McKenzie Merrill
McKenzie Merrill and A One Time Stray had yesterday's top score of 218.

Caleb Anderson, 17, proved untouchable with 221 points aboard Leave N Las Vegas, in the first go-round of Non-Pro competition in the Borden Milk NCHA Futurity in Fort Worth. The first round concluded yesterday sending scores of 204 and better to the second round.

James Hooper, riding Dox Sugar Blue, and Kyle Manion on Calm Cool Smooth, were Anderson’s closest challengers, each with 219 points. Patrick Collins, on Oh Miss Peacock, and Kade Smith, with Spork, were the next highest-scoring riders with 218.5 points.

McKenzie Merrill, riding A One Time Stray, topped Wednesday’s action with 218 points — one-half point more than her sister, Megan Miller, scored aboard Jesse Woodson James, on Tuesday. It was Megan’s husband, Matt Miller, who trained A One Time Stray, by One Time Pepto; McKenzie acquired the mare this past October.

“I’ve been away from cutting for four years, concentrating on cowhorse competition,” said McKenzie, who won the 2009 Snaffle Bit Futurity Intermediate division and was Non-Pro reserve champion on Ill Be Skeets, by Skeets Peppy.

McKenzie’s brother, Tyler Merrill, earned the third-highest cumulative score – 436 points – from the Open go-rounds. Megan Miller also scored 217 in the Non-Pro first go-round on Sweet Calico Cat; and McKenzie qualified for the second go-round with 207 points on Scootin Round Town.

Sly Chance

Ashley Snider
Ashley Snider

Ashley Snider and Sheri Matthews each marked 217.5 points to tie with Wednesday’s second-highest score.

“He is a good horse, but he’s pretty green and we have to be careful about how we do things,” said Snider of her gelding, Sly Chance, trained by her husband, Jaime Snider.

“He colicked this summer and had to have two and a-half months off, at a critical time.”

The Sniders, who live in Burleson, TX, purchased Sly Chance, by That Sly Cat, as a yearling, during the NCHA Futurity, from Slate River Ranch.

“We actually bought him in the parking lot,” said Snider. “Johnny (Mitchell) was leading him across, when we were headed out. We stopped him and he made us a deal.

“Jaime made the Open semi-finals on another Sly Cat (Sly Playgirl, owned by Robert Borick). Those are the only Sly Cats we’ve had, so we’re fans.”

Time N Sympathy

Sheri Matthews
Sheri Matthews

Sheri Matthews, Warsaw, NC, began and ended Wednesday on a high note. She scored 211 points in the second set of cattle riding Smartish, by Smart Little Lena, a Christmas present, two years ago, from her husband, Jeffrey Matthews, who owns 2010 leading freshman sire One Time Pepto.

Matthews’ 217.5-point score came aboard Time N Sympathy, by One Time Pepto, in the last set of the day.

“I was a little nervous because I had only worked her once,” said Matthews of Time N Sympathy, trained by Paul Hansma and shown in Open competition by Todd Graham. “She feels like riding a really fast sports car.”

Matthews purchased her Non-Pro slots to prepare for the Amateur division, which begins on Saturday.

Time N Sympathy is out of Nu She Wood, a full sister to Nu I Wood, NCHA earner of over $405,000, and dam of three $100,000-plus earners, including Special Nu Kitty $264,962 and Special Nu Baby $182,015.

Paul Hansma qualified for the Open Semi-Finals aboard the Matthews’ coltNod N Smile Baby, by One Time Pepto.