2017 NRHA Open Futurity Finals
Craig Schmersal pilots Face The Attitude to the Lucas Oil Level 4 open championship at the 2017 National Reining Horse Association Futurity.
December 3, 2017
From the National Reining Horse Association
The 2017 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship Show saw the highest scores of the week as the biggest stars shined in the Lucas Oil Level (L)4 Open Finals on Saturday night in front of a full house. The Open Futurity also witnessed a new champion crowned: Craig Schmersal. Though the NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider has won every NRHA major event, the NRHA Open Futurity Championship title was missing in his impressive show record.
Helping Schmersal conquer the Futurity crown was Face The Attitude (Pale Face Dunnit x Miss Lil Addy Tude), a mare owned by Hickory Creek Ranch LLC, bred by KC Performance Horses LLC, and nominated by Ginger Schmersal. The duo was the last draw in the Open Finals with a 224.5 to beat, posted by NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani – who unofficially surpassed the Five Million Dollar Mark – riding All American Vintage. Following a powerful ride that thrilled the crowd, Schmersal and his mare conquered the Championship with a 226.5 score.
“It’s taken a while to win the NRHA Futurity – 27 years – but we finally made it,” said Schmersal, who did not try to hide his tears. “This mare reminds me of her mom and dad, and I had the pleasure of showing them both. The babies by and out of them try so hard and are so steady. They have their brain and the ability,” said Schmersal. “This mare, ‘Ariel,’ has the ability, but most importantly she has the brain to back it up. You can have a horse with a great ability, and you can have a horse with a great brain, but if you don’t have it all, it’s just a hard deal.”
“I’m so grateful that nobody bought her,” said Craig’s wife, Ginger. “I put a high price on her, and I’m sure they thought I was nuts. In the last few months, she’s just bloomed and grew up. That brain has always been beautiful, but now she’s growing into what she is, and I am thrilled with this title that Craig so deserves.”
All American Vintage (A Sparkling Vintage x All Ruffed Up) – a stallion now owned by Cuoghi Reining Horses USA Inc., bred by Petra Zeitler, nominated by Harper Conner, and ridden by Fappani – settled for reserve honors. “This horse is amazing,” said Fappani. “I purchased him [previously] because my son Luca convinced me to buy him. He wasn’t the easiest horse to ride as a 2-year-old, and after the first time I rode him, I had decided not to buy him. Luca told me I should go back and try him again. We did, and I guess he was right! We won the All American Quarter Horse Congress Open Futurity and now earned the reserve Open Championship here. The mistakes we made tonight were determined by me, so at the end of the day, even though my goal is to win, I am happy with the way he went for me.”
Three horses tied to win the L3 Open Futurity Championship with a 220.5: You Gotta Be Dreamin (Magnum Chic Dream x Forever Going Steady) ridden by Adam Hendrickson (owned by Jake Dahl and Heather Dahl DVM, bred by Heather Dahl and nominated by Jake Dahl); NRHA/Markel Insurance Sale Graduate Shine Plum Shine (Shine Chic Shine x Plum Reyning) ridden by Marco Ricotta (owned by Story Book Stables, bred by Andre De Bellefeuille and nominated by Rosanne Sternberg); Mega Mag (Magnum Chic Dream x Big Gold Chex) a stallion ridden by Casey Hinton, owned by Kathy Hinton and Casey Hinton, and bred and nominated by Garth Hystad.
"I am on cloud 9 and this is awesome; this horse is awesome,” said NRHA Professional Hendrickson. “I don’t even know what to say right now. I’ve made the finals here, but this is by far the best run in the finals that I’ve had!”
“Then I thought ‘ok, now we’re going to stop,’ I looked down to stop and he anticipated the maneuver,” said an emotional Ricotta, who is quick to thank the owners for trusting him with their horse. “That’s where I messed up. The rest was really good and I’m thrilled. I’m very happy because I’ve won other major events but I’ve never won the NRHA Futurity in Oklahoma City! He is a super amazing horse with a whole lot of talent. He still has a lot to learn, because he is only three, but I cannot wait to show him in the aged events next year. I really wish my parents could have been here…I truly miss them a lot,” said the NRHA Professional.
“There are certain horses that really fit you and this one, ‘Elvis,’ fits me. I have a lot of confidence in this horse” said NRHA Professional Hinton, who also claimed the Prime Time Open Futurity Championship. “I did a clinic where I rode his mother, who at the time was owned by Garth Hystad who raised Elvis. His trainer, Devin Warren, thought he would be a good fit for me, so I tried him and he was correct.”
Earning the L2 championship with a 219 score was My Dream Gun (Chicks Smokingun x Custom Made Dream) with Morey Fisk in the saddle. Bred and nominated by Mark Gratny, the gelding is owned by Sabine Schmid. “I flew in five days before the first go-round and got to know him a little bit,” said Fisk. “I flew in, got to know him, and then had some fun and showed. I was just trying to stay quiet and enjoy the ride. I reached my goal of making the finals, so I was just having fun and just trying to do things right. It all worked out.”
Reserve honors in the L2 Open Futurity division, a point behind the winners, went to NRHA Professional Jonathan Gauthier and Dreaminintinseltown (Hollywoodstinseltown x This Chicsdundreamin), a stallion owned by Sue Henson bred and nominated by Rhodes River Ranch.
