Shane Steffen Wins $30,000 Cinch Intermediate Open Futurity on Lenas Buddy Nic
Lenas Buddy Nic, a late-blooming horse who didn’t endear himself to his trainer at first, shined at the Snaffle Bit Futurity today, carrying Shane Steffen, Powell Butte, Ore., to the Cinch Intermediate Open Futurity Championship and banking $30,000 for his owner, Linda McMahon.
The flashy Paint gelding, sired by Nic It In The Bud and out of the mare Dual Lena, scored a 217.5 in the herd work, won the rein work round with a 218 and then handled a tricky cow in the fence work for a 218.5 – a total 654 on three events.
“I got him from Todd Bergen in April, and didn’t really like him at first. He was just a horse,” Steffen said. Then, about six weeks before the Snaffle Bit Futurity, the light bulb came on for “Nicle.”
“Once he figured it out, it was just a matter of asking him. You can’t put that in them. They just do it. He’s a lot of fun to ride. He’s been a blessing.”
In today’s Cinch Intermediate Open finals, Steffen was the final draw in his herd, but still managed to find some good cattle.
“My concern was being last out of the herd, but I had Cayley Wilson and Dan Roeser helping me. We narrowed it down as far as which ones were still fresh and which ones were still looking good. I was able to pick the three out we talked about before we went in, and then just tried to stay in front of them and not over-ride,” he said, smiling.
Lenas Buddy Nic turned in a powerful rein work performance, earning a 218 to win the round. Earlier in the week, in the preliminaries, the gelding scored a 221 in the reining.
“I felt like he exceeded my expectations coming here in the rein work. I thought that was his weak link and apparently it wasn’t. Everything felt good. He was there with me and I knew he would stop so it as just a matter of how fast I sent him and having a smooth run. He felt good all the way through,” Steffen said.
Heading into the cow work, Steffen needed at least a 216.5 to take the lead, but he wasn’t paying attention to the numbers.
“I was just hoping I could put something together and not screw it up. I was thankful that it was enough,” he said. “When the cow first came out, I thought, ‘Oh boy, we got a cow.’ I got it boxed, and then it surprised me going down the fence because it didn’t run like I thought it was going to. But he was tight everywhere and felt good. He circles very well – he feels like a little snake cruising around after the cow,” Steffen said.
Besides the $30,000 paycheck, the Championship came with a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by Heart River Ranch in memory of Lori Candee; a CR Morrison Trophy from Rocking J Ranch in memory of Barbara Hastings; a Gist custom buckle sponsored by TKO Ranch/Bob Stevens; a fleece cooler from Classic Equine; a monogrammed Cinch jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles and New West Country Store; Platinum Performance from Doug Herthel and a CR Morrison Medallion from NRCHA.
Steffen thanked his herd help – Roeser, Wilson, Bergen and Phillip Ralls.
“I also want ot thank God for blessing me with such a talented horse, and Linda for giving me the opportunity to come, and my wife, Beth, for all her support and for believing in me. I also want to thank Todd Bergen for helping me with this horse. That’s what made all the difference,” he said.
Taking home the $17,960 Cinch Intermediate Open Reserve Championship check was Brad Lund, riding Honey Bees (Peptoboonsmal x Savannah Hickory), owned by Debbie Branch. Lund piloted Honey Bees to a 213 in the herd work, a 215.5 in the rein work and a high-scoring 223 in the cow work.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, now in its 62nd year, is the governing body of cow horse competition. It is responsible for promoting the sport, ensuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of reined cow horses. With the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Bob's Custom Saddles, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cinch, Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, John Deere, Markel Insurance Company, Platinum Performance, Quarter Horse News, Rios of Mercedes, Santa Cruz Biotechnologies, Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino, Bloomer Trailers and Schwalbe Trucks presented by Great West Trailers, and Merial products UlcerGard and Equioxx, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today's equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the official NRCHA web site at www.NRCHA.com.