Vanlandingham and Pieper Share the Win and Make history at NRBC

Co-Champions Nathan Piper (left) on Patriot & Jason Vanlandingham on A Vintage Smoke (right) Co-Champions Nathan Piper (left) on Patriot & Jason Vanlandingham on A Vintage Smoke (right) Photo Alden Corrigan Media/Courtesy of NRBC

Draw 25 in a field of 36 finalists in the second section of the NRBC Open Classic finals, Jason Vanlandingham and his 2018 National Reining Horse Association Futurity Champion A Vintage Smoke marked a scorching 227.5. Three horses later, Nathan Piper and Patriot, also rode to a 227.5 and, for the first time in the NRBC’s history, two riders would opt to share the Level 4 Open Championship, with each taking home $63,000.

When Jason Vanlandingham and A Vintage Smoke won the NRHA Futurity Championship, owner Diane Mesmer was already eyeing a Triple Crown win. “The NRBC was the one that kind of eluded me on Not Ruf At All until his very last year of eligibility. With the group of horses we have, against the group of trainers we have, it’s still not going to be easy to get that done, but I’m glad to have this one out of the way,” Vanlandingham said. 
He added, “This is probably the toughest horse show we go to all year, and for us to come in with a 4-year-old – and Nathan’s horse is 4-year-old as well – and come out on top is a pretty big deal. I’m pretty fired up about how good our horses worked,” Vanlandingham said.
A Vintage Smoke is by A Sparkling Vintage out of Lady Smoke Peppy, and Vanlandingham said he’s a natural show horse. “He’s a very strong stopper. He came through the gate pretty hard and he swallowed the ground up on that first stop. He turned as good as he can for me tonight. He did the same at the Futurity. The best he turned around all week was on Finals night like here,” he said.
Vanlandingham was standing by and watched Piper’s run. “As soon as Nathan walked out, I said, ‘We have something to talk about,"’ he said. "You’re two thirds of the way to the Triple Crown, and I’d like to leave it and save my horse."
After a quick visit with Mesmer, the decision was made. “Diane said if we could save the horses, we would, and we would both leave as champions,” he explained.
Though Nathan Piper is an NRBC veteran, the Open Championship has proved elusive. Patriot proved to be a game changer. “I think I’m still in shock. Before I ran in, I felt pretty good about it. This horse is such a saint and is so good. He comes out every day and does his job,” he said. “He gives me a lot of confidence because he’s pretty predictable and he was getting better with every ride.”

Pattern 10 provides a great opportunity to make a good first impression with the run-in to a sliding stop. “When I ran in I felt him drop his neck, and I knew he was in a good spot mentally. He gave me it all,” Piper said.
Piper trains out of Toyon Ranch, who bred and raised the young stallion by Smart Spook out of Dunit Lil Ruf. “They bought an embryo from Ann Salmon, and decided to sell him before the futurity. I didn’t want to lose him so I called Shannon and Hershel Reid and they agreed to buy him. It was a blessing; a gift from God, because I knew he would go quick,” Piper said.
The young age of Patriot and A Vintage Smoke made the decision to stay Co-Champions an easy one. “They have had such a hard two weeks that I think it’s good just to count your blessings,” Piper said.

