NRHA Non-Pro Futurity
Jesse Asmussen rides Blue Berry Jac to claim his first solo non-pro title at the 2014 National Reining Horse Association Futurity.
By Larri Jo Starkey | December 5, 2014
The American Quarter Horse Journal
Jesse Asmussen had always dreamed of riding in last in the finals of the National Reining Horse Association Futurity, grabbing a big score and the glory that goes with the win.
On December 5, Jesse did just that in the non-pro finals in Oklahoma City.
“It’s something you dream of, to get to go last – how many times have we watched Shawn (Flarida) run through the gate, be last in the draw and win a big show?” Jesse said. “It’s something that you always hope one day you can do that. And to have that actually happen? I’m still at a loss for words that it actually happened. “
In 2011, Jesse tied for the non-pro win on Smart Chuka with Mandy McCutcheon, but the ride on Blue Berry Jac was his first solo win.
“It was awesome,” Jesse said. “We were talking about which one meant more, and I think this one probably did because 1) it was solo this time and 2) because it always seems like it’s harder to try to repeat doing it. It was fun. It was a blast. I remember it more this time.”
Throughout the non-pro finals, the scores had been inching higher, and Jesse wasn’t even sure what number he had to beat when he rode into the Jim Norick Coliseum.
“When the (announcer) said 17 and everybody started going nuts, it was pretty fun,” Jesse said. “(The announcer) about gave me a heart attack, because two years ago, when I was here, when Mandy and I tied, he did that same pause to me and about gave me a heart attack and we tied, so I was going, oh, no, not again. Not again.”
Blue Berry Jac is a 2011 blue roan gelding by Wimpys Red Berry and out of Mainly Jac by Hollywood Jac 86. He was bred by Cottonwood Ranch of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is owned by Xtra Quarter Horses of Purcell, Oklahoma.
“This is a long horse show, and … he got better every day we were here,” Jesse said. “I focused on trying to make my (spin) start good and my stop good. And he was really good, right on both turns. He turned really good. He circled good. He can really run and likes to lope slow, so that was fun. He’s a really good lead changer. I couldn’t fault him anywhere, and he stops probably the best he’s ever stopped. He picked a good time to peak and be good.”
The horse was gelded in September and has progressed steadily since, said Jesse, who lives in Maquoketa, Iowa, and trains with Gabe Hutchins.
“I was happy,” Jesse said. “He’s been a really good horse. He’s super nice to be around. He never holds a grudge. He’s just one of those horses that you enjoy riding because he never gets mad and he takes everything. He tries to be good every day.”
Placing second was 14-year-old Cade McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas, on Starbucks Finale, a 2011 dun gelding by Smart Starbuck and out of Dun Its Déjà vu by Hollywood Dun It. He was bred by McQuay Stables Inc. of Tioga, Texas, and is owned by Cade’s parents, Tom and Mandy McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas.