April 24, 2011
Shine Chic Shine wins the NRBC open title in runoff with Whiz It A Chic.
By Larri Jo Starkey
When the dust settled after a long evening of reining at the National Reining Breeders Classic, the audience got another treat: a runoff.
When the open finals began at 5 p.m. April 23 in Katy, Texas, the sun was shining. It was still out when Todd Sommers rode Whiz It A Chic into the arena, 10th in the draw, to whip out their back-bending stops and circles.
Todd and the 2006 stallion scored a 229.5 to take the lead, just ahead of former leader Andrea Fappani and Tinker With Guns, who had the high score in the preliminary round and had scored a 229 in the finals.
Throughout the evening, other horse-and-rider teams would attempt to take the lead but fall short, including Shawn Flarida and Whizkey N Diamonds with a 228.5.
When Shawn rode into the arena, last in the draw on Shine Chic Shine, the sun had long gone down. With pounding circles sending dirt flying, the two worked together to score a 229.5 for a tie.
At the NRBC, ties are run off. While the arena was groomed one more time, Shawn had time to give his 2007 stallion a drink of water and some fresh air. Todd had to wake his stallion up and warm him up again.
“(Todd’s) horse was great tonight,” Shawn said after the ride. “I knew he was going to be awesome (in the runoff).”
The judges gave him another 229.5, and then it was Shawn’s turn.
“I was pretty confident,” he said. “I know this horse. Everything I’ve asked of him in training, he tries every day. Sometimes he doesn’t understand, but he’s never said no. So I knew running through that gate tonight that I could screw up, we could make a mistake, but I knew as far as his heart, his desire, it was there.”
With the crowd screaming, Shawn rode Shine Chic Shine aggressively through the pattern and scored a 231, good enough for the $75,000 winner’s check for the horse’s owners Amabile and Strusiner.
“I don’t know what else to say about him,” Shawn said. “He was great. I know he’s good maneuvers-wise. He can spin and stop, but the heart that he showed tonight – the strength – I don’t know that words describe it. From a horseman standpoint, he’s got my heart.”
For more photos from the open finals, watch the Journal slide show below. Click on each photo to read the caption.
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