10th Anniversary Scottsdale Classic a Big Success
by Kristen Spinning
Seven consecutive days of sunshine greeted exhibitors at WestWorld in Scottsdale, AZ for the Scottsdale Classic Quarter Horse Show and Futurities held September 27 through October 3rd. But that wasn’t the only reason smiles were extra bright, because this year marked the 10th Anniversary of what has become know as “The Fun Show”. Parties, special events and camaraderie were all part of the festivities, but in the arenas, it was all business. Horses competed for points, awards, trophies, saddles, buckles and over $121,000 in cash.
Horses and riders quite literally came from coast to coast, representing everywhere from Florida to Connecticut to California. Additionally, a Canadian contingent competed, and Italy was represented as well. After enjoying the great weather and good times, more than one conversation turned to lamenting the return to colder climates.
A few schedule changes made showing convenient. The youth got to show to 3 judges a day over a Friday through Sunday line up. Only AQHA reining was held on the final day, allowing other exhibitors to pack up and haul out to other shows a day earlier. The Special Event Trail and Western Riding returned to the schedule allowing an extra point-accumulating day on the front end of the circuit.
A few firsts debuted at the 10th Classic. Barrel Racing was an exciting addition to the schedule. Samantha Reddick piloted Louisiana Dasher smoothly around the clover leaf for a 1st place win in the Open All Ages. Youth racers had their chance to collect points on Saturday as well. McKenzie Wiertzema dug down deep to shave off a couple tenths and take the Youth Barrel Racing riding PCFrenchmantarzon.
Arabian and Half Arabian NRHA classes and futurities were another addition to the line up. Exhibitors were excited to show along side the Quarter Horses. Arabian exhibitor Preston Kent commented, “Showing with the Quarter Horses is really good for the industry. Hopefully it will really take off, and more shows will do it.” Owner Joe Betten was pretty excited when his horse, Custom Gale, with Crystal McNutt aboard, earned top marks in the Arabian Division of the Open Futurity, earning $1,045 and change.
Arabian reining might be new to the Classic, but reining in general has always been a huge draw. In the $50,000 Open Futurity, it was Randy Paul on his own horse, Paintball Gun, who executed the best pattern out of 42 runs that night, and scored a 220 to take home $14,022. Sam Schaffhause and Romeo For Juliet impressed the judges enough to earn a 218 and the top spot in the Intermediate Open and the Limited Open. In addition to saddles and bronzes, the pair won $3,821 for owner Jerome Gregoire. There was $10,000 added to the Non-Pro Futurity, and this year Marc Gordon took home the biggest chunk of it sliding Spooks Smoken Wimpy to a 144.5 and a check of $2,935. In the Intermediate Non Pro, Tricia Hamilton’s ride on Gun Gone Hollywood placed them in the number one spot with a 143.5. Montanas Stylish with Christy Brasier aboard spun up a 139.5 in the Limited.
The Western Pleasure Futurities and Maturity drew a large number of entries. In the 3-Year-Old Open, it was Bob Kail’s consistency aboard Moving The Chains that took the championship. Owner Susie Johns took home a new saddle, trophy, buckle and a check for $3,589. In the3 Year Old Limited, it was Some Thing Radical that caught the judges’ eyes. Daniel Prouhet was riding for owner Katherine Tobin, and earned a $1,202 payout. Jane Humes rode her horse, VS Check My Pulse, to the win in the Non Pro and a check for $1,392.
The Two Year Olds showed their poise and potential in their futurity. After the two goes, A Good Order, owned by Joanne Garnet and shown by Brett Clark had put together 3 firsts and a third to win the Open and the Limited for combined earnings of $3,364. UR Certainly Invited was top horse in the 2 Year Old Open Stallion Incentive Fund, while Jamie West was certainly proud of Certainly A Vision winning the 2 Year Old Non Pro.
