The 2012 High Roller Reining Classic held at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Sept. 9-15 had it all. The 37 percent increase in entries over 2011 was confirmation that this event continues to live up to its reputation as one of the most popular destinations of the year. The depth of entries in each class resulted in some of the toughest competition in the country.
The Show Must Go On
As an extra added attraction early in the week, Mother Nature put on an impromptu show of her own blasting the city with a quick-moving storm that enveloped the facility. In true bigger than life Vegas style, within a matter of minutes, floods, deafening thunder and a direct lightening strike to the hotel that rivaled any show on the Strip had come and gone.
Raun Samuelson and Dun It For A Check.
As luck would have it, Non Pro Raun Samuelson of Glenwood Springs, CO and his 4-year old mare Dun It For A Chex were on pattern when the arena strobe lights went off and the announcements not to leave the building began. The duo kept their composure and completed the pattern much to the amazement of the crowd. "It was kind of a surprise," said Raun. "I didn't know quite what it was. I thought at first, being in a casino, maybe someone had won big ... but then it kept going of ... I was surprised that she didn't even flinch and she just kept going. I didn't know what to do so I just kept going!"
Back In The Saddle Again
After a three-year hiatus, Sandy Bentien of Auburn picked the High Roller Reining Classic for her return to the show pen aboard her 10 year old Make It With A Twist (Dun It With A Twist X SR Mischief Maker), who came out of retirement for the show as well. "I just decided that her earnings were so close to $100,000 why not leg her back up and bring her out for the Maturity classes," Sandy said.
The duo's first outing resulted in a three-way runoff in the $500 Added Non Pro #2 class with Jill Bradley and Busy Chex N Lena and Kylie Warn on her Getting Magnumtized all scoring a 144.0. "I was really nervous for some reason, coming back out after having such a great career with her. I came out, made a couple of mistakes, and the tie gave me a chance to go back in and show her. She was awesome. She went out there and did her job like she always does."
From Germany With Love
Over $270,000 in added money and prizes brought out the top horses and riders, and not just from the U.S and Canada. Eighteen-year old Philip Loesch came all the way from Munich, Germany to show his Wimpys Lil Star in the $40,000 Added Conquistador Whiz Non Pro Derby. "I have parents who support me in whatever I want to do, and this is the sport I love, Philip explained. "I was 7 when I got my first horse, but pretty quickly I realized that the only thing that I wanted to do was reining so by the time I was 12 my parents bought me my first reining horse. Reining in Europe is getting pretty big, but still the best horse trainers are over here."
Philip, who has only ridden Wimpys Lil Star a handful of times but has never shown the stallion finished 12th marking a 215.5 in their first appearance at the High Roller Reining Classic.
Is There A Doctor In The House?
Philip may have come the farthest to compete in the $40,000 Added Conquistador Whiz Non Pro Derby, but it was Otto Stanislaw DVM of Phoenix, AZ on his 6 year-old Miss Silver Gun (Colonels Smokingun x Miss Taris Rey) who dominated it marking a 221.5, and winning every division he was eligible for and taking home a whopping $14,590.34.
Always humble, Otto extoled the virtues of his gorgeous gray mare. "She's awesome…A monkey on her back could have done the same thing. She's a very neat mare. I've had her for two years. Last year Martin Muehlstaetter won the Intermediate Open Derby here. I did not show her in the Derby here last year, just the Non Pro Open and I won it on her last year. I love coming to this show."
Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
After riding for 40 years and reiners specifically for 14 years, Dewayne Copus 79, from Santa Barbara, won his very first Bob's Custom trophy saddle at the 2012 High Roller Reining Classic. He and his gorgeous gelding Crome Plated Step (Wimpys Little Step x Crome Kist Dun It) trained by Tom Foran took home both the Primetime Non Pro High Point Champion Saddle, the Rhodes River Ranch CDR Farms Masters Non Pro High Point Award and a Gist Silversmith Reserve Champion Buckle in the Primetime division of the SmartPak Non Pro Maturity Challenge for their efforts during the week.
Dewayne says of his equine partner, "He's what every Non Pro should have. He's like a puppy. He's very loyal to you. He'll stand there for a half an hour with nothing on him. He likes for you to love on him, he never gets upset. He's just a great Non Pro horse. I just can't believe what he as done for me at this show. When I got here I looked at all those (trophy) saddles that Brumley Management Group was giving away, I saw the saddle for Primetime and I said there's a saddle I could win. I've never won a saddle and had no dream of winning one. Then after two days it looked like I might get to win a saddle! I won a saddle, two buckles, Markel Horse Insurance cooler, a National Horse Blanket, Tanya Jenkins Signature Series cooler and lots of other prizes ... our arms were full of things! Plus he won me $2,000. How much prouder can you be of a horse?"
