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Baruch, Salgado Tie for Open Futurity Championship sponsored by Billingsley Ford
The Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity has seen top-shelf competition throughout the week. Reiners from across the country have traveled the miles, put in the hard work and showed up in Ardmore in top form to battle it out for championship prizes and bragging rights. Saturday the Open Futurity Finals, sponsored by Billingsley Ford was the highlight of the day featuring the top 52 scores from the two-section qualifying round.

Fernando Salgado riding Loveya and Yonathan Baruch riding Spooks Show Time marked impressive 224 scores to tie for the Open Futurity Level 4 championship, worth $12,671 each. Salgado and Yonathan also topped the Level 3 earning another $6,089 each, and Salgado had a record night also finishing atop the Level 2 for $3,294.

Salgado rode Loveya who is by Gunnatrashya out of Love Em N Lena and owned by Cam Essick. Salgado and Loveya are not new to the winner’s circle. They earned the Level 2 championship at the Tulsa Reining Classic after only having Loveya a week prior to that show. Now, after a few months Salgado says they are really starting to find their connection as a team.

“His biggest maneuvers are his stops,” Salgado said. “So, as I went through [my run] marking plus half – I could feel it was being a plus half everywhere – after my second lead change I was like, I’m in a good spot. My first stop was maybe my best stop of my whole life. It was so fast and big and he nailed it.”

Salgado had a phenomenal night and picked up a total of $22,053, making the SWRHA Futurity without a doubt a special one for Salgado.

“It’s great, especially this show, it’s always a big score to win it, and we’re so close to the Futurity, it gives a lot of confidence to go to the big Futurity in Oklahoma City,” Salgado said of his wins.

Baruch rode Spooks Show Time who is by Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Dolittle Lena owned by Bobby Lewis. Spooks Show Time had a small bobble in the qualifying round, but Baruch says he came back without any hesitations.

“When I did the go-round he shied off the people at the gates and today he looked at it, but never shied off and the second time around he said ‘Hey, to hell with it we’re on our tracks.’ And I never had to help him, not even one bit in my circles,” Baruch said. “My first run to the stop I think I was maybe a hair shy of what I needed to be, but you never know… you kind of have to go for it, but I kicked my butt after that first rollback. I quit safety-ing up for the last two and he stopped huge.”

Baruch expressed both he and Salgado’s decision to split the win rather than runoff, for the championship was based on preservation for their horses.

“This close to the futurity there’s really no point. We’re all trying to make the Open Futurity Finals, which is the biggest thing we have in our industry, so there’s really no point burning those horses [when] we already had to push them pretty hard this week,” Baruch said.

Along with saving their horses, Baruch says he doesn’t mind sharing the win with a class act competitor and contemporary.

“Fernando had a great year this year, and this is just an honor for me,” he said. “We work every day to be competitive. This is all we do from the athlete standpoint and finally make it to the top after all these years it’s very, very rewarding. This was my childhood dream – to be able to hold my own with the Level 4 riders, so finally having that much success is truly a blessing.”

Baruch gave credit to owner Bobby Lewis for his help and the faith he’s shown him along the way, as well as to Mystic Valley Performance Horses out of Marietta, Okla., for their support to not only him, but to the industry and horses overall.

Austin Roush took home the Level 1 title riding ShineyChexy Chic to a score of 219 worth $661.

ShineyChexy Chic is by Shine Chic Shine out of TH Great Big Chex and owned by Roush’s grandfather Robert Southerland. Roush’s main goal for the SWRHA Futurity was to get his mare ready for Oklahoma City and he accomplished his goal in the process of claiming the championship.

ShineyChexy Chic has a tendency to get frightened in the show pen, however Roush said today she showed without fear.

“I’m really happy with her she showed good,” he said. “She’s really scared in the middle and when I showed her in the first go she was really scared, but today she was a lot better, so it gives me confidence showing her later on in her life.”

An added bonus to the Open Futurity was the Open Mare Incentive for the highest finishing mare in the futurity sponsored by Premier Equine Veterinary Services and Rancho Sereno. The Mega Mare Bonus was created to honor Mega Maggie Mae and Cinco De Mega by rewarding $1,000 to the highest scoring mare of the futurity, this year claimed by Duane Latimer riding Shes Got Good Guns (Colonels Smoking Gun x A Bueno PocoDunit), who is owned by Roxanne Koepsell.

“She’s just been a lot of fun to train, she’s a really good mare. She’s really consistent,” Latimer said. “I thought she was really good tonight (in the Open Futurity Finals). We maybe drew a little early for everything, but I thought she didn’t really make any mistakes.”

Shes Got Good Guns also won the custom Gist Buckle sponsored by the American Paint Horse Association for being the furthest advancing paint in the Open Futurity.

The SWRHA Futurity gave away three golf carts Saturday night preceding the Open Futurity Finals. One golf cart went to the sire of the highest finishing horse in the SWRHA Stallion Auction – in this case, Gunnatrashya owned by Arcese Quarter Horses.

A second custom golf cart went to the winner of a drawing from all the stallions that participated in the annual Southwest Reining Horse Association Stallion Auction and the winner of that drawing was the stallion Electric Snow.

The third golf cart went to the Open Futurity Champion and was sponsored by Show Me The Buckles. Because the win was split between Salgado and Baruch a coin toss was done and determined the winner to be Baruch.

For information and complete results from the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity, held at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore, Okla., visit or follow on Facebook.