On the Road with SmartPak: Tulsa Reining Classic

As an eventer currently living in New England, there is no better place to cowgirl up than at the Tulsa Reining Classic. I pulled on my pair of cowboy boots, buffed up my reining knowledge by watching The Last Cowboy, and then boarded the plane to the American Midwest.
The Tulsa Reining Classic performed it’s first show in 2003, and it’s clearly a well-oiled machine! The show organizers and managers had everything down pat. With the large number of horses, multiple rings, and large venue, it’s no small feat to product a wonderful show. The facility was state of the art and a wonderful location to host such an event. As an eventer who compete generally outdoors at all times, it was amazing to be in an air-conditioned arena for the competition. Especially when the heat index was over 100, and I am sure the horses appreciated it as well. Great job, everyone!

One amazing thing about the show was the sense of community and willingness to help others. Brad and Amanda Kelly and their Adh Mor Ranch, for example, help support the future of reining by helping youth classes. In the name of their great stallion, PS Mega Shine Chic, affectionately known as “Crush” around the barn, they had a sponsorship called “Crushing the Fees,” in which all youth entry costs are paid, which included entry, video, drug and judge fees. This is an amazing way to support the future professionals of reining, ease the cost of showing, and a generous offer by Brad and Amanda Kelly. Thank you for supporting reining youth!

It was a fantastic opportunity to watch some of the best in reining. I got a front row seat to most of the action, which was an amazing crash course in reining. I got to watch amazing patterns such as Mandy McCutcheon and Codalicious winning the SmartPak Non-Pro Derby and Andrea Fappani and Itsallinthegenes coming in first in the Hollywoodtinseltown Open Futurity. I got to watch Tom McCutcheon, Cade McCutcheon, Craig Schmersal, Casey Deary and many others expertly guide their horses though the patterns, and learned so much on what makes a great reining pattern. I also got to attend a session on “View from the Judge’s Chair” where I got a better sense of what goes into considering a score for a maneuver, what sort of things the judges are and are not looking for, and how the overall score is evaluated. As someone who has never competed in reining, this was a wonderful opportunity to learn from the best.

Maybe when I get back, I’ll see how my Off the Track Thoroughbred likes reining! (I have a feeling we’ll do great on our fast circles, but I’m not too sure how our small slow circles will go – wish me luck!)