The largest National Reining Breeders Classic Open in history culminated Saturday night with the Open finals. While the field boasted many former Champions and multiple million dollar riders, new names finished at the top.
Martin Muehlstaetter Wins Level 4 and 3 Open NRBC Championships on Blue Collar Tag
Martin Muehlstaetter wasn’t planning to show Blue Collar Tag at the NRBC; his owner, former Non Pro Champion Shaunda Rai Ruckman would be at the reins.
In the preliminary round the pair scored a 222. “I didn’t feel a lot of pressure about showing him, because his owner was supposed to ride him. Then we made the finals, and that was a bonus,” he said. “I just went for it and everything fell into place. This horse was really good. He ran and stopped great, turned around really good, and circled nice. He ran out of gas just a hair on his last stop, but he gave everything he had.”
In the level (L) 4 finals, Muehlstaetter and Blue Collar Tag scored a 226 – besting L 4 Open Reserve Champion Craig Schmersal and What A Wave by a scant half-point. “It feels great to win it – It’s unbelievable! I just hope I don’t wake up tomorrow morning and it was all a dream. I am so thankful to my wife (Kim Muehlstaetter) and Shaunda,” he said after the awards ceremony, where he picked up two checks – the $75,000 L 4 open check, and also $24,350 for winning the L 3 open title.
Muehlstaetter has ridden Blue Collar Tag, by Whiz N Tag Chex out of Kachina Oak Olena, for three years, and even finished ninth in the NRBC Open in 2013. “We get along pretty well,” Muehlstaetter said. “I thank my wife, Shaunda, and all my staff. They’ve been working really hard. Also thank you to my sponsors for supporting me. I’m very thankful.”
When asked about the toughness of the finals, he said, “I think there were two Futurity Champions in the finals. There were a bunch of great horses, and I think every horse had a shot to win it. It was about as tough as it could be.”
Although Muehlstaetter isn’t planning to show Blue Collar Tag at the National Reining Horse Association Derby, he does plan to take the gelding to the World Equestrian Games in France to compete for Team Austria.
Craig Schmersal piloted What A Wave, by Tidal Wave Jack out of What A Sunrise, to a 225.5, claiming the Reserve Championship, along with a check for $51,000. What A Wave is owned by Karl Roberts and Terri Roberts.
Sam Schaffhauser and Gunners Tinseltown took L 3 open reserve honors back to North Texas, after marking a 224 in the finals. Not only did the pair win $14,822 in the Intermediate Open, they also finished tied for fourth in the L 4 open divison, worth an additional $27,500. Gunners Tinseltown, by Colonels Smoking Gun out of Miss Tinseltown, is owned by David Silva.
Ryan Rushing Tops Level 2 Open on Steppin On Sparks
In 2012, Ryan Rushing qualified for the L 2 and L 1 open finals. He was winning the Level 1, up until his friend Fernando Salgado piloted his horse to a half-point higher score. “I had a really good horse, but got beat out by my friend Fernando. Last year I was sweating it all day because I went early and had to wait to see how I did,” he said.
After qualifying Steppin On Sparks for the L 3 and L 2 finals, he knew history could repeat itself. Luckily, his score of 221 held up for the Level 2 Championship, and was good for a fourth place tie in the Intermediate Open. “This year was fun. I knew we did the best we could and just knew that if it worked out it would be great, and if not, we did our best,” he said.
All total, Rushing and Steppin On Sparks won $18,470.
Steppin On Sparks, by Jacs Electric Spark out of Mahoganys First Step, is owned by HDC Quarter Horses. The 5-year-old stallion was started by Andrea Fappani as a 3-year-old, then shown by Marco Ricotta before being shown by Jordan Larson.
“Jordan really went to bat for me and got me the opportunity to show this horse here this year. The preliminary round was actually the first time I showed him, and I’ve only been riding him about five weeks,” Rushing said. “He’s a very fun horse to show – he’s phenomenal. I’m thrilled to get to show him. I thank Jordan for giving me great opportunities, and teaching me everything I know.”
