It has been 10 years since Tommy Marvin won the National Cutting Horse Association World Championship Futurity.
He and Highbrow Supercat clinched the open division title at the 2005 edition, turning in a remarkable final-round score of 226.5.
It’s next to impossible because everything has to line up.
Tommy Marvin on winning the NCHA title
A decade later, Marvin, 55, who is from Barnsdall, Okla., said winning the sport’s most prestigious show is difficult.
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“It’s next to impossible because everything has to line up,” he said. “You’re dealing with judges to start with. So, they have to have the feeling that you’re the winner. Your horse has to be right that day [in the final round], you have to have the right cows and your help has to be all in. It’s very hard with the cows, the variables and where you draw. Then, there’s the preparing of the horse throughout the year. Everything has to go fairly smooth.”
In order to win the Futurity, a horse must advance to the final round after excelling in three preliminary rounds: the first, second and semifinal. During both the semifinal and final, no previous scores count. The final is a captivating performance because the horse with the highest score of the night wins the title.
The Futurity features debuting 3-year-old horses.
The 2015 Futurity open division final, which is the first jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series, is scheduled for Dec. 12 at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum. The winner will receive a $200,000 prize.
Marvin and a filly named Kittys Got Faith have a chance of winning the big money. After competing in the first two rounds, the duo advanced to the Dec. 11 semifinal as the result of finishing with a two-ride score of 432.
The second round concluded Friday night. A field of 76 horses with a score of at least 430 advanced to the semifinal.
She’s a very mature horse who can handle any situation.
Tommy Marvin on Kittys Got Faith
The Futurity features debuting 3-year-old horses. Marvin said he’s optimistic about riding Kittys Got Faith, who turned in a 216.5 in Round 1 and a 215.5 in Round 2.
“She’s a very mature horse who can handle any situation,” Marvin said of Kittys Got Faith. “She’s a real classy horse, but mostly it’s her maturity. She can drive way out there and handle a tough cow.”
Marvin also advanced to the semifinal on a stallion named Cryogenic after turning in a 431.5 (216 and 215.5).
“He’s a real stylish, real classy horse who catches a lot of attention,” Marvin said of Cryogenic.
Veteran Clint Allen of Weatherford and a stallion named Aristocratic Rey used come-from-behind tactics to qualify for the semifinal. The duo turned in a 213.5 in the first round.
Had they turned in an identical score in the second round, they would have fallen short of qualifying for the semifinal. But they posted a 216.5 in Round 2 and they will move on to the semifinal after finishing with a two-ride tally of 430.
Aristocratic Rey is owned by David and Stacie McDavid of Fort Worth. The McDavids also own CR Lucys Playboy, who will advance to the semifinal after turning in a 432.5 (217 and 215.5). CR Lucys Playboy, a gelding, also is ridden by Allen.
Allen is attempting to earn a first Futurity title. In 2006, he finished runner-up on Hydrive Cat.
Lindy Burch of Weatherford, who won the Futurity 35 years ago, qualified for the semifinal on two horses. She and a gelding named Salsa Style made the cut with a 432 (217 and 215). Burch also qualified on Bet Shes Smooth after turning in a 437 (218 and 219).
In 1980, Burch became the first woman to win the Futurity when she claimed the open title on Mis Royal Mahogany.
Defending Futurity champion rider Phil Hanson failed to advance to the semifinals on a filly named A Smooth Satin Doll after he scored a zero in the second round. The duo scored a 218.5 in the first round. Last year, Hanson won the Futurity on Classy CD Cat.
Gary Bellenfant of DeLeon, who won the Futurity 20 years ago, qualified for the semifinal after finishing with a 432.5 on One Super Cat (216.5 and 216). The stallion is owned by John and Hope Mitchell of Weatherford.
Bellenfant also made the cut on Metallic Mike after finishing with a 430 (216.5 and 213.5). The horse is owned by Bellenfant and his wife, Alycia.
In 1995, Bellenfant won the Futurity open title on Peptoboonsmal, a stallion who went on to become a prominent breeder.