By Alden Corrigan for Cactus Reining Classic – Photos by Waltenberry - Cactus Reining Classic held at WestWorld Scottsdale, Arizona March 5-9, 2014 had every element required for a star-studded action movie; top horses and riders filling each division and leaving nothing on the table day in and day out and a cliffhanger ending to the $65,500 Added Lucas Oil Open Derby Level 4 culminating in a run off to remember between Franco Bertolani on CFR Centenario Wimpy and Jordan Larson on Show Me The Buckles that had everyone in the Equidome and watching online on the edge of their seats.
Non Pro Highlights
Kris Loewenthal of Sonoma, California: DRHA Rookie Reserve High Point Champion on Whattadualpep (Mister Dual Pep x Whattaroyalprincess)
Kris came to Reining in 2013 by way of Jumpers, which she still shows competitively in “I don’t know if it’s my experience or my age, but my nerves at the In Gate were almost overwhelming and I thought I need to do something that doesn’t have fences in it, to get control of my show nerves, and Reining looked like a lot of fun. A lot of people thought this would last for about a year, but I love Reining, it’s an amazing sport, and I couldn’t leave now…the people are great, the horses are insanely talented and it’s a beautiful sport to be a part of.”
In Kris’ “spare time” she is the Chairperson of Giant Steps Equestrian Therapeutic Center in Petaluma California “Giant Steps has changed my life coming into horses late and on a competitive side, being able to see what they can do from a therapeutic angle for so many disabilities…from physical to mental, from Autism to PTSD to Cerebral Palsy….Having the opportunity to work with Giant Steps has really transformed the way I look at the animals and never under value them.”
Sharee Schwartzenberger of Longmont, Colorado: Salamander Resort & Spa Novice Horse Level 2 Non Pro Challenge and Level 2 Non Pro High Point Division Champion on Game Day Surprize (Hang Ten Surprize & Dunnit N Continental)
Six-year-old Game Day Surprize and Sharee have been together since last year when she bought him as a Derby horse from a client of her fathers. “When the owner talked about selling him my dad said he thought he’d be a good Non Pro horse so I decided to invest in him as my ‘going to the big shows’ horse. I showed him all last year and did well including winning the Novice Horse Level 2 Affiliate Championship and the Non Pro out in Oklahoma. After Cactus Reining Classic my big show with him this year will be the NRBC.”
What brings the family all the way from Colorado to Arizona? “We come every year. It’s a great show, awesome weather, and if you have a solid run you’ll be in the money. I won my check back on both horses.”
Cam Essick of Clements, California: $42,500 Added Protect the harvest Non Pro Derby: Level 3 and Prime Time Champion as well as tying for Level 4 Reserve Champion with Wimpys Little Roo and Kim Muehlstaetter and Shiney Enterprise Mandy McCutcheon on Who Loves You (Walla Walla Whiz x Love Em N Lena) of $9,886.61
Five-year-old Who Loves you is a gelding that Cam bred, raised and shown for almost a year under the guidance of Arno Honstetter at the shows. “He’s a horse that I keep at home, so my challenge as a Non Pro is to make the time while I’m working to manage a show horse and be competitive on a national level in the aged events. That’s a huge challenge for me as I do not ride with a trainer at home. I like that challenge, on the other hand, I’m probably the only one that does that. I have bred every horse I show, so I don’t have the liberty to give up on a horse.
Cam is currently at the top of the leader board for the Four Seasons 2014 Trifecta Non Pro Reining Challenge as well.
Ollie Galligan of Petaluma, California: NRHA Open and NRHA Intermediate Open High Point Champion with earnings of $1,078 on Lavonne Sturgeon’s California Shines (West Coast Whiz x Shining Maid)
Ollie Galligan of Petaluma, California set a goal at the beginning of the year for his clients and himself to work hard together to really step up their game in 2014. Team Galligan started the year off with two shows in Northern California before heading to the Cactus Reining Classic. Galligan explains, “We got our horses schooled, I pushed my clients, the clients pushed their horses, and we all focused on trying to get to that next level.
Everyone has worked so hard to make it happen at this show, and it’s kind of a bonus because it’s my birthday! Doing well on Cal (California Shines) yesterday was great. We won in the NRHA $500 Added Intermediate Open and then last night in the $NRHA $1,000 Added Open and come back today and be in the running again and get a half point higher than we did yesterday we’re just tickled to death, and I want to thank Brumley Management Group does a beautiful job putting on this big show.”
Franco Bertolani of Aubrey, Texas: $67,500 Added Lucas Oil Open Derby Level 4 Champion with earnings of $13832.20 on Domenico Lomuto ~ Slide or Die’s CFR Centenario Wimpy (Wimpys Little Step x Miss Hollywood Whiz)
Brazilian rider Franco Bertolani and six-year-old stallion CFR Centenario Wimpy repeated their Open Derby Level 4 winning performance from High Roller Reining Classic 2013 in this year’s $67,500 Added Lucas Oil Open Derby with run that won’t soon be forgotten. “I think the West Coast brings me luck. I came back here after High Roller and he was really good. Jordan Larson and Show Me The Buckles and I were both 225.5 in our first runs. My horse was a little fresh in the first run and when we came back for the run off he was really good. Much better than the first one and we marked 231.5.”
The only person who was possibly even more excited than Franco with CFR Centenario Wimpy’s performance was his owner Domenico Lomuto who has owned the stallion since he was a four-year-old.
Domenico got into Reining in a very round about way. As owner of the largest collection of Leica cameras in the world Domenico was approached by a very good friend who asked to purchase one special camera about four years ago. After repeatedly turning the friend down a photo of a palomino arrived in the mail. “The note said, “If you send me the camera, the Palomino stud is yours”, so I did it. The horse was a cow horse. After that I bought an embryo in the U.S. and things go along then way, and I bought Rio.”
Now two years later, along with Show Me The Buckles’ owner Rebecca Martin, Domenico had to make the call (literally from Rome, Italy) whether or not to go head to head in a run off for the Open Derby title. “My wife and my daughter were sleeping because it was 3:00 a.m. in Italy when I was watching “Rio” on the computer. Then I received the call from Franco asking what he should do. Franco said we are here I think we should go ahead (and run off) and I said yes, it’s good for the industry to have a run off. When Jordan marked a 228.5 I was already thinking of writing a message congratulating him. I thought I had made the worst decision…..And then when I heard 231.5 I was completely off my sofa sitting on the floor! I had my headphones on because everyone was asleep, and I started screaming, my wife came out of the bedroom and said what is going on? I said I want to explain to you how we won the Derby, and she said tell me in the morning,” Lomuto says with a laugh.
Brumley sums up the 2014 event “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence ~ Confucius. In my opinion this is the perfect quote to describe the 2014 Cactus Reining Classic. As show producers, we could not have asked for a better group of exhibitors to compete at our event. Everyone brought their ‘A’ game this week and it showed. I am still getting goose bumps thinking about that Open Derby run off Saturday night, and am so excited about the growth in the Non Pro and Youth divisions this year.”
For complete results go to: www.cactusreiningclassic.com/2014-event-results.
The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this posting. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests, or questions.