Let’s Hear it for the Girl . . .November 1, 2020
Dawson Wins Snaffle Bit Futurity
Contributed Courtesy NRCHA, Photography by Primo
The Snaffle Bit Futurity is much more than a horse show. The event encompasses ancillary activities like the Mars Equestrian™ National Finals Cow Dog Rodear, the DT Horses and American Rope Horse Association Futurity and a host of Snaffle Bit Futurity Youth Activities sponsored by Bet He Sparks that range from Leadline to Buckaroo Flag Classes. Additionally, Western Bloodstock Sales provide the perfect chance to shop the elite reined cow horse market, while the Snaffle Bit Futurity Sponsor Showcase offers the finest in tack, clothing, equipment and more.
The atmosphere on Open Snaffle Bit Futurity finals night inside Will Rogers Coliseum was nothing short of adrenaline-charged as fans were treated to one dynamic performance after another at the $1.3 million National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity, presented by Metallic Cat.
The crowning of Open, Cinch Intermediate Open and Limited Open champions represented the dreams of owners, breeders and trainers coming to fruition. In typical reined cow horse fashion it all came down to the fence work.
Open Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion
The leaderboard was stacked as Open finals fence work began. Madeleine Claire Fountain’s Ricato Suave (Metallic Cat x Hip Hip Sue Rey x Dual Rey) and Clay Volmer held down the No. 1 spot with a 440.5 (223 herd/ 217.5 rein), but Sarah Dawson and both of the great horses she made the finals on were hot on his heels. Dawson ranked second, trailing by one point, with Smart Chic An Tari (219 herd/ 220 rein) owned by Aaron Ranch. She was sitting third on Sheri Jamieson’s mare Selvarey (216 herd/ 220.5 rein) with a 436.5.
Last out in the second set it was SnapDragons (Gunnatrashya x Catnaps x High Brow Cat), ridden by Zane Davis for Shane Law, that took command of the lead with a scalding 222 down the fence and the resulting 656.5 composite (215.5 herd/ 219 rein). Ricato Suave (Metallic Cat x Hip Hip Sue Rey x Dual Rey) and Volmer were first up in the third set, posting a 216 to join SnapDragons and Davis at the top of the leaderboard with a 656.5. No. 26 of 28 in the draw, it was Dawson and Selvarey who rose to the challenge, executing their fence run to perfection. Selvarey and Dawson were rewarded with a score of 224 by the judges. Dawson’s resulting 660 composite on Selvarey cinched the 2020 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity championship by a three and one half point margin for earnings of $125,000. SnapDragons and Davis shared the reserve championship with Ricato Suave and Volmer, each of whom earned $80,000.
Surrounded by friends and family, including her 6-month-old daughter Hadley Grace and her husband Chris, Dawson explained how the win was quite special considering that Selvarey’s dam Shine Smarter, by WR This Cats Smart, was her first Open Snaffle Bit Futurity finalist. Selvarey is a Dual Rey daughter and is a product of Dawson’s parents Richard and Cheryl Winters’ breeding program. Dawson describes the mare as having been exceptional from the start.
“She’s been such an easy mare to train, she tries really hard and she hates to take a wrong step. She’s a dream to train, she’s awesome,” said Dawson.
The humble champion not only credited her horse, but also her spouse and fellow NRCHA Professional, Chris, for his role in her win. “My husband, Chris, he’s just such a support system to me,” she said. “We ride and train horses together all day long and if it weren’t for him and having his eyeballs on me all the time I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Of her stellar finals performance Dawson explained that her mindset was simply to put forth a solid effort.
“Winning it wasn’t on my radar at all,” said Dawson. “I was just trying to put a clean, smooth run together and get as big a check as we can at that point. It comes together when you least expect it.”
The Other Champions
SJR Smooth Caddy (Smooth As A Cat x Sumkinda Pinkcadilac x Peptoboonsmal), owned by Stan Rowlan and ridden by Todd Fitch, took the CINCH Intermediate title and $30,000 home to Arbon, Idaho. SJR Smooth Caddy and Fitch scored a 653 (216.5 herd/ 217.5 rein/ 219 cow) during Friday night’s Cinch Intermediate and Limited Open Finals, which held strong through the Open finals. SJR Smooth Caddy was bred by San Juan Ranch.
It was a sweet victory for Sweet VooDoo Mama (Shiners Voodoo Dr x Very Smart Sweetheart x Very Smart Remedy) and Gusti Buerger in Fort Worth. Sweet VooDoo Mama and Buerger, of King Hill, Idaho, overtook the top spot in Limited Open competition thanks to a crowd-pleasing 217.5 in the cow work for a composite 651.5 (216 herd/ 218 rein) worth $16,270. Sweet VooDoo Mama is owned by J Pearson TTEE JWP TR 5/11/88, who is also the horse’s breeder.
The NRCHA presented special awards to the Open Futurity preliminary round high scores.
Five winning teams share the honor of High Score in the Herd Work preliminaries with matching scores of 219: I Got Cow Issues ridden by Spud Sheehan for owner C. Randy Massey; Smooth Cat Player 17 ridden by Corey Cushing for owner Lynne Wurzer; Smooth Lil Dream ridden by Justin Wright for Suzanne Rodoni Silverberg; Catelyn Walker’s stallion Teles Were Dreamin ridden by Ben Baldus; and Naked Lies, ridden by Clay Volmer for owner Bradley Rogers. Each receives a Gist Silversmith’s trophy buckle and Doc N Missy Oxbow Ranch Perpetual Trophy.
Three teams shared the Open Rein Work High Score Award in the preliminaries with identical scores of 223: Smart Time Out ridden by Nick Dowers for owner Jerry Beukelman; Smart Chic An Tari ridden by Sarah Dawson for the Aaron Ranch; and DT Hickorys Playtime ridden by Kelby Phillips for DT Horses LLC. Each winner receives a Gist Silversmith’s trophy buckle and NRHA trophy sponsored by Dry Creek Ranch and Jahn and Gregg LaFitte.
The Open Fence Work High Score Award as well as the 2020 Ladies Champion goes to Sarah Dawson riding Smart Chic An Tari for the Aaron Ranch thanks to their crowd-pleasing score of 225.5 in the prelims. The winning team receives a CR Morrison trophy, a Gist Silversmith’s trophy buckle and the Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Saddle.
Earning $7,002 as NRCHA Open Gelding Incentive champion as well as the AQHA Ranching Heritage Bred Horse Award was CR Woody Dig It (Woody Be Tuff x Cat Digs Lucinda x High Brow Cat), ridden by Corey Cushing for owner Dave Belson. CR Woody Dig It was bred by Center Ranch. As the high scoring gelding of the Snaffle Bit Futurity prelims, CR Woody Dig It and Cushing were awarded a custom saddle by DC Cow Horse Gear.
The Ranching Heritage Breeder Award was presented to Center Ranch.
For full results and videos of the runs, visit www.nrcha.com. 🎠