2011 Select World

Reining

A 219 score is good enough to win the championship runoff.

When all the reining finalists finished their runs August 30 at the Adequan Select World Championship Show, the championship wasn’t quite certain.

There was a tie for the top spot.

Kenneth Banks of Schulenburg, Texas, and Michael Garnett of Lincoln, Nebraska, rode consecutively in the finals, and both scored a 215.

“We were both 215s, and I’m like, ‘I don’t think I can do better than a 215,’” Ken said. “That’s a good score for me and this horse.”

The arena was raked clean, and Ken was first up on Juarez Whiz, nervous or not, for his first runoff.

“I wasn’t thinking – I was scared to death,” Ken said. “By the time we got to the last run, my mouth was so dry, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to say ‘whoa.’”

Michael, meanwhile, was in the makeup area trying to rest Ashleys Great Kid. Michael bred the 10-year-old gelding and had spent 2011 pointing him toward the Adequan Select World. “Tiger” has close to $50,000 in National Reining Horse Association earnings, but in all their years of showing together, Michael and Tiger have never been in a runoff together.

“I had no idea how he was going to react,” Michael said. “Two trips back to back like that on a reiner? And we’ve run up and down the middle? This was the third time in two days of running up and down the middle as hard as he can run. It could cause a lot of them to become unfocused and untrained.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I just went in and showed him. He’s always been really honest, and I just counted on him to be that way again.”

During the regular finals, the scores were called out as they were earned, but for the championship runoff, the scores were not.

Michael and Ken waited through the 13 finalists before they found out which one of them had earned the coveted gold trophy.

With a 219, Michael claimed the world championship on a son of the horse he showed to the first Select world championship in 2003: The Great Kid.

“I’m tickled to death,” Michael said. “His daddy was such a nice horse, and he’s (sired) a lot of nice horses. This is real fun to raise them and show them and win with them.”

Tiger’s next stop – and sliding stops – will probably be some of the 7-and-up events currently gaining popularity in NRHA circles.

Ken’s finish was the highest he has placed at the Adequan Select World, and the silver trophy was hard-earned, if fun.

“I have great help with (AQHA Professional Horseman) Bob Avila,” he said. “We spent last week at his house, so we’ve been riding every day. We rode at 2 o’clock in the morning. You can’t buy (a win). You’ve got to go dig it out. That’s what makes it fun, how hard it is.”

Michael Garnett and Ashleys Great Kid

Michael Garnett of Lincoln, Nebraska, rides his homebred Ashleys Great Kid to a 219 in the rideoff for the world championship August 30. (Journal photo)