Danyelle Campbell and Return Of The Mac win 2021 BFA World Championship Futurity; Schelli Creacy and Blazin Superior top the derby; while Ryann Pedone and HP Feel The Fame clinch the juvenile title.
Read the full stories from the BFA World Championships in the February 2022 issue of Barrel Horse News magazine. Read recaps from the go-rounds here.
Danyelle Campbell rose to the pressure as the fastest time qualified to the finals in the Barrel Futurities of America World Championship Futurity. She brought a second-round winning 15.355 to the table, and running at draw No. 48 of 50 in the finals, Campbell sent Return Of The Mac into the pen to seal the deal. The pair clocked a 15.299 to win the 2021 BFA World Championship Futurity with a winning average of 30.654, worth $39,145 for owner Felicia Taylor of FC Ranch.
“I almost started crying before I went in, because I had a lot of confidence in him. You dream of those opportunities to have a horse good enough to win something, and I knew before I got here this week that horse was good enough to win. And then when he did that in the second round, by the time I ran, I knew what I had to do,” Campbell said. “I was so calm and so relaxed, but right when they were dragging before my drag, Alan Moorhead the announcer says, ‘Don’t go anywhere, the fastest time’s in this drag,’ and then all of a sudden it hit me.”
Campbell says she exited the arena to find 78 texts on her phone from friends shocked at the time “Creed” pulled off, despite a little hiccup around the backside of the second when Campbell had to help him around the turn.
“My first horse [in the finals] struggled really bad with the ground. It was very heavy. And with him, I know he’s going to turn, but there’s a part of you that wants to safety up. But you can’t really safety up on him,” Campbell explained. “And then especially in that ground, if you let him get out and away from it, you’re going to get in more trouble. He went where he was supposed to go when I asked him to go. The second barrel was a little scary. He went in perfect and then halfway around, I was like oh my gosh, lifted up, and it was very boxy, but he made up for it.”
The barrel racing industry has seen an influx of big-money futurities and breeders incentive programs in the last five years. However, Campbell says winning the BFA World Championship Futurity is still considered the biggest futurity victory in barrel racing as the original capstone futurity for barrel horses.
“I know there’s some futurities that pay more, but this is still called the World Championship Futurity. I think this is the allure. You want to have someone say ‘world champion’ with your name,” Campbell said. “Generally, the best horse this week wins the futurity. I’m not saying he’s the best horse here, but any time you can outrun this class of horses, and do it in both rounds, and the fact he had the fastest time coming in and then was able to back it up by running even faster, meant a lot. I’ve been second here twice in the futurity, and it’s always been a huge goal to win the BFA. This is still the pinnacle. I’m I’m still in shock.”
Campbell thanked her sponsor Kerry Kelley Bits and Spurs, her help Taylor Rivera, and Creed’s owners for believing in her.
“His owners have stood by me, and I’m thinking they don’t regret it. I’m very grateful for them. It’s really important to have loyal owners who believe in you and stick by you through thick and thin, and I’m lucky to have more than just them. Kerry Kelley has believed in me as a person for so long, and he’s always trusted me and supported me. Taylor Rivera flew in and helped me; it’s so important to find help who is truly passionate about this and you doing well also,” Campbell said, adding thanks to colt starter Aaroon Vaghela for his help with Creed’s foundational work.
“He didn’t start Creed, but he helped when I was going through some rough times with him a year ago and even this winter. I think he’s the handiest person I’ve ever seen with a horse, and he’s not a barrel racer. He helped get through a lot of issues I was having. Even this week, he’s watched every single run and called me.
“I just love this sport. I love these horses and am grateful to be a part of it.”
Read more about Creed’s week at the BFA and comeback from a fractured cannon bone by clicking here.
Ashley Schafer claimed the BFA World Futurity Reserve Championship for $27,203 on the Spitz Quarter Horses-owned 4-year-old mare Famous Cash Can (Freckles Ta Fame x KR Last Fling x A Streak Of Fling) with an average of 31.015, thanks to a qualifying time of 15.590 and a final-round time of 15.425.
Schelli Creacy and Blazin Superior Win BFA World Championship Derby
Schelli Creacy is living the dream with her special gelding Blazin Superior. Coming into the BFA World Championship Derby Finals with a 15.449 qualifying time, the duo ran a 15.451 in the finals to clinch the average championship.
