The West Coast’s 1st big aqha circuit of 2020 starts the year off with a bang!
BIG SHOW-Big Prizes-Big Classes-Big FUN!
As spring comes onto the horizon and brings the changes of the season, so does the Back 2 Basics AQHA Circuit. Every year, this show grows. This year the show had it’s beautiful weather back and all week long the exhibitors were in good spirits.
Held at the first class Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, CA., the 5 day event draws a lot of exhibitors from a large variety of western states & Canada. Professionally managed by TEEM (Total Equine Event Management), the annual event has always experienced large classes providing the opportunity for a lot of AQHA World Show qualifying points up for grabs.
Year after year, this creative group brings new ideas, launches exciting changes and as always provides a fresh approach to holding a competitive, yet fun horse show. It’s been a long time since a show has continued to draw such high numbers of entries & spectators on the West Coast. With exhibitors coming from so many different states and as far as Canada, the good word about this show continues to spread.
Show Manager Jerry Alvord pointed out “Arizona Sun Circuit is one of the biggest shows in the country each year. We’ve always been a proving ground for people going to that huge circuit. This year Sun Circuit is 3 weeks after us and Silver Dollar Circuit moved to Feb. 21-26, so that gives people a chance to come here first. We believe it’s a benefit for the Back 2 Basics AQHA Circuit and our entry numbers proved it to us.”
“Cherie Vonada designed all of our AQHA & VRH trail courses again this year and she did an excellent job as always. We asked her to provide a patriotic theme in her trail décor and it looked great! There was constant, positive feedback from exhibitors regarding her course designs. She was very creative as well and the competitors enjoyed riding a variety of fun courses.” For those unfamiliar with Ranch Trail, the event was designed to show a horse’s ability and willingness to perform several tasks that might be asked of him during the course of a normal day’s ranch work. “Whenever possible we are going to try and use realistic or natural obstacles which is something we also do in the Ranch Riding courses for the Back 2 Basics AQHA Circuit. Exhibitors seem to enjoy that we are offering something new and I think trail exhibitors especially have fun showing on Cherie’s courses. VRH Ranch Trail has 3 mandatory obstacles: Gate/Rider dismount & remount/Log Drag, and from that point there are a variety of optional obstacles that can be included in a course design, such as: A Slicker, Roping a fake Steer, etc.
The horse industry can always benefit from new ideas and a fresh approach and the continued growth and popularity of this show is proof of that TEEM can produce that type of event.
For exhibitors and their friends & families, the Back 2 Basics AQHA show also offered some good ‘ol hospitality. “We try to create a schedule that makes time for people to get together, relax and have fun outside of the intense competition of the show. Typically we’ve had nice weather for the B2B show……with the exception of heavy rains across California last year and a little wind the last Sunday of this years event. The challenge each year is taking the long list of AQHA classes and crafting a schedule that doesn’t make the show days too long for exhibitors. But the exhibitors overall seem happy because of all of the points available at such a big show. We analyze each day, talk to the trainers and get feedback and make notes for the following year. The changes we made for this years schedule seemed to be a positive improvement.” said Jerry Alvord, Show Manager.
The Lucas Oil/Protect the Harvest Dirt & Diamonds NRCHA Derby portion of the show continues to draw increased attention. Lucas Oil Products Inc. and Protect the Harvest are the title sponsors and are very supportive of the equine sport industry as a whole. In addition, since it’s inception the derby has been supported by Dan Perez and his great stallion Brother Jackson. Total payout for the Open Derby division was $12,500, the Non Pro payout was $4,175 and as usual some of the nation's top 4- and 5-year-old cow horses competed in this prestigious reined cow horse event. The Emmons Performance Horses Limited Non Pro division of the Derby had $770.
Each year on the west coast it kicks off with this popular cow horse derby – the Lucas Oil Dirt & Diamonds Derby, sanctioned by the NRCHA, is open to all breeds. Reined cow horse is the “Ultimate Triathlon” of the horse competition world, combining cutting, reining and fence work. If you’ve never seen this event, but are a fan of Nascar, it is truly a great spectator sport watching the speed, agility & thrill of these incredible athletes.
Jerry Alvord, NRCHA Representative, reported, “We had some really nice horses competing here again this year. Our great sponsor Lucas Oil hosted an Exhibitors Welcome Party on Thursday night, and on Friday night we had the Derby party on the mezzanine level while spectators watched the finals with the fence/cow work competition.”
