By Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse JournalDecember 1, 2012
After a runoff, Mandy McCutcheon and Jesse Asmussen became co-champions of the non-pro division of the 2012 NRHA Futurity. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos from the non-pro and from the Hometown Heroes Slide, scroll to the slide show at the bottom of the page.
The judges were tough November 30 at the 2012 National Reining Horse Association Futurity.
After 31 horses ran in the non-pro Level 4 finals, two were tied for first with a 218.5.
Jesse Asmussen of Anderson, Iowa, and Mandy McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas, would have to compete in a runoff to determine which one of them would take home the boatload of NRHA prizes, including a trailer, for first place.
Because Mandy had worked first in the initial go-round, she would ride first in the rideoff. Aboard Customized Gunner, a 2009 buckskin mare bred by Mandy’s parents’ McQuay Stables in Tioga, Texas, Mandy made her move.
Customized Gunner is by Colonels Smoking Gun, known as “Gunner,” and Custom Made Dunit by Hollywood Dun It.
The crowd was enthusiastic and loud, but the 3-year-old mare was tired after a long week of go-rounds and finals. The run scored a 216, leaving enough of an open door that Jesse could sneak in behind and close it.
“I think I safety-ed up a little too much,” Mandy said. “I’ve been in four run-offs before. But she did enough big things to make up for it. She made up for some of my mistakes.”
Jesse was riding Smart Chuka, a 2009 bay stallion by Smart Spook-Chuka Chic by Smart Chic Olena. He was bred and is owned by Doug Allen of the United Kingdom.
Jesse and his stallion also had a few bobbles in their ride, and the judges awarded a matching 216.
In the alley, awaiting the results, Jesse and Mandy just laughed.
“It was exciting to be in a runoff with Mandy,” Jesse said later. “That’s always fun. We decided to split the trailer, me get it for six months and her for six months.”
The other prizes will also be divided, they said.
Mandy was also excited about the performance of her son, Cade, who made the non-pro finals for the first time.
Later November 30, celebrities and local firefighters and police officers took turns riding freestyle reining and patterned reining in a Hometown Heroes Slide to raise money for the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
Celebrities included performing artist Lyle Lovett on his own stallion Smart And Shiney, and Formula 1 racecar driver Michael Schumacher on Smart Spook. Michael’s performance included live GPS-style narration by Francesca Sternberg.
More Journal Coverage from the NRHA Futurity
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