Gary Barker tops Showdown, Matt Miller leads Open

Gary Barker won the Western Bloodstock Amateur Showdown in Cowtown on Flash About. Hart Photography.

Gary Barker won the Western Bloodstock Amateur Showdown in Cowtown on Flash About. Hart Photography.

While Open competition continued in the first round of the NCHA Futurity Saturday, Amateurs took the spotlight in the Western Bloodstock NCHA Showdown in Cowtown Unlimited Amateur finals for older horses.


ary Barker, Madill, Okla., took top honors among the 17 horses and riders when he rode Flash About to a 220. Flash About, by Purdy Boy Flash out of Play Miss, added the $20,000 winner’s check to her career total for lifetime earnings of more than $235,000, and Barker’s over $437,000.

Barker was riding Flash About on loan from his wife, Shannon, the mare’s usual pilot. The Barkers also own Special Nu Baby, which Matt Gaines has ridden to an unbeatable lead in the 2015 Open World standings. Click here to see the full results of the Showdown in Cowtown.

Things are starting to heat up in the Open competition of the 2015 NCHA Futurity in Fort Worth as another slate of riders showcased their talented 3-year-olds in the Will Rogers Coliseum on Saturday.

The highest score yet blasted the leader board when Matt Miller, Poolville, Texas, rode Amandas CD to a 220 in the fourth set of the day. Amandas CD is by High Brow CD and out of the great mare, Amandas Stargun who has produced earners of more than $500,00.

Amandas CD, better known as “Ella,” was actually started as a 2-year-old in a reined cow horse program. She was purchased by Chad Bushaw out of the Shawnee Sale in January of this year and sold to the Brengards, Paragould, Ark., in March.

Amandas CD is a full sister to Sweet Lil Amanda, the dynamic grey mare, also owned by the Brengards, that Miller has earned more than $140,000 on since introducing her at the 2014 NCHA Futurity. Miller qualified Sweet Lil Amanda for the NCHA/Western Bloodstock Showdown in Cowtown Open Slot Cutting earlier in the week.

The second highest score on Saturday was delivered by last year’s NCHA Futurity Open Champion Phil Hanson who rode Smooth Satin Doll in the first set to a 218.5 for owner Lynn Leedy of Aubrey, Texas.

Smooth Satin Doll, by Smooth As A Cat out of the great Autumn Boon, was the high seller at the 2013 NCHA Futurity Western Bloodstock sales when she brought $210,000 during the Select Yearling Sale and Gala.

The third highest score seen on Saturday came from another impeccably-bred mare shown by one of NCHA’s leading ladies, Lindy Burch. Burch came well-armed to this year’s Futurity with a mare also by Smooth As A Cat out of Burch’s great mare Bet Yer Blue Boons. Burch, earner of more than $3 million, showed Bet Yer Blue Boons to $332,959, which included the 2000 NCHA World Championship.

This is the third entry sired by Smooth As A Cat that filled a top 10 spot of the go-round scores by the end of Saturday’s competition. Smooth As A Cat, by High Brow Cat out of Shes Pretty Smooth, won just over $500,000 during his show career and has gone on to produce earners of more than $13 million.

Sunday continues the first go of the Open in Fort Worth with six sets of riders vying for their chance to advance to the second round, which will start on Wed., Nov. 25.

For more information on the 2015 NCHA World Championship Futurity, click here!