“He’s very smart, and he’s a businessman. I don’t have to do much but ride him to his spots. This means everything. It’s the third derby he’s won this year,” Creacy said of the gelding by Blazin Jetolena and out of Little Bit Superior by Dash Ta Fame, who’s won the Ardmore Derby and Pink Buckle Derby in 2021. “I say this every time someone asks me, but I feel like he’s anointed. He likes his job, he thinks it’s fun. I don’t put a lot of pressure on him. We don’t work barrels at home. I don’t have to pick at him. He’s just a good horse.”
The gelding was patterned by Creacy and started by her husband, Adrian Mortimer, a cutting horse trainer. Together, they’ve trained a horse Creacy says fits her riding style perfectly. The winning is just icing on the cake.
“I’ve been super happy to be a part of his story,” said Creacy, who is based in Stephenville, Texas. “My husband is really the reason this colt is so foundational and broke. My goal is to not be pulling. He allows that more than most, because he carries himself really low so you can ride with your feet. He never wanted you to mess with his face, even when I was training him. He’s my style. We’re just enjoying the ride right now. He literally has blown us away. When you bond with them and appreciate them, I think they try harder.”
Ryann Pedone and HP Feel The Fame Win BFA World Championship Juvenile
“The first time I sat on her, I said, ‘I’m going to win the BFA on this filly,'” Ryann Pedone said of 3-year-old HP Feel The Fame, who is by the NFR stallion Feel The Sting that Pedone trained and ran and out of legendary producer Rods Last Ladybug by Sharp Rodney. “I’ve never won the BFA. Never. I’ve been reserve in the Derby in 2011. Your stars have to align, but she’s just special. I feel a lot of ‘Stinger’ in her. The way I can connect with her mentally. She’s really a gift.”
Pedone purchased “Bradee” from Highpoint as a weanling. The filly is the first Feel The Sting offspring to hit the arena, and she lived up to expectations—and her barn name—during her first week of competition at the BFA World Championship Futurity. In the first run of her career, she ran a 15.753 for third in the SuperStakes slot race and $23,000. She followed that time the next day with a 15.871 to place in the first round of the juvenile for $1,226, and then ran her best 15.626 for second in the second round for $5,478 and seal the juvenile average championship for $10,338.
“I call her Bradee, because I’ve always said she’s going to be my Tom Brady,” Pedone said with a laugh. “She’s been such a good girl. Real happy, real calm. I made her a deal this summer. I told her, ‘I’m going to put three runs on you, put a little pressure on you, and then you’re going to get four or five weeks off.’ So she’s not entered anywhere else. She’s getting a break. Sometimes you get fortunate and get a gift, and she’s that.”
This laidback, horse-first approach has helped Pedone become a trainer known for not just producing winning horses, but producing happy horses that love to run barrels and go on to win long after their futurity year.
“I don’t pick them apart and try to keep it fun for them. I don’t take anything personally. If one has a meltdown or doesn’t handle it, we’ll work on that later. I try to make it a good experience for all of them. If they’re not ready to go on, I try to just make it a success and build their confidence from there,” she said. “I’m looking to finish out a horse; it’s not just about now. I’ve had a lot of really nice horses that didn’t start out here like a superstar. At the end of the day, this is just a really small spectrum in the world. I’m just grateful to be healthy and doing this. I love what I do so much. I love the horses.”
Amateur Futurity, Juvenile and Derby
Jessie Carter topped the BFA World Championship Amateur Futurity on 2017 mare Vegasapplebottomjean (Vegas Resort x Bonita Bully x Frenchmans Guy) with an average of 31.663, worth $1,320.
The Amateur Juvenile title went home with Courtney Hallam for an average of 32.228, worth $1,650, on 2018 gelding Steel Famous (Carrizzo x Steele Magnolias x Magnolia Bar Jet).
Jana Guthrie won the Amateur Derby on 2016 gelding Furociousladychaser (Furyofthewind x Dashin Ladybird x Dash For Perks) for $1,650 with a 31.161.
Youth Futurity, Juvenile and Derby
With an average of 31.356, Bayleigh Choate won the BFA World Championship Junior Rider Futurity for $1,650 on her 4-year-old gelding TJR Stinson Blue (Eddie Stinson x YO Threatnin Frost x Pat Cowan).
McKenzie Small rode 2018 mare A Sweet Fling (A Streak Of Fling x Dashin Bye Bye Eyes x Dashin Bye) to the Junior Rider Juvenile championship for $990 with an average of 31.572.
Morgan Bagnell claimed the BFA Junior Rider Derby title for $1,650 with an average of 36.556 on RR Too Slick Eye Mist (Slick By Design x KN Fabs Mist Of Fame x Frenchmans Fabulous).