With a 217, NRHA Professional Vanessa Strottman riding Cashing In Diamonds (Lil Joe Cash x Diamond Steppin Whiz), an NRHA/Markel Insurance Sale consignment owned by Stefano Calcagnini - bred and nominated by Green Valley Ranch - took home the L1 Open Futurity Championship. “We tried to put her through the NRHA/Markel Insurance Prospect Sale at the Futurity last year, but her preview was so good that I knew she was special, and I decided at that point that I wanted to show her if she didn’t sell for a lot of money. We ended up bringing her back home and I’ve gotten to show her. She’s been pretty awesome and by far the best horse I’ve ever shown,” said the NRHA Professional.
A half-a-point behind, NRHA Professional Joshua Crawley and Gunnamoonya (Gunnatrashya x Shining Moonstone) – a mare bred by Andre De Bellefeuille, owned and ridden by Joshua Crawley – took reserve honors. “She felt really good in there tonight,” said Crawley. “Stopping is her biggest maneuver, so to run in and get a good maneuver accomplished right away was important. I tried to play smart and stay out of the penalty box, and she handled everything great; she was really fun to show,” said Joshua Crawley. “To feel my horse try that hard and have that kind of run, and be that good, was incredible. It is a long two weeks here and three runs is a lot on a 3-year-old. I was just thrilled with her.”
Making history at the 2017 NRHA Futurity & Adequan® NAAC Show were the following riders and owners (unofficial):
Tom McCutcheon crossed his Million Dollar Owner mark.
Total before the Non Pro Finals: $950,437.67
The following horses helped him cross:
Best Nite Ever – L4 Champion - $40,159.91
One Stormy Nite – L4 7th Place & Youth Futurity Champion - $12,940.25
This Chics Nite – L4 9th Place – $7,923.74
A Special Sidekick – L4 21st Place, L3 12th Place, L2 7th Place, L1 6th Place, & Y 5th Place - $13,448.27
Whizkey N Jewels – L4 18th Place & Y 3rd Place - $4,352.78
Shawn Flarida - $6,047,064.95
Total before the Open Finals: $5,956,015.05
Mr Masota Star – 3rd Place L4 - $69,876.40
Missin My Tinsel – 9th Place L4 - $21,173.50
Andrea Fappani - $5,061,176.53
Total before the Open Finals: $4,938,326.14
All American Vintage – 2nd Place L4 - $113,936.75
Lil Patron – 26th Place L4 - $8,913.68
Silver Spurs Equine - $1,022,712.56
Total before the Open Finals: $944,532.14
Xtra Dun Step – 3rd Place L4 - $69,876.40
Xtra Gotta Step – 31st L4 - $8,304.02
The 2017 NRHA Level 4 Open Futurity Champion received a Silver Spurs custom saddle, a custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle, Anderson Bean boots, Classic Equine Contour Pedic Reiner, Bluebonnet Feed, a SmartPak Gift Card, a Shorty’s Caboy Hattery certificate and tote bags courtesy of KO Trading.
The Level 4 Champion also took home a four-horse slant gooseneck trailer for the use of one year courteously of Twin Cities South Trailers the official trailer of NRHA, a custom Italian leather headstall courtesy of Conqueror Art.
The Level 4 Champion Rider and Owner will each receive a beautiful, diamond Champion ring from MS Diamonds TX. The top ten in the Level 4 Open all received a diamond pin from MS Diamonds TX.
The 2017 NRHA Level 3 Open Futurity Champion received a Bob’s Custom saddle, a custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle, Anderson Bean boots, Classic Equine Contour Pedic Reiner, Bluebonnet Feed, a SmartPak Gift Card, a Shorty’s Caboy Hattery certificate and tote bags courtesy of KO Trading.
The 2017 NRHA Level 2 Open Futurity Champion received a Continental Saddlery custom saddle sponsored by Arcese Quarter Horses, a custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle, Anderson Bean boots, Classic Equine Contour Pedic Reiner, Bluebonnet Feed, a SmartPak Gift Card, a Shorty’s Caboy Hattery certificate and tote bags courtesy of KO Trading.
The 2017 NRHA Level 1 Open Futurity Champion received a Continental Saddlery custom saddle, a custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle, Anderson Bean boots, Classic Equine Contour Pedic Reiner, Bluebonnet Feed, a SmartPak Gift Card, a Shorty’s Caboy Hattery certificate and tote bags courtesy of KO Trading.
The 2017 NRHA Prime Time Open Futurity Champion received an Equine Oasis custom saddle, a custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle, Anderson Bean boots, Classic Equine Contour Pedic Reiner, Bluebonnet Feed, a SmartPak Gift Card, a Shorty’s Caboy Hattery certificate and tote bags courtesy of KO Trading.
The 2017 Level 3 Open Reserve Champion received a Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle sponsored by Brandt Blanket Company, Classic Equine product, Bluebonnet Feed and a Grooming Kit from KO Trading.
The 2017 Level 2 Open Reserve Champion received a Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle sponsored by Martinez Ranches Inc, Classic Equine product, Bluebonnet Feed and a Grooming Kit from KO Trading.
The 2017 Level 1 Open Reserve Champion received a Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle sponsored by Custom Bits and Spurs by Maheu, Classic Equine product, Bluebonnet Feed and a Grooming Kit from KO Trading.
The 2017 Prime Time Open Reserve Champion received a Montana Silversmiths trophy buckle sponsored by Whoazone, Classic Equine product, Bluebonnet Feed and a Grooming Kit from KO Trading.Third place champions all received Classic Equine product and Bluebonnet Feed product, and fourth and fifth place received Classic Equine product.
For complete results visit nrhafuturity.com.