National Reining Breeders Classic Champions

SG Frozen Enterprise and Andrea Fappani follow up their 2014 AQHA reining world championship with an exciting NRBC win.

From the Slide Street E-Journal

The 18th edition of the National Reining Breeders Classic open finals ended in an exciting run-off for the title. Sam Schaffhauser and Gunners Tinseltown, by Colonels Smoking Gun out of former NRBC champion Miss Tinseltown, led the finals until the second-to-last set with a 227. 
Then Casey Deary and ARC Gunna Sparkya lit up the Great Southwest Equestrian Center Coliseum, taking the lead by a half-point. He retained sole possession of the lead for only one horse, and then two-time NRBC champion Andrea Fappani and SG Frozen Enterprize, owned by Silver Spurs Equine, tied his score. 
Rules dictate that if one rider desires to run-off for the title, they must. Fappani, who won his first NRBC title and his first NRHA Futurity championship with run-offs, knew what he'd pick. "Unless I have a horse that I feel is running out of air or that I think it isn't safe for either horse to run, I will run it off. I just don't do co-championships: It's not in my blood. I always run-off, and it paid off tonight," he said. 
Only a half-point separated the run-off scores, and the Scottsdale, Arizona, trainer left Katy with his third NRBC open championship. 
The title came with the big check made out for $75,000, and included a year's use of a trailer from Twin Cities Featherlite, a custom saddle from Bob's Custom Saddles, a pair of Rios of Mercedes boots, a Whisper Bit, a champion cap from Just Stitch It, a $100 gift certificate from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies, a WonPad, a saddle pad from Yucca Flatts, a $50 gift certificate to Thomas Moore Feed, a Gist Silversmiths buckle and numerous awards and signature crystal from the NRBC. 
SG Frozen Enterprise has a different story than many horses competing at the NRBC. The stallion, by Frozen Sailor out of RS Rose SJ, is Italian born and bred. As a 3-year-old, he won the Italian Futurity and caught Fappani's attention. 

"He is a third or fourth generation Italian horse, and I looked at him as a stallion to bring to the states and be an outcross. I convinced his owner at the time, Marco Franchini, to send him over here. It took quite a bit of money because the horse wasn't enrolled in the National Reining Horse Association or the NRBC, so he invested a lot in the horse and sent him over here," Fappani recalled. After a few months the horse sold to Silver Spurs as a stallion prospect. 
Fappani typically only shows horses he's had since their 2-year-old year, but he made an exception for SG Frozen Enterprize. "He's been a special horse from the beginning. It took some serious work to get together. This horse was trained different than what I'm used to and it took about a year to really get together." 
When the pair won the 2014 AQHA world championship in junior reining, Fappani knew that they had clicked. "I had gotten so frustrated because he was always scoring between a 222 and a 225, and I knew he was a horse that could mark more than that. When we won (the AQHA world championship with a record score of 229.5), I knew there was no confusion between us anymore, and he's been solid ever since," Fappani said. "I had a feeling he was going to be good. Now that I know him and he knows me we're going to be a good team." 

While Deary admitted he wouldn't have voted to run-off for the title, he commended Fappani for his decision. "My horse is 4 and I knew Andrea's horse is older and so broke and Andrea is a great showman. He could probably have come in here again and his horse would do that same strong run, so he made the right call - he's the master of it." 
Deary's horse, by Gunnatrashya and out of Sailing Spark, is owned by Rabboni Reining Horses, and won $51,000 for the reserve title. "Mr. Arcese raised him, and I got him the first part of his 3-year-old year. He's been just a dream to ride. He wants no trouble and is the quietest stallion to be around – you'd think he was a gelding because he has such an incredible brain," Deary said. 
While the win would have come with even more prizes and money, Deary noted he wasn't disappointed. "There is no way I could be upset with how it turned out. To have two 4-year-olds in the finals like I did, and to have them both step up and play with these guys means that disappointment is not even in the picture." He added, "I couldn't be prouder of either of them. They're both incredible horses and both have two years of eligibility left!" 
Deary's other entry, Magnum Starlights (Magnum Chic Dream-Starlights Sugarwhiz), owned by Antler Ridge Ranch, won the preliminary round. He returned in the finals and finished in a three-way tie for fifth place, earning $20,000 and pushing Magnum Chic Dream exceptionally to the NRHA $3 million sire mark. 

