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6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel - Daily Updates

6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel - Daily Updates
June 27, 2022

June 26 - Action Wraps Up at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
A 12-day stretch of continuous competition at Oklahoma State Fair Park wrapped up on Sunday, June 26. The final day of the 2022 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel showcased Non Pro and Youth ancillary riders, with several Montana Silversmiths high point buckles being presented.

8 & Up Maturity Levels 4, 3, 2, & 1 Champion/Non Pro (2) & Int. Non Pro (2) Champion – Emma Lane & Gunner Gump
The 2022 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel competition wrapped up in the Jim Norick Arena Sunday morning, and Emma Lane cleaned house. She won first place in the 8 & Up Maturity Levels 4, 3, 2, 1, Non Pro (2), and Intermediate Non Pro (2). She showed Gunner Gump, a 14-year-old gelding by NRHA 13 Million Dollar Sire Gunner out of Little Patrasha Gump, who is well versed in the show ring.
“We went to Switzerland twice on the FEI team, and he’s just been so great for us,” Lane said. “He only gets shown like once a year.”
Gunner Gump makes it count when it is his time to shine, scoring a 216.5 Sunday morning. This year’s Derby might very well be his last show.
“We were late in the draw, so I was trying to find good dirt. He was so good everywhere,” Lane said. “He’s an older gelding, so he’s going to want to set up. It’s been great to be out here all week with him and have fun.”
Gunner Gump is owned by Lane’s dad, Bundy.
“My dad has taught me everything I know,” Lane said. “It’s just me and him here, and we’ve had an amazing time.”


Non Pro, Int. Non Pro High Point – Melissa Wigen & Starlight Escalade
Melissa Wigen wrapped the 2022 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel on a high note. She scored a 214 on her horse, Starlight Escalade, to win the Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro High Point Montana Silversmiths buckle. The eight-year-old gelding is by Starlights Wrangler and out of Escalante Chic.
“He felt awesome,” Wigen said. “I had so much fun, and he was right there with me. We came earlier for the novice horse stuff, and this was a bonus. There was almost a runoff, and I was thankful Emma pulled ahead of us, so he could rest for the long trailer ride back home.”
Wigen and Starlight Escalade will make the trip back home to Joseph, Oregon, where they will enjoy a few weeks of rest before the Summer Slide in Denver, Colorado. Wigen thanked her husband, Travis, traveling partner, Lindsey, and her kids.
“There’s a lot of good people that help me back at home to get here and to be here, and I know they’re picking up the slack for me,” she said. “I have a lot of people to be thankful for, and I appreciate all of them.”


Prime Time Non Pro (2) Champion and Highpoint – Nancy Murfin-Moxley & Mega Mag
With a score of 214, Nancy Murfin-Moxley and “sports car” Mega Mag earned the Prime Time Non Pro (2) Championship and High Point Montana Silversmiths buckle, winning $249.
“He’s new to my program this year, I’m just getting with him, and I love him. Every ride I show on him is so fun,” Murfin-Moxley said.
The eight-year-old gelding, by NRHA Eight Million Dollar Sire Magnum Chic Dream and out of Big Gold Chex, has earned more than $100,000 in his lifetime. Now with Murfin-Moxley at the reins, he’s taking on the ancillary classes.
“He’s a character. He’s busy, he’s fun. I love his honesty; he’s a little sports car and he takes good care of me,” Murfin-Moxley said. “He’s great in his circles, great in his stops, he’s just wonderful. There are so many things.”
Murfin-Moxley took things a little cautiously in the Jim Norick Arena Sunday morning, June 26, but was pleased with how attentive Mega Mag was with her.
“I thank Casey and Kathy Hinton, everybody in the barn, my husband, family and all of my support,” Murfin-Moxley said.


TRFAM Non Pro Qualifiers
Five riders advanced from the second slate of Non Pro The Run For A Million Qualifier Sunday morning in the Jim Norick Coliseum at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. Long rosettes in hand, the riders joined the ranks of non pros vying for the $50,000 TRFAM Non Pro purse, which will be held in August at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kalicia Walters
Marieta, Oklahoma – Pale Faced Whiz (Pale Face Dunnit x Lady Naskiia Whiz)
Kalicia Walters
Marieta, Oklahoma – Raisinthebar (PS Mega Shine Chic x Chic In The Bar)
Lindsay Lee Kovick
New Plymouth, Idaho – The American Colonel (Wimpys Littlecolonel x Miss Sugar Whiz)
Dana Pastorino
Half Moon Bay, California – Shining Like Flinn (In Like Flinn x Lil Shinin Suzana)
Rhea Pole
Gainesville, Texas – Leavetherestspooked (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Leave The Rest)
Qualification for TRFAM is based on rider, not horse. Riders do not have to compete on the horse they qualified on but are required to lease or own their TRFAM the horse based on NRHA rules.


Youth 13 & Under (2) – Logan Flaherty & Story For You
Reining is a family affair for the Flahertys, and Logan Flaherty kept the tradition alive Sunday afternoon by winning the Youth 13 & Under in Slate 2. He scored a 140 on Story For You, a seven-year-old gelding by Wimpyneedsacocktail out of Surpriseinadarkalley.
“We call him Cruise, and I’ve had him for about six months,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty has had a hectic week, flying back home to Scottsdale, Arizona, for football trials and coming back in time to show.
“I have played football and swim competitively since I was five years old,” he said. Flaherty is also a Dallas Cowboys fan, saying his favorite player is Dak Prescott. He also thanked his dad, Patrick Flaherty, and Arno Honstetter.


Unrestricted Youth High Point – Chloe Cannon & Mr Hollywood Cee
The Unrestricted Youth High Point Montana Silversmiths buckle was won by Chloe Cannon on Mr Hollywood Cee. The pair scored a 140 in Slate 2 to wrap up the competition. The eight-year-old gelding is by NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Hollywoodtinseltown and out of Miss Hollywood Cee.


Unrestricted Youth (2) – Mary Riley Cachat & A Smalltown Trick
With a 142.5, Mary Riley Cachat and A Smalltown Trick won the second slate of the Unrestricted Youth, wrapping up their time in Oklahoma City.
A Smalltown Trick is by Tricked Out Spook out of A Smalltown Gal. The 5-year-old gelding, bred by Mark Blackwell, was shown by NRHA Leading Rider Andrea Fappani as a 3-year-old and won the Arizona Best of the West Reining Futurity and qualified for the Level 4 Finals at the NRHA Futurity. Leonardo Kellerman took the reins of the colt as a 4-year-old, and helped bring his lifetime earnings to more than $66,000.
Cachat was unable to stay for the awards; she had to pack up and head south to the American Paint Horse Association World Show.


Youth 14 – 18 (2) Champion & High Point – Justin Eddy & Xtra Wimpy Voodoo
Class-topping scores earned Justin Eddy and his two geldings the $100 Youth 14 – 18 (2) Championship and High Point Montana Silversmiths buckle.
Riding Xtra Wimpy Voodoo (Shiners Voodoo Dr x Wimpys New Pal), Eddy scored a 145.5 in the Adequan® Arena Sunday.
“He’s an older gelding and sometimes older show horses develop some bad habits. My goal today was to go in today and not have any bad habits,” Eddy said.
Some of the improvements Eddy saw in the palomino gelding included waiting for his cue in the rollbacks.
“He did really well for me, and the judged liked and rewarded him,” Eddy said. “He’s a really fun horse to be around. I call him a ‘pretty boy,’ because he is. He has a really long mane, and he likes to be a show horse. When you do watch your run after on the screen, he watches himself.”
Eddy finished Reserve Champion on gelding Not Ruf Nic (Not Ruf At all x Hollynic), marking a 143.


Youth 13 & Under High Point – Addison Coats & Ruf Till The End
In Slate 2 of the Youth 13 & Under, Addison Coats scored a 139.5 to seal the deal on winning the Youth 13 & Under High Point Montana Silversmiths buckle. She rode Ruf Till The End, a nine-year-old mare by NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Lil Ruf Peppy out of Remedys Sure Slide.
“Ruffy is a very sweet horse,” Coats said. “You don’t have to ask for much and she gives you a lot.” Coats was awarded several prizes for being high point, including a beautiful buckle, ribbon, bucket and vet wrap. Practice paid off for horse and rider, after spending time working on their spins and stops all week.
“I thank my mom and trainer, Vincinzo Santos,” Coats said.


Short Stirrup High Point – Layla Flaherty & Totally Juiced
After winning the first slate of the 10 & Under Short Stirrup, Layla Flaherty sealed the Montana Silversmiths High Point buckle with a reserve championship Sunday afternoon in Slate Two.
Her partner was twelve-year-old gelding Totally Juiced (Smart Like Juice x Select A Fourty Five).
“Today went really good,” Flaherty said. “He went fast in his stops, and it was fun. Today I kind of just got on, practiced a little and then went to show.”
Flaherty said her goal for the day was to be slow in the corners before her rundowns. While she didn’t feel like she was successful today, it’s still a goal for Flaherty.
“We practice a lot and he’s always ready in the morning when I come to the ranch,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty thanked Scott Pederson for leasing Totally Juiced to her, and her dad/trainer Patrick Flaherty for his help.


Short Stirrup (2) – Lily Forzani & Annies Custom Pistol
In Slate 2 of the Short Stirrup class, Sunday afternoon, Lily Forzani scored a 144.5 to win the championship. She rode Annies Custom Pistol, a 10-year-old gelding by NRHA 13 Million Dollar Sire Gunner and out of KR Anniegityergun.
“I like that I can learn a lot, and I get the opportunity to be here,” Forzani said. She enjoys every aspect of the show, even saddling, washing, and grooming Annies Custom Pistol.
“I thank my trainer, Stefano Calcagnini, my mom and dad, and everyone watching.” The Aubrey, Texas, youth will give the gelding a few weeks off before showing at Reining by the Bay in California.

 

Deary and Americasnexttopgun Win Level 4 Open Championship at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel

Americasnexttopgun and Casey Deary rode into the danger zone Saturday night during the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby Open Level 4 Finals, posting a 223.5 that could not be touched.
“This horse is so explosive and so talented that he can do things that are hard to sit on. In fact, even changing leads there I lost my stirrup. He’s just so physical,” Deary said.

With the Level 4 Open Championship, the stallion added $75,000 to his bankroll. The win is a second major NRHA title for Americasnexttopgun, who earned the 2020 National Reining Breeders Classic Open Derby Championship. To date, the son of NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Walla Walla Whiz out of Americasnextgunmodel has earned $343,892. The stallion was bred and nominated by NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner Arcese Quarter Horses USA.
“He ran through the gates really good, and I felt like he nailed that first stop. This horse is such an athlete that I overshot my marker a little bit backing up. He turned around like a top both ways – I don’t know if it gets any better than that,” Deary said.
Following a Reserve Championship in the Level 4 Open at the NRBC in April, Deary knew there was more to be had and reevaluated his preparation methods for “Maverick.”
“I needed to adjust to get him shown in this heat and humidity,” Deary said. “I didn’t warm him up nearly as much as I would normally do. He’s so talented that, as long as I can stay out of trouble, he’s a pretty consistent [earner].”
Deary rode Maverick “very little” throughout the two weeks in hot and humid Oklahoma City. To prepare before the finals, Maverick was turned out for a total of four hours in the large round-pens on the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds.
“Getting ready to lope off, I was a little nervous that I had left him a little too fresh, but as soon as I loped off and he went to work he hooked right up. I couldn’t ask him to be better,” Deary said.
The list of Deary Performance Horses people to thank is long and includes veterinarians, farriers and help at home.
“There are too many to list here, but [mostly] my number one supporter, Nicole, has been there cheering me on through the whole deal, and Jody and Jolan [Puno] have backed this horse with everything they have,” Deary concluded.


Level 3 Open Champion – Magnums Custom Dream & Casey Hinton
Casey Hinton and personal horse Magnums Custom Dream earned the Level 3 Open Championship under the sparkling lights of the Jim Norick Coliseum Saturday night, much to the delight of the crowd.
“Any time you’re in the finals on Saturday night and the crowd gets behind you, it’s pretty thrilling. All the hours of training and practice [pay off],” Hinton said. “You’ve got to keep those younger guys on their toes and stay competing at the top level.”
Astride five-year-old stallion Magnums Custom Dream, Hinton saw all the pieces fall into place. The team marked a 221, earning $35,000 and besting the Level 3 field. Hinton and Magnums Custom Dream also finished sixth in the Level 4, worth an additional $16,836.
“It’s taken a while, but he really showed this week what we thought his potential was,” Hinton said.
Magnums Custom Dream (Magnum Chic Dream x Gunna Be Custom) was bred and nominated by Garth Hystad and is owned by Hinton and wife, Kathy.
“It’s a horse I bought from Devin Warren, and this is the second time that Devin has told me that ‘I really have a horse that’ll fit for you,’” Hinton said. “Personality-wise he’s very consistent. His demeanor is not really stud-y, he’s pretty even-keel that way. He’s super athletic, and I don’t think there is a category he doesn’t excel at.”
Hinton thanked his staff for their hard work and Jesus Christ for the opportunities given to him.


