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Big Wins For IT'S JUST ABOUT ME IT'S JUST ABOUT ME captured the Limited Open Finals championship with trainer Clint Allen at the NCHA Futurity on December 13 in Fort Worth, Texas. A few hours later the sorrel stallion turned in his second cow stopping performance of the day as owner Alisa McCleary tied for fourth in Non-pro competition. The Limited Non-Pro class is restricted to riders who have won less than $100,000 in NCHA-approved competition. Allen of Weatherford, Texas placed second in the same class at the Futurity last year on MERADA CLONE. Allen made his way from his native New Zealand seven years ago and landed in Weatherford under trainer Matt Gains who was working for the late Charles Spence of Collierville, Tennessee and Weatherford. McCleary lives outside Collierville in the Fayette County community of Piperton. The double winner stallion is out of FRECKLES FANCY TWIST which was owned by Spence and out of JIGGER FULLA GIN. Allen's run netted $16,238 while McCleary collected $43,386 on her score of 217.5. A record-breaking total of 378 Non-Professional riders entered the 2002 Chevy Trucks/NCHA World Championship Futurity, making for an equally-record breaking purse of $818,688. "He has a big heart and great ability," said McCleary speaking of her stallion. "He's a great athletic with a lot of desire." Both McCleary and Allen are expected to show ITS JUST ABOUT ME at the Memphis Futurity which opens February 3 at Shelby Show Place Arena. High marks, growing purses, innovative programs and celebrated cutters combined to make the 41st National Cutting Horse Association World Championship Futurity one of the most memorable in NCHA history. The 19-day event, running from November 27 through December 15 in Will Rogers Memorial Center, boasted a total purse of more than $2.8 million. The 2002 Futurity, sponsored by Chevy Trucks, attracted 1,468 entries from 41 states and four foreign countries. A record number of Non-Pro competitors (378) and Amateurs (289) competed, and the 589 Open entries is the most since 1983. In conjunction with the show, Western Bloodstock performed auctions December 7 through 15, with more than 1,400 horses offered for sale. Prior to the Futurity Select 2-Year-Old Sale on December 11, the legendary Smart Little Lena was honored for the dramatic impact he has made on the cutting horse industry during the past 20 years. Another strong influence on NCHA was Zack T Wood Jr. During the 12th annual Charles Goodnight Gala, the longtime Executive Director was recognized for his contributions to the association. Also, Tim May, Albert Paxton, Walter Hellyer, Sam Shepard, Jo Ellard, S.J. Agnew and Punk Carter were inducted into the NCHA Hall of Fame during the Futurity. The show also served as an opportunity to look toward the future. Plans were unveiled for the Western Horseman Cup, a year-long championship series for 4-year-old horses that will award $250,000 at the Augusta Futurity beginning in 2004. Members were also given the opportunity to tour the association's new offices during the NCHA's Open House, held December 13. Plenty of other social activities made for an eventful schedule during the show. A party for lifetime members was held December 12. At the Professional Trainers Party Bill Riddle was awarded the Zane Schulte Memorial Award. As for the main attraction, Tag Rice followed the example of his father, the 2001 Champion Ronnie Rice, and won the Open Futurity aboard Chiquita Pistol. Mary Ann Rapp and Little Janey Lena scored a record 228 points to win the Non-Pro division. And Bill Brown, who was named NCHA Rookie of the year, claimed the Amateur Championship.

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