by: Christy Egan
The 2015 Las Vegas High Roller Reining Classic pulled out all of the stops this year at the South Point Event Center, Hotel and Casino. This premier NRHA Reining show ran from Friday, September 11th through Sunday, September 20th. Though in eight years it has brought its producers, Brumley Management Group, LLC, much notoriety, in 2015 they took it to a completely new level. Which obliges the question …why? It’s already the fourth largest NRHA reining competition in the world, so why work so incredibly hard to make each year better than the last?
“My personal goal is to grow the sport of Reining at every single level,” says Amanda Brumley, show manager. “That means challenging everyone on my team to come up with exciting new ideas, improvements, and inspirational entertainment at every single show.”
With 2,478 recorded draws, nearly all divisions at this year’s show were up in entries, particularly the Youth group. Encouraged and excited about the new Youth Team Tournament offered by the Arabian Reining Breeders Classic, a prominent sponsor at all of the Brumley shows, nearly 60 young people signed up for the competition, including almost 20 in the Short Stirrup. The youth classes, which ran Saturday and Sunday on the first weekend, culminated in an awards ceremony and a great pizza party with Bingo on Sunday afternoon.
The Gold Medal Team members won $2,000 each in Scholarship money and consisted of Dun Its Legacy (Hollywood Dun It x Whiz N Darlin) and Riley Cachat, Reeboks Rerun (Reeboks Kid x Workmans Fisty) and Campbell McLeod, West Coast Hick and Kaela Ranhoff and Black Jack Jerry (Black Jack Olena x Sage Hill Karla) with Paige Neufeld. Lucky Cee Blair (Dun It Gotta Gun x Cee Blair Lady) carried Caroline Buchanan to the individual Gold Medal and $3,500 in scholarship money. Courtney Yohey won the individual Silver Medal and $2,500 on Imasmartlittlecheese (Magnum Chic Dream x Poco Fifty Pine). Vintage Neptune (A Sparkling Vintage x Chic Hickory Doc) and Kate Buchanan won the Bronze individual and $1000.
The Arabian Reining Breeders Classic Youth Tournament competition combines Quarter Horse and Arabian/Half-Arabian youth riders into Olympic-style, four-man teams. There were 17 such teams at the High Roller competing for $30,000 in scholarships. All of the teams will hopefully be back at the Wild Card Reining Challenge Show, a new show to be held at the South Point Equestrian venue May 25 through 29, 2016. Points accumulated will be added to the High Roller standings to determine ultimate scholarship and prize winners.
The first open classes of the show brought some nice wins for Martin Muehlstaetter, first on Friday with Sparks Of Glory (Jacs Electric Spark x Glory B Whiz) in the High Roller Reining Classic $1,000 Open, then in the Novice Horse Level 2 on Monday with Chic Filay (Tinsel Nic x Chuka Chic). Martin Padilla also had a good start to the show, winning the Intermediate Open with his good Reeboks Rerun, on the heels of their strong runs and big wins at The Reining By The Bay show a few weeks ago. Winner of the Limited Open and Rookie Professional was Daphne Thompson and Dun It Chexinic (Bueno Chexinic), a horse owned by Lewis Coleman of Beverly Hills, California. Daphne is an actor and professional stunt woman in Hollywood. “I’m so pleased with Dun It Chexinic,” she says. “We’ve never scored this well before. We made a small equipment change and it made a big difference!”
On Wednesday, the ARBC Arabian Futurity for purebreds took center stage and competed for $20,000 in prize money. Winner of nearly $10,000 was TA Olyvia (Kordelas x Halali Olympia), a pretty grey mare ridden by Crystal McNutt for owner Paige Neufeld. TA Olyvia was the winner of the Scottsdale Arabian Classic Reining Futurity last February. Reserve honors went to EAF Hesa Wizard (Hesa Zee+/ x RV Muscana) and Ken Eppers.
Later in the week, on Friday evening, the Half-Arabians competed for $30,000, with the winning team of Ima Smart One (Im Genuinely Smart x MVA Scarlet Orzel) and John O’Hara taking home $9,748.62. Ima Smart One’s dam, MVA Scarlet Orzel won the Arabian Open Reining at the Scottsdale Arabian show four times. There was a tie for the nearly $7,000 reserve money between TS Mae Gossip (What It Takes x Janie Mae Gossip) with Andrea Fappani and Randy Dooley on BJ Young Gun (Gunner x Here She Comes).
