The 2018 NSBA Riders Cup event concluded Wednesday at WestWorld in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Arizona Sun Country Circuit AQHA show with big checks being earned. The Riders Cup event awarded $85,000 in prize money over the two-day event.

The NSBA Foundation also hosted its popular Donkey Races on Wednesday night during the Sun Circuit exhibitors party to a large crowd, providing great entertainment while raising $24,600 from a Calcutta style auction of the ten teams. Team Donkey Dazzle, sponsored by D Designs, won the championship round led by a first place finish by trainer Jeff Mellott.

Full Slate of Classes

The second day of the Riders Cup saw a full slate of classes from Showmanship to Western Riding and Trail to Horsemanship and Equitation as well as Hunter Under Saddle and Western Pleasure events.

Showmanship Champions

Kina Tavary showed Pass The Black Gold to win Novice Non-Pro Showmanship and an estimated $1,060 for first place. She showed under a nomination with trainers Andrea and Ryan Kail.

"We've been together two years," she said. "When I got him, I didn't do Showmanship but the former owners had. It's not one of his favorite events. He gets a funny look on his face when I bring out the show halter. It's really awesome to earn money in Showmanship, because we don't often get to show this class for a pay check."

Scott Reinartz and Investin A Goodbar took the win in Non-Pro Showmanship, earning an estimated $1,547.

"We just did this class for fun," Scott said. "It was a quick pattern today, but it had a lot of flow to it. Hank always tries his best for me. It was very nice that the Riders Cup offered Showmanship as part of the payout classes, too." Scott showed on a nomination with trainer Bruce Vickery.

In Amateur Select Showmanship, Teresa Kohman showed Im Pretty Lazy to the win and $1,360 (estimated). "I bought him in 2015, and we show in Trail, Horsemanship and Showmanship," Teresa said. "I just started showing Showmanship when I bought him. Today was a fun pattern. It had a lot of elements to it and it keeps you from getting nervous because there was a lot to remember. 

"I just feel fortunate to get to do this. I get to ride with the best of the best and I have my health, finances and get to be here! I love the Select classes because everyone cheers for everyone. It's the best age to be!" Teresa showed on a nomination with trainer Leslie Lange and Jeff Mellott. 

Western Riding Winners

The Western Riding division of the Riders Cup saw one horse win two classes - VS Lady In Red and Kristen Glover Galyean won Junior Western Riding and $2,106 as well as Non-Pro Western Riding, earning $1,552.85 in estimated earnings. She also won the All Age Non-Pro Western Pleasure, earning an additional estimated $953. She showed on a nomination under trainer Aaron Moses.

"This is just her third show to compete in Western Riding," Kristen said. "We started working on it after the NSBA World Show. She's coming along really well, and maturing mentally and learning all the parts. She's wicked talented, listening but taking everything in, and has all the elements to make a great Western Rider. I'm really excited for our future," she noted.

"Having the payout for Western Riding is amazing. It's hard to find a show where we can make money at it, and our paychecks here will pay for our trip."

Jason Martin took Heza Radical Zip to his second Riders Cup championship for owner Bonnie Sheren, earning an estimated $2,100 in Senior Western Riding.

The duo had won Senior Trail on Tuesday. "He's still the perfect pony," Jason said. "He was great.".

Katherine Tobin couldn't do any better than first and second in Amateur Select Western Riding. She showed her young horse VS Game Changer to the win, and RA Undisputed to the reserve award. She earned $1,294 (estimated) for the win. Katherine showed on nominations through trainer Jim Searles.

"He's only done the Western Riding for about a year, and is still learning, and he's very different from my older horse," Katherine said. "Riding two horses back-to-back was a little tough, but he was good. I think it's great that we have an opportunity to earn money in Western Riding through the Riders Cup. Really that only happens at the NSBA World Show, the AQHA World Show and here at the Riders Cup. I think more people will enter it in the future."

Tops In Trail

Wednesday saw Non-Pros take the spotlight in the Riders Cup Trail schedule. Kina Tavary and Pass The Black Gold won their second Riders Cup championship of the day winning the Novice Non-Pro Trail, earning an estimated $819.

Whitney Walquist Vicars and Southwestern Gunman took the win in Non-Pro Trail, earning $1,021 (estimated). The duo showed under a nomination through Whitney's father, trainer Bruce Walquist.

Whitney was emotional when talking about the win. "This is our first show back after being laid off for a year and a half due to an injury," she said. "We weren't sure we were going to get to show again, and now he's just stepping right back into the pen. I'm so happy that the pattern classes were included with the Riders Cup payouts. We really need this for the industry."


Joanne Garnett and Hes Pretty Extreme won a very competitive Amateur Select Trail and an estimated $1,136. They showed on a nomination through trainer Leslie Lange.

"We had a great group of horses, and any one of them could have won it," Joanne said. "I'm excited to win money in Trail, too. My husband shows in Reining and Barrels, and they only show for money, so I hear about it all the time. I think more shows should offer this."

