National Reined Cow Horse Association Million Dollar Rider Corey Cushing, Scottsdale, Arizona, claimed the 2016 NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Championship riding SJR Diamond Rey (Dual Rey x Shiners Diamond Girl x Shining Spark), a 2012 gelding bred and owned by San Juan Ranch.
Cushing and "Dugan" earned the $36,452 paycheck by a 6.5 point margin, scoring a 665.5 composite (219 herd/221 rein/225.5 cow) at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"He's little, but he's mighty," Cushing said, describing the powerhouse horse that also carried him to the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity finals in 2015. SJR Diamond Rey is a half brother to CD Diamond (x CD Olena), the San Juan-bred and -owned stallion that Cushing piloted to the 2012 Snaffle Bit Futurity Championship.
The $3,500 Sire Award check went to Linda Holmes, who owns SJR Diamond Rey's sire, Dual Rey, and nominated him for the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion program. Cushing's prizes included a Bob's Custom Saddle, Gist buckle, a CR Morrison Trophy, boots from Rios of Mercedes, and a gift Certificate from Platinum Performance.
Cushing brought three horses to the Stallion Stakes, and qualified them all for the Open Finals. He placed 3rd on Sippin Boons Farm (Smart Boons x Peppy Nicolena x Nic It In The Bud), scoring a 657 (214 herd/221.5 rein/221.5 cow), earning $22,063 for owners Eric and Wendy Dunn; and tied for 15th aboard On The Fence (Smart Boons x Starlight On The Bay x High Brow Cat), earning $3,834 for owners Kevin and Sydney Knight.
The Stakes Reserve Champion was Dual With A Shiner (Reys Dual Badger x Miss Shiner Dear x Shining Spark), shown by Matt Koch for owner Wagonhound Land and Livestock. Koch piloted the 2011 gelding to the high fence work score, an incredible 227.5, on the way to a 659 composite (215.5 herd/216 rein/227.5 cow) and a $26,859 payday. Koch also collected a $2,000 Reserve Champion Sire Award check for Wagonhound Land and Livestock, who paid Reys Dual Badger into the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion program.
The Stallion Stakes Intermediate Open Champion was Dualin Stargun (Dual Rey x Amanda Stargun x Playgun), shown by Justin Lawrence, Alzada, Montana, and owned by the Dualin Stargun Partners - made up of Lawrence and his wife, Kelcie, along with John and Heather Kennedy of Sundance, Wyoming.
Lawrence and the gray stallion won the herd work finals round with a 223, then earned a 215.5 in the rein work and 217.5 in the cow work. Besides the $7,594 Intermediate Open Champion paycheck, they earned $17,257 for 4th place in the Stakes Open.
"This is my biggest paycheck, and it's a horse that Kelcie and I are partners in, and it's pretty special," Lawrence said.
In the Limited Open, Tucker Clark, Tucson, Arizona, claimed the top two placings on horses owned by Rogers Heaven Sent Ranch, where Clark is the resident trainer. He won the Championship on A Smooth Pepto (Smooth As A Cat x Pepto In Pieces x Peptoboonsmal), and earned Reserve on O Nic A Pepto (Peptoboonsmal x A Nic O Chic x Smart Chic Olena).
Stakes Non Pro Champion
The Stallion Stakes Non Pro Champion was Shannon McCarty, Solvang, California, riding Chicaroos Cat (Hick Chicaroo x Kat Five x High Brow Cat) to a total 645 score (218 herd/219 rein/208 cow), earning $6,979.
Stakes Intermediate Non Pro Champion
Eric Freitas, Santa Maria, California, claimed the Intermediate Non Pro Championship when he scored a 640.5 (213.5 herd/214 rein/213 cow) aboard Reyvon (Stylish Rey x Starlight Playgirl x Grays Starlight).
Stakes Novice Non Pro Champion
Lyle Proctor, Ravensdale, Washington, captured the Novice Non Pro Championship aboard SJR All Time Cash (One Time Pepto x Shesa Lota Cash x Nu Cash), scoring a 634.5 (208 herd/206.5/220 cow). Their score down the fence was the top score of any rider in the Non Pro finals.
