Articles: Press Release
Shawn Flarida Slides to $40,000 Added Open Futurity Win with Whizkey N
Diamonds at High Roller Reining Classic
Shawn Flarida was victorious in the $40,000 Added Open Futurity today with
Whizkey N Diamonds at the High Roller Reining Classic. Photo By: John O'Hara.
Rebecca Walton for
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Las Vegas, NV - September 9, 2009 - It was an exciting day of competition at
the High Roller Reining Classic as the nation's best riders competed for top
honors the $40,000 Open Futurity. Nothing short of perfection would garner
today's grand prize and that is exactly what Shawn Flarida executed aboard
Whizkey N Diamonds, owned by Clinton Anderson and Kathy Worley. The pair
nailed each spin, rode quickly through their circles, and slid into their
stops with ease to earn a score of 221.00 and the championship trophy. The
High Roller Reining Classic is the international "crown jewel" of western
riding competition, and features over $200,000 in added money and
prizes. The show is being held at the exciting and luxurious South Point
Hotel, Casino, and Equestrian Center and will run through Saturday,
Flarida and fifty-eight other exhibitors had to complete pattern eight
during today's competition. The pattern began with four spins to the left
and four spins to the right. Riders then had to pick up the right lead and
canter one large, fast circle, one small, slow circle, and another large,
fast circle. They then had to keep up their momentum and switch leads while
completing another large, fast circle. Next, riders moved into a second
slow, small circle, and then completed their final large, fast
circle. Finally, riders had to complete three stops, two on the right lead
and one on the left lead.
When $3 Million Elite Rider Flarida entered the ring the crowd knew they
were in for a treat. He and Whizkey N Diamonds completed each set of spins
with speed and precision. They then loped easily into their large circle and
sat back effortlessly for their slow circle. When it was time for the duo to
complete each of their stops Flarida legged Whizkey N Diamonds forward and
they sent the dirt flying. The judges rewarded their excellent pattern with
the day's high score of 221.00.
"Today was really good," acknowledged Flarida after receiving his
awards. "This horse is really sweet and he's really fun to show. He walks in
and he's very docile even though he's a big stud. Today he turned really
good to the left and turned a little better to the right. For the circles,
he loped off and took a big breath of air and waited for me."
Flarida continued. "During the circles to the left, I tried to run him just
a little bit harder and he was good. The first stop was really nice, but he
didn't he hit the second stop as well as I thought he could. The third stop
was really good though, and overall I was really happy with his performance
Whizkey N Diamonds is three years old and Flarida began riding him last
December. "I've had great luck with him," said Flarida. "He's a horse that
needs a little bit of leg because he's really docile. If you don't kick him
and tell him to go he's not going to go. But I like that, it kind of fits
Whizkey N Diamonds will compete next at the Quarter Horse Congress, and then
at the NRHA Reining Futurity.
Flarida is the only $3 Million Elite Rider and began riding reining horses
when he was eight years old. He admitted that it took a lot of hard work and
dedication to get to this point in his career. "I've been really lucky that
I've been around the right horses and the right owners," he commented. "That
gave me a great opportunity to be where I'm at today. I started my own
business in 1989 when I graduated high school and never had a real job, I'm
The next goal for Flarida is to compete for the United States at the 2010
World Equestrian Games. He has completed all of his qualifiers; most
recently winning an event in Tulsa with Smart Spook. "I have all my official
stuff done, but now I just have to get ready for next year and get my horses
in line," he explained. "I have some great horses but everybody else had
great horses too."
Flarida traveled to the High Roller Reining Classic from a horse show in
Tulsa and is excited to have the opportunity to compete here this year. "It
has been great here," he smiled. "It's neat when you don't have to leave the
complex. You can gamble, eat, and show. I love it."
The $10,000 Intermediate Open Futurity was also held today and Gabe Hutchins
earned today's win, as well as the second place prize in the $40,000 Open
Futurity. He was riding Smart Documentary, owned by Robert Webb of
McAlester, OK, and the pair earned a score of 220.50. The third place award
during today's $40,000 Open Futurity was presented to Andre Fappani and
Custom Slidetracks, owned by Steven Simon, and the pair earned a score of
Marco Ricotta and Lyle Lovett's Fifth Avenue Shine earned the second place
prize during the $10,000 Intermediate Open Futurity with a score of
218.50. The third place honors were presented to Tracer Gilson and Ima Smart
Boomer Jac, owned by American West Reiners, LLC, of Scottsdale, AZ, who had
a score of 215.50.
Michael Boyle was the winner of today's $7,500 Limited Open Futurity, with a
score of 215.00 aboard Hick A Shine, owned by Janene Borror of Springville,
CA. The second place honors were presented to Billy Williams, who rode Terre
and Elden Peterson's Colonels Smokin Oak to a score of 214. Sean McBurney
took home the third place after receiving a score of 211.50 with Tin Top
Kat, owned by Rhodes River Ranch of Arlington, WA.
The High Roller Reining Classic will continue tomorrow with the $10,000
Added Non Pro Derby at the South Point Hotel, Casino and Equestrian
Center. Another of this year's feature events is the $50,000 Added Open
Derby, being held Saturday, September 12 at noon. The horse show will come
to a close Saturday, September 12.
The "Play It Forward" Texas Hold 'Em-style poker tournament will also be
held this year at the South Point Hotel, Casino and Equestrian Center
tonight from 8-11 pm during the High Roller Reining Classic. All proceeds
from this charity event will benefit the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF), a
non-profit organization assisting with basic medical needs funding for those
from catastrophic illness or injury. Limited to 150 people, the "Play It
Forward" Poker Tournament offers players the opportunity to win big - having
fun and making a difference at the same time. Each player will receive a
seat assignment in the HRRC VIP Private Poker Tournament Room where dealers
will provide $2,500 in chips. At 11 p.m., chip leaders through 10th place
will win a percentage of the prize pool.
Equestrian Life http://www.equestrianlife.com will be everywhere within the
South Point Equestrian and Events Center, video camera in hand, streaming in
depth interviews and comprehensive event coverage to their membership base
of 30,000 avid horsepeople. Live streaming video coverage of the High Roller
Reining Classic will begin Thursday, September 10th with the $15,000 Added
Non-Pro Futurity, continuing on Friday, September 11th with the $10,000
Added Non-Pro Derby, and wrapping up on Saturday, September 12th with the
$15,000 Added Open Derby.
For more information about the High Roller Reining Classic please visit