Photos: Cactus Reining Classic descends upon Scottsdale

From youth to pros, trainers compete at WestWorld

Posted 3/29/22

The annual Cactus Reining Classic took place at WestWorld last weekend, bringing horses, trainers, film crews and show creator Taylor Sheridan to Scottsdale.

Local resident Arno Honstetter took …

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Photos: Cactus Reining Classic descends upon Scottsdale

From youth to pros, trainers compete at WestWorld


The annual Cactus Reining Classic took place at WestWorld last weekend, bringing horses, trainers, film crews and show creator Taylor Sheridan to Scottsdale.

Local resident Arno Honstetter took first place in the inaugural The Run For A Million qualifier, while many other Scottsdale-based trainers and horses earned top spots.

The 2022 Cactus Reining Classic featured hundreds of competitors — ranging in age from under 10-years-old to adults approaching retirement age — averaging about 16 hours of competition each day. 

The four-day competition included a $10,000 open division, which is the only million-dollar competition qualifier for The Run For A Million 2022 that takes place in Las Vegas in August.

The Cactus Reining Classic has been produced annually by Scottsdale resident Amanda Brumley since 2005, growing into one of the National Reining Horse Association’s Top 10 events. Two years ago, Sheridan joined her side to put on The Run For A Million event as a part of the filming season for The Last Cowboy, a reality show on CMT network that follows reiners throughout their season.

On Saturday, March 26, Sheridan, the co-creator and mastermind behind hit TV show “Yellowstone,” served as a commentator for the open derby, as people vied to qualify for TRFM.

Honstetter, a Scottsdale resident, took first place in TRFM qualifier, with horse Ms. Dreamy, earning $11,514.15.

Scottsdale family, the Schmersals, had two competitors in the Cactus Classic: Craig Schmersal who’s a nationally-ranked reiner, and his daughter, Addisyn Lyn Schmersal, who competed as a non-pro.

Tish Fappani, a Rio Verde-area resident, mother and wife, took first place in her non-pro event. Tish and her husband Andrea Fappani, run Rancho Oso Rio in Rio-Verde where they operate Fappani Performance, a horse-training program.

Andrea had previously qualified for the 2022 RFAM, but did compete in other exhibitions during the Cactus Classic.

On social media, Andrea Fappani congratulated his wife and her horse, Joe’s Genes.

“Tish is completely committed to riding her mare and a small string of her horses every morning,” Andrea wrote. “Her focus and work always pay off in the show pen. Tish was raised around horse show competition and loved being a part of that world. Today, it’s no different. We are proud of her and happy that she can continue to do what she loves.”

Mark Blake, a Rio Verde-area resident who is vice president of the NRHA, earned the Masters Championship with horse Ronni Rey Gun.

Craig Schmersal rode horse Setting Off To Town, nicknamed “Rip” and owned by Sheridan, during his exhibition where he ultimately tied for seventh place with Billy G Williams.

On social media, Schmersal thanked Sheridan and Brumley for putting on the annual event.

“Setting Off To Town (Rip) was draw 18 out of some of the best horses competing in our industry today. It was a nail-biter until the very end, but when the last horse was finished, we were tied for 7th,” Schmersal wrote. “First, I want to thank Taylor Sheridan for not only putting on this event but also owning this horse and trusting my program. Two years in a row, this horse has got me into the Million.”

To view all results from the Cactus Reining Classic, go here. 

2022 Cactus Reining Classic 

Photos by Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey

Pictured above: Casey Deary is an NRHA 2.8 Million Dollar Rider, three time NRHA Futurity Champion, NRHA Derby winner, multiple AQHA World Champion and multiple APHA World Champion. Casey and his wife, Nicole, have four children and live on their ranch in Weatherford, Texas. 

Pictured above: Addisyn Lyn Schmersal wears a The Run For A Million belt buckle for  being named 2019 Youth Champion. 

Pictured above: Addisyn Lyn Schmersal is coached by father Craig Schmersal prior to her run on Saturday, March 26, at the Cactus Reining Classic. 

Pictured above: Vendors at the Cactus Reining Classic included a number of booths selling hats, clothing, boots and other horse-related goods. 

Pictured: Mary Riley Cachat, from Temmecula, California, competes with horse, A Smalltown Trick. 

Pictured above: Bryton Bein, a youth competitor, shows in the Short Stirrup category for ages 10 and under. 

Pictured above: Kendall Wermling, from Columbia Falls, Montana, took first place in the Short Stirrup event. 

Pictured above: A youth rider warms up her horse prior to competing in the Cactus Reining Classic. 

Pictured above: Lily Forzani, from Collinsville, Texas, rides horse Annie's Custom Pistol. 

Pictured above: Kinsey Haaby and horse, Quality Shines, share a moment after their ride for judges. 

Pictured above: Youth competitor JP McClure and horse Working For Chex compete on Saturday, March 26. 

Pictured above: Catherine A. Brown Swain is all smiles as she prepares to enter the equidome with horse Mint Gundition.

Pictured above: Scottsdale-based Chandler Winard competes in the equidome at WestWorld on Saturday, March 26, with horse Whoz Joe Daddy. 

Pictured above: Andrea Fappani, a Rio Verde resident, casually exercises a horse around the WestWorld property on March 26. Fappani was among a handful of competitors who had previously qualified for The Run For A Million.