By Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse JournalSeptember 24, 2012
Iowa made a beautiful setting for the second Breeders Halter Futurity in Des Moines. (Journal photo)
Again in 2012, Des Moines, Iowa, was the land of big checks.
BIG checks, in both size and amount.
The Breeders Halter Futurity and National Halter Championships passed out checks and prizes totaling more than $1 million September 22-24 in Des Moines, according to Chad Beus of the halter breeders group.
In 2011, the first year of the futurity, 10 stallion owners made up the core group. This year, additional stallion owners were allowed to nominate stallions for the open classes, but only stallions belonging to the initial group members were allowed to nominate stallions for amateur classes.
First place in amateur weanling colts/geldings paid $20,337, as did amateur weanling mares, and large display checks in all amounts decorated stalls around the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
Amateurs, Chad says, are the focus of halter group, and the biggest prizes are reserved for amateurs who breed, raise and exhibit their own horses by stallions from the nominated group. Owners who bred and exhibited their own horses were eligible for extra prize money and a special mare and foal trophy.
The halter breeders found a sponsor who donated the use of a trailer for a year to one owner-breeder-exhibitor, Heather Olsen of Van Meter, Iowa, who won by convincing passers-by to put money in her vote jar.
Many of the exhibitors at the futurity and national show had come directly from the World Conformation Horse Association Futurity in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where they also had won big money in that futurity and in the Big Money Futurity.
In 2011, the futurity was for weanlings only, but this year, yearlings were eligible to compete.
Hayley Riddle of Amite, Lousiana, was the youngest exhibitor at the show, competing with the amateurs and winning a check for $13,422 for her yearling gelding, Slidn Home.
The core stallion owners agreed there was room for one more stallion owner in the group, and at the Halter Breeders Futurity sale, a slot was auctioned off in one of the most anticipated events of the show.
Bidders seemed reluctant to make a first move, and it took a long time before the first bids hit. Once the bidding started, however, the bids spiraled up too quickly for the ring men to keep up with until they slowed again at $250,000, when only four bidders were left. Those four bidders were intent, however, and at the end, Gary and Linda Gordon of Fossil Gate Farms in Argyle, Texas, were welcomed to the group with their bid of $600,000.
“We believe in this industry, and we believe in this program,” Gary said afterward. “We’re committed to the halter horse and think this is a great way to get people involved.”
Chad, who with his wife, Tiffany, is one of the core group stallion owners, said the Gordons’ money will go directly into the pot for exhibitor prizes. At the celebratory banquet, he announced that in 2013, the futurity will include 2-year-old classes for open and amateur exhibitors, and first place in both of those classes will pay $100,000.
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