Open Level 3 and 2 
Taking the championship of open Levels 2 and 3, and finishing eighth in the Level 4, was Joao Felipe Lacerda and Gunner Dun It Again, by Colonels Smoking Gun out of Dun Its Deja Vu. All total, the win netted a check for $50,090, as well as a saddle sponsored by Martin Saddlery, a saddle sponsored by Pard's Western Shop, two Whisper Bits from M3 Products, $200 in gift certificates to Santa Cruz Biotechnology, $100 in gift certificates to Thomas Moore Feed, two, two Gist Silversmiths buckles, two championship caps from Just Stitch It, and the signature NRBC crystal trophies. 
Gunner Dun It Again was recently flown to Texas from Brazil. Owner Paulo Tripolani promised Lacerda that if he and Gunner Dun It Again won the Brazilian Futurity, the two could travel to the NRHA futurity in December. "He actually got hurt and wasn't able to show at the futurity, but then he won the Super Stakes in Brazil last November," noted Andre Tripoloni, Paolo's son. "That was his first show, and this was the second. We are very proud." 
Lacerda noted that winning at the NRBC was exciting. "To come from Brazil and bring the horse here is a dream come true. We had a mistake in the first stop, but then we had a lot of fun," he said. 
Tripoloni added that, as of now, the plan is for the stallion and Lacerda to stay in the States for one to two more years. "We hope he can compete at more derbies and more NRBCs, and then we will see," he said. 
Trevor Dare and Sugar Pop Step Ahead took Reserve honors in both levels with a 221.5, winning more than $19,830 for owner Thiago Boechat. That score also tied for twelfth place in the Level 4, garnering an additional $12,587. Sugar Pop Step Ahead is by Wimpys Little Step out of Sugar Pop Gun. 

Open Level 1 
It was her first time to compete at the NRBC, and the first time to show Wimpys Wrangler AC, so winning the Level 1 open championship was a major victory for Marie Kleiner. Kleiner, who works for Xtra Quarter Horses of Purcell, Oklahoma, rode Wimpys Wrangler AC, by Wimpys Little Step out of Wranglers Gay Bar, to a 218, winning $3,249 for owner Courtney Battison. 
"It felt really awesome to win here," Kleiner said. "I love the NRBC!" 
The finals pattern was a perfect set up for the stallion. "I was really excited to get to run in. He's a big stopper so I was happy to get to do that. He stopped really big and backed up fine. I asked him to turn and he was a little fidgety in the middle, which scared me just a little. He circled really well and when we got to our stops he finished strong and was really fun," she recalled. 
Wimpys Wrangler AC is the first reining horse for owner Courtney Battison, who's well known in the hunter under saddle industry. "She wants to get into reining, and this is her first reining horse – she actually just bought him three weeks ago. She was able to be here and was very excited, too," Kleiner said. "This is an incredible horse and he is really fun." 
The Level 1 champion received a custom saddle from Kyle Tack, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, a WonPad, a Whisper Bit from M3 Products, a champion ball cap from Just Stitch It, a $50 gift Certificate to Thomas Moore Feed, and signature NRBC crystal. 
Riding Chiquitas Valentine for Dell and Terri Hendricks, Colin Fitzpatrick won the Level 1 reserve championship with a 217, earning $1,977. Chiquitas Valentine is by Starlights Wrangler out of Spanish Dun It.

Prime Time 
Topping the open Prime Time was Duane Latimer, who piloted Da Vintage to a handicapped score of 222.5. The win netted a check for $1,950, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, a champion ball cap from Just Stitch It, a WonPad, a $50 gift certificate from Thomas Moore Feed, and the custom bicycle. The pair also placed third in the Level 3, garnering an additional $10,692 for owner Harper Conner of Dallas. 
Da Vintage, by A Sparkling Vintage out of Cowboys Belle Bar, was shown as a 3-year-old by a couple different people, before taking a break from showing during 2014. "This is really his first time to show since his 3-year-old year. It's the first time I showed him for real," explained Latimer, a former NRBC champion who surpassed $2 million in lifetime NRHA earnings at the 2014 NRBC. "He was good here. He wasn't perfect in the preliminary round, but he was really good in the finals and I am very happy with him." 
Latimer has ridden just a couple horses for the Conner family. "They're customers of Tom McCutcheon, and I work for Tom. I got this horse and rode him a little bit last fall and got along with him, so we all decided that I'd ride him here - especially since I am eligible for the Level 3 and Prime Time." 
There was a three-way tie for third place in the Prime Time between another Duane Latimer entry, Debbie Brown, and Casey Hinton. Each marked a 220 and received a check for $1,150. Latimer rode Taking A Rest (Smart Spook-Plenty Of Rest) for Wagman Ranch Inc. Debbie Brown rode Belle Starr Dun It (Hollywood Dun It-Chic Olena Starbuck) for Turnabout Farm Inc., and Hinton rode Ruf Revolution (Einsteins Revolution-Lil Chic Peppy), a horse he owns with his wife Kathy. 

