Mandy Kirchner, riding Nitas Cats, set the bar yesterday in the Classic Challenge Non-Pro Limited with 217 points, as the second of 19 riders in the single-herd finals.
Kirchner’s score held until Lauren Minshall, fifteenth in the working order, scored 218 points aboard Little Sweet Spot, which won the championship.
Katherine Hermes, on A Play Rey, and Lyssa Lavender, with Purely Smooth 007, tied for third with 214 points.
“Winning in this pen is one of those things that you always hope for, but never expect to happen,” said Minshall, 23, who won the 2010 Music City Non-Pro Ltd Futurity on Little Sweet Spot in 2010, but had never won an event in Will Rogers Coliseum.
“By the time I went, there were some good black cows that people had looked over,” said Minshall. “I knew if I got to the head of those cows and took charge, I could hopefully cut them. But I was fortunate that everything panned out as it did.”
Minshall’s father, Shawn, purchased Little Sweet Spot, by Spots Hot, at two through the colt’s trainer Gabe Reynolds. Later, Lauren swapped her father a 4-year-old mare for the gelding.
“He’s so much fun to show,” said Lauren of Little Sweet Spot. “He has a great big motor and a really big stop.”
Minshall placed third in the 2009 NCHA Derby Amateur Finals aboard Fraggle Rocks, by Duals Blue Boon, also shown by her father and Gabe Reynolds.
The 2013 Summer Spectacular was Mandy Kirchner’s first time to show at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth.
“It’s a little intimidating at first because of the size,” said Kirchner, 34, a former barrel racer married to cutting horse trainer Seth Kirchner. Mandy’s biggest previous win came as champion of the $2,000 Rider division in the 2005 NCHA Western Nationals.
The Kirchners purchased Nitas Cat, by Cats Merada, from Kenny Boyle, who had shown the gelding, originally trained by Brett McGlothlin, as an amateur finalist in the 2011 NCHA Super Stakes and the 2012 Abilene Spectacular.
“He is so strong and physical,” said Mandy. “And he has a monster stop and can go really fast. There’s not a cow in the pen that can go as fast as he can, if he’s thinking right.”
The Kirchners are both from Iowa, where Seth’s father, Serle, became intrigued with cutting after watching a TV spot on the sport. In 1989, he responded to an ad in the Des Moines Register and purchased his first cutter from Gary Wilson.