Dirk Blakesley, Augusta, Kansas, claimed his third State of Missouri Cutting Horse Futurity title with a win aboard Nitrous Cutter, on September 3 in Columbus, Missouri. He also placed third and fourth in the 4-year-old division and tied for fourth in the 5/6-year-old finals. Altogether, Blakesley earned more than $15,000.

“It’s gotten a lot tougher than it was six or seven years back,” said Blakesley, who won his first SMCHA Futurity title in 2000, riding Little Acre Doc. “Back then, if you had one that was kind of solid, you could get in the finals without a lot of trouble. If you’re going to win now, you’d better have a pretty good horse for the finals.”

In the past few years, “small” futurities with lucrative purses have become an attractive alternative to the NCHA Futurity, which requires that entries may not have previously been shown.

“I have what I think is going to be a good one for Fort Worth,” explained Blakesley. “Fort Worth is a little bit like rolling the dice, though. There’s a lot of gamble in it. As far as Mark Neville, the owner of Nitrous Cutter, was concerned, he elected to go for the smaller (futurities) with her and have several shots.”

Blakesley qualified Neville’s Nitro Dual Doc daughter for the West Texas Futurity, is entered to ride her in the Music City Futurity, which begins on Sunday, September 10 in Nashville, Tennessee, and will take her from there to the Brazos Bash in Weatherford, Texas.

Three years ago, Blakesley rode 3-year-old Meradas Kitten to earn $30,000 before the beginning of the NCHA Futurity, where the last-placed finalist earned $30,000.

Mark Neville, a farmer from Neosho Falls, Kansas, bred Nitrous Cutter and started her on cattle. Blakesley, who took the reins when the mare was three, won the SMCHA Futurity with 219 points over Smart Lil Paragon, owned and trained by Zeke Entz. Nitrous Cutter also won the second go-round with 219 points and ranked first with an average go-round score of 434.

Little Disco Shorty, ridden by Seth Kirchner for Phil Langstraat of Indianola, Iowa, won the first go-round with 221 points.

“When Seth marked a 211 in the first round, I thought, oh, my gosh, how are we going to get around this horse,” Blakesley admitted. “Then he had some bad luck in the second go-round and the finals”

Little Disco Shorty scored 213 in the finals to split fifth and sixth places.

While Blakesley was pleased with his SMCHA Futurity championship – his third in six years – he was a little apprehensive about sharing the news with his wife, Annette.

The first two times that I won it, my wife was pregnant,” he noted. “So I was about scared to call home the third time.”

The Blakesley’s have two children, Trace, 6, and Deelaney, 2.