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Non-Pro Level 4
This year was the largest non-pro in NRBC history, and the combined preliminary and finals payout of $269,473 proved that. 

Taking top honors and the $30,000 check was Sarah Locker who rode Heavy Duty Chex to earn a score of 220. “I don’t think there are any words to explain how excited I am. First of all that’s the first time that I’ve marked a 220, so that’s a really big deal, but then to win something like this is unbelievable.”

Locker made her NRBC debut in 2014, but her entry was a little sore before she showed. Although the possibility of her horse getting sore was at the back of her mind, she hoped she’d have better luck. “I’d say better luck is definitely what we had today,” she shared following the awards ceremony, where she received a bevy of prizes including a two-horse trailer from Twin Cities Featherlite, a saddle from Martin Saddlery, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, Rios of Mercedes boots, a WonPad from WonPad, a Whisper Bit from M3 Products, a championship ball cap from Just Stitch It, a $100 gift certificate from San Juan Ranch & Santa Cruz Biotechnology, a saddle blanket from Yucca Flats, a $50 gift certificate from Thomas Moore Feed, as well as the traditional crystal trophies and other awards from the NRBC.

Locker’s family raised Heavy Duty Chex, by their stallion Nu Chex To Cash and out of the good mare Rondas Tio. “Nu Chex To Cash is sterile now; there won’t be many more babies to compete so it’s really special that I have him. We still have his mother and she’s in her 20s now. She has her own stall in the barn and is very special too,” Locker said. “It’s special when you win a big event but it means so much more when you’ve raised them. This horse and I have been together from the beginning.”

Locker showed the 4-year-old at the National Reining Horse Association Futurity last December, placing seventh in the non-pro Level 4. “This was our first big show of the year so it was a heck of a way to kick it off. He just keeps getting better and better for me so I’m excited to see how the rest of the year unfolds.”

Locker and Heavy Duty Chex finished third in the preliminary round, and she noted that the horse’s talent put even more pressure on her. “I was so nervous before I went into the pen. I’ve been like that ever since I was a little kid – I’d get so nervous I’d almost cry. I knew that I was on a great horse and I think that made it harder, because as a rider you want to show everything that the horse has and his ability, so you want to do the best job by them. I was nervous about doing that but I think I did OK!” she said with a smile.

Locker thanked her family members, who unfortunately weren’t able to attend the show. “My brother was here for the preliminaries but had to leave for another horse show because he’s a trainer, too. My sister is on her way down now. My parents had to collect studs today and they were taking breaks in between breeding and checking mares so they could watch me. I definitely thank my family because they’re a huge support system for me. I also thank the company I work for, Santa Cruz Animal Health, for letting me be here and set up a booth for them and have a good week here at the show.”

She noted that she also receives a lot of support from her horse show family. “Casey Deary and his whole crew – it’s an amazing family and group to be part of. Thank you to all my friends and everyone for cheering for me. The horse show family is so huge so you never run out of people to thank and be appreciative of having in your life.”

So how does Locker feel about the NRBC? “It’s such a cool place. I didn’t get to experience a lot of it last year, but it is a great facility and the staff is great. Being here as a sponsor, vendor, and exhibitor I’ve gotten to experience all the different parts of this show and it’s just incredible. You get treated so great and everyone involved with putting on the show does such a great job.” She added, “Even with all the crazy weather we’ve had there have been plenty of places to ride and warm up so you’re prepared to show – regardless of what the weather is doing. It’s a very well-run event, for sure.”

There was a three-way tie for the non-pro Level 4 reserve championship between Cade McCutcheon, Kelle Smith, and Josh Hattig. Each rode a horse by Colonels Smoking Gun, marked a 219.5, and took home checks for $14,650. McCutcheon was riding Custom Made Gun, out of Custom Made Dunit, owned by McQuay Stables, while Smith rode her horse, Dunit The Gunner Way, out of Dun It The Hard Way.

Non-Pro Level 3
Former NRBC non-pro champion Josh Hattig rounded out the three-way tie on Gunners Snappy Chic. Eligible for the Level 3, Hattig took sole possession of that title, winning an additional $9,745. “I can’t lie, I wish I would have won the Level 4, but this is a great horse and I am blessed to be able to do this. I thank God – he’s No. 1 because this is just a luxury that we get to do. I thank my dad, mom, wife, her parents, and Yonathon Baruch who has helped get the mare ready the last six weeks,” he said.

