Articles: Press Release
High Roller Reining Classic Wrap Up: September 4-12, 2009
Rebecca Walton for
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at email@example.com
Las Vegas, NV - September 14, 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 on Thursday. Nothing short of
perfection would garner the 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 featured over $200,000 in
added money and prizes. The show was held at the South Point Hotel, Casino,
and Equestrian Center.
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
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 Thursday'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 Thursday'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.
Reining Results: Saturday, September 5 - Saturday, September 13
Leah Boylan had an exciting round Saturday aboard Whizzle Fritz, earning her
the win in both Rookie 1 division and Rookie 2 division at the High Roller
Reining Classic. Boylan, of Grass Valley, CA, and Whizzle Fritz earned the
high score of 70.50, outshining the rest of the competition as they
completed their pattern.
Boylan and Whizzle Fritz began pattern eight by expertly executing four fast
spins to the left and four fast spins to the right. They then moved into the
circle portion of the pattern where they pushed hard to go fast during the
large circles. The pattern included three stops that Boylan and Whizzle
Fritz also hit perfectly. The crowd cheered loudly as they exited the ring
to the score 70.50, which none of the other riders would be able to catch.
"I'm just thrilled to have done so well," smiled Boylan after her
victory. "We did really good through the first spins and our large fast
circle was really good. We tried to stay faster than normal there since it's
a pretty big show and we knew that would be important. Whizzle usually likes
to go pretty slow, so I had to keep him going pretty fast for the stops
too. Overall he did a really great job, I'm really proud of him."
Twenty-two other competitors competed in the Rookie 2 division and three
riders tied for the second place prize with scores of 69.50. Those three
horse and rider combinations included Kellie Meier, of Danville CA, aboard
West Coast Connection; Joshua Green, of Redmond, WA, riding Slide To Be
Safe; and Renee Lieffort, of Skull Valley, AZ, with Moon Stones Finest.
The Rookie 1 division featured 26 exhibitors and four horse and rider
combinations tied for the second place award with scores of 69.50. In
addition to Meier and Green, Mary-Anne Van Degna riding Ruf N Dun It, owned
by Bar Double C Ranch, of Cave Creek, AZ, received the second place
score. Brenda Joyce also earned a 69.50 with Red White Starlight, owned by
Story Book Stables, Inc, of Tucson, AZ.
Sunday at the High Roller Reining Classic the Non-Pro divisions competed,
and Shaunda Ruckman, of Phoenix, AZ, rocked the arena aboard Peppy As
Einstein to claim the Non-Pro division and the Intermediate Non-Pro division
wins. The pair was fast and precise throughout their pattern and it showed
in their score of 72.50, which was the highest of day.
Ruckman and Peppy As Einstein performed each maneuver in pattern four with
speed, precision, and grace. They picked up a swift canter on the right lead
for their large opening circles and easily moved into their spins. Ruckman
and Peppy As Einstein then repeated these moves on the left lead. The pair
then kept up their momentum for the figure eight, easily executing each lead
change. They completed the final three stops and rollback easily, and left
the ring to the sounds of whistles and applause. Ruckman and Peppy As
Einstein received the day's highest score of 72.50.
"I'm very excited, he was awesome today," beamed Ruckman after her win. "He
was really dialed in and he felt awesome. During each part of the pattern he
waited for me and he took really good care of me."
Three riders tied for Sunday's second place prize during the Non-Pro
division with scores of 71.00. Debi Murnan, of Grass Valley, CA, and Ruf Cut
Pine had an excellent showing during today's class. Lindy A LongFellow, of
Handford, CA expertly maneuvered Peppy Chic Finale through pattern four to
receive the score of 71.00. Patrick A Yancey, of Ione, CA, was aboard Kim
Yancey's Remchic Yankee and also placed second during today's division.
