Ten days of intense, world-class competition culminated Saturday, Dec. 7, with the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open Finals. The NRHA Futurity, held at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, featured top horses and riders from across the globe.
When the curtain fell as the final horse left the arena, it was 19-year-old Cade McCutcheon who emerged victorious, not only winning the Level 4 Championship but also tying for the Reserve title.
It’s been a banner year for Cade McCutcheon, who turned in his non pro card in January to become an NRHA Professional. Prior to the NRHA Futurity, he had won more than $706,616 in lifetime earnings, not including the $307,500 he won in August at the inaugural Run for a Million event.
Still, he wasn’t counting on winning the Level 4 Open Championship at the NRHA Futurity. “I didn’t expect to win it my first time here as a professional, but that’s everyone’s goal,” he said.
McCutcheon had three shots at finishing in the top spot of the Level 4: Deja Vu With A Gun, Super Marioo, and Guns And Dynamite. He competed first on Deja Vu With A Gun (owned by David Silva), marking a 212.5.
Next up was Super Marioo, and the pair scored a 224.5. “I ran in and hit my first stop. I got turned big, and before I loped off, I thought to myself, ‘Just make sure you lope off on the correct lead. Don’t screw it up,’” he recalled. “That horse was there for me the whole way. There are a couple things that could have been better, but overall, what can I say?”
Just five horses later, NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida entered the arena on the 2018 NRHA Markel Insurance Prospect Sale high seller Shine Colt Shine. With gracefully executed circles and powerful stops, it looked like McCutcheon’s lead could be in jeopardy. When the score was announced, Flarida and Shine Colt Shine fell just short with a 223.5.
Competing in the third from last set, McCutcheon rode Guns And Dynamite. The 19-year-old trainer piloted the colt through another great run, resulting in a 223.5, tying Flarida for second.
After that, McCutcheon couldn’t have told you how the last seven horses scored, but he could have given you an update on college football. “I went to the bus and was watching Wisconsin vs. Ohio State and doing my best not to pay attention to it. I was just waiting for my mom to call me,” he admitted.
Unbeknownst to him, his scores held, and McCutcheon won not only the Level 4 with Super Marioo, but also Levels 3 and 2, for $196,175 in earnings. Super Marioo’s nominator, Hillis Akin Family Partnership received $9,808.
McCutcheon also tied for Reserve in the Level 4 on Guns And Dynamite, and took sole possession of the title in Levels 3 and 2. Combined with his earnings on Deja Vu With A Gun, McCutcheon’s winnings for the evening came to $341,899. That unofficially pushed him to NRHA Million Dollar Rider status.
Super Marioo, owned by Story Book Stables, is by Gunnatrahya out of HA Chic A Tune. McCutcheon began riding the colt in early fall when he was purchased from Gunny Mathison by Freddy Brassfield. “Gunny sold me this horse this summer. He did a phenomenal job training him, and I just had to pick him up and do some of my things. Without Gunny, this never would have happened,” McCutcheon said.
Shortly after McCutcheon showed the colt at the Best of the West Futurity, he received a phone call from Brenda Joyce, owner of Story Book Stables. “She said she wanted to have a horse with me and asked about Super Marioo. She bought him from Freddy, and has been amazing to work with ever since,” he said. “This is the first horse I’ve had with her, and I’m really excited for the future, whatever she decides to do.”
McCutcheon and Kirstin Booth’s Guns And Dynamite, by Gunners Special Nite out of Chic Olena Starbuck, won a total of $145,724 across the three levels. Nominator Turnabout Farms received $7,286.
“I thank my parents and grandparents for doing whatever it takes to make me as good as I can be,” he said. “There are hundreds of people who played into this, and I’m lucky I had the right horse to win tonight.”
Flarida and Shine Colt Shine pocketed a check for $110,752 for the Level 4 Open Reserve title, with nominator Sally Amabile receiving $5,637. The Shine Chic Shine colt, out of Gunners Miss Oak, lived up to the high expectations of being the 2018 Markel Insurance Prospect Sale high seller. The colt is owned by Gaynia Revenberg.
National Reining Horse Association
View article on NRHA.com