During the award ceremony, Hattig received a custom saddle from Kyle Tack, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, a champion ball cap from Just Stitch It, a Whisper Bit from M3 Products, a WonPad from WonPad, a $100 gift certificate from San Juan Ranch & Santa Cruz Biotechnology, and a $50 Thomas Moore Feed gift certificate.

Hattig recounted his finals run, noting that while the mare stopped big on the first maneuver, she caught her front right in the stop. “She caught it just a tiny bit, which is why she fell forward. I think that made her not want to step really hard turning, so she didn’t turn quite as hard as she can,” he said. “I haven’t shown a really good horse in the last three years so I was a little bit rusty in some of my guiding but she circled really good and changed great. She got set in her large fast a little to the right. I wanted to go a little more but that’s what she had to give today because I think it’s about 94 percent humidity.”

Hattig’s family raised Gunners Snappy Chic, and her dam, Chics Miss Snap, won the NRBC Non-Pro Mare Award and placed fourth in the non-pro in 2008. “That mare has had three or four babies that have been good. This one was really great in the go-rounds at the NRHA Futurity, but hurt her right rear before the finals. I knew she’d be ready to roll. We sent her to Yonathon six weeks ago to get tuned up and acclimated. She has a huge, huge heart and is a huge stopper. She’s a really big turner and she’s become really good at circling. It seems like every day of every week she’s a little bit better and a little bit better, so I think she’ll just continue to improve,” he said. 

Non-Pro Level 2 & 1
The NRBC was Chandler Winard’s second derby, and it was the first time for the 16-year-old to compete at the show, ever. However, she made the finals for non-pro Levels 1-4, finished as the champion of Levels 1 and 2, reserve champion in Level 3, and tied for fifth in the Level 4. All total, she’s taking $22,123 back to Scottsdale, Arizona. 

She and her horse, Tags Golden Star, marked a 219 in the finals, having marked a 217 in the preliminary round. “I felt a lot of pressure but I just told myself it was just another show and I didn’t get too nervous. He was really good in the preliminary round and I just wanted to do the same thing in the finals – but he did even more for me,” she said. 

Winard’s family purchased Tags Golden Star, by Whiz N Tag Chex and out of Boogies Smart Star, in September of 2014 at the High Roller Reining Classic. “I got to ride him a couple times in April and loved him and I never gave up on having him. I tried a lot of other horses but we bought him,” she said. 

With eyes now focused on the NRHA Derby, the victory at the NRBC has given the high school sophomore another shot of confidence. “I’m really excited about it now,” she said. 

Winnard won a custom saddle from Continental Saddlery, a custom saddle from Bob’s Custom Saddles, $100 in gift certificates from Thomas Moore Feed, champion ball caps from Just Stitch It, two Whisper Bits from M3 products, two WonPads from WonPad, and gifts and prizes from the NRBC including the signature crystal trophies.

She thanked her parents Debra and Neal for buying Tags Golden Star. “They always support me. I also thank my trainer Dan Huss and his wife Wendy for always making sure we’re ready to go and for supporting me. I also thank all the people who have supported me throughout my whole horse career.”

Non-Pro Prime Time
Harper Conner and Julie Ridgeway tied for the reserve championship of the non-pro Level 2. Both entries also placed in Levels 3 and 4, earning a total of $13,071. Conner rode Vintage Glamour, by A Sparkling Vintage out of Starjac Miss, while Ridgeway rode Nu Pops, by Nu Chex To Cash out of Sugar Pop Gun 1998. 

Ridgeway and Nu Pops also won the reserve title in the non-pro Level 1 and the championship of the non-pro Prime Time, collecting an additional $2,659. “I’m so very excited. This horse is fabulous. I was very lucky and fortunate because I have this great horse who did everything I asked of him – I was just along for the ride,” she said. “Last year was my first year to show here in the derby. It’s my favorite show of the year. I think the best horses and riders are here at the NRBC and I feel grateful to be a participant and to have done well.”

Ridgeway noted, “I am very thankful to Matt Armenta and Ricky Nicolazzi for helping get my horse prepared for this event. I also thank Todd Sommers because he started this horse and I am thankful to him as well.”

Along with some big money, Ridgeway won a Gist Silversmiths buckle, a champion ball cap from Just Stitch It, a WonPad from WonPad, a $50 gift certificate from Thomas Moore Feed, and signature crystal and prizes from the NRBC.

Michael Garnett and Blo Gun finished as the Prime Time reserve champions with a score of 218.5, collecting $1,001. Blo Gun is by Colonels Smoking Gun out of The Hot Jewel.