When Phil Rapp walked over to shake hands, Craig Thompson playfully pointed to Rapp as “Mr. Augusta.”
Rapp replied, “There’s the new Mr. Augusta.”
Thompson carved his way into Augusta history Saturday, marking 223.5 on Mc Im With The Band to become the first since the 1980s to win consecutive Futurity Open titles.
Thompson became just the third rider in the 34-year history of the Augusta Futurity to win back-to-back Futurity Open titles, joining Larry Reeder (1984-85) and Buster Welch (1987-88).
“That’s pretty good company right there,” Thompson said. “That’s pretty impressive.”
Owners Patrick and Laura Collins became just the second set of owners to claim consecutive Futurity Open titles in Augusta, joining Silverbrook Farms (1987-88). In 2012, Thompson showed the Collins’ horse, Oh Cay Do Over, to a winning score of 222.5.
“We’ve had so much fun here this year,” Laura Collins said. “This has been a really good show for us. Augusta has been so much fun.”
With the victory, Thompson earned a check for $10,000. Jonathan Rogers and Reys Lucky Gal tied for second at 220 with Brett McGlothlin and SDP Moms TR, each collecting $8,500.
The 42-year-old Thompson and his wife, Sasha, own Thompson Cutting Horses LLC, with a facility in Buffalo, Texas. They have two sons, Chase and Catch, each of whom were playing for their basketball teams while their father was competing in the red clay.
Thompson didn’t have much luck with Mc Im With The Band, a gelding by Smooth As A Cat out of MS Silver Pitchfork, at the NCHA World Championship Futurity. He got their issues straightened out before coming to Augusta.
“That’s one of the most physical horses they’ve raised and we started training,” Thompson said. “He’s real sensitive. One little thing can upset him and you’ll spend two weeks trying to repair it.”
In the Futurity Open finals. Thompson and his horse rode fifth in the second set of horses. The pair built their run with their first cut and continued building it till the end.
“It’s been pretty tough all week,” Thompson said. “I just thank God I’ve been able to get my horse shown every night. It’s just a privilege to get back here tonight and put everything together.”