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Fred Thomsson Tops Open Preliminaries on Banjo Hustler

While some other equine events across the country have experienced a slight decrease in entries, the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity only continues to grow.

Held annually at the historic Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the 2008 edition’s total Futurity entries increased over 32% from the previous year.

In the Open division, total entries rose from 214 in 2007, to 245. But the largest growth could be seen in the Non Pro divisions. Last year, there were 95 entries, but this year that number rose to 162.

Those lofty entry numbers translate to large revenues for the city of Ardmore. The direct economic impact on the city is more than $1,575,000, with the turnover exceeding $6.3 million.

Many factors could be credited with the increase in entries, but much of the credit goes to the large amount of added money the show presents, thanks to the SWRHA Silent Stallion Auction. This year, the Auction raised over $70,000 for the Futurity.

The Open, Intermediate Open, and Limited Open preliminary competition concluded Wednesday evening, with the top 25, including ties, advancing to the clean-slate finals on Saturday. A score of 218.5 was needed to earn an Open Finals berth, while the cutoff for the Intermediate Open was a 214.5, and Limited Open riders had to be a 210.5.

Leading the finalists was Fred Thomsson on Banjo Hustler, owned by Nedpoint Quarter Horses of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Thomsson and the Banjo Whiz gelding, out of Shiners Hustler, marked a 222.5 to top both the Open and Intermediate Open divisions. For earning the high score of the Open, Thomsson collected $3,201, and an additional $1,751 for the Intermediate Open lead.

In the Limited Open division, Jason Scott Torpey rode See Lena Shine for owner Thomas Little, earning a $508 for the score of 217. See Lena Shine is by Shiners Lena Doc and out of See Chex To Cash.

Tagged as “Where the Finest Go First,” the SWRHA Futurity is always a preview of the great horses that later compete at the National Reining Horse Association Futurity in December, and an alum of last year’s SWRHA Futurity went on to win big at Oklahoma City. Mandy McCutcheon and Haidachino Hollywood earned the 2008 SWRHA Non Pro Championship, and then earned those same honors just a month later in the NRHA Futurity.

Built in 1937, the historic Hardy Murphy Coliseum has been a mainstay as an Ardmore tourist attraction. Primarily designed to host horse and livestock shows, recent renovations to the facility have given it the flexibility to host even more events. Along with the space upgrades that allow the facility to stall 500 horses, the addition of air conditioning provides Hardy Murphy with the competitive ability to attract national and regional events. The renovations have resulted in a premier competitive equine facility.

For more information on the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity, or to inquire about the SWRHA, please call 580-759-2572, or visit http://www.swrha.com.


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