There was a two-way tie during Sunday's Intermediate Non-Pro division
between Patrick Yancey and Ashley Anixter, of Scottsdale, CA. Anixter was
aboard Whiz Bing Bang Boom, and both riders received the second highest
score of the day, a 71.00.
It was another exciting day of competition at the High Roller Reining
Classic where 16 riders competed for top prizes in the Open division on
Monday. Matt Mills garnered the blue ribbon for his ride aboard Whiz Bing
Bang Boom, owned by Ashley Anixter of Scottsdale, AZ. The pair owned the
arena as soon as they cantered in to begin their pattern, and earned the
day's high score of 73.00 to win the class.
Mills made his mark when he entered the ring with Whiz Bing Bang Boom. The
pair glided through each movement and hit their marks with precision to
receive a score of 73.00. Shawn Church tried to catch Mills' score with
Little Devil Whiz, owned by Megan Woodley of Silverton, OR. They met each of
the pattern's challenges but were not quite able to catch up to Mills,
earning a score of 72.00 and the third place prize. Church was not ready to
give up yet and took to the arena with his final mount, Smartest Shiner Yet,
owned by Cindy Woodley of Silverton, OR. The duo moved well through the
spins, circles, and stops, but their score of 72.50 would earn them the
second place honors, sealing Mills' victory.
Mills had a lot of confidence in Whiz Bing Bang Boom for today's Open
division. "I've shown this horse a lot and he's always been pretty
reliable," he explained. "Since we had pattern ten where you run in and stop
first I ran my horse in pretty hard. He stops good and backs up good, so he
felt like he hit that pretty well."
"During the spins I thought he spun a little better to the left for me,"
continued Mills. "The right set of circles he was really good for me and was
exactly where I wanted him to be, so I felt like I got some points there. He
wasn't very good through the left circles, but when we got to the stops he
just went down and does what he always does, that horse always stops really
For the second day in a row the high score at the High Roller Reining
Classic was awarded to Whiz Bing Bang Boom. Tuesday owner Ashley Anixter, of
Scottsdale, AZ, earned a score of 72.50 aboard the talented gelding,
claiming the Intermediate Non-Pro division and the Limited Non-Pro division
As the last rider to complete today's pattern Anixter knew that she would
need to be perfect to top the previous scores, and that is exactly what she
did. The pair was fast and precise through each piece of the pattern and the
judges awarded them the day's high score of 72.50.
"My plan for today was to go faster then I did on Sunday," said Anixter. "I
really wanted to go out and run him as best as I could. Our spins were
really good, and during the left circles I tried to run really fast. Going
into the right circles he changed leads and slowed down really well for me
so I got to kick some slack out which was kind of nice. When we came down
the side he ran really straight and got a nice build and rolled-back really
nice for me. I couldn't be any happier with him."
Tuesday, during the Intermediate Non-Pro division Gina Hunter, of Manteca,
CA, followed Anixter to earn the second place ribbon aboard VR Jack with a
score of 71.50. There was a four-way tie for third place with all four
riders receiving a score of 71.00. Patrick A Yancey rode Remchic Yankee,
owned by Kim Yancey of Ione, CA, to the third place position. Tiffany
Andrews, of Pleasant Hills, CA, also placed third during Tuesday's
competition aboard Jacs Pacemaker. Maria Baker, of Rancho Cucamunga, CA, and
Heir To Shine took home a third place ribbon. The final third place finisher
was Bob Racich, of Roberts, WI and Stengel.
There were thirty-four entries in Tuesday's Limited Non-Pro division and
four riders tied for second with a score of 71.00. In addition to Andrews,
Baker, and Racich, Connie Glavis, of Granite Bay, CA, also received a second
place prize for her ride aboard Good Ole Mr Wilson.
Randy Paul earned the top call in a CRI** USEF Qualifier for the second time
in a row Wednesday at the High Roller Reining Classic. Paul expertly rode
Taris Designer Genes, owned by Rancho Oso Rio, LLC, of Scottsdale, AZ, to a
score of 147.50 to claim the division's blue ribbon.
