Bama Jelly, by Bamacat, scored 228 points on Monday, March 9, in Jackson, Miss., to win the 2019 NCHA Eastern Nationals Open Championship under Austin Shepard.
Ichi Sangria, by Cat Ichi, scored 225 with Guy Woods to claim the reserve championship, while Looks Halreycious, by Halreycious, scored 223 points with Bill Pierce for third place.
With his past record and three high-profile 2019 Open Finals mounts, Shepard rated as an odds-on favorite coming into the Finals. An all-time leading NCHA Hall of Fame earner of over $8.2 million, Shepard had won a record nine NCHA Eastern Nationals Open championships prior to this year’s event, including last year, when he claimed the title on Dual Reyish LTE $386,617, by Hottish. This year, Shepard and Dual Reyish scored 221.5, to place fourth. Last year’s Open reserve champion Sir Long Legs LTE $383,546, by High Brow Cat, was Shepard’s third 2019 Eastern Open Finals mount, and won the qualifying go-round with 225 points, but lost to a cow in the Finals.
Five-year-old stallion Bama Jelly LTE $162,488 is owned by his breeder Madalyn Colgrove, Boligee, Ala., who showed him earlier this year to place third in the Ike Hamilton Non-Pro 5/6 Classic. Bamacat LTE $351,360, Bama Jelly’s sire, was bred by Austin and Stacy Shepard; his dam is the Nitas Wood daughter Wood She Be Neat LTE $27,600, who Madalyn Colgrove showed successfully in Amateur and Non-Pro limited age event competition.
In addition to Bama Jelly, Shepard also showed CR Dualin Out Tuff LTE $90,256 last week to win the 2019 Eastern Nationals $5,000 Novice Finals and to split third and fourth in the $25,000 Novice Finals.
Guy Woods and 10-year-old Ichi Sangria LTE $173,712, bred and owned by EE Ranches, Whitesboro, Tex., placed third in last year’s NCHA Eastern Nationals Open. Together, Woods and Ichi Sangria have won four NCHA Eastern championship titles and placed in 10 more; they have also placed in five NCHA Western Nationals finals. Woods, the NCHA Open Hall of Fame earner of over $2.7 million, has won 13 NCHA Eastern Nationals titles riding for EE Ranches, including the Open championship on Scratchin, the dam of Ichi Sangria. Woods also scored 221.5 points to place fifth in Friday’s $25,000 Novice Finals riding 4-year-old Blu Laney Bird LTE $10,160, by Once In A Blu Boon, which was won by Looks Halreycious LTE $114,753 and rider Bill Pierce, for J3 Cutting Horses, Kentwood, La.
Looks Halreycious LTE $114,753, owned J3 Cutting Horses, Kentwood, La., won the 2019 NCHA Eastern Nationals $25,000 Novice championship last Friday with Bill Pierce, and was also an NCHA Eastern Nationals Open finalist last year, under Pierce. The 11-year-old gelding was bred by Three Trees Ranch and is out of 1999 NCHA Open Derby champion Smart Lookin Hi Brow $216,395.
The NCHA Open Hall of Fame earner of $1,166,888, Bill Pierce has won or placed in 34 NCHA Eastern National division finals, including last year, when he showed Dual Smart Dee Jay LTE $56,785, owned by Linda Polk, to win the Eastern Nationals $5,000 Novice, and this year, where in addition to Looks Halreycious, he showed Dual Smart Dee Jay, by Dual Smart Rey, to place in the $25,000 Novice.