Following on the heels of the ARBC competition on Wednesday was the Tamarack Ranch Non-Pro and a big win for Tish Fappani who posted a 218.5 on Legend Slides Wright (Custom Legend x She Slides Wright). Tamarack Ranch Futurity winner was Casey Deary on Shesouttayourleague (Walla Walla Whiz x Wimpys Little Chic) who rode two others in the top 15, reserve was Gabe Hutchins on Cannon Gun (Gunner x Tuckerette Command). Husband and wife team Sean and Jordan McBurney were also in the Top 15 and then, one-two in the Intermediate Open. The Rhodes River Ranch couple ended the day with four in the money, all of them sired by Whizkey N Diamonds!
Most impressive in this group of first foal crop youngsters was Rsure Shot of Whizkey (Whizkey N Diamonds x Gunners Sureshot). A charming, bald-faced Palomino with great attitude, the colt came out of the show pen stronger than he went in, posted a 222, barely broke a sweat and never backed an ear. Brent Naylor rode two into the Level 4 Top 15 He stood third and fourth in Intermediate and first and second in Limit with Spooks Dunit (Spooks Gotta Gun x Tejons Finally Dunit) and Hezza Rowdy Whiz (Conquistador Whiz x CF Glad Rags).
All of these great classes, so competitive and splendid during the week, paled when compared to the Lucas Oil Open Derby and the Whizkey N Diamonds Stake. They’ll be talking about this Derby for a very long time. It started off with a set of super high scores early in the game … 228 posted by both Casey Deary on Magnum Starlights (Magnum Chick Dream x Starlights Sugarwhiz) and Craig Schmersal on Redhot Walla (Walla Walla Whiz x Roosters Redhot). Within a short time there was veritable fever running through the warm-up. The runs became stronger, faster and better. Then, the penalties started because nobody was playing it safe.
By 4:30 pm the list of brilliant rides and incredible scores was formidable. When Andrea Fappani and SG Frozen Enterprize (Frozen Sailor x RS Rose SJ) shot through the in-gate and turned in an over-the-top 230 run, everyone assumed that was the end. Not so. Draw 65 brought in Jason Larson on Electrinicki (Jacs Electric Spark x Chexanicki), hyped from the incredible energy of the day and galloping like there was no tomorrow. When the dust settled, and the crowd stopped screaming, the pair had posted a 232 for owner Veronica Lentini. Extraordinary. Even with fifteen spots available for the cash winners it took a 224 to make money. Over 50% of the scores for the day were 220 or better. “It’s not only the best Reining I have ever seen, it might be the best one I’ve ever even heard of,” said one very tired rider coming out the gate.
The WPR (World Para Reining) competition was also unforgettable with its ten physically challenged reiners from Canada, Germany, Australia and all over the United States. This determined group drew tears and cheers from the audience and judges, were amazing to watch and a phenomenal inspiration.
The USEF Open National Reining Championship was rife with talented, mature horses and the $8,000 plus prize money for first went to Andrea Fappani with a 229 on Custom Spook (Smart Spook x Custom Spinderella).
Hudson-Valentine’s Las Vegas Style Longhorn Auction on Saturday night honestly drew an SRO crowd, including many reiners from the horse show next door. The prime rib dinner, the lovely sale décor and the enthusiastic bidding for the outstanding animals offered, spelled success and elicited a promise from the sale to return to the High Roller Reining Classic in 2016. 61 head grossed $844,300. High selling heifer was Utopia, (Lot 16A) a two-year-old that brought $115,000. Five new buyers from the Reining industry bought longhorns and one of them actually bought five!
The 2015 Trifecta Non Pro Reining Challenge is offered annually by the Brumley Management Group to those competitors enlisted and attending all three shows: The Cactus Classic, Reining By The Bay and the High Roller Reining Classic. Once again this year, the winner was Cam Essick of Clements, California, this time with her home-bred gelding Holier Then Thou (Jacs Electric Spark x Slide Me Again). Cam won the three-night stay at the fabulous Salamander Resort and Spa, Middleburg, Virginia. How did Cam win it two years in a row? Consistency! Cam showed up, holding the winning ticket over those that won a bit more money but did not show at all three BMG shows!
“I knew from the beginning that the 2015 High Roller Reining Classic was going to be a very special event,” says show organizer and manager, Amanda Brumley. “This show would not be possible without my wonderful, supporting sponsors and my incredible team … all of the people I am blessed to work with, who never let me down and listen to and support all of my crazy ideas! Without these amazing people the BMG events would not enjoy so many positive blessings. I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart! See you in 2016!”