Craig Schmersal Wins SWRHA Billingsley Ford Open Futurity on Shining On Ruf 

Craig Schmersal Wins SWRHA Billingsley Ford Open Futurity on Shining On Ruf

It was a rowdy, wild, and exciting evening at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum. The Southwest Reining Horse Association Billingsley Ford Open Futurity provides a last-minute opportunity for reiners across the country to evaluate their three-year-olds who will soon be competing in the big arena at Oklahoma City.

This year, it was Arizona's Craig Schmersal who claimed the $18,488 bounty. Schmersal was riding Shining On Ruf, owned by Vaughn Zimmerman. In addition to the great prize money, the win also came with a custom golf cart and prizes from Shelley Martinez, SmartPak, and Dennards.

Schmersal has only been riding Shining On Ruf, by Not Ruf At All out of Boom Shine Sally, for two months. "Bobby Avila Jr. trained this horse, but broke his leg. He called and asked if I would like to try him. I said absolutely!" Schmersal recalled. "So for the last two months he has been with me. Bobby had him super broke, so that was nice. He's been easy to follow, and tonight this horse was especially good."

Schmersal expertly guided Shining On Ruf through Pattern 8, earning a score of 225. "He turned big and his circles were good and consistent every time, and his rollbacks are good every time. He's a really physical, really pretty horse," Schmersal said. "He's in the hunt for one of my three for the futurity. We've got to go home and regroup and make some decisions."

He added, "I thank Bobby for giving me the shot and calling me when he got hurt, and to Justin and Vaughn Zimmerman for going along with it. We've had a lot of fun riding for those guys. They're a fun group."

Andrea Fappani rode Gotta Shiney Spook, owned by Wright Reining LLC, to tie for second in the level 4 with a 224.5. The reserve co-championship came with a check for $9,847. Gotta Shiney Spook is by Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Shiney Diamond Lady.


Brian Bell Pilots Bamn Bam to Open Level 3 Championship 

Brian Bell and Bamn Bam won the Open Level 3 and tied for reserve in the Level 4 with a 224.5, winning $20,228, a saddle sponsored by Shelley Martinez, and other prizes from SmartPak and Dennards.

Competing as draw 5, Bell and Bamn Bam put pressure on the field from the start. "He turned really big both ways, and circled really good. He stopped super big two out of three times. We had a little rollback trouble on one stop, but he was great," Bell recalled. "This horse has always been easy about everything, but rollbacks have been a struggle. He's getting it figured out now."

Bell has had his eye on Bamn Bam, by Yellow Jersey out of Fabulous Guns, since the colt was a two-year-old. "Me and one of my customers, Jenna Webb, bought him together. We were third at the Colorado Summer Slide, and now we did good here," he said. "He just had a bunch of stop and turnaround, and was pretty quiet. I just wanted him."

So how is Bell feeling going into Oklahoma City? "I'm confident. When you mark a 224.5 before the futurity, you're ready to go," he said. "I thank my wife Naike, my sister, and Jenna Webb. I bought this horse from Ruben Vandorp. I'm really thankful to all the people that have been a part of this horse," he said.

There was a three-way tie for second in the Level 3. Dany Tremblay had two horses, Gunnastepya and Lil Gun Affair, and Martin Larcombe rode Drinkin Moonshine, all of which marked a 222. That score also tied them for eighth in the Level 4, bringing total earning to $8,389. Gunnastepya (Gunnatrashya x SDP A Lasting Step) is owned by ADH-Mor Ranch, while Lil Gun Affair (Lil Joe Cash x Gun Affair) is owned by Martin Brisebois/Tremblay Reining Horses LLC. Drinkin Moonshine (Shine Chic Shine x Wimpy Little Girl) is owned by Lance Griffin.


Cade McCutcheon Takes Open Level 2 Championship on Tidal To The Buckles 

Cade McCutcheon has been on a roll his first year as a professional trainer, and on Saturday night added an additional $5,621 to his lifetime earnings when he won the Level 2 championship on Tidal To The Buckles. Along with other prizes, the win also came with a saddle sponsored by Shelley Martinez.

Tidal To The Buckles, by Show Me The Buckles out of Starlights Tidalwave, is owned by Rebeca Martin. "This horse is a sweetheart all the time, and he just keeps getting better. We had some things we had to work on after Tulsa, but he's gotten better. He wants to help all the time, and it makes my life easier," McCutcheon said. "Tonight he was really good and easy to show. There were a few places he could have been a little stronger, but that was just green spots. He wanted to be on my side the whole time."

