Standout performer Sheza Roo (Gallo Del Cielo x Sheza Shinette x Shining Spark), owned by Holy Cow Performance Horses, Weatherford, Texas, made her final trip around the show arena in Reno, Nev., Tuesday.
The 2005 mare has worked her way to nearly $57,000 in NRCHA earnings and is on her way to broodmare retirement – but she left a lasting impression when she scored a 432 (213 rein/219 fence) to win the the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Limited Open Bridle Championship with Erin Taormino, Eagle Point, Ore., in the saddle.
Million-dollar rider Jake Telford, Caldwell, Idaho, trained and showed Sheza Roo for the majority of her career. He approached Taormino, an assistant trainer to leading NRCHA Professional Todd Bergen, with the last minute request.
"It was a total catch ride. Jake just called me a couple of days ago and asked if I would be willing to show her, and I said 'Sure.' I rode her twice before I showed her. It was fun. She's super easy to show. Just point and shoot," Taormino said, smiling.
Besides the $1,350 paycheck, the Championship came with a CR Morrison Trophy from the NRCHA; a Gist buckle sponsored by Estelle Roitblat in memory of Harold Farren; a monogrammed Cinch jacket from Bob's Custom Saddles/The New West; Platinum Equine sponsored by Platinum Performance; and Back on Track products sponsored by Back On Track.
The judges whistled Taormino a new cow after the first one shot out into the arena and refused to honor the horse.
"My first cow was a little scary. It was wild. The second cow was really easy. I boxed it three or four times and went own the fence with it, made two easy turns and circled up right in the middle," Taormino said.
She thanked the Telfords, as well as Nancy Crawford-Hall and Phil Hall, Holy Cow Performance Horses' owners, for allowing her to be a part of Sheza Roo's farewell run.
"I'm really thankful to Jake and Jessie and Nancy and Phil for letting me have the opportunity to show her. It was a great experience and I appreciate it. Nancy was ecstatic. She said it was a great way to end her show career," Taormino said.
The Limited Open Bridle Reserve Champion was MH Its Only Boon (Bodee Boonsmal x Played Out x Freckles Playboy), shown by Marjie Robinson and owned by Ted Robinson. They earned $1,125 after scoring a 431 (212 rein/219 cow).
The Limited Open Bridle class ran concurrently with the Open Bridle preliminaries. Eight horses advanced to the Open Bridle finals on Thursday. It was a tough class, requiring a 437 composite score to earn a finals berth. The Open Bridle finalists are:
1. Nabisco Roan/Jake Telford/447 (222 rein/225 cow)
2. Anuther Mister 505/Ron Emmons/445 (221 rein/224 cow)
3. Smooth N Cash/Jake Gorrell/441.5 (215.5 rein/226 cow)
4. Oaks Dual Rey/Corey Cushing/441 (215 rein/226 cow)
5. Stressolena/Sandy Collier/440 (215 rein/225 cow)
6. Bobby Starlight/Todd Crawford/439 (217.5 rein/221.5 cow)
7-8. Judge Boon/Jon Roeser/437 (217 rein/220 cow)
7-8 Once A Von A Time/Jake Telford/437 (222 rein/215 cow)