She's On Her Way To Whistler, BC
Loren Booth of Orange Cove has a big decision ahead of her. When should she book her trip to the Four Seasons Resort in Whistler, British Columbia.
As the winner of the 2012 Trifecta Non Pro Derby Challenge, Loren, who is trained by Tracer Gilson and her Brennas Dream (Magnum Chic Dream-Brennas Red Dunit) were able to maintain their substantial lead coming into to the final of three Non Pro Derby events to garner the win. "This really wasn't on the radar screen as I had just started getting together with this little mare at the Cactus Reining Classic. She continued to do well at Reining By The Bay and here, and it all added up to a win for Brennas Dream.
"This program energizes the Non Pros and its helpful for anybody ... trainers, breeders, anybody because the more the Non Pros are engaged and the more excited they are is very important."
"Excited" was the perfect word for the response from the Non Pros when the 2013 Trifecta Non Pro Derby Challenge destination was announced during the awards presentation: The Four Seasons Resort Lana 'I The Lodge at Koele will host the 2013 winner for a five night, six-day stay.
Walk The Talk
Brian Welman of River Falls, WI took home the top honors in the SmartPak Open Maturity Challenge Open Level 4 & Intermediate Open marking a 225.5 on 7 year-old Reminhick (Reminic Ringo x Hometown Hickory). No stranger to High Roller Reining Classic as a judge, this was the first time Brian has shown at the venue.
"He's been a really nice, fun horse to show," Brian says of his horse. "He was a cow horse as a 3 and 4 year old, another trainer up in our area had him as a 5 year old and I got him when he was 6 at the end of May for the Novice Derby they have at Fort Worth. I continued to show him in Novice Horse and was 5th or 6th in the year-end, won both Novice Horse classes at the NRHA Futurity and won the Senior Reining at the Congress on him."
The Future Is Bright
Casey Deary of Weatherford, TX and Americasnextgunmodel (Colonels Smoking Gun x Cee Dun It Do It) marked a 226.5 edging out Andrea Fappani and Son Of A Twisted Gun who marked a 225.0 to win the $70,000 Added Spooks Gotta Gun Open Futurity Level 4 bragging rights and a check
"Lili" holds a special place in Casey's heart as he co-owns her with Dana Conrad. "She's a mare that we bought at the 2 year-old Futurity sale from David Silva. She's the first one I get on every morning. She's a really, really great-minded mare. She loves her job, easy to ride, easy to work with, very naturally talented. She had a little reaction to the Flu-Rhino vaccine two weeks ago, and nearly didn't get to bring her. She basically had two days work between Cowtown Classic (where she was third in the Futurity) and here."
If there were a stop of the show award, it would have gone to Cody Clock and Chics Dream About Me (Wimpys Little Step x This Chicsdundreamin). The pair marked 224.50 to win the Intermediate, Limited and Level 1 championship honors in the $70,000 Added Spooks Gotta Gun Open Futurity with one spectacular stop after the other. Clock 27, is the personal trainer for Laura Day of Day Creek Ranch in Simi Valley.
Clock can't say enough about the little Palomino stud. "We bought him last year after the Derby from Rhodes River Ranch and he's been a really good horse ever since we first bought him home. He's been a dream. He's a huge stopper and so easy to ride. Nothing fazes him. He wants to go out every day and do his job. He's just a great-minded individual."
Andrea Fappani of Scottsdale, AZ and 5 year-old Smoking Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Glendas A Smokingun) continued their winning ways in the $70,000 Added Boom Shernic Open Derby Level 4. The duo went 5th out of 38 in the draw and their score of 230.5 could not be beaten for the rest of the class earning the pair a $12, 521 payday.
Andrea Fappani and Smoking Whiz.
Andrea and "Hamster," as he is lovingly called by owners Michael and Michelle Miola of Silver Spurs Equine, LLC in Cave Creek, AZ have only been together since April of this year "I really liked the horse when I saw Brett (Stone) ride him. I tried to buy him as a 3 year old but of course they wouldn't sell him. I always bugged Michael, Michelle and Brett to let me show him one time that I'd love to have a shot to try him."
Smoking Whiz is one of 39 industry-leading stallions in the 2012 High Roller Reining Classic Stallion Service Silent Auction. Online bidding ends January 15, 2013. Go to www.highrollerreiningclassic.com to see the complete list of stallions available.