PERRY, GA. --- The 42ND Augusta Futurity show was amazing on so many levels including the fact it was held at all considering the many obstacles faced by the Futurity’s board of directors and the competitors themselves.
Amazingly there were even more entries and even a larger total purse than the last show in 2020. Covid concerns for the cutters, patrons and show staff forced the show to be postponed in 2021.
At the top of the list of unique features about the 2022 event was that the show was moved from its eastern middle Georgia hometown of 41 years to the Georgia National Fairgrounds & AgriCenter between Macon and Savannah.
The last show in Augusta before Covid-19 hit was in January of 2020 at James Brown Arena with 602 entries from across the United States and Canada with a total purse of nearly $572,000.
The 2022 show ended with 761 entries and a total purse of $743,287 including $205,000 in added money and $162,500 in Stallion Stakes Incentive Program checks.
It already had been announced the show would be moving to Perry due to scheduling conflicts and the possibility of the James Brown Arena being closed for demolition to make way for a new civic center.
With a large dose of optimism and a strong belief that Southern cutters especially wanted a major cutting show closer than Texas, the Augusta Futurity staff set the wheels in motion to hold its 42nd show in Perry from Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, through Saturday, Jan. 22 at the fairgrounds’ Sutherland Arena.
The stars of the show were AUSTIN SHEPARD of Summerdale, Ala., who won the Futurity Open Championship riding WOOD SHE B MAGIC to a score of 220.5 and earning a final round paycheck of $17,000 and LAUREN MINSHALL of Vine, Grove, Ky., who won the Futurity Non-Pro Championship riding RAVE ON STEVIE to a score of 222 and earning a check of $10,500.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in moving the show to Perry was the transportation and erection of the massive “Baker Tower” judging stand with its metal pillars and separate wood judging booths. But, once in place on the Sutherland Arena, the cutting pen took on a bit of Augusta Futurity familiarity.
The distinctive Augusta Futurity logo on the wall boards added to that familiarity with the red ribbon banner beneath with white letters reflecting the new location of “Perry, Georgia.”
Cutters and trainers from afar especially loved being able to stable their horses in the fairgrounds barns within easy walking distance of the arena without having to haul back and forth from The Hippodrome Arena in North Augusta, S.C., across the Savannah River.
All in all, the new home away from home was met with overwhelming approval from staff and participants.
Show Manager Sherry Fulmer said, ““Because that new [western drama] TV series Yellowstone has brought a new interest to cutting, it was interesting for our Perry show to have so many newcomers in the audience. It was fun to explain cutting to them.
And this new venue was really, really good and served our customer base well. We got a lot of compliments about the stalls being on the same grounds as the arena. We got to interact more with the cutters than we usually do by having the stalls and the arena together. We made the arena reminiscent of Augusta with the blue wood panels and Baker Tower judging stand.But, overall, everything just seemed fresh. People were excited to be there. It was a good show.
Detailed coverage can be found at augustafuturity.com.
HERE IS A SUMMARY OF THE MAIN EVENTS WINNERS:
4-YEAR-OLD FUTURITY OPEN
CHAMPION: AUSTIN SHEPARD of Summerdale, Ala., riding WOOD SHE B MAGIC owned by Billy Wolf of Whitesboro, Texas, 220.5
RESERVE CHAMPION: CADE SHEPARD of Summerdale, Ala., riding CUPIDS MIDNITE TRAIN owned by Joel M. Colgrove of Boligee, Ala., 219.5
CHAMPION: LAUREN MINSHALL of Vine Grove, Ky., riding RAVE ON STEVIE owned by Minshall Farms of Georgetown, Ontario, Canada, 222
RESERVE CHAMPION: MISSY JEAN ETHERIDGE of Corinth, Miss., riding HOLD MY PATRON owned by Belle Terre Ranch of Corinth, 218.5
5/6-YEAR-OLD CLASSIC OPEN
CHAMPION: GABE REYNOLDS of Vine Grove, Ky., riding SWEETT CHAOS owned by Doug Secrest of Key Biscayne, Fla., 225
RESERVE CHAMPION: AUSTIN SHEPARD of Summerdale, Ala., riding KINKY BOOTZ owned by Glenn Drake of Napa, Calif., 224
5/6-YEAR-OLD CLASSIC NON-PRO
CHAMPION: MISSY JEAN ETHERIDGE of Corinth, Miss., riding A STAR IS BORNE owned by Belle Terre Ranch of Corinth, 223
RESERVE CHAMPION: MISSY JEAN ETHERIDGE of Corinth, Miss., riding BOONDEXTEROUS owned by Belle Terre Ranch of Corinth, 219
4-YEAR-OLD UNLIMITED AMATEUR
CHAMPION: RHEIN STANDISH of Baton Rouge, La., riding REYZIN THE BARR owned by Amanda Purdin Standish of Baton Rouge, 217
RESERVE CHAMPION: DILLON GENTRY of Baxter, Tenn., riding PARADOX PINKK owned by Gentry, 216
5/6-YEAR-OLD UNLIMITED AMATEUR
CHAMPION: ANDREW SLIGH of Altoona, Ala., riding GENERATOR owned by Piney Woods Farm of Altoona, 222
RESERVE CHAMPION: DOUG SECREST of Sarasota, Fla., riding SWEET CHAOS owned by Secrest, 219
$50,000 LIMITED AMATEUR
CHAMPION: JENNIFER BUCHANAN of Zanesville, Ohio, riding Tc WILSON owned by Buchanan, 73.0 (One Judge)
RESERVE CHAMPION: MORGAN GRIGGS of Watkinsville, Ga., riding SEAL TEAM 6 owned by Griggs, 72.5
$35,000 NON-PRO ANY AGE
CHAMPION: MELANIE PENNER of Naples, Fla., riding SPENDING BENJAMINS owned by Penner, 219
RESERVE CHAMPION (TIE): WILLIAM MEYERS of Clermont, Fla., riding ICHIN TO THE MUSIC owned by Meyers, 215
RESERVE CHAMPION (TIE): EDDIE H. GAW of Cookesville, Tenn., riding DEEFIANT CAT owned by Gaw, 215
AREA 18 YOUTH SCHOLARSHIP CUTTING
CHAMPION: LILY ERWIN of Evans, Ga., riding MOONSTRUCK PLAYER owned by Doug Batchelor, 221
RESERVE CHAMPION: WILL ERWIN of Evans, Ga., riding SMART MORIA BOON owned by Dennis Fehrman, 217