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2002/01/11

Ronnie Rice & Tag Rice Take One & Two In Open Finals The odds paid off in favor of the Rice Family of Buffalo, Texas, at the 2001 National Cutting Horse Association World Championship Futurity. Ronnie Rice and his son, Tag Rice, went 1-2-4-9 out of 24 horses in the Open Futurity Finals on the evening of December 16 in a class worth $1.6 million. Together, the horses they rode earned in the range of $517,600. Of course, the journey was not easy. SAN TULE FRECKLES, the NCHA World Champion Open Horse for 2001, progressed through three rounds of eliminations to qualify to compete in the Open Finals. The process narrowed the field of 569 to the 24 for the Finals, and on Sunday night, the big check would go to the horse that laid down the strongest, cleanest, and most exciting run. SAN TULE FRECKLES is a three-year-old FRECKLES PLAYBOY stallion that is now co-owned by Flying M Ranch of Bushnell, Florida, and Western States Ranches of Logandale, Nevada. S.E. Montgomery and Wes Adams are, respectively, the controlling interests in each division. The challenge was set in the Open Finals by the first horse of the evening, Jerry R. Jones' PLAYGUN gelding, Mr Beamon, ridden by no other than Tag Rice. The pair set the tone for the evening with an exciting two-and-a-half minute work that was worth 222 points according to the five NCHA judges. Eighteen good horses had worked before the elder Rice took his second turn in the cutting. Ronnie was one of five cutters who qualified two horses in the tough Open Finals. Ronnie let his horse work, and finished strong for a reward of 223.5 points, which held for his second Futurity Championship and a $200,000 check, in addition to an M.L. Leddy's saddle, several trophies, a Gist trophy buckle, Professional's Choice products, and many other awards. Tag Rice was the 2001 Open Futurity Reserve Champion aboard Jones' Mr Beamon. His 222 points were good for a second-place check at the 40th Annual NCHA World Championship Futurity of $162,524. Third was Matt Gaines, Weatherford, Texas, riding LITTLE PEPTO GAL for Crytal Creek Ranch of Aledo, Texas. In addition to world-class cutting, the NCHA also hosted the Cowboy Christmas Extravaganza trade and gift show, nine cutting horse sales, a Cowboy Santa, and a celebrity cutting. All of the NCHA's sponsors are on hand, including Sam's Club, Chevy Trucks, John Deere, Flowmaster, Sooner Trailers, and many, many more. For more information about the National Cutting Horse Association, the 40th Annual NCHA World Championship Futurity, or the long list of activities that accompanied the 20-day show, please call the NCHA at 817-244-6188 or visit www.nchacutting.com.

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