Open Level 2 Champion – My Whizard Dream & Abigayle Mixon
My Whizards Dreams and Abigayle Mixon broke a streak of 72s to earn the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel Open Level 2 Championship with a 220.5, earning $20,000.
“He came out of the stall happy and pretty fresh today. He warmed up really good, and I just kind of had a feeling he was going to be good,” Mixon said. “I’ve been stuck this year marking 72s and 72.5s, and I had yet to lay down a run. I was pretty determined to put one together and he was there for me, so it was pretty fun.”
The five-year-old gelding is owned by Michelle George, and Mixon first partnered up with him in 2021.
“We bought him from Fred and Dany Tremblay at the beginning of last year. I showed him a little last year and had some success with him. He’s cool, super sweet, and overall a nice horse,” Mixon said.
My Whizard Dream (Magnum Chic Dream x Miss Poco Whizard), or “Tiger,” was bred and nominated by Andre Lauzon. According to Mixon, he is an easygoing individual with clownish tendencies. To keep him sharp in the brutal Oklahoma heat and humidity, Mixon gave him several days off between the open preliminaries and finals.
“I think backing off of him [worked]. I went through everything last night and made sure I didn’t over-ride him. Made sure he had plenty of air and was cool. I think it made a big difference,” Mixon said.
Next for Tiger is the non pro pen with owner George.
“I want to thank our outstanding owners, my husband, Jeff, and my whole family. Jeff helps me all the time at home and with our daughter Logan. [Plus] all my help at home, it literally takes a village to do what we do. We all play a big role,” Mixon said.


Level 1 Open Derby Co-Champion – Jack Daniels & She Whiz Shiney
Saturday night at the 2022 NRHA Derby was one Jack Daniels will remember for a long time. Daniels scored a 214.5 on She Whiz Shiney in the Open Derby Level 1 Finals, tying for first place with Daniel Martins Cruz.
“We’ve had the mare for about seven months. We got her after the Futurity,” Daniels said of the mare, who was nominated by Cinder Lakes Ranch. “She’s a huge stopper, and that’s probably my favorite thing about her. She was really nice all-around tonight.”
Although Daniels thought he left a point or two in the turns the four-year-old mare by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Shine Chic Shine out of Dun Dry Whiz, made up for it in her stops. To prepare for Saturday night’s competition, Daniels said all he had to do was let his wife, Kaci O’ Rourke, ride the mare.
“She gets along with that mare pretty well,” he said. “I bump my legs on her more and Kaci likes hugging her legs on the mare more.”
It always helps to have a supportive spouse behind the scenes. Daniels’ wife worked for Level 4 Derby Champion and new Three Million Dollar Rider, Casey Deary, for five years and then NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider Craig Schmersal, where Daniels met her. Ever since then, the pair have always been able to bounce ideas off each other in order to get the most out of their horses.
Daniels thanked the owner, Jennifer Anderson, stating they will consider selling the mare or continue showing her.
“She’s been tried once today and will be once after this, so hopefully whoever ends up with her is happy, and we can do it all again,” he said.
The show pen is relatively new to Daniels. He usually starts colts, but after Saturday’s big win, he may want to continue his own show career.
“I’m always so used to being able to fix it on a two-year-old, but you have to just be able to show through it, and that for me has been the hardest part to learn,” he said.
Daniels won $6,492 for his efforts and is quickly making a name for himself in the arena, and with great people in his corner, he is well on his way to more wins in his future.
“I’ve had a lot of help from my wife,” Daniels said. “She’s great and has done so much for me.”


Level 1 Open Derby Co-Champion – Daniel Martins Cruz & Gunners Deja Girl
The Derby Finals was an exciting event to watch Saturday night in the Jim Norick Arena, with two riders tying for first place in the Level 1. Daniel Martins Cruz scored a 214.5 on Gunners Deja Girl to be named co-champion with Jack Daniels. Gunners Deja Girl is owned by Pedro Pastor Hernandez and was nominated by McQuay Stables.
“This is my second show with her,” Cruz said. “She’s amazing and for me just a super horse. Every time she’s ready, she has such a big heart.”
The pair won $6,492.
Cruz hails from Brazil but has made waves in the short amount of time he has lived in the United States. He made the move three years ago and now works for Fernando Salgado. He has 22 years of experience total and used that to his advantage when showing the five-year-old mare by NRHA 13 Million Dollar Sire Gunner and out of Dun Its Deja Vu.
“When I go very fast in the circles, she’s always constant,” Cruz said. Cruz has made the Open Finals both years he has shown at the Derby.
“I love Brazil, but America has the best shows and the best horses,” he said. “I’m very happy for my boss and the owners, Pedro Pastor Hernandez.”
It takes a special horse and rider to come out on top in the Open Finals, and Cruz is seeing his hard work and dedication pay off.
“For me, reining is my life,” he said.


Open Prime Time Champion – Trash Your Gal & Shawn Flarida
Trash Your Gal and Shawn Flarida turned heads in the Open Derby preliminaries. The strong palomino stallion was sporting a hackamore that Flarida rode one-handed, marking a 222.5, topping the Prime Time division. The pair also made the Open Level 4 Derby Finals, earning an additional $4,176.
“It’s the second time I ever showed him in a hackamore and there are still some learning curves, but that little horse loves [the hackamore],” Flarida said.
With the run, Trash Your Gal (Gunnatrashya x Ima Sailors Gal) earned $5,000 for owner Jodie and Scott McCutcheon.
“He’s really pretty. Just a fun, fun, fun horse to ride,” Flarida said.
With more than $6 million in lifetime earnings, Flarida is attuned to his horses’ performance in the show pen.
“When I put a bit in that horse’s mouth, he plays with it almost like he’s chewing gum. He doesn’t necessarily open his mouth, but in the judge’s eyes they see his little lips moving and they think he’s being bad. He’s really not, so I just put the hackamore on him, and he loves it,” Flarida said.
The six-year-old stallion was bred by Linda Campbell and nominated by Michelle Crowder. According to Flarida, Trash Your Gal is a blue-collar worker who comes to work hard every day.
“Thank you to my family,” Flarida said. They have been unbelievable; they help me get up and down the road and I can’t thank them enough. My kids have been getting up with me in the middle of the night, and I thank my help and my sponsors, I couldn’t do it without them. My owners are amazing [too], they get me here and buy me the horses.” 

June 26 - Weekend Ancillary Action Continues at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
The Oklahoma State Fair Park was buzzing on Saturday, June 24, as the Level 4 Open Finals of the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel was going on in the Jim Norick Coliseum. The ancillary action in the Adequan® Arena was equally exciting, as the second slate of the Rookie classes wrapped up and were followed by the youth competition.
An exciting addition to the Derby for Rookie riders was that NRHA Global Event Partner Toyon Ranch paid for all entry and judges’ fees – a gesture that was appreciated by the competitors.
Rookie Level 1 (2) Co-Champion Pip Brown & Roosters Myra
In slate 2 of the Rookie competition, Saturday morning in the Adequan® Arena, it was Pip Brown who was named the co-champion. Brown rode Roosters Myra, a nine-year-old mare by SR Roosters Kid out of Miss Magnum Chic, to a score of 141.
“She did everything I could ask for,” Brown said. The young reiner has enjoyed getting to ride with everyone in her aisle and feeling the support the reining world has shown her this week.
“I started just by spinning on a reining horse and told my mom that I really want to do this,” Brown said. Now, she is being seen at the top of the leaderboard and was very excited to win the Rookie Level 1 class, where all entry fees were generously covered by NRHA Global Event Partner Toyon Ranch.
Brown thanked her trainer, Sebastian Petroll, and plans for her next show to be in Las Vegas for The Run For A Million Rookie Shootout.


Rookie Level 1 (2) Co-Champion Sidney Karr & Gunmetal Whiz Girl
The Rookie Level 1 (2) saw a tie between two up-and-coming reiners. Sidney Karr tied for the win with a score of 141, riding Gunmetal Whiz Girl, a four-year-old mare by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Gun out of Koolwhiz N Wranglers.
“She was amazing today,” Karr said. “We finally plussed our spins today, so that was really exciting.”
Karr was excited to split the win with Pip Brown.
“The rookie division is a really competitive division now, so for us to even be competitive in it and to be able to place in it is amazing, much less co-champion is incredible,” Karr said. She won the high point in the Green Reiner Level 1 earlier in the week and also got to share a win with her mother, Terri, who won the Rookie Prime Time. Karr was appreciative of Toyon Ranch for all they have done for the rookies.
“What John and Nancy (Tague) do to help us and get us into this industry, especially for my mom and I, is great,” Karr said. “Just to know someone cares and is supportive of someone who might not have a name yet, means a lot.”
Karr has only had “Snowflake” for two months, and this week is their third show together. Derby week can be a learning curve for even the most experienced, and her trainer, Jonathan Gauthier, gave solid advice to just go have fun and enjoy getting to know the horse.
Karr also qualified to compete at the Rookie at The Run For A Million in Las Vegas and will begin preparing for the next show.


Rookie Level 1 & 2 Highpoint – Alex Loftin & Smokin Smart Ammo
Alex Loftin and five-year-old mare Smokin Smart Ammo nabbed both Rookie Level 1 and 2 Highpoints Saturday morning June 25 in the Adequan® Arena.
The young man from Arkansas expressed his shock at both the victory and generosity of NRHA Global Event Partner Toyon Ranch for paying all rookie entry and judge fees.
“It was great. I was surprised when I entered, and the entries were paid. Everything helps out,” Loftin said.
The team is relatively new, with Loftin pairing up with Smokin Smart Ammo (Smokin Ammo x TNP Go With The Flo) less than two months ago. According to Loftin, he and the mare were more in sync for their run Saturday morning than they were last Sunday.
“We were up early riding a little bit harder – I didn’t push her as hard in the first go as I did in the second go,” Loftin said. “Today Jeromy [Lipps] said to execute the pattern and ride to plan.”
Next, Loftin and easy-going “Lizzy” are headed to Fort Worth for the American Paint Horse Association World Show.
“I want to thank my mom and dad, Jeromy [Lipps] and his wife Jacquline, they’ve been great help,” Loftin said. “And the whole Lipps horse family.”
Rookie Level 2 (2) Champion – Erin Stueve & Cooldrinkawalla
Erin Stueve and Cooldrinkawalla (Walla Walla Whiz x Custom Lena) marked a 141.5 in the second slate of the Rookie Level 2 (2) on Saturday, June 25, to win the class.
“She was really good, but we had a couple of bobbles so I didn’t think I would win,” Stueve said. “I was surprised that I did. I’m excited to show her in the rookie again next year because she’s actually pregnant.”
The five-year-old mare called “Wanda” is owned by Stueve and was bred by Arcese Quarter Horses.
“My boyfriend Dakin Allred started for me, and he actually showed [her] in the open a little bit. I gave him an ultimatum and said ‘Is someone showing her here? You or me.’ I was able to take the reins and she was really good for me,” Stueve said.
Wanda will be taking a break for matronly duties, but Stueve looks forward to competing with her again. The rookie entrants’ show and judges’ fees generously were sponsored by NRHA Global Partner Toyon Ranch, and Stueve thanked Allred for his help preparing “Wanda” for the show.


Prime Time Rookie High Point – Terri Karr & Babys Flashy Angel
Terri Karr and “Queen” Babys Flashy Angel earned the Prime Time Rookie High Point Montana Silversmith’s championship buckle Saturday, June 25 in the Adequan® Arena.
“I love everything about this mare. She’s perfect,” Karr said. “She’s the queen, she’s the queen of everything.”
The eight-year-old mare is sired by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Boogies Angel. She was bred by Michell Anne Kimball and is owned by Karr.
“We had a plan to get out lead change, but we didn’t. Fortunately, she’s good enough at everything else that it worked out,” Karr said. “She hung in there with me and got it done.”
Karr expressed her gratitude towards NRHA Global Event Partner Toyon Ranch for covering exhibitors’ class and judge fees.
“Toyon Ranch has been so generous to help us out at the NRBC and here at the Derby. We can’t thank them enough. They’ve been an amazing supporter and we really appreciate it,” Karr said.
Next up for Karr and Babys Flashy Angel is The Run For A Million, where they will be competing in the Rookie.
“Thank you to Jonathan [Gauthier] for helping me every step of the way. He’s always there and giving me great instruction,” Karr said.
Prime Time Rookie Champion – Wendy May & Magnums Gun
Wendy May left it all out in the arena with her horse, Magnums Gun, Saturday morning to win the Rookie L1-2 Prime Time. May scored a 140 to finish her week of showing at the Derby.
“This is my second year to do reining, so this is a great accomplishment for us,” May said. “Earl,” as the gelding is known around the barn, is a talented seven-year-old gelding, by Gunners Tinseltown and out of Magnums Pretty Patti. May matched the level of talent “Earl” has, after being on a self-described struggle bus as of late.
“In reining, you get one thing really good, and then something else falls apart,” she laughed. “It’s never all perfect.” The duo has learned a lot together and seems to be coming together as a team. May trains with Sam Schaffhauser and thanked him for all of his patience, as well as Toyon Ranch for paying for all of the entry fees for the rookie classes.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to ride my horse every single day this week,” she said. “Every day, you get to get a little better and improve on things.”