There was a tie for reserve between Debbie Arballo and A Shining Sidekick, and Trevor Dare and Roundabout Wrangler, who both marked a 219. Each took home a check for $5,044. A Shining Sidekick, by Starbucks Sidekick out of A Shining Starlett, is owned by Tom and Mandy McCutcheon, while Roundabout Wrangler, by Starlights Wrangler out of Hollywood China Chic, is owned by Juan Manuel Alanis.
Tell Edgmon Wins Level 1 Open on Cool N Dun Gunner
Tell Edgmon might have had one of the biggest cheering section of anyone competing in the finals at the NRBC. Riding Cool N Dun Gunner, owned by Kevin Corcoran, Edgmon marked a 219 to win the L 1 open finals, good for $1,668.
“Thank you to Kevin Corcoran, Casey and Nicole Deary, my wife Ari, and all my co-workers for helping. I don’t think they get enough credit,” Edgmon said following the awards ceremony, where he was presented with a custom saddle from Continental Saddlery; a Gist Silversmiths buckle; a WonPad; a Whisper Bit; and natural alternative grazer from Ventures Vision.
Edgmon and Cool N Dun Gunner (Colonels Smoking Gun x Miss Cool Heat) competed at the 2013 NRBC, finishing fifth in the Open Level 1. “I showed her all last year and they let me have the chance to bring her back this year,” he said. “I was pretty sure we’d have a good run when she came in and she committed to her first stop. She turned ok, and then I was able to relax on the circles. When I came around the corner for the first stop I was feeling pretty comfortable. She was with me the whole time.”
Jordan McBurney and Hava Vital tied for reserve in the L 1 open, each winning $888. McBurney was riding Dun Step N Out (Wimpys Little Step x This Is How Its Done), owned by Rhodes River Ranch, while Vital rode MJ Roosters Gun (Colonels Smoking Gun x Gallo Del Blanco), owned by Rodion Cantacuzene.
Randy Paul Wins Prime Time Open on Chics Dream About Me
Chics Dream About Me, by Wimpys Little Step out of This Chicsdundreamin, was started and shown as a 3-year-old by Cody Clock, before an injury sidelined him from competition most of his 4-year-old year. “Cody showed him and did a really good job. We’ve just really started bringing him back. We’ve only showed at one other show, so he’s just starting his career,” Paul said. “He’s one of the better horses I’ve ever rode. He’s very talented and really good-minded. He has all the goodies.”
Paul is the head trainer for Day Creek Ranch, located in Semi Valley, California. “I really love it. They have a beautiful place. I thank the Days for believing in me and sending me down the road with their horse. I’m so glad we were able to do well for them,” he said.
Debbie Arballo and A Shining Sidekick tied for the Prime Time Open Reserve title with Brent Wright and Spookaroanie. Each marked a 220.5, collecting $1,350. A Shining Sidekick, owned by Tom and Mandy McCutcheon, is by Smart Spook out of A Shining Starlett, while Wright’s horse, Spookaroanie, is by Smart Spook out of Little Roan Chick.
Congratulations to our Ancillary Champions
- Novice Horse Open Levels 1&2 (2) – Patrice St. Onge and USS Whiz
- Non Pro (1) and Int. Non Pro Champion (1) – Chris Sullivan and Custom Couture
- Short Stirrup (2) – Brinley Beicker and KC Customchromedout
- NRHA, Classic Challenge, and USA Reining 13 & Under – Skyler Deshotels and Conquistador Lil Star
- NRHA, Classic Challenge, USA Reining, and Unrestricted Youth 14-18 – Claire Dittrich and Whiz N Chica Dee
- Classic Challenge Youth 13 & Under – Skyler Deshotels and Conquistador Lil Star
- USA Reining 14-18 – Savannah Grace Ostner and Mr Crometastic
- Green Rider Levels 1 & 2 – Elena Hurd and Its All About Bud