Brad Buttrey Wins 2009 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity on Good Old Times

Brad Buttrey Wins 2009 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity on Good Old Times/Cookie Banuelos Wins Limited Open on Nitrocat

When Brad Buttrey began training Good Old Times, he had every intention for the talented gelding to become a Non Pro entry for his client, Natall Melo, at the 2009 National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity.

But as Futurity time got closer, Natall encouraged Buttrey to consider showing the horse in the Open. “I really, really wanted Natall to have this horse to show, because he’s always so great about letting other people show the really good horses,” said Buttrey. “But he kept after me, so I went ahead and showed him.”

The preliminary competition had a rocky start, but Buttrey and Good Old Times (Radar) managed to earn one of the last positions advancing to the finals. But when the finals competition began on Thursday morning with the herd work, it was clear that this entry would be one to watch. “I was lucky to survive the preliminaries. We cut two cattle in the herd work prelims that didn’t do much, and he’s one of those horses that will do what the cows do. So when they didn’t do much, he didn’t either,” he explained. “I’m just lucky were able to get another chance to show what he can do. He’s a good minded horse and has always been good. He never gets mad.”

Buttrey and Radar were 217 in the finals herd work, and followed that with a 214 in the rein work to go into the cow work tied for the lead. When Brad and Radar (Yellow Roan Of Texas x Seems Like Old Times) were finished with the cow work, they had earned a 646 composite. The Intermediate Open Championship was theirs, and came with a check for $18,486.

“I’m just very thankful that Natall talked me into showing this horse here. I’m looking forward to him getting to ride him, but having the opportunity to compete here on this caliber of horse means a lot,” noted Buttrey.

Winning the Intermediate Open Reserve Championship with a 637 was Phillip Ralls and Very Smart Smoke, owned by Billie Jo Baxley of Paso Robles, California. Ralls and the 3-year-old by Very Smart Remedy out of Lil Brown Freckle, collected $14,220.

Third place went to a first time Snaffle Bit Futurity exhibitor. Cookie Banuelos and his horse, Nitrocat also won the Limited Open Championship and collected over $17,500 for their finals performance.

While winning a title the first time to compete at the Snaffle Bit Futurity is a tremendous feat, the journey the pair took to get there makes their story even more compelling.  Banuelos, of Las Vegas, Nevada, has had much success as a cutter over the last ten years, and his lifetime NCHA earnings exceed $350,000. But when visiting the Snaffle Bit Futurity in 2008 with his fiancé, Katie Gaughan, and her parents, he decided to try his hand at showing cow horses.

“I told Katie that I wanted to try it. But that wasn’t what I had originally purchased Nitrocat for,” he said. While visiting with Grant Mitchell of Black Rock Ranch, Banuelos mentioned that he wanted a pretty stallion to take back to Mexico so he’d have a horse to ride when he visited his home country. Mitchell knew just the horse – a black stallion by Nitro Dual Doc who had fallen behind in training because of injuries.

“I hadn’t seen the horse, but I said I would take him. But that was in May of 2008, and Nitrocat was not being ridden. He finally got a ride to Las Vegas in October, and I fell in love with him, but I didn’t begin seriously riding him until February of 2009,” Banuelos explained.

Thanks to good friends, including former Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Champions Todd Bergen and Boyd Rice, Nitrocat and Banuelos were ready for their NRCHA debut. “He’s definitely going to get a break after this. We had to work really hard to get him ready to show, and he deserves a break.” He laughed, adding, “He’s definitely not going to go to Mexico anymore!”

Craig Boyd and Royal Tipster also achieved a 636.5 score, tying Banuelos. However, ties are determined by the higher cow work score, so Boyd became the Reserve Champion. Boyd and the Royal Fletch 3-year-old, owned by Mike and Kristine Le Grande, took home $5,688 for the Reserve Championship. Also entered in the Intermediate Open, their finals performance garnered an additional $10,428 for their third place tie.

The National Reined Cow Horse Association, the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Adequan®, Bob’s Custom Saddles, Cinch, Inc., Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, MD Barns, Platinum Performance, Inc., Nutrena, Quarter Horse News, Fort Dodge West Nile Innovator, Rios of Mercedes, Merial products ULCERGARD and EQUIOXX, Wide World of Horses, Markel Insurance Company, and the Silver Legacy Hotel, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at