TRFAM Non Pro Qualifiers (2)
Five riders advanced from the second slate of Non Pro The Run For A Million Qualifier Saturday morning in the Adequan® Arena at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. Non pro riders competed to advance to the $50,000 Rookie class Run For A Million, held in August in Las Vegas.
Rylee Butler
Larkspur, CO – Gotta Connection (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Smart Connection)
Jaclyn Pederson
Scottsdale, AZ – Coded Wind Up (Electric Code x Wind Her Up Chic)
Emily Moomaw
Marble Falls, Texas – Ima Baby Spooks (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Call Me Marlena)
Bella Beck
Colorado Springs, CO – Gunnabe N Hollywood (Gunnatrashya x Hollywoodsautumngold)
Sandy Lockwood
Morongo Valley, CA – Mobsters Inc (HF Mobster x All Chic N Shiny)
Qualification for TRFAM is based on rider, not horse. Riders do not have to compete on the horse they qualified on but are required to lease or own their TRFAM the horse based on NRHA rules.


Youth 14 – 18 (1) – Justin Eddy & Xtra Wimpy Voodoo
When the Youth 14-18 wrapped up in the Adequan® Arena Saturday evening, Justin Eddy walked away the champion with his horse Xtra Wimpy Voodoo. The eight-year-old gelding, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr out of Wimpys New Pal, and Eddy scored a 144.
“I’ve been showing him for about a year now. We showed at the Derby last year and made the Level 4 finals,” Eddy said. “This year, we’re back and going to show tomorrow in the 8-and-up maturity, so today we were just going to see how things went, and they went well. I’m proud of him.”
Eddy also scored a 142, tying for second, on Not Ruf Nic. Showing multiple horses in the summer heat can be trying, but winning on multiple horses makes it all worth it.
“I find myself asking for a bottle of water after every run,” Eddy laughed. “It’s important to keep the horses hydrated and well-rested too.”
The next steps for Eddy and Xtra Wimpy Voodoo will include preparing for the Youth World Show coming up in August. Eddy thanked his parents and Jim Dudley for all of their help.


Unrestricted Youth – Raeanna Thayn & Coded N Karma
Scoring a 142, Raeanna Thayn and Coded N Karma rallied to win the Unrestricted Youth class Saturday evening at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. The rider and horse have quite a bit of experience together in the show pen and have continued their winning ways.
“My family has owned him since he was three,” Thayn said. “I’ve shown him since he was a six-year-old, and he’s just always been super consistent for me.”
Coded N Karma may have a quirky personality but knows when it is time to show up and win for his young rider. Thayn and the 11-year-old gelding, by Electric Code out of Whiz N Snap, have basically grown up together, and she said he has not changed much as he has aged. Thayn thanked her parents for all of their help and support throughout the years.
Youth 13 & Under (1) Co-Champion – Emma Hillis & Revolutionary Spooks
The future of the reining industry shined bright Saturday evening at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. In the Youth 13 & Under, Emma Hillis rode Revolutionary Spooks to a score of 140.5 and a tie for first.
“Our run went well today,” Hillis said of the seven-year-old gelding by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Gun out of Urika. “He was right there with me the whole time, and he never tried to get ahead of me. His stops and his circles are his best moves.”
The horse has continuously handled the warm conditions this week and showed up when called upon. Ellis will travel to Denver or Reining by the Bay next. She has never gotten to go to those shows and is excited to see what is in store for her and Revolutionary Spook’s future.
She thanked her trainer, Matt McDowell, the entire McDowell team, and her parents.


Youth 13 & Under (1) Co-Champion – Abigail Dooley & Top Haida
The Youth 13 & Under saw two champions Saturday evening, and Abigail Dooley scored a 140.5 on Top Haida to split the win. Top Haida is a 15-year-old gelding by NRHA 12 Million Dollar Sire Topsail Whiz out of Haida Million.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased with him everywhere in my run,” Dooley said. The young reiner has enjoyed getting to spend so much time with her horse this week, stating he is very personable.
“He loves to go trail riding and is very playful,” she said. However, when it comes time to show, the pair is all business.
“I tried to be very precise with him and very careful with how I worked him,” Dooley said. She also thanked Top Haida’s owner, Lon Kent, for letting her ride the amazing horse.
Dooley has a lot to look forward to in the future. First, she will show at the Summer Slide in Denver, Colorado, and after that, she wants to be a doctor when she grows up.
Youth 10 & Under Short Stirrup (1) – Layla Flaherty & Totally Juiced
Layla Flaherty has put in the sweat equity with Totally Juiced (Smart Like Juice x Select A Forty Five), and it paid off Saturday evening in the first slate of the 10 and Under Short Stirrup. Layla scored a 144.5 on Totally Juiced, winning several prizes including a reining Breyer Horse.
“He’s really, really sweet but he does not like his nose touched,” Layla said. “I like that he always listens to me.”
The youth from Scottsdale, Arizona, rides every day in the summer and has recently been working on squaring up her corners in the run-downs.
“I’ve been working on his corners. He likes to run off but today he was really good,” Layla said.
Layla thanked Scott Peterson and dad-trainer combo Patrick Flaherty.

 

 

Jack Medows & Tribbiani Win Level 4 Non Pro Championship at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
Consistency has been the name of the game for Jack Medows and stallion Tribbiani throughout the week at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel. Initially tying for the Non Pro Derby preliminary lead and winning the $20,000 Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro 4-Year-Old Stakes Championship on Tribbiani and the $15,000 Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Derby on Jewells, it seemed like Medows’ week couldn’t get much better.
Then it did.
Riding Tribbiani from the sixth hole in a deep 36-horse Final, Medows posted a score of 221.5 that couldn’t be touched, and he held strong to earn the Non Pro Level 4 Derby Championship and $30,000. He also finished tied for eighth on Jewells (Gunner x Surprizentheprincess).

“I tried to take it one maneuver at a time. I don’t want to get ahead of him because he’s so quick and reactive. I wanted to take each maneuver as they were and let him do the rest,” Medows said.
The run-in pattern number 10 was demanding for the competitors – especially after enduring a week of hot, humid temperatures.
“It was hot, so it was hard to tell what was too much and what was not enough,” Medows said. “So, we made sure he felt good the first few days [after the prelims], and then we went back to work on Wednesday, making sure we were not rusty on any maneuvers.”
According to Medows, they rode around midday, trying to keep Tribbiani, or “Joey,” accustomed to the heat. The four-year-old stallion is sired by NRHA Seven Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya and out of Chicsdreamofdiamonds. He was bred and nominated by Amy Medows.
On Medows’ long list of thank-yous was his family, including his parents Amy and Jeff Medows, plus his aunt and grandparents for coming in to watch from Minnesota.
“I also say thank you to Casey [Deary] for being patient with me all week. I know the nerves were pretty strong and he was patient and helped a lot. [And] my girlfriend Olivia has been calming when we’ve been back at the stalls all day. She’s helped so much and keeps me grounded,” Medows said.


Gina Schumacher and Gunnastepya took Level 4 Non Pro Reserve honors with a score of 220, worth $14,333. Gunnastepya, a six-year-old stallion by Gunnatrashya out of SDP A Lasting Step, and Schumacher had tied for the win of the preliminary round with Medows and Tribbiani. Schumacher also finished tied for fourth on Step N Past Ya (Wimpys Little Step x ARC Sail Past Ya) and tied for eighth on Spat Toy Boy Gun (Spat Split And White x Snowy River Gunner).

Level 3 Co-Champion, Level 2 Reserve Champion, & Level 1 Champion – Jenn Kasper & A Cool Backstory
When Jenn Kasper set her sights on the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, she had one goal in mind; make the Non Pro Level 4 Finals for the first time. When the final results had been tabulated, she and her horse, A Cool Backstory, had squeaked into the Finals.
Then she and A Cool Backstory, by SG Frozen Enterprize out of Skeets Chexy Nic, went to work. Their score of 216.5 in the Finals Friday night was good enough to win the Level 1, take second in Level 2, and split the Championship of Level 3, plus finish tied for 10th in the Level 4, bringing the Friday night take to $30,139, with $1,507 going to nominator Gabrielle Solum.
“I am so excited. I’ve showed horses my whole life, but this is only my second Derby, and my first Level 4 Finals. I’m really glad this horse gets the recognition he deserves because he’s really special,” Kasper, of Fountain Hills, Arizona, said.
The 5-year-old gelding definitely has a cool back story. “When he was born he had a ruptured bladder, and when they did the surgery and he was on his back, he had a reaction to the drugs that ended up causing a chemical burn across his back,” Kasper explained. “It took six to eight months to heal, and they didn’t know if he could be a show horse, but he’s pretty tough and he’s turned into a great one!”
In fact, Kasper’s boyfriend, Leonardo Kellerman, trained and showed the colt his three and four-year-old years, earning more than $29,000. “I was fortunate to be able to buy him and show him this year. He’s a really special horse with a lot of try, and I really love him,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of horses in my life, but none come close to him.”
Kasper and A Cool Backstory are coming off a successful National Reining Breeders Classic. Since then, the colt has been in Gabriel Borges’ barn. “That means I get to ride him pretty much every day at home. Luckily, he’s pretty easy to prepare because he’s an easy guy. We just kept him fit, and it worked out,” she said. “I thank Gabriel because he did a great job preparing this horse, as well as everyone else at Gabriel Borges Reining Horses. I also thank my boyfriend, Leonardo, who is always there for me and is the one who trained this horse. Thank you to my mom who has supported me my whole life, and all the other incredible people behind the scenes.”
Kasper, who is the social media and marketing manager for numerous clients in the reining industry pulled double-duty at the Derby. More than one person commented that she was one of the hardest workers at the event.
Mason McDowell and his horse Guns Blazing took Reserve honors in the Level 1 with a 216, worth $2,299. Guns Blazing is by NRHA 12 Million Dollar Sire Wimpys Little Step out of Dolled Up Gunner. The pair also took third in the Youth Non Pro, worth an additional $893.

Non Pro Level 3 Co-Champion – Francesca Sternberg & Red Dirt Paleface
Hailing from the United Kingdom, Francesca Sternberg overcame several obstacles to clinch the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel Non Pro Level 3 Co-Championship on Red Dirt Paleface (Pale Face Dunnit x Lost In Tinseltown). For the win, Sternberg won $15,281. The pair also placed in the Level 4 and took reserve in the Prime Time division, worth an additional $5,862.
“I was slightly terrified, to begin with, but once I got through the gate, I could get on with it,” Sternberg explained. “The waiting, and the Gateway of Champions, and all that stuff makes my tummy go into tidal waves.”
Tidal waves or not, Sternberg piloted Red Dirt Paleface to a 216.5, a feat she was incredibly proud of in the competitive Non Pro Derby Finals.
“He’s very little, so going around [the coliseum] I feel like I’m going around the Gobi Desert at a flat-foot gallop. But as small as he is, his heart is huge,” Sternberg said.
Partner Red Dirt Paleface was bred and nominated by Tim Anderson and is owned by Sternberg. To keep the gelding fresh throughout the week, Sternberg relied on a steady stream of cookies to bolster his spirits.
“In England, if it goes above 80 [degrees] it’s almost a natural disaster. So, we both felt the heat and I tried to keep him as fresh as I could,” Sternberg said. “I think a lot of the horses were tired today for obvious reasons, and I think he was tired. But he dug deep and just did it.”
Between flying in to ride Red Dirt Paleface before their prelims, the excessive heat and showtime nerves, Sternberg proved to herself that she deserved to be in the Level 4 Finals.
“Showing is an addiction, isn’t it? We can’t help ourselves. The thing is, if you do really well, you can’t wait for the next one, and if do really badly, you can’t wait for the next one because you just want to make it better,” Sternberg said.
Sternberg thanked her family and the Schmersal team for their support, plus trainer Tyson Randle for his continued dedication.
“Tyson Randle – short of brushing my teeth for me and riding into the arena with me – couldn’t do anything more. I’ve never been with a trainer so [attentive],” Sternberg said.

