October 24, 2006 -- Americans dominated at the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Reining Masters Finals October 21 in Denver, Colo., taking home both the gold and silver medals.
Gold medalist Shawn Flarida of Springfield, Ohio, scored 223.5 in the Masters Open Division riding Tinsel Nic. He earned an unofficial $17,906.25 gaining him an elite distinction within the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA). Flarida now joins the Two Million Dollar Rider Club. World Champion Reiner Tim McQuay is the only other rider in NRHA history to earn that $2 million distinction.
After his gold medal win, Flarida says, "It's an awesome feeling to win, especially when you know that you're competing against he best horsemen from around the world."
Fellow American, Tom McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas, took home the silver medal and unofficially $14,325. McCutcheon earned 223 riding Smartest Chic Olena. McCutcheon says he pulled Smartest Chic Olena out of a three-year retirement to compete in the Masters Finals.
The bronze medal in the Masters Open Division went to Shawna Sapergia of Canada. Sapergia scored 221.5 riding BL Whiz Kid to earn about $9,311.
The crowd at the Masters Finals cheered for all the international riders from 18 different countries including Israel, Dominican Republic, Germany, Belgium and France.
After the ceremonies and celebration, all three medalists took a victory lap to show their appreciation for the crowd.