Austin Shepard and a young stallion named Dual Reyish clinched the National Cutting Horse Association World Championship Futurity open division title after turning in a lofty final-round score of 228 on Sunday night at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
The victory earned the horse’s owner, Billy Wolf of Whitesboro, the coveted $192,762 prize.
Shepard, a superstar rider from Summerdale, Ala., said the stallion has the essential elements of an outstanding cutting horse.
“He’s one of the nicest horses that I’ve brought here,” Shepard said. “He does everything that I want a horse to do physically and mentally, but he has a confidence about him that comes naturally. He’s really mature for a 3-year-old.”
Lee Francois and a stallion named The Animal finished as reserve champion after turning in a 225.5. Owners Richard and Beth Carney pocketed $169,404.
The Futurity, which is the sport’s most prestigious show, features the industry’s most promising debuting 3-year-old horses. The Futurity also is the first jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series. The other jewels are the April Super Stakes and the July Summer Spectacular. All three jewels are in Fort Worth.
Shepard’s victory was his second time to win the renowned show. In 2007, he clinched the Futurity open title aboard High Brow CD.
The 2017 victory also was the second major title that Shepard has won at a Fort Worth-based NCHA show this month. On Dec. 2, Shepard and a 6-year-old mare named Deluxe Checks clinched the 2017 open division world title during the NCHA World Finals at W.R. Watt Arena.
Shepard and Deluxe Checks earned $23,777 and broke the NCHA’s open division annual earnings record with $146,977 in 2017, according to sallyharrison.com, which keeps records of major NCHA events and title races. Shepard and Deluxe Checks broke the previous mark of $142,346 set in 2015 by then-open world champion Special Nu Baby and rider Matt Gaines of Weatherford.
On Friday at the Futurity, Chad Bushaw of Weatherford clinched the non-pro title after turning in a final score of 225 aboard a 3-year-old filly named Bittersweet. Bushaw earned $61,162.
It was Bushaw’s second NCHA Futurity non-pro title. He also finished No. 1 in 2001 aboard a horse named Jerryoes.
Friday was a busy day for the Bushaw family. Chad Bushaw’s son, Charles Russell Bushaw, tied for seventh in the Unlimited Amateur finals on Friday after turning in a 214 on a filly named Snappcat. The younger Bushaw pocketed $9,462.