Paul recently claimed the CRI** USEF Qualifier victory at the 2009 Reining
By The Bay competition with Rancho Oso Rio's Starbucks Finest. Wednesday he
was aboard Taris Designer Genes, and the pair quickly and carefully
maneuvered their way through pattern ten to claim the top prize and continue
Paul's winning streak.
Wednesday's pattern began with a gallop into sliding stop, followed by spins
to the right and the left. Riders then completed two sets of circles and
finished with three difficult stops. Paul and Taris Designer Genes were the
second horse and rider combination to enter the arena, and the pair
impressed the judges my hitting each maneuver with precision and ease to
earn a score of 147.50. Andrea Fappani tried to catch Paul's score with
Tinsel Jac, owned by the Tinsel Jac Partners of Guadalupe, NL, but despite
their excellent spins and stops the pair fell short with a score of
143.5. Gabe Davide and Tom Foran both tied for third place with scores of
143, just half a point behind Fappani. Foran was riding Fancy Red Short Oak,
owned by Copus Performance Horses, Inc. of Santa Barbara, CA, while Davide
was aboard CF Glad Rags, owned by Eileen Maxinoski, of Watsonville, CA.
Paul was focused on making sure each of today's maneuvers was clean, but he
also wanted to keep Taris Designer Genes going because she can get
distracted easily. "My biggest goal was to go in there and just nail down
each maneuver; just do one maneuver at a time," he explained. "I wanted to
make her wait in between and she let me do that so I was really happy with
her. I didn't do anything real hard but she just nailed everything."
Earlier in the day $15,000 Added Non Pro Futurity and the $7,500 Added
Intermediate Non Pro Futurity were held. The top prize in the $15,000 Added
Non P Futurity was awarded to Samantha Griffin and KJ Tag, owned by Lance
Griffin of Dewinton, AB, who earned a score of 207.5. Kristin Foran of Santa
Paula, CA and Wild Card Wrangler claimed top honors in the $7,500 Added
Intermediate Non Pro Futurity with a score of 206.
The best Non-Pro riders in the country came out Friday to compete in the
$10,000 Added Non Pro Derby division, but it was Kim Dooley and Wimpys
Little Buddy who earned the top score of 218.50 and walked away with the
prizes. The pair entered the arena confidently and easily moved through each
maneuver in the pattern. When they slid to their final stop and Wimpys
Little Buddy sent the dirt flying the crowd cheered loudly, knowing they had
earned the victory.
Tricia Gilson, of Phoenix, AZ, was the fifth rider to complete the pattern
with Magnums Enterprise. The pair had fast circles and excellent stops to
quickly earn the highest score so far of 217.00. Twelve horses later,
Samantha Griffin entered the arena aboard Kachina Oak Olena, owned by Lance
Griffin, of Dwinton, AB. They also laid down an excellent pattern and the
judges awarded them a score of 217.00 to tie with Gilson. Their tie for the
win would soon become a tie for second place when the twenty-sixth horse in
the draw, Wimpys Little Buddy, showed over the pattern.
Dooley and Wimpys Little Buddy took over the top spot in today's scoring as
they began their pattern with very fast circles. The pair easily moved into
their spins, which they nailed as the crowd held their breath. Next, they
maneuvered their way through the figure eight and made their way into the
stops, which sent dirt into the air and earned them a total score of 218.50,
easily moving into the lead and taking home the day's blue ribbon.
"It was hard waiting for the rest of the class to finish," admitted
Dooley. "I was draw twenty-six and there were forty-one in it, so I was just
hoping that my score held-up. He circled probably the best he ever has, but
I could have gotten shut-off better during the first spin. He spun really
well to the right, but running him to my first stop I never really got my
timing perfect. The next two stops he hit really big and it was great."