Horsemanship Champions

The final two Riders Cup Horsemanship champions were named on Wednesday.

Ella Petak guided Gettin Hot to win Novice Non-Pro Horsemanship, earning an estimated $607.

"This is our first time to earn money in a futurity format like this," Ella said. "It's a lot of fun. I've had him since 2012, and we show in the All Around in Trail, Equitation, Horsemanship and Hunter Under Saddle. Horsemanship is probably my favorite event."

In Non-Pro Horsemanship, Mallory Vroegh and Krymsun Belle took the win and an estimated $1,215. They showed under a nomination through trainer Blake Weis.

"This is really cool, because Horsemanship is our hardest class," Mallory said. "I really love patterns where we get to go fast, and this pattern had that. It's our first show of the year. My mom asked if I wanted to go on vacation for Spring Break, and I asked if we could spend it here in Arizona.

"I'm really excited that we could earn money for showing in Horsemanship. We love supporting all of the NSBA programs, and the people who put this on did a great job."

Western Winners

Hillary Roberts and Johnnie On The Spot earned the top spot in the Three and Four Year Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure, winning an estimated $1,830. They competed on a nomination through trainer Andy Cochran.

"She's four years old now, and she's gotten more broke and bigger and stronger," Hillary said of her show mare. "She's a lot of fun to show."

Angie Cannizzaro showed The Production Line to win $2,500 Limited Horse Open Western Pleasure, earning an estimated $1,248.

"This is a really nice horse that we got from Bret Parrish last year for Mary Jo Gold," Angie said. "He was a maiden horse, and we're just getting him solid for Mary Jo to show in Select Amateur classes. He's still very green. He had earned about $1,300 so he wasn't eligible for the Green (Level 1) but not really broke enough for Level 2, so this was a really nice class for him to show in."

Thirteen year old Brody Galyean won the Limited Non-Pro Western Pleasure with Cool Poco Dot, earning an estimated $1,729. It was his first futurity and trophy win. The duo showed under a nomination through his father, trainer Gil Galyean.

Brody was already thinking of ways to spend his earnings. "It feels pretty good to win our class. I'd like to spend some of it on things I like, and I might save some of it," he said of his pay check.

Talking about his horse, Brody said: "Molly is really good. She's pretty chill."

Hunter Under Saddle Champions

Alicia Porter continued her winning ways with Hubbout A Dance, winning the Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle. They earned $1,204.87 (estimated), and showed under a nomination through trainer Charlie Cole.

Tiina Volmer and Better Late Than Never earned the top spot in the Limited Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle, earning $1,557.93 (estimated).

"I didn't even know about the Riders Cup program until Robin Frid explained it to me," Tiina said. "It's been fun to do some of the futurity classes. We still primarily do the All Around classes, but it's been great to earn a pay check." Tiina would also win the Non-Pro Hunt Seat Equitation, earning an estimated payout of $1,400..

Donkey Love

The NSBA Foundation held its popular Donkey Races on Wednesday evening during the Arizona Sun Country Circuit exhibitor party in the Wendell Arena. Ten intrepid teams of five riders that included the Smart Asses, the High Flying Asses, Haulin Asses, the Hill and Jack Asses, Donkey Kong Gone Wrong, Hard Asses, the D Designs Donkey Dazzlers, CNN Mortgage and Don Quiote were auctioned off Calcutta style to the crowd before five heats of competition took place.

The D Designs Donkey Dazzlers emerged victorious, were purchased in the Calcutta auction by Kent Ray Taylor. When asked about their strategy, trainer Brad Ost noted "our plan was to win and we did. During the championship round, we decided to take the big black donkey that was giving everyone problems for good karma. It seemed to work because Jeff Mellot won both his heat and the finals." The CNN Mortgage team took reserve honors.

In total, the event raised $24,600 - pictured at left is the High Flying Asses Team with Team Owner Lainie DeBoer 

About NSBA's Riders Cup

The Riders Cup operates in a similar fashion to the Breeders Championship Futurity, in that the purse is funded through participant nominations. Trainers who donate one month's training and are sold through the NSBA Trainer Sale are eligible to participate in the Riders Cup. Owners then declare their nomination under the name of a sold trainer.

Also similar to the BCF program, the nominated trainer receives 20 percent of the purse from each of the money-earning entries shown under their nomination. It's one of the few futurity events that awards cash in Showmanship, Horsemanship and Hunt Seat Equitation as well as Trail and Western Riding in addition to Hunter Under Saddle and Western Pleasure classes.

2018 is the first time the program has been offered in the West. "It's always been our goal to offer the Riders Cup program at different locations to allow members in all parts of the country to benefit," noted Dianne Eppers, NSBA executive director. "In the past we've held the Riders Cup at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, Ohio, and in Perry, Georgia during the Georgia Classic."

To learn more about the 2018 NSBA Trainer Sale or Riders Cup, please visit or call (847) 623-6722.