Mercuria World Finals First Rounds Recap
Author: Lauren Middleton
The Mercuria World Finals held during the NCHA Futurity is always something we all look forward to from year to year. The atmosphere is unique to this event it is full of excitement from the music to the packed stands! The aged events that everyone loves and the perfect young horses are one thing but it is a completely different kind of cutting with these older competitors. These fantastic horses can handle just about anything and this fast-paced tough cutting is what they crave. The first two rounds have hosted some big time runs that have had us on the edge of our seats as well as fulfilled milestones for many of the riders.
The first round was topped by the leader of the pack in the Non-Pro, April Widman, riding Woodys Baby (Nitas Wood x You N Me Baby) marking a huge 228! This added another $6,035 to their lead and a jump start in the rankings for the average. She and “Spanky” have had quite the year and have made it one to remember. They finished 2016 as the Non-Pro Reserve Champions then decided to go for the Championship this year. They are a fun team to watch taking on tough situations with ease. That is another unique aspect to the World Finals, the majority of these horses and rider teams have a deep connection and the result is extra special!
April Widman and Woodys Baby
Reserve Champion in the first round of the Non-Pro was Lindy Ashlock riding Little Miss One Time (One Time Pepto x Puddykat) marking a 222. “Peach” has been in the spotlight time and time again throughout 2017 getting this dynamic duo into the finals. This Reserve finish added another $4,828 to their $39,828.07 for the year.
Lindy Ashlock and Little Miss One Time
In the Open Division, it was Austin Shepard riding Deluxe Checks (Im Countin Checks x Catrina Starlight) owned by Rhein and Amanda Standish and Beau Galyean riding Metallic Rebel (Metallic Cat x Sweet Abra) owned by Thomas Guinn that made history both marking 233’s! Their runs were hard knocking while being beautifully put together. They each received $5,431.50 for their win. This extended Austin and “Sandy’s” lead adding to their first-place position and $123,199.85 earnings for the year! The win in the first round also pushed Beau and “Cecil” into the top spot for the title of World Champion Stallion over Cattalou (High Brow Cat x Louella Again) owned by WS Morris and ridden by Cullen Chartier.
Austin Shepard and Deluxe Checks
Beau Galyean and Metallic Rebel
All of the anticipation of the first-round led into the second round as well, both horses and riders were on their game making for another night for the record books. The crowd was also even more excited knowing exactly what they could expect for the evening. So many people have come together to make this event better than ever and it definitely shows from the prestige to the overwhelming energy.
Austin Shepard and Deluxe Checks celebrating after their run.
In the Non-Pro, it was Lauren Middleton and Sweet Reyvenge (Reys Dual Badger x Sweet Camille) that claimed the Championship marking a 225.5! “Sammy” is known for his radical moves and loves a fast-paced run. He got to show off his talents with three in your face cows and the crowd cheering. The win added $6,035 to the duo’s $46,260 for the year and boosted them into the fourth-place position in the Non-Pro Standings.
Lauren Middleton and Sweet Reyvenge
Reserve Champion in the second round was Jo Howard Williamson riding Lil Metallic Cat (Metallic Cat x Lil Foxy Starlight) marking a 224. Jo Howard rode his new mount “Cruz” like they had been together forever and the six-year-old stallion handled it all like a veteran. Their stellar run allowed them to claim the $4,828 Reserve Champion’s check to go along with their $32,928.24 they have accumulated throughout the year.
Jo Howard Williamson and Lil Metallic Cat
In the Open Austin Shepard and Deluxe Checks came back again to mark another amazing 233 and finish with a win! This unbelievable feat added another $6,035 to their lead for the NCHA Open World Championship. “Sandy” has been on fire and their second-round run seemed to be even better than the first. The entire Circle S crew celebrated in the stands after the huge run and rightfully so! This amazing mare continues to wow the crowd with her style and agility, we are looking forward to the next round for the duo.
Austin Shepard and Deluxe Checks
Reserve Champion in the Open was none other than Beau Galyean riding Metallic Rebel marking a 224! Making it a little bit a déjà vu from the first round. They collected a $4,828 check for their stunning performance!
Beau Galyean and Metallic Rebel
As mentioned earlier there are some horses and riders that need to be recognized for some important milestones during the 2017 Mercuria World Finals as well. A few first-time finalists in the Non-Pro Division include Michelle Barnes riding Hillbilly Handfishin (Autumn Acre x Little Red Bet), Denise Seiz riding Cat Black I (Smooth As A Cat x Smart Lil Gal), Cameron Thompson riding SDP Little Ichi Maddie (Cat Ichi x Shortys Starlight), Shannon Lamb riding Ru Du Ichi (Cat Ichi x Snicker Roo), and Page Bowman riding Big Daddys CD (High Brow CD x Snazzy Easter Bunny), Lindy Ashlock riding Little Miss One Time, and Cade Shepard riding Gini One Time (One Time Pepto x Paving The Rey). The first time competing in the World Finals is a huge accomplishment in itself then we get to the other end of the spectrum with Mary Jo Milner riding Little Pepto Cat (High Brow Cat x Little Pepto Gal). Mary Jo has been in the Non-Pro World finals countless times and been an NCHA Non-Pro World Champion an impressive eight times! She has a true love for the sport and has been up and down the road showing in so many different settings each year. It becomes a lifestyle when you get immersed in it and an experience that adds another fun experience in the sport.
Cade Shepard one of the first time Non Pro World Finalists riding Gini One Time
Mary Jo Milner 8 time Non Pro World Champion and Little Pepto Cat
There are several first timers in the Open World Finals as well including Tatum Rice riding Eazee E (High Brow Cat x Zee Dually) owned by Kevin and Sydney Knight who are currently sitting second in the standings, Tarin Rice riding past NCHA Futurity Champion He Bea Cat (High Brow Cat x Mae Bea Marie) owned by Jim and Marylin Crawford, Beau Galyean riding Metallic Rebel who is leading both NCHA Horse of the Year standings and World Champion Stallion, Clint Allen riding QB Cat (High Brow Cat x Quintan Blue) owned by David and Stacie McDavid, Monty Buntin riding Starlights Lil Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Starlights CD) owned by Steven and Stacy Morgan, and Sean Flynn riding Cat Man Blue (High Brow Cat x Quintan Blue) owned by Lazy M Cattle Company.
Tatum Rice and Eazee E currently sitting second in the Open World Standings.
Hauling to be part of any division of the NCHA World Finals is an experience everyone should participate in at some point in their cutting careers. It makes you a better showman, gives you a greater understanding of the sport, and you get to know so many new people that enjoy the same amazing industry. There are still two more rounds of the prestigious Mercuria Open and Non-Pro class on November 30th and December 2nd as well as the other full slate of classes beginning on Wednesday November 29th. Good luck to everyone as they battle it out for the top spots but also remember how hard you have worked to get to this point and take it all in as you compete in your respective finals! Everyone be sure to tune in to CHC’s Live scoring to keep up with the action!