Non Pro Level 2 Champion – Emily Opell & Shining N Tinseltown
Narrowly missing the Level 3 Non Pro Finals, Emily Opell made Level 2 run count from the first section of Non Pro Derby action.
With a score of 217, Opell and Shining N Tinseltown (Shine Chic Shine x Wimps Tinseltown) secured the Non Pro Level 2 Championship, winning $15,000.
“I was nervous about running in because he wasn’t stopping good the night before. He went in and nailed it – didn’t check. Backed up better than usual and nailed the turns. From then on it felt great,” Opell explained.
After their run, Opell and “Shine” had to sit through the second section of Non Pro Finals in the evening to see if their score would hold.
“I was so nervous; I got a headache from just sitting there thinking about all of it. I thought my score was good, but I wouldn’t have thought it was going to win,” Opell said.
Shine is just four years old, but has already proved himself under saddle. With his Friday night win, his lifetime earnings reached $30,000. He was bred and nominated by Charles Vaughan and is owned by Steve Opell.
“He is very relaxed and has the greatest mind. You can get after him and he wants to be right there with you, never wants to be bad. He’s a really good horse,” Opell said. “I got him at the Futurity here last year and I’ve been riding him ever since. It’s been me, myself and I.”
Opell thanked her parents, Tammy and Steve Opell, for their support and help along the way.

Non Pro Derby Prime Time Champion – Maria Danielli-Krueger & Fridee Spook
It was game on for Maria Danielli-Krueger and her seven-year-old gelding, Fridee Spook. When all was said and done, the pair scored a 219 to win the Non Pro Derby Prime Time title.
“It was great and fun,” Krueger said. “He was right there with me and did everything I asked.”
Her game plan was to run into the pen hard, making sure she ran all the way to her stops. She also let Fridee Spook, by NRHA Seven Million Dollar Smart Spook out of Dun It Fri Dee Nite, take full advantage of the amenities on the premises, like the aqua spa, as well as getting plenty of rest.
“He’s a great horse,” Krueger said. “He doesn’t need a lot of ride time, and that’s what’s best for him.” She also noted Fridee Spook is always taking off his halter and acting goofy, calling him an escape artist.
The duo will travel to Las Vegas next for the High Roller Reining Classic.

Non Pro Derby Masters Co-Champion – Ellen Cummins & Xtra Miss Wimpy
Ellen Cummins had to battle it out in the Jim Norick Arena Friday aboard Xtra Miss Wimpy. Scoring a 216.5, the team co-championed in the Non Pro Derby Masters. The seven-year-old mare is by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Little Smart Wimpy.
“The minute I got on her this morning, I could tell she felt good, and she was super cooperative,” Cummins said.
Cummins felt she needed to step up her game to keep up with the talented mare, but when it is time to ride such an athlete, it gives Cummins all the confidence in the world.
“She ran great, stopped big, backed up, and just settled,” Cummins said. “Her turns are probably her best maneuver.”
Cummins was prepared for her run and was able to trust her horse during the Finals. It is safe to say, she did this great mare justice.
“It was a really fun run, and it was super exciting,” Cummins said. “I had a lot of friends cheering, and that’s always a huge help.”


Non Pro Derby Masters Co-Champion – Frederick Christen & Gunna Cash Ya
Friday night, Frederick Christen walked away as co-champion in the Non Pro Masters Derby riding Gunna Cash Ya. When the dust settled, the seven-year-old stallion by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Lil Joe Cash and out of Gunners Blonde Chic scored a 216.5. Christen and Gunna Cash Ya also placed in the Non Pro Prime Time and the Non Pro Level 2, pocketing a total of $5,217.
“We were able to purchase this horse from Tom McCutcheon and his partnership group,” Christen said. “We’re just starting to get hooked up with the horse.”
Christen thought he may have left some points out in the ring, even though Gunna Cash Ya was prepared for the event excellently.
“My trainer, Arno Honstetter, told me to just stay calm,” Christen said. The team did what they needed to do to walk away co-champions. Christen thanked his wife, trainer, vet, and farrier.


Non Pro Derby Masters Co-Champion – Lance Griffin & Spooks Gotta Tinsel
The Non Pro Derby Masters saw a three-way tie for first place. Lance Griffin, an NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner, scored a 216.5 on Spooks Gotta Tinsel. The four-year-old stallion, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Gun out of Tinsel Tiara, is known as “King,” and makes showing fun.
“Anytime somebody asks me what’s my favorite part of reining, it’s running through the gate in the finals,” Griffin said.
Although he thought he may have left a few points on the dirt, “King” lived up to his name by taking home the win. Griffin and Spooks Gotta Tinsel also placed in the Finals of the Prime Time, Level 3, and Level 4, bringing their total earnings to $10,318.
“Everyone wants to buy him, and I’m trying to hide him,” Griffin laughed. He has owned the horse since October, and everywhere they have competed together, they have made the finals, including at the Futurity, NRBC and now the Derby.
“He’s just the same every day. He’s awesome and quiet,” Griffin said. “You wouldn’t even know he’s a stud, and he can do it all. He’ll be a great five-year-old.”
He thanked his daughter and Francesco Martinotti. The team hopes to continue their winning ways after Griffin has disc replacement surgery.

Youth Non Pro Derby Champion – Samuel Flarida & Hollywooddirtysecret
The name Flarida is synonymous with the reining world, and Samuel Flarida is keeping the tradition alive. Flarida and Hollywooddirtysecret scored a 219 Friday night in the Non Pro Finals to finish third in the Level 4 Non Pro and take the Youth Non Pro Championship.
“We’ve had him since he was a yearling, and he’s made finals everywhere,” Flarida said. “He’s just been really good to me.”
This was the seven-year-old gelding’s, by NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Hollywoodstinseltown out of Maximum Rpm, last Derby finals, and Flarida had to make sure he could overcome some pretty high scores already set.
“I just wanted to go for it, and he was with me the whole time,” he said. “I put all the pressure on me, and the horse takes care of me.”
Flarida’s father is NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida, and the younger generation has learned a lot growing up in the presence of the great showman and trainer.
“He just taught me to think ahead with everything and always stay confident trusting your work,” he said. Flarida thanked his entire family and everyone in his corner as well.
Another up-and-comer from a top reining family, Addisyn Schmersal, took Reserve honors in the Youth Non Pro and tied for fourth in the Level 4 on TA Dunit Redhot. TA Dunit Redhot is by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Pale Face Dunnit out of Redhot Walla.


Friday Ancillary Champions from 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
With an exciting backdrop of the Non Pro Finals of the 6666 National Reining Horse Association presented by Markel, the Novice Horse Open competitors took over the Adequan® Arena on Friday, June 24. Four champions were crowned across three classes, with High Point awards given in all three levels. There were familiar faces, newer names, and impressive displays of athleticism by the equine athletes.
Novice Horse Open Level 3 (2) Champion and High Point – Genuinely Jo & Jack Daniels
The week hasn’t gone to plan for Jack Daniels, but that didn’t keep him from climbing aboard Genuinely Jo and bringing home the Novice Horse Open Level 3 (2) Championship and the Montana Silversmith’s High Point buckle.
Scoring a 143.5, Daniels and the accomplished show mare earned $602.
“I think my wife felt a little sorry for me this week. I’ve had a bit of a rough week and she was just good for me in there,” Daniels said. “Today I was thinking ‘Don’t screw up.’”
The six-year-old was started and trained by wife Kaci O’Rourke and Daniels – who has previously focused on riding two-year-olds.
“I’m a little green in [the show pen] because I’ve rode two-year-olds and that’s kind of been my thing. To go through the pattern on a horse of that caliber is very nice,” Daniels said. “I want to thank my family. They got me over here first from Australia, and my wife is my rock. She’s my everything. I also thank my assistant.”
Novice Horse Open L1 (2) & Level 2 High Point – Jared Leclair
Friday afternoon in the Adequan® Arena at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, Jared Leclair won big, taking first place in the Novice Horse Open L1 (2) on one horse and the High Point Montana Silversmith’s championship buckle in the Level 2.
Leclair won the Level one with a 143.5 on Alpha Coronalastchic, a four-year-old gelding, owned by Kathleen Roach. Alpha Coronalastic is by Wimpy Chic and out of One Last Corona.
“He’ll make Kathleen a really nice show horse,” Leclair said. “I let the horses tell me how much to push them, and he stepped up to the occasion.”
Leclair took the High Point honors with Gunningthebay, by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite out of Dun It In The Bay, owned by his wife Karla.
Leclair’s program has been successful with this mindset, and showing different horses throughout the week has helped him stay in a competitive frame of mind.
“I adjust how I show depending on the horse I’m riding,” he said. “It’s just in the moment, and I’ll change my thought process while I’m in the pen. I trust my program and my horses that they’re going to take care of me.”
He will show again Saturday in the Open Derby Finals. Leclair thanked his wife and also NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Tim McQuay for all of their help during the week.
Novice Horse Open Level 1 High Point – Spooks Golden Tune & Shauna Larcombe
The High Point Montana Silversmiths buckle in the Novice Horse Open Level 1 was awarded to Shauna Larcombe and Spooks Golden Tune Friday afternoon. Spooks Golden Tune is by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz out of HA Lenas Tune, and Larcombe was very happy with the four-year-old mare’s consistency.
“I kind of wanted to take it easy on her because it is so hot,” Larcombe said. “She’s done a good job, especially after being up here for 10 days.”
The pair scored a 142 and a 142.5 to win the high point, and Larcombe was careful not to overdo training or warming up as they prepared for their runs. After the Derby, they will head home to take a couple of weeks off before preparing for some schooling shows and then possibly the Tulsa Reining Classic. Larcombe thanked her owners, Angelina and Sandra Widmoser.
“I’m really happy to give them something back in their investment and keep them excited about the game,” Larcombe said.
Novice Horse Open Level 2 (2) Champion – Zapp & Ryan Rushing
An electrifying run of 144.5 netted Zapp and Ryan Rushing the Novice Horse Open Level 2 (2) Championship, earning $751.
“We turned and circled really good in the Derby – but I didn’t get him stopped how I wanted to. I just wanted to take him in the pen again, warm him up and see if I can improve while we were here. We had a nice run, and he’s a great show horse,” Rushing said.
Zapp (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Clearin The Smoke) is owned by Goose Creek LLC and was bred by Diane Beckmann.
“He has a fantastic personality [and] he can turn like a rocket,” Rushing said. “It’s just been a process of me getting with him.”
Next for Rushing and “Duke” is Las Vegas, where Rushing plans to show the stallion in The Run For A Million $100,000 Shootout.
“I think he’s enough horse to do it,” Rushing said. “His owner Robert Peterson is just a fantastic owner to have. He has great horses and gives me a lot of opportunities so I’m really thankful.” 

June 24 - Wigen, Rapp, and Peplowski Take Nov. Horse Non Pro Titles at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
Another action-packed day of competition drew to a close at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel, where the freestyle reining brought energy to the Colesium and several ancillary champions were crowned in the Adequan® Arena.
With the Non Pro Derby Finals taking place tomorrow, and the Adequan® Arena packed with novice horses and rookies, several champions are yet to be decided at the Derby.

Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1, 2, & 3 Highpoint – Melissa Wigen & Starlight Escalade
Melissa Wigan and Starlight Escalade are bringing home a truckload of hardware from the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. In total, Wigan won the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 Highpoint, Level 2 (2) Co-Championship and Highpoint, and Level 3 Highpoint, pocketing $2,700 and winning three Montana Silversmiths buckles.
“Today he did really well. I had a bobble in a turn, and it cost me, but other than that he was right there with me,” Wigen said.
With a score of 144, Wigen topped off a week full of emotion and triumph with Starlight Escalade (Starlights Wrangler x Escalante Chic).
“I feel like his stops were better than our last go,” Wigen said. “I was a little tense [last time].”
Surrounded by her team, Wigen teared up as she thanked husband Travis and Sebastian Petroll for helping her find Starlight Escalade.

Novice Horse Non Pro Level 3 (2) Champion – Kristi Peplowski & Whizzin At Starbucks
Kristi Peplowski rode Whizzin At Starbucks for owners Oak Mill Ranch LLC to win the second slate of the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 3. The four-year-old stallion, by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Starbucks Deja Vu, scored a 144.5.
“He was really good,” Peplowski said. “He turned better than he did in the Derby, and that was our goal for today.”
Peplowski and Whizzin At Starbucks have continued to improve throughout showing at the Congress and the Futurity.
“I thank my husband for sure, who is a huge help to me, and our trainer, Brandon Brant, who has put all the foundation on this horse,” Peplowski said.

Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2 (2) Co-Champion – Alicia Rapp & Spooks Gotta Glo
Alicia Rapp and Spooks Gotta Glo earned the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2 (2) Co-Championship with a score of 144 in the Adequan® Arena on Thursday, June 23. With the win, Rapp took home $1,353.
“My run was pretty good. He circled really, really good and I got stopped pretty big all three times. That was my goal today – get stopped,” Rapp said.
Spooks Gotta Glo (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Look At Her Glo), or “Ringo,” is a five-year-old gelding owned by Rapp. He was bred by Bobby Lewis.
“He wants to be in your pocket and your best friend. He’s really such a ham,” Rapp said. “I got him last year in August so I feel like we’re finally getting to know each other.”
According to Rapp, Ringo’s biggest area of improvement has been his stops, and he’s advanced quickly since arriving at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel.
“Thank you to Giada Camparsi. She has helped me the last few shows stepping in for our trainer from Tampa who has been unable to come to the last few shows. She’s done a great job,” Rapp said.

Hava Vital & Gunna Chic This Win Invitational Freestyle presented by OKCVB


The Jim Norick Arena at Oklahoma State Fair Park was rocking on Thursday, June 23, when the Invitational Freestyle presented by the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau started rolling. For the first time in years, the Freestyle was held during the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel, as it’s usually held during the association’s Futurity in the winter.
NRHA Executive Committee member and Freestyle contestant Shane Brown said he was thrilled to have the competition during the Derby. “I am glad it’s back here because this is where it originated,” he shared. “I appreciate the OKCVB for putting the money up for this event. I think the more we can promote the class, the better. We want people who aren’t horse people to come watch this – the ones who have never ridden a horse – because if they see it they will be entertained and might want to know more about reining.”
Entertainment was abundant, and the genre of music ranged from Amazing Grace to Fat Bottomed Girls. Most importantly, though, was the quality of maneuvers during the competition.
In the end, it was Hava Vital and her horse Gunna Chic This (Magnum Chic Dream x Gunna Joy) who topped the class with a 225.5, winning an incredible $6,523 with their routine to the “Moulin Rouge” hit song “Lady Marmalade.”
“This whole routine was very spontaneous. I didn’t really plan anything besides the first part of it – I just went with it and the music,” Vital shared. “I asked a lot of questions beforehand, especially from Shane Brown about what I could and couldn’t do. It was just really fun.”
So how did Vital decide on the upbeat routine? “I had done one other freestyle to it before I came to the United States, and I wanted to do it again. When we got here, I Googled rental costumes in Oklahoma City, and one came up that was a little suspicious, but I walked in and saw the costume and knew it was it,” she said.
Vital added that the $20,000 in added money was a motivator to enter, and the payout was appreciated. “I think this is great. It will go to this mare’s lifetime earnings, and I’m getting babies from her. Plus, I have bills to pay, so this will help,” she said.
Taking second in the Freestyle with a score of 223.5 was Abby Budd and her horse Cromed Up (Cromed Out Mercedes x Rest Up). The pair’s bridleless routine to “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” was rewarded with a check for $5,180.
Rounding out the top three was Brown and Susan Harding’s horse Xtra Chex Step (Wimpys Little Step x RM Chexicallie Rose), who performed to the Jamey Johnson hit “In Color.” Their score of 223 was paid off to the tune of $3,837.
Other contestants included Abigayle Mixon, NRHA Hall of Famer Doug Milholland, Amber Morgan, Becca Schaffhauser, Troy Heikes, Ari Micho, and Randall Dooley.

June 23 - Leclair and Larcombe Win Novice Horse Titles at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
It was all about open riders at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel on Wednesday, June 22. Between the last section of Open Derby Preliminaries and Novice Horse Open-action in the Adequan® Arena, there was plenty of good watching to be had.

Level 4 Open Finalist Jared Leclair took two levels of the Novice Horse Open, while Shauna Larcombe nabbed one.
Stay tuned as the expectation builds for the Open and Non Pro Derby Finals to be held later this week in Oklahoma City.

Novice Horse Open Level 2 & 3 (1) Champion – Gunningthebay & Jared Leclair
Jared Leclair took over the reins for wife Karla on Gunningthebay, winning the first slate of the Novice Horse Levels 2 and 3 Wednesday afternoon, June 22, in the Adequan® Arena. With a score of 146, Leclair added $2,251 to the mare’s lifetime earnings. Gunningthebay (Gunners Special Nite x Dun It In The Bay) was bred by Cardinal Hill Training Canter LLC.
“My wife showed her some this year in [derbies]. It’s the first aged-event horse she’s shown,” Leclair said. “With all the breeding [at home] this year, my wife really hasn’t had time to ride her, so I decided to show her here instead and get more money on her.”
Leclair’s plan went off without a hitch and he praised the six-year-old for her skills – once they got through the gate.
“I hadn’t been in this pen at all, so I go to run her in normally and she wouldn’t. She did not want to go through the gate. So I had to stop, regroup, walk through the gate and lope her off. Her first stop was really big,” Leclair said.
The rest of the run went well, earning them the title and a bit of redemption.
“I showed her in the Derby the other day, but I didn’t show her well enough. It was kind of my fault. [After this] My wife is going to show her and just enjoy her. She’s a sweet mare – fun to ride. It will be hard for me to give her back to her,” Leclair said.
Leclair thanked his wife for letting him borrow Gunningthebay, and his entire team for their hard work and continued support.
“You’re only as good as your weakest link and I don’t think I have one right now,” Leclair said.

Novice Horse Level 1 (1) Open Champion – Spooks Golden Tune & Shauna Larcombe
The Novice Horse Level 1 Open (1) Championship went to Spooks Golden Tune and Shauna Larcombe, who marked 143.5 and earned $697.
“She’s really easygoing. She’s a sweet mare, never any trouble, always nice-minded,” Larcombe said. “I showed her in the Derby [preliminaries], but we had a couple little things go wrong so I thought ‘We’re already up here, let’s enter something else.’”
The four-year-old mare was bred by Gary Putman. Larcombe and the mare finished as Reserve Champions in the Level 2 and 3 as well, bringing their grand total to $1,957.
“This pattern today was really good for her,” Larcombe said. “I just went in there and tried to make a run.”
Next year Spook Golden Tune (Spooks Gotta Whiz x HA Lenas Tune) will be competing with owner Angelina Widmoser at the helm.
“I want to thank the owners for the opportunity to train her and show her,” Larcombe said.

Flarida & Brant End Open Prelims with Championships at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
The Open preliminary round of the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel came to a close Wednesday, June 22. While the finalists are celebrating the chance to compete for big money on Saturday, a few are already counting their money from titles awarded during the preliminary round.
Shawn Flarida won the Tamarack Ranch Open 4-Year-Old Stakes, while Brandon Brant took top honors in the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby. Both men also earned a spot in Saturday’s Finals, where the Level 4 Open Champion will be presented a check for $75,000!


$40,000 Tamarack Ranch Open 4-Year-Old Stakes – Alpha Jac Sparrow & Shawn Flarida
Shawn Flarida and Alpha Jac Sparrow (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Chexanicki) carved themselves a piece of the Tamarack Ranch Open Four-Year-Old Stakes pie Wednesday afternoon, June 22, with a score of 221.5.
The son of NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz and the Six Million Dollar Rider topped the field of four-year-olds, punching their ticket to the Level 4 Open Derby Finals, too. The title was worth $14,679.
“It’s a nice pattern for this horse to come in. He’s such a good turner so it puts you in a good position,” Flarida said. “He turned plus-one to the left and a plus-one to the right. So then as a competitor, I knew that I was in decent shape.”
The team is quite familiar with each other – advancing to the NRHA Futurity Finals last year. Alpha Jac Sparrow is owned by Fritz Leeman and was bred and nominated by Alpha Quarter Horses LLC.
“He’s been a good horse all along. I missed the finals on him by half a point at the NRBC, but he’s just been a really, really nice horse. I rode his father, Spooks Gotta Whiz, and it’s a great family,” Flarida said.
According to Flarida, some of the attributes Alpha Jack Sparrow shares with his sire are his movement and easygoing demeanor.
“With that [good] movement, it allows them to change leads, it allows them to lope circles and it allows them to run and stop,” Flarida said.
Flarida expressed his gratitude towards Tamarack Ranch for the sponsorship of the division.
“Thank you so much,” Flarida said. “And we hope you continue to do it. We appreciate it as competitors.”
Other people on the list to thank included Flarida’s family, help and owners.


$15,000 Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby – Dainty Little Spook & Brandon Brant
Dainty Little Spook and Brandon Brant were the big winners of the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby Wednesday, June 22, as the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel marches through its final week.
Marking a 220.5, Dainty Little Spook (Smart Spook x Dainty Little Step) earned $7,028 for owner Sydney Friedman.
“This is the third time I’ve shown her, and she’s getting better every time,” Brant said. “She’s pretty lazy [and] she’s got a lot of feel. It’s been hot out, and the thing with her is just not overdoing it. The big thing has been getting her to run all the way down the pen.”
Dainty Little Spook, known as “Boo,” was bred and nominated by Brooke Wharton. With the score of 220.5, Brant and Boo are Open Derby Finals-bound in Level 4.
“She’s pretty easy. You go through the center on her and she’s slowing down, she wants to rest,” Brant said. “I think there is more in there, I can’t wait for the finals.”
NRHA President Rick Clark sponsored the division, making way for the Novice Open horses.
“I say thank you to Rick Clark and Clark’s Pump-N-Shop for this great class. I think we need this. I [also] thank my whole team. My wife, my assistants and all my customers – Sydney and Logan in this instance especially – I’m blessed. I have a great group of customers, employees and [family],” Brant concluded. 

June 22 - Open Finalists Decided for 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
The Open preliminary round of the 2022 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel is in the books. This year’s Derby was another record-breaker, with the total Open purse topping $791,869, besting the prior record by more than $21,000!
The large field of competitors was narrowed down to the top 30 (plus ties) in the Open Levels 4, 3, 2, and 1. Those entries advanced to the clean-slate finals, which will be held Saturday, June 26. The Open preliminaries also decided the champions of the Open Prime Time, the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby, and the Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes.
Unofficially the bubble for advancing to the finals were:
Level 4 – 218
Level 3 – 217
Level 2 – 214
Level 1 – 209
Winning each division of the Open preliminaries were:
Level 4 – Casey Deary & Americasnexttopgun (Walla Walla Whiz x Americasnextgunmodel) – 223.5
Level 3 – Fernando Salgado & Pale Dun Star (Pale Face Dunnit x Get Ya Some Stars) – 223
Level 2 – Jared Leclair & Maken Diamonds (Whizkey N Diamonds x Makeit In Tinseltown) – 221
Level 1– Melanie Petroll & Dirty Diamonds (Whizkey N Diamonds x Wimpys Cat Step) – 218
Open Prime Time – Shawn Flarida & Trash Your Gal (Gunnatrashya x Ima Sailors Gal) – 222.5
Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby – Brandon Brant & Dainty Little Spook (Smart Spook x Dainty Little Step) – 220.5
Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes – Shawn Flarida & Alpha Jac Sparrow (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Chexanicki) – 221.5
The draw for the Open finals will be Thursday, June 23, at 10 a.m. in the Platinum Zone of the Coliseum Arena concourse.

June 22 - Triple W – Wigen, Williams, and Warren Win Novice Horse Non Pro Classes at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
The horse show action continued in the Adequan® Arena at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel. There were 103 entries in the Novice Horse Non Pro classes, spread across three levels. In the end, Melissa Wigen, Veronica Williams, and Gavin Warren tied for the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 title, with Wigen taking sole possession of the top spot in Levels 2 and 3.

Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 Co-Champion & Level 2 & 3 (1) Champion – Melissa Wigen & Starlight Escalade
Melissa Wigen battled through the hardship of losing her competition horse and finding another one to compete on and rise above at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. On Tuesday, June 21, Wigen won the co-championship of the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 (1) and won the championship of Levels 2 and 3.
“It was really tough [when] I lost my last horse. [Starlight Escalade] has been really special to me and we’ve worked very hard. I feel like he’s a blessing to me. Win or lose, he is a gift from God,” Wigen said.
Despite Starlight Escalade’s (Starlights Wrangler x Escalanta Chic) initial fear of the Adequan® Arena, the pair came together to mark a 143.
“He was [initially] really scared of the arena and I flew my husband here to help me get through it. I was able to call on him in his circles, which I hadn’t been able to do this week because he’s been spooky. His stops were O.K. for us, and I’m not going to tell you it’s all horse,” Wigen said with some humor.
On Wigen’s list of people to thank were her husband, Travis Wigen, Yonathan Baruch and the barn community, plus her own family.
“It’s not easy to have kids at teenage age, try to [compete] and do well, and have a job,” Wigen said.

Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 (1) Co-Champion – Veronica Williams & Shiners Nu Chic
Veronica Williams got some redemption Tuesday, June 21, in the Adequan® Arena. After a disappointing Non Pro Derby run, Williams and Shiners Nu Chic (Smart Chic Olena x Shiners Lil Annie) tied for the win in the first slate of the Novice Horse Level 1.
“I just got her, and this is our first big outing together. I showed her in the Non Pro Derby and we had some bobbles, which was really disappointing. I decided I was going to come back over here and do this, and it worked out,” Williams said. “We’ve been getting to know each other, and getting in sync with each other.”
According to Williams, their 143 together was obtained with some motivated riding.
“I was mad, so I rode a little stronger. She’s a really lazy mare and can use a lot of leg,” Williams said.
She thanked her husband and his barn of clients for their continued support and cheers in the pen.

Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 (1) Co-Champion – Gavin Warren & Lil Ruf Maggie
Gavin Warren was among the three that tied for the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 (1) Championship, scoring a 143. He did so on Lil Ruf Maggie (Magnum Chic Dream x Lil Ruf Jessie), a mare he is newly acquainted with.
“This is my show with her – I just started with her. I showed her full sister last year so it’s fun to be able to keep riding the same bloodline and see what I can do with them,” Warren said. “Their minds are very, very similar, and they want to perform to the best of their ability and do their job.”
Warren’s Non Pro Derby run didn’t go to plan earlier in the week, so he entered the Novice Horse class to gain more show experience.
“I want to thank my dad and my trainer, Devin Warren, and my mom for taking care of things back home. Everyone in my barn [too], for their kind words and [tips],” Warren said.

Intermediate Open High Point Champion – Patrona Whiz & Arnaud Ferret
Seasoned showman Arnaud Ferret and Patrona Whiz earned the Intermediate Open High Point Championship Monday, June 20, in the Adequan® Arena.
With the two Intermediate Open runs, Patrona Whiz (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Smokin Jeanie Jag) added $1,100 to her lifetime earnings. The five-year-old mare is bred and owned by Diane Beckmann.
“She’s very nice, very talented, [but] she’s a little green in the show pen. We try to put her in there as much as we can and get her some show experience. Make sure she gets show broke,” Ferret said.
According to Ferret, Patrona Whiz’s strengths are her circles and stops.
“[Monday] She ran in pretty good… and then she circled really, really good. She had a bobble on the second lead change, but she was awesome the rest of the way,” Ferret said.
Next up for Patrona Whiz are more trips into the show pen with Ferret at the reins.
“We’re going to keep on going until she gets comfortable going in there. Trying to get her ready for the Derby next year,” Ferret said.

Limited Non Pro High Point – Kaylene Cunningham & KB Bucks N Guns
Kaylene Cunningham came to the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel with a goal – win the Limited Non Pro High Point Montana Silversmiths championship buckle.
She did just that on Monday, June 20, with eight-year-old KB Bucks N Guns (Gunner x Smart Whizzin Jenny), winning $180 across both days and adding to the gelding’s $4,500 in lifetime earnings.
“I’ve had him for almost a year. This is our seventh show and I think we just click,” Cunningham said. “The run was great. We were calm, he felt like he was there with me every step of the way. He didn’t do anything that I didn’t want him to do.”
KB Bucks N Guns may be a performer inside the pen, but he is a diverse eater in the barn. According to Cunningham, his favorite treat is ice cream and strangest nibble has been pizza.
“He likes to eat whenever I’m eating. So, if I’m having something he has to have it too, otherwise he throws a little bit of a temper tantrum,” Cunningham.
Next up for the pair is the American Paint Horse Association World Show.
“I want to thank my mom and my trainer Shane Brown,” Cunningham said.

June 21 - Deary and Americasnexttopgun Maintain Preliminary Lead at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
The second day of the Open preliminaries of the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel is in the books. With only one day and 91 runs left to determine the finalists, every competitor entering the arena is looking for a solid run.
All tried and some came close, but no one was able to unseat NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary from the top of the leaderboard with Americasnexttopgun, owned by Puno Performance Horses LLC. Deary and the stallion, by NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Walla Walla Whiz out of NRHA Futurity Champion Americasnextgunmodel, put together a 223.5-point run during the first section, and are all but guaranteed a spot in the Finals on Saturday, where the Level 4 Open Champion will win $75,000.
For the second year in a row, the Level 3 Open Champion will take home $35,000, the Level 2, $20,000, and the Level 1, $10,000.

The preliminary rounds are spread across three days and wrap up Wednesday afternoon. The current high scores across the divisions of the Open preliminaries are:
    •    Level 4 – Casey Deary & Americasnexttopgun (Walla Walla Whiz x Americasnextgunmodel) – 223.5
    •    Level 3 – Fernando Salgado & Pale Dun Star (Pale Face Dunnit x Get Ya Some Stars) – 222.5
    •    Level 2 – Jared Leclair & Makendiamonds (Whiskey N Diamonds x Makeit In Tinseltown) – 221
    •    Level 1 – Melanie Patroll & Dirty Diamonds (Whizkey N Diamonds x Wimpys Cat Step) – 218
Running concurrently with the Open preliminaries are the $40,000-added Tamarack Ranch Open 4-Year-Old Stakes and the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Open Novice Horse Derby. Currently leading the Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes and the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby, which, along with the Prime Time, will be awarded following the third section of the preliminary round on Wednesday, are:
    •    Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes – Shawn Flarida & Alpha Jac Sparrow (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Chexanicki) – 221.5
    •    Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Open Novice Horse Derby – Brandon Brant & Dainty Little Spook (Smart Spook x Dainty Little Step) – 220.5
    •    Open Prime Time – Duane Latimer & Hesa Rockin Whiz (Topsail Whiz x A Bueno Poco Dunit) – 222 (includes handicap)
The Open preliminaries run through Wednesday, June 22. The top 30 in the Open Levels 4-1 will advance to the clean-slate finals on Saturday. The draw for the finals will be decided during the Platinum Performance Open Draw Party on Friday at 10 a.m.

June 21 - Ancillary Action Continues at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
Another action-packed day of competition drew to a close at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby, where the Open Preliminaries kicked off and several ancillary champions were crowned in the Adequan® Arena.
As the Derby moves into its busiest week, the best is yet to come with Open Derby building momentum and more ancillary classes receiving their winners.

$2,000 Intermediate Open Champion – Heza Voodoo Doll & Richard Pokluda

Heza Voodoo Doll and Richard Pokluda swept the $2,000 Intermediate Open and $500 Limited Open Monday afternoon, June 20, in the Adequan® Arena. With a score of 140, Pokluda earned $1,027.
“My run went well. I just need to free him up running to his stops, but he ran in and stopped good, circled good, spun really well and [overall] it was a nice, solid run. All I could ask for,” Pokluda said.
The team has been together since January of this year and is getting more acquainted with each show.
“It’s my fourth or fifth time showing him,” Pokluda said. “He’s a nice horse, very good-minded, very talented, just young.”
The four-year-old gelding is sired by NRHA Two Million Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Doll Of The West. Owner Marci Michel bred and raised him.
“He’s very easy, very simple at home. He just hangs out in his stall and loves his turnout. His owner likes to feed him carrots,” Pokluda said. “He’ll start getting carrots from me [now].

$500 Limited Open Champion and High Point Champion – ARC Wimpysgottagun & Johnette Burman
The 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel is ARC Wimpysgottagun and Johnette Burman’s first show together, and the pair are already adding to the nine-year-old stallion’s record. With a score of 142, the pair won the $500 Limited Open Championship and secured the Montana Silversmith’s High Point buckle for the class.
“The first slate, I was a little conservative with him, because his owner was going to show him. [Now] that she was done showing him it was time to step on the gas and give him a little bit more,” Burman said.
ARC Wimpysgottagun (Gunnatrashya x Wimpys Little Chic) was bred by NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner Arcese Quarter Horses and is owned by Janice Dickson.
“This is the first horse show I’ve shown him [at], and the second time I’ve shown him,” Burman said. “He was good for me, he’s really a nice horse and he’s lot of success through the years. “He’s a phenomenal stopper and he’s very capable of plussing every maneuver.”
Burman rides for Matt Mills and thanked Mills for helping her improve her showmanship. She also thanked owner Dickson for allowing her to show the horse.

$500 Rookie Professional High Point Champion – CBK A Nu Kinda Spark & Eric Grondin
Eric Grondin and CBK A Nu Kinda Spark (Jacs Electric Spark x HR Wright On Cash) clinched the Rookie Professional High Point Montana Silversmith’s buckle Monday afternoon, June 20, in the Adequan® Arena. The title represents consistency in the Canadian trainer’s showing – a skill he has been working hard to hone.
“I think I’m very lucky to have won the High Point,” Grondin said.
With a championship title in the class on June 18 and a reserve title in the second slate, Grondin earned a total of $449 for CBK A Nu Kinda Spark’s owner Patricia Ann Jackson.
“I think [his strengths] today were the lead change and his stops. He always stops,” Grondin said. “He’s not really complicated to warm him up before a class. I think I need to do the same thing every time I show him.”

$500 Rookie Professional Champion – Code Dun Snuck Out & Bobby Haneline
The Rookie Professional (2) championship went to Code Dun Snuck Out (Electric Code x Dun Sneaking Out) and Bobby Haneline, who earned $252 for the win.
“He’s one that I just started riding a month ago or so. He’s been in training with Jared Leclair, and I work for Jared. The owner was nice enough to let me start riding him,” Haneline said.
The four-year-old stallion was bred by Robbin Thayn and is owned by Nicole Callaway.
“The run was good – he wanted to be good for me. I could have run him a little harder but the owner is going to show him at the end of the week [in ancillary classes] so I figured we’d go a little softer and make sure he’s ready for her,” Haneline said.
According to Haneline, Code Dun Snuck Out is on the smaller side but doesn’t lack the strength it takes to make it through a reining pattern.
“I thank Jared Leclair,” Haneline said. “Jared and Karla have been really good to me.”

Limited Non Pro (1) Champion ­– Kylie Baker & Made For Tinseltown
Kylie Baker and Made For Tinseltown claimed the win of the Limited Non Pro (2) Monday evening, June 20, in the Adequan® Arena. Scoring a 143, Baker earned $345 for the win.
“This was the first time I showed him [at the Derby] so I just wanted a clean, easy run. He did really great, I was able to push him more than I thought I would be able to,” Baker said.
Made For Tinseltown, known as “Moose,” is sired by Gunners Tinseltown and out of Custom Made Dunit. The seven-year-old gelding was bred by McQuay Stables and is owned by Tara Davis.
“I’ve been riding him for a few months now. I started leasing him [recently],” Baker said. “He’s super pure in the show pen. He’s kind of older but hasn’t been shown too much so he’s just a blast to show. I love everything about him.”
According to Baker, Moose didn’t get off her leg like she wanted in the turnarounds but performed the rest of the pattern perfectly.
“I loped him off and he was great. He’s super square underneath me and around the ends, he’s super honest. You turn around the corner and he’s like, ‘I don’t really want to run, but O.K.’ He stopped great, better than he has in a while,” Barker said.
The team is showing later in the week in the ancillary Novice Horse Non Pro and Youth competitions.
“I thank my parents and Moose’s owner, Tara Davis. She’s the best for letting me show him. I also thank my trainer, Shane Kelley, and my whole barn family. There are too many to thank,” Baker said.

Jackpot Rookie Prime Time Champion– Amanda Johnson & Arise The Phoenix
Amanda Johnson and Arise The Phoenix may not have been together long, but are quickly figuring each other out. On Sunday, June 19, Johnson and the five-year-old mare marked a 141 in the Adequan® Arena for victory in the first slate of the Rookie Prime Time and also top The Run For A Million Rookie Qualifier.
“She’s really sweet and she’s a businesswoman. She wants to do her job and then be finished. The more yåçou let her do [the pattern] on her own the better she is,” Johnson said.
“Ari” is a flashy double-registered Pale Face Dunnit (an NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire) out of Talk About Janie. She was bred by Rachelle Valentine and is owned by Johnson.
Sunday was Johnson’s fourth ride on the mare, and she focused on navigating Ari through the pattern as smoothly as possible.
“Yesterday we didn’t know what we were going to have because we haven’t [practiced] with her enough,” Johnson said.
Coming from a diverse horse background including jumpers, cow horses and breed show horses, Johnson said she’s been riding reiners for about a year.
“I like the cow stuff but with a daughter in college it’s hard to keep everybody schooled up [on cows],” Johnson said. “So, we chose something that’s a little easier for us to do all the time.”
Johnson thanked the team at Billy Williams Performance Horses and Ruben Vandorp for connecting her with Ari.
For the first time at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, Rookie competitors’ entry and judges’ fees were generously covered by NRHA Global Event Sponsor Toyon Ranch.
“Thank you so much to Toyon Ranch, it’s a blessing to get a little bit of relief because we work so hard to be here. Thank you so much,” Johnson said.

