to added prize money this year from last, the bar was truly raised. The SmartPak Non Pro 7 Up maturity added prize money increased from $8,000 in 2012 to $10,000, The Conquistador Whiz Non Pro Derby added prize money increased from $23,000 to $42,500, and the Spooks Gotta Gun Open Derby added prize money increased from $42,000 to $67,500. This was not lost on the large contingent of exhibitors and trainers from Texas who were attending Cactus Reining Classic for the first time.

2010 World Equestrian Games double gold medalist and USEF Equestrian of the Year Tom McCutcheon applauded his wife’s performance.

“Mandy was good,” he said. “Her horse was real good. That’s a show horse. Every time that mare goes in the pen, she responds – she’s been great for her. Mandy showed her awesome.”

Mandy’s 223.5 was, in fact, the third-highest scoring run of the show.

The SmartPak $10,000 Added Open Maturity also had a $2,000 increase in prize money over 2012, and no one could be happier about it than Travis Wigen of North Ogden, Utah. Travis and Morris Kulmer’s 11-year old Dreamy Little Sailor (Magnum Chic Dream x Enjoy A Lena) marked a 220.5 for a clean sweep of the top spots in the SmartPak $10,000 Added Open 7Up Maturity Level 4, Intermediate Open and Limited Open taking home a total of $5,411 for their efforts as well as SmartPak gift certificates and a host of other prizes. Temecula trainer Tanya Jenkins and Berry Shiny (Shining Spark x Custom Red Berry) was Reserve Champion to Wigen in the Level 4, marking a 218.00 and taking home $2,141 in prize money. Jenkins also took home the Open circuit champion with Surpriseinadarkalley (Jerry Lees Surprise x Foxy Ali Cat).

John O’Hara photo

Denise Dente and Chrome Wheels take the Limited Non-Pro Championship title.

Tom McCutcheon, who finished in a four-way tie for fifth in the Spooks Gotta Gun $67,500 Added Open Derby Level 4 marking a 222.0 on Dun Git A Nicadual (Mister Nicadual x Gotta Git Ya Dun), spoke to the depth of talent in the class.

“This is the toughest pre-Derby in the country. It was an awesome group of horses and riders. It was tough, you had a little bobble and you weren’t going to get a prize. The judges were marking conservative, they weren’t giving big scores, and it still took a 220.5 to win a check. The judging was very consistent. I thought overall they did a really good job”.

When the dust settled on the Spooks Gotta Gun $67,500 Added Open Derby it was Custom Spook (Smart Spook x Custom Spinderella) and Marco Ricotta going 63rd in the draw that ended up on top of both the Open Level 4 and the Level 3 Intermediate divisions wining a total of $19,789.00 in prize money for Rancho Oso Rio’s Pat and Jim Warren. There was a tie for Reserve Champion in the Level 4 between 2010 WEG riders Tim McQuay on Hollywood Gotta Gun (Hollywood Dun It x Katie Gun) and Martin Meuhlstaetter on Blue Collar Tag (Whiz N Tag Chex x Kachina Oak Olena) both marking a 224 and taking home $7,367 each.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Press release by Alden Corrigan for RBB, Inc. contributed to this report.

MORE ONLINE: http://www.cactus-reining-classic.com

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