The Western Pleasure Maturity saw the return of some excellent horses that have made their mark around the country. But in this match up. Huntin Big Dreams, ridden by Adam Wainscott for the Bilek Family, put together two excellent goes to take the champion spot and $1,199. Joanne Garnett returned to the awards presentation two more times with A Sudden Illusion. First in the Limited with Brett Clark aboard, and next in the Non Pro, earning a combined total of just shy of $1,800.
Parties are always an enjoyable part of The Classic, and this year was no different. The 10th Anniversary Party hosted by the Cleve Wells Gang got things rolling. Jerry Kimmel and Cleve gave a look back at the beginnings of the show, and Jerry was presented with a custom Anniversary buckle.
Following the start of the Western Pleasure Futurities on Friday the evening’s party was hosted by the Equine Chronicle. Gordon Downey and his cohorts out did themselves with Mardi Gras themed fun and frivolity. A digital green screen photo booth was in place that put party goers onto a special Equine Chronicle cover celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Scottsdale Classic. A live auction in memory of Kathy Swan was held to benefit Rein in Cancer. Unique items ranging from a custom Greeley hat to an adorable pony were bid on raising $6,210 for the charity.
Reining fans were treated to a great show during the Open Futurity, and a great meal at the Rancho Oso Rio/Fappani Performance Reining Futurity Party. During the event, 3 Cowgirls and an Outlaw ran a silent auction of western memorabilia and collectibles to raise money for Americas Horse Cares and their therapeutic riding programs.
The Scottsdale Classic was born of a shared dream of two friends, Ray Roles and Jerry Kimmel. The men set out to produce a show that fostered camaraderie, along with sportsmanship. It takes a strong team to make that dream reality. One secret to The Scottsdale Classic’s success is the dedication of the show staff. They continually go above and beyond to ensure the show runs smoothly, and that the exhibitors have the best experience possible. Many staff members have been with the show since day one, and that consistency shows. Barbara Dietz was asked by Jerry and Ray to produce the very first Classic, and has been tirelessly at it ever since. Don and Carol Moore have been show manager and show secretary from the beginning, keeping not only exhibitors happy, but also seeing to the needs of AQHA, NSBA and NRHA. Judy Mitten’s Classic smile has been welcoming everyone into the show office for 10 years. Her ability to keep track of everything has been a vital asset to the exhibitors’ experience. Connie Hay has worn several Classic hats, but the past few years she could be found in the show office as well, helping to keep things running smoothly. Mary Beth Anderson masterful style always keeps the show’s image Classic through all the advertising she produces. Kris Spinning keeps the website Classic and lets the world experience the show through candids and class photos. More sharing of the experience has come from Lavoy Shepard and his crew at Classic Video. They have captured memories in Scottsdale for 10 years.
On the grounds, the fantastic job of Classic staff does not go unnoticed. For the past ten years in the Trail pen, Tim Kimura has been designing challenging patterns, and announcer Tor Sorensen has been keeping everyone organized to move through them. Trent Twigs has been the barn manager from the start, and has done an excellent job of ensuring the horses have a safe and comfortable place to hang out for the week. In the arenas, judges always love having 10 year veteran ring stewards John Campbell and Ellie O’Donnell at their side. With Teressa Buck running a gate, exhibitors have no excuse for missing their turn, and for 10 years she has been keeping the order. Mitzi Paul helped with countless details since the beginning, from awards, to zipping around keeping judges watered and fed. It is also interesting to note that judges have continued a long affiliation with The Classic as well. Scott Neuman was a judge this year, and on that very first year. Judges Dale Livingston and Laurel Walker-Denton placed classes year one, and showed in classes 10 years later. Many more dedicated staff members have been with the show for years. Becky Dunning skillfully announces in the reining, and Barb Rickert has been vendor coordinator, but also jumps into the ring to scribe when needed. Without the ongoing commitment of all the staff, The Classic would not have been able to consistently deliver on Jerry and Ray’s original goal: make it a show that everyone loves to go to.
The looming concrete and steel edifice of the WestWorld expansion project was a visual reminder of how far The Scottsdale Classic has come in 10 years—continually growing and changing to meet the needs of exhibitors. Just as WestWorld is planning for the future, so is The Classic.