June 20 - Americasnexttopgun & Casey Deary Lead Open Preliminaries at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
During the first section of the Open preliminary round of the 2022 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel, 108 of the 290 total entries stopped, slid and circled for a chance to advance to the finals. The clean-slate Finals will be held Saturday, June 25, in the Jim Norick Arena of the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, and the Level 4 Open Champion will be presented a guaranteed first-place check of $75,000.
For the second year in a row, the Level 3 Open Champion will take home $35,000, the Level 2, $20,000, and the Level 1, $10,000.


The preliminary rounds are spread across three days and wrap up Wednesday afternoon. The current high scores across the divisions of the Open preliminaries are:
Level 4 – Casey Deary & Americasnexttopgun (Walla Walla Whiz x Americasnextgunmodel) – 223.5
Level 3 & 2 – Jared Leclair & Makendiamonds (Whizken N Diamonds x Makeit In Tinseltown) – 221
Level 1 – Haley Franc & J Jameson (Star Spangled Whiz x Lime A Rita) – 217
Level 1 – Dalton Vicar & Alpha Black (Wimpy Chic x Chexanicki) – 217


Running concurrently with the Open preliminaries are the $40,000-added Tamarack Ranch Open 4-Year-Old Stakes and the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Open Novice Horse Derby. Currently leading the Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes and the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby, which, along with the Prime Time, will be awarded following the third section of the preliminary round on Wednesday, are:
Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes – Jason Vanlandingham & Excessive Rufness (Not Ruf At All x Smokin Lady Gunner)
Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Open Novice Horse Derby – Brandon Brant & Dainty Little Spook (Smart Spook x Dainty Little Step)
Open Prime Time – Duane Latimer & Hesa Rockin Whiz (Topsail Whiz x A Bueno Poco Dunit) – 222 (includes handicap)
The Open preliminaries run through Wednesday, June 22. The top 30 in the Open Levels 4-1 will advance to the clean-slate finals on Saturday. The draw for the finals will be decided during the Platinum Performance Open Draw Party on Friday at 10 a.m.

June 20 - Medows and Trautman Win Early Titles at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
Another action-packed day of competition drew to a close at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel. Not only were the Finalists for the Non Pro Derby determined, the champions of the Story Books Stables Amateur, Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro Stakes, and Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby were crowned.


$20,000 Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro 4-Year-Old Stakes Champion & $10,000 Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Derby Champion – Jack Medows with Tribbiani & Jewells
Jack Medows is on a roll at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel. The Missouri resident earned two titles on two homebred horses – the $20,000 Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro 4-Year-Old Stakes Championship on Tribbiani and the 10,000 Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Derby Championship on Jewells.
“They both showed great for me, I was really happy. They’ve both been really fun and easy to show,” Medows said.
Tribbiani (Gunnatrashys x Chicsdreamofdiamonds) scored a 220.5 in the Derby Non Pro Preliminaries, winning the Stakes and $7,037.
According to Medows, “Joey” has worked well all week at the Derby.
Jewells, a five-year-old mare by NRHA 13 Million Dollar Sire Gunner and out of Surprizentheprincess earned $4,764 for the Novice Horse win with a score of 216.
“Jewells has really progressed. She’s a little [newer] to the show pen and Casey Deary is showing her in the Open [Derby] this week so he thought it would be a good idea to get another run under her belt before he showed her,” Medows said. “I really want to thank the sponsors for [making opportunities] for these young horses that are a little greener.”
Both Tribbiani and Jewells advanced to the clean-slate Finals on Friday.
Medows thanked his family, Casey Deary, and his girlfriend, Olivia, for their help and support throughout the week.
The Reserve Champion in the $20,000 Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro 4-Year-Old Stakes was Steven Borgia and HA Blondes Nite (Gunners Special Nite x Smart Blonde Chic), marking a 217.5 and earning $4,283.
There was a tie for the Reserve Championship in the $10,000 Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Derby between Lane Colston and Mary Riley Cachat, who each marked a 215 to win $2,537.
Colston rode My Favorite Nite (Gunners Special Nite x Darlins Not Painted), while Cachat piloted Spooks Show Biz (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Dolittle Lena).

$25,000 Story Book Stables Amateur Division Champion – Christine Trautman & Smart Whizard Spook
Sunday afternoon, June 19, was one of Christine Trautman’s dreams as she and gelding Smart Whizard Spook clinched the Story Book Stables Amateur Division Championship with a score of 217.5.


“It was the best run I’ve ever had – it’s the highest I’ve ever marked. He was fantastic, he was really locked in,” Trautman said.
The team earned $7,348 for the victory, bringing Smart Whizard Spook’s (Smart Spook x Miss Poco Whizard) lifetime earnings to $75,905.
“I come from Wisconsin. I don’t come from a horse background and have had to really work hard and grind at it year after year to get to this place. It’s a really big deal,” Trautman said. “I thank Dany, Fred and the Tremblay team. They’re exceptional and have made dreams come true that I never even imagined.”
Earlier this year, Trautman and 7-year-old Smart Whizard Spook earned Reserve Championships in the National Reining Breeders Classic Non Pro Derby Level 1 & 2, as well.
“I can’t find the words to explain how special it is. This horse and this team have changed my life in a really big way,” Trautman said.
In its second year, the Story Book Stables Amateur features an incredible $25,000 in added money for amateur riders. According to Story Book Stable owner Fredrick Christen, the division is a way to contribute to the grassroots reining crowd.
“It’s our way of giving back to the industry that we get so much enjoyment out of,” Christen said.
Tying for the Reserve Championship in the $25,000 Story Book Stables Amateur was Maria Daniele-Krueger and Chandler Winard. Danieli-Krueger rode Fridee Spook (Smart Spook x Dun It Fri Dee Nite), while Winard was on Whoz Joe Daddy (Lil Joe Cash x Miss Sunshine Annie).

Rookie and Green Reiners Win Ancillary Classes at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
Although the weekend is drawing to a close, the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel is just heating up. While the Non Pro preliminaries were being held in the Norick Coliseum, the Adequan® Arena played host to the Green and Rookie Reiners.


Classic Equine Green Reiner Level 2 Champion & Highpoint – Teresa Roller & Surprized
Teresa Roller managed to pull off both the Classic Equine Green Reiner Level 2 (2) Championship and Level 2 High Point Sunday, June 19, in the Adequan® Arena.
The Corinth, Texas resident has been riding reining horses for five years and gradually increasing her skills.
“I enjoy the process to get there. It isn’t just the win. It’s taken me a little while to get here and I’ve learned so much,” Roller said.
She’s been learning with 8-year-old gelding Surprized (Hang Ten Surprize x Snow White Dun It), known as “Cheeseburger.”
“He’s super cute, he’s a gentleman. He is the best little horse and I couldn’t be happier with him. He tries for me and I think you can ask for more from a horse,” Roller said. “He likes to eat a lot, he can’t miss dinner-bucket time.”
Roller trains with Luke Gagnon and credited Gagnon with her success.


Classic Equine Green Reiner Level 1 Champion – Morgan Hobson & Trendsettter
From the last draw, Morgan Hobson and Trendsettter (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Timed To Shine) grabbed the Classic Equine Green Reiner Level 1 (2) Championship with a score of 140.5.
“It felt pretty good. This is my second time ever showing him so I’m really proud of him. He was a good boy,” Hobson said.
The 2017 gelding is slated to show in the Open Derby with Josh Tishman later in the week.
“I wanted to have a clean run. I wasn’t even going in to win, I just wanted to have a clean run because he is showing in the Level 4 Open. I was going to go in and school him, and have a run. I was very happy with the circles, and he gets a little tense in the rundowns, but he waited on me today,” Hobson said.
Trendsettter has lifetime earnings of more than $70,000, including the 2021 Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes Championship with Kole Price.
“He’s kind of weird. He loves attention and he’s always fun to ride. He’s a pleasure to have,” Hobson said. “When he stands in the cross ties, he will lick you and bite the crossties until he gets your attention.”
Next year, Hobson hopes to compete in the Non Pro with Trendsettter and qualify for The Run For A Million.
“I want to thank Josh Tishman, Casey and Nicole Deary, and especially my mom and dad,” Hobson said.


Classic Equine Green Reiner Level 1 Highpoint – Sidney Karr & Gunmetal Whiz Girl
Sidney Karr and Gunmetal Whiz Girl earned the Classic Equine Green Reiner Level 1 High Point Montana Silversmith’s buckle Sunday, June 19, in the Adequan® Arena.
“We’ve only been together for just shy of two months. I picked her up right before the NRBC. This is our third show together and she’s just a unicorn, she takes really good care of me,” Karr said.
The high point award was a bit of redemption for Karr, since she and Gunmetal Whiz Girl’s (Spooks Gotta Gun x Koolwhix N Wranglers) run in the Non Pro Derby preliminaries didn’t go to plan.
“I think it was my jitters. Hopefully next year we can be pretty competitive in the level 1 [derbies],” Karr said.
Coming from an all-around show background, Karr said she loves the reining for the environment, people and challenge. She trains with Jonathan Gauthier and thanked the entire Gauthier team for their help.
“They’re amazing, the entire crew. Johnathan, Janina, I couldn’t ask for a better crew. My mom, my dad, just everyone that gets me here and gets me into the show pen,” Karr said.


Jackpot Rookie Level 1 & $200 Rookie Level 2 Champion – Raegan Shepherd & Shining Spook Dancer
NRHyA member Raegan Shepherd and Shining Spook Dancer swept the Rookie Level 1 and Rookie Level 2 Sunday afternoon, June 19, in the Adequan® Arena. Thanks to NRHA Global Event Sponsor Toyon Ranch, all Rookie entry and judges fees for both slates of classes are paid at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel.
The resident of North Carolina marked a 141.5 to secure the title on the nine-year-old gelding called “Sunny.”
“I was really happy with my run. The plan was to just go out there and show my strengths and get through the parts where I didn’t have him as prepared as I wanted to,” Shepherd said. “He was there with me every part of the way.”
According to Shepherd, Sunny (Smart Spook x Shining Dancer) keeps people guessing at home with his mischievous behavior.
“He’s kind of a goofball and we never know how he’s going to be. Some days he’s great and some days he’s wild. He keeps us guessing, which is good,” she said.
With the $272 payday, Sunny’s lifetime earnings pushed to more than $15,000.
“I want to thank my friends and family, my trainer and everyone who got me to this point today,” Shepherd said.


TRFAM Rookie Qualifiers
Five riders advanced from the first slate of Rookie The Run For A Million Qualifier Sunday afternoon in the Adequan Arena at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. Long rosettes in hand, the riders joined the ranks of rookies vying for the TRFAM Rookie Championship, which will be held in August at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Amanda Johnson
Whitesboro, Texas – Arise The Pheonix (Pale Face Dunnit x Talk About Janie)
Pip Brown
Anna, Texas – Roosters Myra (SR Roosters Kid x Miss Magnum Chic)
Harper Lawson
Lincoln, Nebraska – Spooksgottachicolena (Spooks Gotta Gun x Braz Us)
Staci Ann Lawson
Lincoln, Nebraska – Stary Nite (Gunners Special Nite x Dunna Quintana)
Charlotte Trojanovich
Calahan, Colorado – Custom Cocktail (Wimpyneedsacocktail x Custom Topgun)
Qualification for TRFAM is based on rider, not horse. Riders do not have to compete on the horse they qualified on but are required to lease or own their TRFAM the horse based on NRHA rules.

Schumacher and Medows Top Non Pro Prelims at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel


A record-breaking 305 entries competed in this year’s Non Pro preliminary round at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, which began Friday, June 17, at Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.
As the weekend waned, the competitors were whittled down to the top 30 in the Non Pro Levels 4-1; top 20 in the Prime Time Non Pro and Youth Non Pro; and top 15 in the Masters Non Pro. Those riders will advance into the clean-slate finals, to be held Friday. For the second year in a row, the Champion of the Non Pro Level 4 will win $30,000, while Level 3 wins $20,000, Level 2 earns $15,000, and Level 1 will pocket $5,000.
It doesn’t end there! The Non Pro Prime Time Champion is guaranteed $5,000, while both the Masters and Youth winners will take home $2,000 each.
Unofficially the bubble for advancing to the finals are:
Level 4 – 215
Level 3 – 214
Level 2 – 213
Level 1 – 211
Prime Time – 213.5*
Masters – 211*
Youth – 210.5
*Includes handicap.