The Lucas Oil Dirt & Diamonds Derby Open Champion was Peppys On Time, shown by Randy Paul for owner Linda Katz. This team lead the charge from the first day marking a 146 in the reined work and then came back in the herd work to hold onto the lead marking a 145.5! Down the fence, this great team marked a 144.5 to closed the deal with a combined score of 436 and take home the silver trophy, crystal medal, UltraCruz products and a check for $3,500.
Hot on their heels were Lyn Anderson riding Genuinely Irish for owners Billy & Jeannie Shipley. Consistently marking high in all three events, this team had a combined score of 433.5. They took home Reserve Champion honors, prizes, UltraCruz products and a check for $2,750.
Third place went to Bright Shiney Lights ridden by Tyus Olson for owner Joe Putnam and taking home $2,125.
4th were Will Pennebaker showing Betcha Shes Stylish for Gina Liberini and receiving a check for $1,500.
Les Oswald took 5th place and a check for $1,125 for Richard & Rena Whyler riding their horse Lucky To Be Royalty.
Ron Emmons riding Katys On Tour for owner Amanda Potter took home a check for $875.
7th place went to Monica Caetano showing Fairlea Mr Elwood for Fairlea Ranch and a check in for $625.
NON PRO DERBY
The Lucas Oil Dirt & Diamonds Derby Non Pro Champion, Cara Hancratt riding Move That Rock. Consistency was key and she marked a 141 in the rein work, a 141 in the herd work and a 144.5 down the fence, giving her a combined total of 426.5 to take home the championship honors. She received a beautiful crystal sculpture, a crystal medal, UltraCruz products and a check for $1,670.
Reserve Champion was Kathy Wilson on her horse Ima Prizcee Hickory receiving prizes, UltraCruz products and check for $1,252.50. This team had the high herd score with a 147 and highest fence score with a 148!
3rd place went to Shannon Haskins riding Boondocs Sally Rocks and she received prizes & a check for $835.
Kathy Wilson also took home 4th place in the Non Pro division riding her horse RJS Catolena taking home a check for $417.50.
NON PRO LTD DERBY
The Non Pro Limited division was sponsored by Emmons Performance Horses. This is a great opportunity for those that typically show in the boxing classes and own 4-5 year old horses to compete in a derby event. However, entries were down this year.
The Champion honors went to Kelly Cobb riding her horse Wright On Forever. Once again, consistency was the key. Kelly was the high mark in the reining with a 142, this team went on to mark a 143.5 in the herd work and a 144.5 in the boxing! She took home a beautiful crystal sculpture, a crystal medal, UltraCruz products and a check for $385.
Reserve Champion was Caroline Whyler showing My Bets In and this team took home prizes, a crystal medal, UltraCruz products and a check for $231.
3rd place went to Julia Rey and Nu Red Diamond and they received a crystal medal, UltraCruz products and a check for $154.
The Back 2 Basics AQHA Circuit has support of great sponsors such as: Lucas Oil, Protect the Harvest, Zanetti Performance Horses, UltraCruz, Busick Quarter Horses, C5 Ranch & Vineyard, Markel Insurance, Reynolds Ranch & Farm Supply, just to name a few.
There were classes for everyone, at every level of ability and age group - both AQHA and All Breed. From Halter to Pleasure, Cattle classes to Trail, Ranch Riding to Hunter Under Saddle; this show offered it all. The 11 & Under All Breed youth exhibitors competed for a Hi Point 11 & Under buckle. “Overall, folks just seemed to be enjoying the show. All of our staff work to provide friendly & efficient customer service and we try to hire great judges that can judge the long list of events we offer. Once again this year we were able to hire several judges that have judges multiple AQHA World Shows, NRCHA premier events and NSBA events. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits all week, most of the classes were really big so a lot of points were available. TEEM tries to have positive attitudes both inside the office and out….Happy people are contagious and it spread across the show grounds for the entire week.”
With the great timing of dates for this event each year, the continued success of the National Reined Cow Horse Association sanctioned Lucas Oil/Protect the Harvest Dirt & Diamonds Derby and the non-stop growth of the Back 2 Basics Circuit, there is an added bonus for all exhibitors on the West Coast to come to this great event. It drew contestants from Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, California as well as Canada.
“We have some plans we are tossing around for the 2021 event….so stay tuned!”
AQHA, NSBA & NRCHA are the governing bodies of this competition, and are responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition, ethical treatment of the animals and educating members and the public about the history and traditions of the horse.
**Additional pictures are available on our TEEM Facebook page.”