The $5,000 Intermediate Non Pro Derby was also held Friday and the top prize
was awarded to one of the $10,000 Added Non Pro Derby second place
finishers, Tricia Gilson and Magnums Enterprise. There was a tie for the
second place prize, with both riders receiving scores of 215.50. Sarah
Pickney performed an excellent pattern with Pat and Rhonda Pinckney's
Flashyverde to earn the second place honors. Ali Sollid, of Cave Creek, AZ,
was also fast and precise throughout her pattern with West Coast Smart and
earned a second place ribbon.
Saturday marked the final day of competition at the High Roller Reining
Classic, held at the South Point Hotel, Casino, and Equestrian Center. All
of the horse and rider combinations were in top form as they tried to secure
the win in the $15,000 Added Open Derby, and with thirty-seven riders in the
class it would take a very high score to earn the blue ribbon. Saturday was
also the final day that six-year-old Sparkling Wave would be eligible to
compete in a derby event, so rider Craig Schmersal decided to make sure
"Sparky" left his mark in Las Vegas. The pair had incredibly fast circles
and sharp stops, and the judges honored their excellent pattern with the
highest score of the show, a 225.00 to earn the day's victory.
Schmersal drew the tenth spot in Saturday's draw of 58 exhibitors with
Sparkling Wave, owned by the KCS Partnership of Overbook, OK. He knew that
he would have to lay down a fast pattern that was clean and accurate to put
up a score that would last the rest of the day and that is exactly what he
did. The pair flew into the arena and had a perfect first stop. Schmersal
and Sparkling Wave put everything they had into their spins and their
circles, nailing each maneuver. As the pair began to prepare for the stops
the audience knew they would be excellent and they were not
disappointed. Schmersal and Sparkling Wave ran into each stop perfectly to
send the dirt flying, and the judges rewarded the brilliant performance with
the highest score at the High Roller Reining Classic, a 225.00.
"I feel really good because this is Sparky's last year to show in the
derbies, so that was his final derby run of his career," smiled Schmersal
after his win. "I drew early and he's been such a good horse all along that
I just went out there and tried to make the best run I could make on him. I
knew it was going to take a pretty good score to win so I just went for
everything I could get."
Schmersal traveled from Oklahoma to compete at the High Roller Reining
Classic and always enjoys the event. "It's a great facility," he smiled. "I
love that they don't let you ride all night so you can go to dinner, you can
have fun, and you can get sleep. You leave here refreshed, so its makes this
horse show fun to attend."
The other top competitors during today's $15,000 Open Derby were Andrea
Fappani and Marcy Ver Meer. Fappani garnered the second place award with
Shiner Olena, owned by Katazyna Roleska, of Tarnow, Poland. The pair tried
to catch Schmersal's score but fell one point short with a total of
224.00. Schmersal tied with Ver Meer for the third place honors, both
earning scores of 222.50. Schmersal was aboard his second mount, Boom
Shernic, owned by the Boom Shernic Syndicate of Brenham, TX, while Ver Meer
was showing Gunners Special Nite, owned by the Bar Double C Ranch of Cave
The "Play It Forward" Texas Hold 'em style poker tournament was held
Thursday night and the top prize was awarded to Jim Rygiol. All proceeds
from the event benefited the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF), a non-profit
organization assisting with basic medical needs funding for those from
catastrophic illness or injury. FarmVet and Pfizer Animal Health graciously
sponsored the tournament. All the players during at the event received gift
bags with donations from Platinum Performance, Bayer Animal Health, and
Equestrian Life http://www.equestrianlife.com was everywhere within the
South Point Equestrian and Events Center, video camera in hand, streaming
comprehensive event coverage to their membership base of 30,000 avid
horsepeople. This week the site had close to 10,000 viewers glued to the
three day live feed from the High Roller Reining Classic, of which replays
are still available free of charge on the Equestrianlife.com website. The
coverage includes the $40,000 Added Open Futurity, the $10,000 Added Non-Pro
Derby, and the $15,000 Added Open Derby.
For more information about the High Roller Reining Classic please visit