Martin, who also owns Tidal To The Buckle's sire, noted that the colt's attitude has been there from day one. "He's always been a sweetheart, and Cade has brought out the best in him. I have liked Cade and his riding for a couple years already. He's incredible," she said. "I thank Tom (McCutcheon) for taking in Buckles as a stallion. Because of that I brought all my Buckle babies here, and they're in the best hands possible."

McCutcheon is now looking towards the NRHA futurity. "I feel pretty good about my horses now going to the futurity," he said. "I thank Robin, my parents, and everyone at the barn. There are 20 or 30 people I could thank, but we don't have that much time."

Finishing second in the Open Level 2 was Francesco Martinotti and Smoking Trash, owned by Enjoy LLC. The pair also placed in the Level 3, winning $3,657. Smoking Trash is by Gunnatrashya out of Snip O Gun.


Josh Visser Wins Open Level 1 Title with Inwhizzable Dream 

Josh Visser brought Inwhizzable Dream to the SWRHA Futurity with a plan to simply have a smooth run before Oklahoma City, and wound up with the Level 1 championship. They also placed in the Level 2, bringing total earnings to $4,395.

"I was just hoping to have a nice, confidence building run today and just show him without him thinking he was getting shown. He was really honest everywhere. I couldn't have asked for a purer run," Visser said. "I just came in here trying to step him up a little bit without putting too much stress on him. I'm more focused on the big futurity in a few weeks so I just cruised him around and kept him happy. I'm very confident about the futurity now."

Inwhizzable Dream, owned by Terry Martin, is by Visser's stallion Magnum With A Dream and out of Adarable. "This customer raised this colt, and this is that dam's first foal. We're very excited about that cross," Visser said. "I thank the owners for trusting me with him and for breeding to our stallion. I also got some help from Gunny Mathison on his rundowns. It's a team effort for sure."

Dalton Vanlandingham rode Not Ruf Again to a score of 216.5 to finish second in the Open Level 1 and place in the Level 2, collecting $2,455. Not Ruf Again, by Not Ruf At All and out of Moses Glow, is owned by Clayton Reeves.


Tom McCutcheon & Colonels Big Nite Win Open Prime Time 

Tom McCutcheon won the Open Prime Time on Colonels Big Nite, owned by Clark Reining Horses LLC, with a 220, taking home a check for $719. Colonels Big Nite is by Gunners Special Nite out of Miss Hickory Tari. "This horse is owned by a group of guys who have been in my barn a couple years now. I was really happy with him. He's a little bit green, but he gets better and better all the time," McCutcheon said.

McCutcheon said he was pleased with the horse's performance. "Overall I was happy with him. Hopefully between now and the futurity he'll get better. I think he really turned a corner at this horse show. I feel like we're on the right track," he said.

Mike McEntire rode Gunna Love Ya to a score of 218 to take reserve in the Open Prime Time, winning $571. Gunna Love Ya, by Gunnatrashya out of Shiners Valentine, is owned by Andreas Braeuer.


Abby Lengel & Makendiamonds Win Open Mare Award 

The highest scoring mare in the Billingsley Ford Open Futurity wins a $1,000 bonus, sponsored by Rancho Sereno and Premier Equine Veterinary Services. In addition to the $1,000 check, Humphrey Quarter Horses donated a breeding to Guns R For Shootin to the high scoring mare.

This year's winner was Makendiamonds, ridden by Abby Lengel, who won the bonus with a score of 222.5. Lengel and the mare also won an additional $5,225 for a sixth place tie in the Open Level 4.

Makendiamonds, by Whizkey N Diamonds out of Makeit In Tinseltown, is owned by Dallas Schwerdt.


Snipers Smoking Gun Wins Stallion Auction Golf Cart 

All stallions who have donated a breeding to the SWRHA Stallion Auction that sells in the auction are entered to win an SWRHA Golf Cart, which is drawn for and awarded at the conclusion of the Billingsley Ford Open Futurity.

The winner of this year's golf cart is Snipers Smoking Gun, a seven-year-old stallion by Gunner out of Miss Starlight Smoke. "I'm absolutely excited about this," noted owner Heath Jones. "This is great!"

Jones is a longtime supporter of the SWRHA, and has donated breedings to the stallion auction for several years in a row. "I just love the SWRHA and what they offer, as well as the publicity and promotion we get for our stallion. Plus it's a great place to take your young horses out and futurity them," he said.

Located in Ashtown, Arkansas, Snipers Smoking Gun has been an open finalist at major derby events, primarily shown by Trey Pool. To date he's accumulated more than $35,000 in earnings. "He will be shown again next spring. We plan to take him back out and do some fun shows, but the pressure is off now. He gets to enjoy the stallion life," Jones said. "He has about 100 foals on the ground now. We're excited about his babies and what they will do in the next few years."


By SWRHA Press Release - Photos courtesy SWRHA