Open Bridle Spectacular
A field of 22 phenomenal horses and elite riders vied for the Open Bridle Spectacular Championship, and in the final reckoning, the proven team of CD Dee Vee Dee (CD Lights x Shiners Missy Jay x Shining Spark), shown by NRCHA Professional Jay McLaughlin, Commerce, Texas, turned in a gritty 225 fence work, the high score of the go-round, to win the Championship. It was the second year in a row for McLaughlin and CD Dee Vee Dee to win the Stallion Stakes Bridle Spectacular.
McLaughlin owns the 2005 gelding with his wife, Wendy. The team earned a 659 composite (215 herd/219 rein/225 cow), winning by a two point margin over the Reserve Champion, 2016 NRCHA World's Greatest Horseman Champion Clayton Edsall and Too Long Til Autumn (Autumn Acre x Lil Lena Long Legs x Smart Little Lena), owned by Lisa Krogh.
CD Dee Vee Dee shined brightest in the fence work. The steady performer drew the perfect cow to suit his style, and worked it so skillfully that he nearly left his rider behind during the circles.
"I kind of came out of the buggy when we switched. That steer jumped back to the right and he went with it and jumped my stirrup out. I had to reach for the wood, and then sit back down," McLaughlin said, laughing.
McLaughlin credits his son, Cutter, as CD Dee Vee Dee's primary rider. Cutter and the gelding have multiple youth and non pro championships to their credit.
"There's no sharing at home. I borrowed him here. Cutter has been working him at home and doing everything since the World's Greatest. He's done all the work and kept him up," McLaughlin said.
The Open Bridle Champion was Cuttalena Sugar (Smart Paul Olena x Cutta Peppy x Peppys Solano Glo), shown by Aaron Ralston, Silt, Colorado. Ralston and the mare, owned by Philip and Jennifer Sadler, earned a 288 composite (141 rein/147 cow), taking home $1,680.
Limited Open Bridle
The Limited Open Bridle Champion was Peppy Nicolena (Nic It In The Bud x Chelsea Lena x Smart Peppy Doc), shown by Dustin Deckard, Gallipolis, Ohio, for ower Kim Jividen-Rose. They scored a total 279.5 on two events (138.5 rein/141 cow), to earn $1,500.
Non Pro Bridle, Intermediate Non Pro Bridle, and Novice Non Pro Bridle
LaDona Emmons, Ione, California, made a clean sweep of all three divisions in the Non Pro Bridle, riding Anuther Mister 505 (Mister Dual Pep x Anuther Olena x Smart Chic Olena), a gelding she owns with her husband, NRCHA Professional Ron Emmons. They scored a 294 on two events (146.5 rein/147.5 cow), earning three paychecks totaling $5,281.
The Open Hackamore Champion was Smooth Bellingrath (Smooth As A Cat x Very Special Peppy x Peppy San Badger), shown by Nick Dowers for his family's Triple D Ranches LLC. The pair scored a total 293.5 (145.5 rein/148 cow), earning $3,320. The Limited Open Hackamore Champion was Dustin Deckard, who piloted Smart Metallic Cat (Metallic Cat x Smart Chuka Lena x Shorty Lena) to a 265.5 composite, earning $2,000 for Jividens Point Of Grace Ranch.
Open Two Rein
Scottsdale, Arizona, professional Brad Barkemeyer took home the Open Two Rein Championship aboard A Time For Jazz (One Time Pepto x Starlight And Jazz x Grays Starlight) owned by Susan Stoltz. They scored a 292 (144.5 rein/147.5 cow), earning $1,880.
Non Pro Two Rein
Tammy Johnston, Lindsay, California, won the Non Pro Two Rein Championship with her mare, Miss Cee Street (Cee Mr Hickory x Miss Bourbon Street), owned by her son, Trystin Johnson. They scored a 282.5 (143 rein/139.5 cow), earning $1,026.