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Buckeye Friends of Reining Futurity


Article & Photos by Nancy Brannon

After having to cancel two events this year because of COVID-19, folks at the Buckeye Reining Series were able to find sponsors, advertise, and put together this event in just 45 days. The Friends of Reining Futurity Event was held Sept. 30 – Oct. 6, 2020 at the Show Place Arena in Cordova, TN, in conjunction with the Tennessee Reining Horse Association (TNRHA). Show manager Laura Schoeller said that because of the cancellation of the Quarter Horse Congress, folks felt the need for another horse show in this time frame. The Buckeye Reining series normally hosts three shows a year: the first in April, a Derby in May, and a Futurity in August, and the Futurity is usually held in Springfield, Ohio. “Once Congress was cancelled,” she said, “we saw the opportunity to host a show this time of year, especially for our 3-year-olds.”

This event offered over $270,000 in added money, thanks to their generous sponsors, and was their “biggest event to date,” Schoeller said. She said that people came “from all over the nation to this show, all along the East Coast, and everywhere in between.” Entries came from Arizona, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, New York, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The Futurity alone had 103 entries and the show had close to 1,000 entries. Schoeller said, “COVID has changed our routines, but we still find ways to have a secure, family-friendly event with something for everyone involved.”

The Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 rules were still in place, with a big sign on the office door stating “masks required.” But I saw very few people at the facility wearing masks, even in the office and indoor arena. Schoeller said that their organization was working with the Health Dept. and the facility to comply and that one sponsor had donated 4,000 masks. “We’re pushing it as much as we can,” Schoeller said. On Sunday evening, Oct. 4, Shelby County Health Department personnel were in the main arena checking to see if folks were wearing masks.

The Buckeye Reining Series was started about five years ago with the purpose of bringing the excitement of reining from its birthplace in Ohio to east of the Mississippi. Buckeye partnered with Friends of Reining’s Bob Santagoda, Fritz Leeman, David McGee, and Rick Clark.

Jeff Kirkbride was the official photographer at the show; videography was provided by National Sports Broadcasting.  Judges were Rick Weaver, Ben Balow, Kelly Sapp, and Bob LaPorta.

Highlights of the show were the Derby, the Open Futurity, and the High Point Youth Award.

For more information about the show, visit

Derby Winners:
Level 4: Matt Palmer and Gunnatrashtheplace

Level 3: Rocky Dare and Starlightsndiamonds

Andrea Fappani and All Bettss Are Off took home the Level 4 Win in the Open Futurity on Sunday night. Fappani placed third with Thee American Dream and fifth on Gunna Go Big.

Shawn Flarida showed multiple horses at this event. On Wednesday he won the NRHA 1700 Novice Horse Level 1 on Shiny Jersey, owned by Luigi Parise.

On Thursday, Casey Hinton (Whitesboro, TX) took first with 3-year-old Onecoolchic in the NRHA 2300 Level 2 Limited Open – Aged Event (32 entries)

Josh Lyons of Cross Plains, TN showed CCR Marilyns Joe to a 216, securing his place in the Level 3 Open Finals on Sunday, as well as taking home the Northeast Breeders Trust Stallion Auction & Fall Futurity Level 1 Championship and 4th in the Level 2.” Lyons and CCR Marilyns Joe finished in eighth in Sunday’s Level 3 Open Finals.

 Trent Harvey and Alpha Black marked a 217.5 to be the Northeast Breeders Trust Stallion Auction & Fall Futurity Level 2 Champions, and secured their place in the Level 3 and 4 Open Futurity Finals on Sunday. The pair finished 23rd in Level 3
 Littlelectricolonel and Brandon Brant didn’t disappoint with a 220.5, and the crowd was on fire! The pair took home the Northeast Breeders Trust Stallion Auction & Fall Futurity Level 3 Champion Title and 3rd in the Level 4, also securing their place in the Level 3 and 4 Finals Sunday. In the Level 3 finals on Sunday, Brant finished third with CCR Gunnabehollywood and 3-way tied for fifth on Littlelectricolonel with Tom McCutcheon on Gunners Rockstar and with Gabriel Diano on MMB Cee A Wimpy.

Andrea Fappani and Gunna Go Big scored 223.5 to win the Level 4 Open Futurity Prelims. They also captured the Northeast Breeders Trust Stallion Auction & Fall Futurity Level 4 Futurity Title.

Tom McCutcheon and Gunners Rockstar marked a 220 moving into 3rd place of the Level 4 Open and 2nd in the Level 3. They were third in the Level 4 and second in the Level 3 of the Northeast Breeders Trust Stallion Auction & Fall Futurity.

Cade McCutcheon scored 221 on the Arcese entry Americasnextcovergirl, taking the lead of the Level 4 first go and the lead of the Northeast Breeders Trust Stallion Auction & Fall Futurity Level 4. What a cool mare! McCutcheon and Americasnextcovrgirl finished seventh in the Level 4 Finals.

On Tuesday, last day of the show, in Junior Reining, Josiane Gauthier secured first on Im Spookin Electric.

In Tuesday’s NRHA 1100 Open and 2100 Level 4 Open, Matthew Palmer posted the win in Gunnatrashtheplace with Shawn Flarida coming in second on Sunsout Gunsout. Palmer was third with Im Painted Special.

See full results of the show at:

Find them on facebook at:

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