Vick Etheridge, of Corinth, Miss., had been a $50,000 Amateur finalist at the 6666 Ranch NCHA Eastern National Championships five times in the past. The sixth time was the charm on Saturday, March 13 as he scored 222 to win the class on home-bred Cutting Commander LTE $109,246.
John Lavelle of Athens, Ohio and Sandra Lines, of Indiantown, Flor., shared the reserve championship with 217 points on Rissy Cat, and Highest Of The Stars, respectively.
Etheridge first made the $50,000 Amateur finals at the NCHA Eastern Nationals in 2012 on Mandalay Rey LTE $145,942. He did so again with the same horse in 2014, followed by Mississippi Cat LTE $214,184 (2017), Cutting Commander (2019) and Metallic Royal Mate LTE $168,738 last year.
He bred Cutting Commander, a 9-year-old mare, by Third Cutting out of Olena Peppy Command LTE $103,191 by Miss N Command. The mare was an NCHA Futurity and NCHA Derby finalist with Tag Rice during her limited-age career. Last year, Missy Etheridge won the Non-Pro championship on her at the NCHA Eastern Nationals.
Vick Etheridge has NCHA earnings of $252,929.
This was the fourth year in a row that John Lavelle has made the $50,000 finals. He qualified with Missie Cat LTE $22,445 in 2018 and with that mare’s full sister, Rissy Cat LTE $93,071 each year since. Nine-year-old Rissy Cat was bred by Glade Knight by High Brow Cat out of Play Miss LTE $180,165, the NCHA Derby reserve champion shown by John Mitchell. Play Miss has produced earners of $759,978, including Flash About LTE $246,087 and Play Miss Boonsmal LTE $211,685.
Lavelle, who has earned $143,033 in NCHA competition, has earned paychecks with Rissy Cat at all three NCHA Triple Crown shows, Arbuckle, Mountain, Augusta, Contress, Cotton Stakes, Southern Classic and The Non-Pro Plus.
Sandra Lines, an NCHA earner of $48,208, was also a $25,000 Novice Non-Pro finalist on Highest Of The Stars LTE $60,592 earlier in the show. They had also teamed up in the $35,000 Non-Pro finals two years ago.
Bred by Ron Shelton, Highest Of The Stars is an 8-year-old gelding by High Brow CD out of Lil Missy Starlight LTE $40,255, a Congress Futurity Open champion under Tracy Barton.
Highest Of The Stars won the Congress Classic in 2018 with Trey Wilson. Lines was reserve champion of the Unlimited Amateur division at the Augusta Classic on the gelding in 2019.