"Honey, I won the go-round!" Newlywed National Reined Cow Horse Association professionals Chris and Sarah Dawson could say that to each other and both be right, after Sunday's rein work preliminaries at the NRCHA Stakes in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Stakes is open solely to 4- and 5-year old offspring of NRCHA Subscribed Stallions. Champions and top placers in each Stakes division earn paychecks not only for themselves, but also for the person who nominated their horse's sire to the Subscribed Stallion Program. Stakes entries compete in three preliminary events – herd work, rein work and cow work – and the top scorers advance to the clean-slate finals on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4.
In the first leg of competition, the rein work, Chris Dawson rode Sushi Boss (CD Lights x Shiney Sushi x Shining Spark) to a 221.5, the high score in the Open rein work prelims. The 2011 stallion is owned by Kaye Tennant and Leroy Hoffman. Sarah was close behind, scoring a 219 aboard Bugs Boony (Peptoboonsmal x Shiney Tari x Shining Spark) to top the Intermediate Open and Limited Open divisions and placing 6th in the Open. Bugs Boony, a 2010 gelding, is owned by Sarah's father, Richard Winters, who is also a professional horseman.
The Dawsons were married in November 2014, and their training operation is based in Burneyville, Oklahoma.