The National Cutting Horse World Championship Futurity is the sport’s most prestigious show that features each year’s most promising, debuting 3-year-old horses.
After winning the Futurity’s open division title on Saturday night aboard a filly named Second Spot, veteran trainer/rider Matt Gaines said the young horse performed more like an older horse.
“The thing that sets her apart is she’s so mature,” Gaines said. “She doesn’t look like a 3-year-old. She looks like she’s 6. She’s so strong. She’s got a lot of eye appeal and she grabs your attention. She was super smart throughout this show.”
Gaines, 47, who is from Weatherford, and Second Spot clinched the title after turning in a stunning finals score of 229 as the Futurity concluded its 24-day run at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
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The thing that sets her apart is she’s so mature. She doesn’t look like a 3-year-old. She looks like she’s 6.
Weatherford rider Matt Gaines on filly Second Spot
The victory earned the horse’s owners, Gary and Shannon Barker of Madill, Okla., the coveted $225,395 prize.
Austin Shepard and Sir Long Legs finished second with a 222. Owner Lew Hall of Highland City, Fla., pocketed $195,407 for the reserve championship.
Two North Texas competitors earned Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association titles after competing at the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
Junior Nogueira, a Brazilian who lives in Burleson, clinched the PRCA’s 2016 all-around title and Tyson Durfey of Weatherford snared the tie-down roping buckle.
Nogueira, who competed at the NFR in team roping, finished the year with $231,728 in all-around earnings. Clayton Hass, a steer wrestler from Weatherford, finished second in the all-around race with $228,107.
Nogueira became the first Brazilian native to earn a PRCA title. Brazilians have won nine of the 23 titles that have been issued on the Professional Bull Riders circuit (which began in 1994). But no Brazilian had ever clinched a PRCA title until Nogueira pulled it off as the 2016 NFR concluded its 10-day run late Saturday night at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
Mary Burger of Pauls Valley, Okla., clinched the WPRA’s 2016 barrel racing title after finishing the year with $277,554. At 68, she became the oldest competitor to win a gold buckle on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Association circuit. Ike Rude previously held the record as the result of winning the world steer roping title at age 59 in 1953.
Other 2016 PRCA champions were team roping header Levi Simpson (of Ponoka, Alberta), team roping heeler Jeremy Buhler (Arrowwood, Alberta), steer wrestler Tyler Waguespack (Gonzales, La.), bull rider Sage Kimzey (Strong City, Okla.), bareback rider Tim O’Connell (Zwingle, Iowa), and saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston (Big Valley, Alberta).