Since the Augusta Futurity began in 1980, only one Augustan has won an official event. That man will be vying for his second title this morning.
W.S. "Billy" Morris III, the Augusta Futurity show chairman and president of the Atlantic Coast Cutting Horse Association, which manages the futurity, marked 216 to tie for second in the go-round of the $50,000 Amateur for 4-Year-Olds at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center Saturday.
Jennifer Gibson, of St. George, S.C., also posted 216 to tie Morris. The two fell one point short of Cody DeCordova, of Groesbeck, Texas. On Playboys Blu Diamond, DeCordova scored 217.
The top 14 horses with a score of 212 or better advanced to the final. The $50,000 Amateur for 4-Year-Olds finals will follow the $50,000 Amateur for 5/6-Year-Olds finals, which begin this morning at 8.
Morris, who won the 1993 $50,000 Amateur, was mounted on his gelding Gins Hickory. Morris masterfully cut two cows and drew applause from the sparse afternoon crowd.
"I just had a great horse," Morris said. "I was able to get the cows I wanted. My help was terrific and they had the horse right for me. So I was very happy."
Gibson, 19, is majoring in massage therapy at a community college in Charleston, S.C. She attends classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, but has been focusing more on her cutting lately.
"I'm just chillin' right now," she said. "I'm trying to take it easy. But I've got to get to work. I'm starting to have some tests pretty soon. And if I don't stay on top of that, it's going to kick my butt."
Gibson won the $20,000 Non-Pro on CC Smart Pep two years ago. Last year, she failed to make the final in the Futurity Non-Pro and the $50,000 Amateur for 4-Year-Olds.
"Last year was my first time showing a young horse," she said. "My horse trainers, Ascension (Banuelos) and Carlos (Banuelos), have helped me out a whole lot. And my family has really been supportive of me. All of that just kind of ties in and plays a big part."
Gibson showed her gelding, Doc Yer Pay, at the NCHA Futurity in Fort Worth, Texas, last month. The gelding didn't perform as well as he did Saturday.
"He was kind of sick," Gibson said. "He had a little bug. It's kind of like when you get the flu. You just don't feel like going out there and doing a whole lot."
$50,000 AMATEUR 4-YEAR OLD FINAL GO-ROUND Listed by working order, rider name, rider's hometown, horse name and previous score.
1. Brett Parsons, Congerville, IL, Fancy This Mate, 212.0
2. Jennifer Gibson, St. George, SC, Doc Yer Pay, 216.0
3. Louis Parrish, Tallahassee, FL, Rosa Lenas Jewels, 212.0
4. Billy Morris, Augusta, GA, Gins Hickory, 216.0
5. Tim Brewer, Weatherford, TX, Shes Packin Heat, 212.0
6. Tim Brewer, Weatherford, TX, CD Lady Leo, 215.5
7. Linda Chambless, Poolville, TX, MS Fancy Sabrina, 212.5
8. Mike Bross, New Oxford, PA, Haidas Red Doc, 213.0
9. Jerry Roper, Gillsville, GA, CJ Quixote Olena, 212.0
10. Billy Emerson, Dallas, TX, Chicita Madera, 215.5
11. Bill Brown, Megargel, TX, Ler Commander Bob, 214.5
12. Cody DeCordova, Groesbeck, TX, Playboys Blu Diamond, 217.0
13. Steven Feiner, Los Angeles, CA, Santana Times Two, 215.0
14. Matt Gully, Abilene, TX, Successful Bertie, 213.0
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 114.