Dany Tremblay and PS Mega Shine Chic Win Second Open Level 3 Championship
Two years ago Dany Tremblay and PS Mega Shine Chic won the Open Level 3 and tied for the Open Level 4 Reserve Championship. For Tremblay, this year’s win is just as exciting. “It’s awesome. To do it again with the same horse is awesome. I’m so happy. Last time he was a 4-year-old. I remember it like it was yesterday. He had a great run then, and today he was so honest,” Tremblay recalled. The pair also tied for seventh in the Level 4, bringing total earnings to $36,870. 
The win also came with a custom saddle from Superior Saddlery LLC, an SPH saddle pad, a custom vest from Palmer Performance Horses, and product from M3 Products and Back On Track.
Competing as draw three, Tremblay knew he’d have to go for it. “I tried to do everything I could, and he was so good. He’s a great show horse. He wants to be a Champion – he likes pictures,” he said with a laugh.
PS Mega Shine Chic, a 6-year-old stallion by Shine Chic Shine out of Marthas Sugar Baby, is owned by Adh Mor Ranch. “He’s owned by Brad and Amanda Kelly. This is another great moment for them, for me, and for this horse,” he said. “This horse has a great future ahead of him. He has beautiful babies on the ground now. They’re gorgeous. We can’t wait.”
Cade McCutcheon Wins First NRBC Open Title on Shes Got Good Guns
It was Cade McCutcheon’s first time to compete in the NRBC as an open rider, but he proved he was ready, qualifying two horses to the Level 4 finals and winning the Level 2 on Shes Got Good Guns with a score of 221. The pair also finished second in the Level 3 finals and tied for ninth in the Level 4. “It went as good as I could have imagined,” McCutcheon said following the awards ceremony. All together, McCutcheon’s earnings on Shes Got Good Guns for the Open Levels 2 – 4 totaled $35,198.
The NRBC was only the second show for McCutcheon and Shes Got Good Guns, a 6-year-old mare by Colonels Smoking Gun out of A Bueno Poco Dunit. She was trained by Duane Latimer, who made the Futurity finals with her, then shown by Todd Bergen at the NRBC, where she also made the finals. “She’s been a good mare for everyone, and she just keeps getting better. Tonight I knew she wouldn’t do anything wrong, so I let her stay a little more fresh and it worked,” McCutcheon said.
It’s early in McCutcheon’s open career, which makes the opportunity to show Shes Got Good Guns even more special. “Roxanne Koepsell has been a client of ours for as long as I can remember. She’s been awesome. I’m really happy she trusted me with this horse. Not a lot of people would have trusted me with a horse as good as she is this early in my career, but she did, and I’m grateful,” McCutcheon said.
McCutcheon noted that Shes Got Good Guns would get some much-needed rest before the NRHA Derby.

Josh Tishman and Magnum Style Claim Level 1 Championship
With a score of 217.5, Josh Tishman and Magnum Style claimed the Level 1 Championship, earning $2,968. It was the first time for Tishman to make the finals at the NRBC. “It’s pretty special to win today. This horse was actually my second of the day to show, and I just wanted to go in and be clean,” he explained. “He has tons of talent, so I knew if I was clean he would be good.”
The 6-year-old gelding, owned by Mark Hurd, is by Magnum Chic Dream out of Easy Whiz My Money. “Mark’s daughter Elena rides this horse. They’re from the east coast, but she goes to TCU, so we have him at Casey Deary’s place so she could show him. She was actually at the college finals in Waco, so she asked me to show him,” Tishman explained.
While the pair were successful, Elena will likely take the reins back over for the NRHA Derby. “I thank Mark, Elena, Casey and Nicole and the whole Deary crew,” Tishman said.
Marie Kleiner riding Xtra Needs A Drink and Billy Williamson Gunners High Roller tied for Reserve honors with scores of 216.5. Each collected $1,581.
Gunners High Roller, owned by Eitan Abu, is a 6-year-old stallion by Colonels Smoking Gun out of Yoplait Light. Xtra Needs A Drink, owned by Thiago Boechat, is a 4-year-old stallion by Wimpyneedsacocktail out of Ruby Chic Olena.

Dean Brown Wins Prime Time and Development Division
Dean Brown qualified three horses to the finals and won the Prime Time division on Gunnatrashtheplace with a score of 219. He also won the Development Division on Einsteins Lil Prize during the preliminary round.
Gunnatrashtheplace is a 6-year-old stallion owned by Jeff Levine of Levine Equine Enterprises. “He’s been a very good hrose for me. I’ve made the finals at all the major events with him. I’ve had him since he was a 2-year-old. He is just a very nice horse,” Brown said.
Gunnatrashtheplace is by Gunnatrashya out of All Chic N Shiny. “He did really good tonight. He showed really well,” Brown said.
There is no other entry fee to enter the Development Division, but to be eligible a horse must not have won more than $2,000 prior to March 15. The purse is paid out to the highest advancing horses in the Open preliminaries.
Dean Brown and Einsteins Lil Prize marked a 220 in the preliminary round to win the division, collecting $6,000. “He’s a newer horse for me. He got a little stargazed by the crowd tonight, but in the prelims he was focused and easy to show and did everything I wanted him to do,” he said.
Einsteins Lil Prize, a 4-year-old stallion by Einsteins Revolution out of the good producing mare Smart Lil Prize, is owned by Robert Santagata. “I thank both Robert and Jeff for the opportunity,” Brown said.

By Press Release