Winning each division of the Non Pro preliminaries were:
Level 4 – Jack Medows & Tribbiani (Gunnatrashya x Chicsdreamofdiamonds) – 220.5
Level 4 – Gina-Maria Schumacher & Gunnastepya (Gunnatrashya x SDP A Lasting Step) – 220.5
Level 3, Level 2, and Prime Time – Rodion Cantacuzene, Jr. & Pale Dun Star (Pale Face Dunnit x Get Ya Some Stars) – 218.5
Level 1 – Christine Trautman & Smart Whizard Spook (Smart Spook x Miss Poco Whizard) – 217.5
Masters – David J Silva, Sr. & Good Time To Trashya (Gunnatrashya x Good Time Gota Shine) – 217
Masters – Lance Griffin & Spooks Gotta Tinsel (Spooks Gotta Gun x Tinsel Tiara) – 217


The draw for the Non Pro finals will be held during the Platinum Performance Non Pro Draw and Welcome Party Wednesday evening, June 22, which will also feature Reiners Rope, a fundraiser to benefit the Reining Horse Foundation Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund.
Three championships were decided during the Non Pro preliminaries and awarded immediately after. Christine Trautman and Smart Whizard Spook (Smart Spook x Miss Poco Whizard) won the Story Book Stables Amateur division, while Jack Medows double-dipped, winning the Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro Stakes on Tribbiani (Gunnatrashya x Chicsdreamofdiamonds) and the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Non Pro Novice Horse Derby on Jewells (Gunner x Surprizentheprincess).
The preliminary round of the Open Derby kicks off on Monday, June 20. This round, which continues through Wednesday, will determine the winners of the $15,000-Added Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Open Derby and the $40,000-added Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes, along with the finalists of the Open Derby. The Finals, slated for Saturday, June 25, also feature guaranteed payouts to each Open Level winner, including $75,000 to the Level 4 Champion.

 

June 19 - Medows & Tribbiani Lead Non Pro Preliminaries at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
The second day of the preliminaries of the Non Pro at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel is in the books. The round began with a record-breaking 305 entries, and the field is being whittled down to the crème de la crème that will compete Friday in the clean-slate Finals.

The championships of the Story Book Stables Amateur, the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Derby, and the Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro Stakes will also be awarded following the last section of the Non Pro preliminaries.

The current high scores across the many divisions of the Non Pro preliminaries are:
    •    Level 4 – Jack Medows & Tribbiani (Gunnatrashya x Chicsdreamofdiamonds) – 220.5
    •    L3, L2, & PT – Rodion Cantacuzene & Pale Dun Star (Pale Face Dunnit x Get Ya Some Stars) – 218.5
    •    L1 – Kelsey Flessner & Chics Guna Dream (Magnum Chic Dream x Gun Whiz It) – 215.5
    •    Masters – David Silva & Good Time To Trashya (Gunnatrashya x Good Time To Shine) – 217
    •    Youth – Samuel Flarida & Hollywooddirtysecret (Hollywoodstinseltown x Maximum RPM) – 220

Currently leading the Story Book Stables Amateur, the Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro Stakes, and the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby are:
    •    Story Book Stables Amateur – Maria Danieli-Krueger & Fridee Spook (Smart Spook x Dun It Fri Dee Nite) – 217
    •    Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro Stakes – Jack Medows & Tribbiani (Gunnatrashya x Chicsdreamofdiamonds) – 220.5
    •    Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Derby – Mandy McCutcheon & Johnny Loves June (Gunnatrashya x Good Time Gota Shine)

The Non Pro preliminaries wrap up Sunday night. The top 30 in the Non Pro Levels 4-1, the top 20 in the Prime Time Non Pro and Youth Non Pro, as well as the top 15 in the Masters Non Pro, will advance to the clean-slate finals on Friday, June 24. The draw for the finals will be decided during the Platinum Performance Non Pro Draw and Welcome Party on Wednesday evening, June 22. This welcome party also features Reiners Rope, a fundraiser that benefits the Reining Horse Foundation Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund.

Ancillary Action Continues at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel

Another exciting day of competition drew to a close in the Adequan® Arena Saturday evening, June 18, with three open champions crowned.
The taste of Open reining competition was an exciting reminder of what’s to come as the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel inches closer to the Open Derby preliminaries next week.

$6,000 Open & $1,000 Intermediate Open Champion – Lil Dreamin Magnum & Jeremy Gates
With a score of 148, Lil Dreamin Magnum and Jeremy Gates brought home the win of the first slate of the ancillary $6,000 Open and $1,000 Intermediate Open for owner Kathy Biesecker, pocketing $2,795.
“He’s 11 and overcame a lot of things to be here today,” Gates said. “He’s had two colic surgeries, the first one was exploratory and the second one was a bypass.”
Lil Dreamin Magnum (Magnum Chic Dream x Myo Starlight) was bred by Spence Bell of Maysville, Oklahoma, and was purchased out of the NRHA Markel Futurity Marketplace Sale as a yearling by current owner Biesecker.
“He’s a huge turner and a big stopper,” Gates said. “I’d like to take him to Vegas and qualify for The Run For A Million.”
Gates works for Tom McCutcheon in Aubrey, Texas, and said his list of people to thank is long.
“We could be here for a while,” Gates said good-humoredly.

$500 Limited Open Champion – Light Me Up Joe & Nick Valentine
For Nick Valentine, the Ancillary $500 Limited Open class Saturday, June 18, in the Adequan® Arena was an opportunity to prepare Light Me Up Joe for the Open Derby Preliminaries taking place next week.
“I go on the last day [of the prelims] so I just wanted to make sure he connected all the dots and relaxed in there,” Valentine said.
The trip got a little sweeter with a score of 142.5, a championship title, and a payday of $286.
“He’s really good-minded—he’s physically talented, too, but he’s good-minded. He’s a little green and he’s getting show broke now,” Valentine said.
Light Me Up Joe (Lil Joe Cash x Light Attack) was bred by Devin Warren and is owned by Valentine. The team has been working together since late last year and is set to show in section three of the Open Derby on Wednesday, June 22.
“He’s a big stopper, pretty mover,” Valentine said of the gelding. “He minds the heat a little bit so I just try to work him early and put him by the portacool.”

$500 Rookie Professional Champion – CBK A Nu Kinda Spark & Eric Grondin
Canadian Eric Grondin is getting a feel for the show pen aboard CBK A Nu Kinda Spark (Jacs Electric Spark x HR Wright On Cash). On Saturday, June 18, the pair nabbed the win of the ancillary $500 Rookie Professional with a score of 141, winning $275.
“I’ve showed him four times. He’s a good horse—he’s not very complicated. I think he has lots of experience, lots more than me,” Grondin said.
With more than 10 years of riding reining horses, Grondin is no stranger to the industry but has mostly worked behind the scenes.
“I need practice in the show pen. I’ve trained horses for many years but have not had lots of opportunities to go show. My friend Luke Gagnon, I work [for] him, and he’s shown me lots of things,” Grondin said.
Luckily CBK A Nu Kinda Spark is willing to show Grondin the ropes. The 11-year-old gelding was bred by William & Corliss Kellogg and is owned by Patricia Ann Jackson.
“I think his best maneuver is the stop. In the run down he waits [the whole time] and focuses on you. When you say whoa, he stops,” Grondin said.

Classic Equine Green Reiner Level 1 Champion – Joetta Bell & Silver Gunn
Joetta Bell and Silver Gunn navigated their way to a score of 141 in the Adequan® Arena Friday, June 17, in the Classic Equine Green Reiner Level 1, earning the championship by half a point.
The Millsap, Texas, resident got into reining this year and competes with daughter Trinity under the guidance of Casey Deary and Josh Tishman.
“It’s my first Derby to show,” Bell said. “My biggest goal is to just stay on pattern, be clean and be safe. [Friday] was really just practice for me for the Derby.”
Bell and the 2017 gelding are slated to compete in Section three of the Non Pro at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel on Sunday, June 19.
“I didn’t run him as hard as I will in the Derby for the circles,” Bell said. “I wanted him to be confident and work on where I needed to be in the arena, which is always something Casey and Josh teach. I want to get past those markers.”
According to Bell, Silver Gunn (Gunnatrashya x Silvernbluestarbuck) got plenty of rest in preparation for the show.
“He’s not one that requires a lot of training. He’s really my kid’s horse, and I just wanted him to rest his legs and body before all of this heat and concrete,” Bell said.

June 18 - Flarida & Hollywooddirtysecret Lead Non Pro Preliminaries at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
The first day of the preliminaries of the Non Pro at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel is in the books. The round began Friday, June 17, and the record-breaking 305 entries are spread across three full days of competition in the Jim Norick Arena at Oklahoma State Fair Park.

The preliminary round not only determines who will advance to the clean-slate Finals on Friday, June 24, it also decides the champions of the Story Book Stables Amateur, the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Derby, and the Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro Stakes.


The current high scores across the many divisions of the Non Pro preliminaries are:
    •    Level 4, Youth – Samuel Flarida & Hollywooddirtysecret (Hollywoodstinseltown x Maximum RPM) – 220
    •    L3, L2, & PT – Rodion Cantacuzene & Pale Dun Star (Pale Face Dunnit x Get Ya Some Stars) – 218.5
    •    L1 (tie) – Jenn Kasper & A Cool Back Story (SG Frozen Enterprize x Skeets Chexy Nic) – 215
    •    L1 (tie) – Megan Waldron & Nosmokinintinseltown (Hollywoodstinseltown x Smokin On Wednesday) – 215
    •    Masters (tie) – Jose Vazquez & SLJ Corazon Valiente (Smart Like Juice x Wind Her Up Shiner) – 215
    •    Masters (tie) – Anita Horn & Rambowhizz (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Rose Electric Step) – 215


Currently leading the Story Book Stables Amateur, the Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro Stakes, and the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby, which will be awarded following the third section of the preliminary round on Sunday, are:
    •    Story Book Stables Amateur – Maria Danieli-Krueger & Fridee Spook (Smart Spook x Dun It Fri Dee Nite) – 217
    •    Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro Stakes – Steven Borgia & HA Blondes Nite (Gunners Special Nite x Smart Blonde Chic) – 217.5
    •    Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Derby – Lane Colston & My Favorite Nite (Gunners Special Nite x Darlins Not Painted) – 215


The Non Pro preliminaries continue through the weekend and wrap up Sunday evening. The top 30 in the Non Pro Levels 4-1, the top 20 in the Prime Time Non Pro and Youth Non Pro, as well as the top 15 in the Masters Non Pro, will advance to the clean-slate finals on Friday. The draw for the finals will be decided during the Platinum Performance Non Pro Draw and Welcome Party on Wednesday evening, June 22. This welcome party also features Reiners Rope, a fundraiser that benefits the Reining Horse Foundation Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund.
The awards for the Story Book Stables Amateur, the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby, and the Colston Paving, Inc. Non Pro Stakes will be presented immediately at the conclusion of the Non Pro preliminaries on Sunday.

First Ancillary Winners Crowned at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel
A productive day of competition drew to a close in the Adequan® Arena Friday evening, June 17, with four new champions crowned.
The smiles and enthusiastic horse pats were just a sampling of the action unfolding at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel, which is gathering steam as it moves into the weekend.

Non Pro, Intermediate and Limited Non Pro (1) Champion – Rita Clausen & Smart Tinseltown
Rita Clausen swept the ancillary non pro divisions Friday, June 17, in the Adequan® Arena. With a score of 145.5, Clausen and Smart Tinseltown won the first slate of the Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro and Limited Non Pro ancillary classes for a total of $1,697.
“I can trust my horse so much, so I was pretty confident coming in. I was looking for a clean run, wanted to work on the run downs and make it pretty,” Clausen said.
To date, Smart Tinseltown has earned $162,762 in the NRHA. The 2010 gelding is sired by NRHA Seven Million Dollar Sire Smart Spook out of Tinseltown Lil Step, was bred by Charles Vaughn and is owned by Clay Clausen.
According to Clausen, of Scottsdale, Ariz., her teammate Smart Tinseltown is a powerful circler. “I like how much I can rely on him and he’s so fun to show. His circling is his best maneuver. I can really lay my hand on his neck and slow down really pretty,” Clausen said.

Prime Time Non Pro (1) Champion – Cady Shaw & Faceit Sheza Digger
Cady Shaw was a little misty-eyed at the conclusion of the first slate of the ancillary Prime Time Non Pro astride Faceit Sheza Digger (Pale Face Dunnit x TC West Coast Wendi) Friday, June 17, in the Adequan® Arena. Scoring a 143.5, Shaw earned $244 for the title.
“She’s a new horse to me. I’m figuring her out, we’ve been together 90 days. She just fits me,” Shaw said. “She’s really sweet and likes to be treated nice. The nicer you treat her the better she is.”
The pair finished third in the Non Pro and second in the Intermediate Non Pro for an additional $1,010 in winnings.
The Washington, Okla., resident unexpectedly lost her competition horse last year and had been searching for a new partner. She purchased Faceit Sheza Digger off the internet after trying the mare in person.
“I wanted to find a horse I could go have fun on,” Shaw said.

TRFAM Non Pro Qualifiers
Two riders advanced from the first slate of Non Pro The Run For A Million Qualifier Friday morning in the Adequan® Arena. Long rosettes in hand, the riders joined the ranks of non pros vying for the $50,000 TRFAM Non Pro purse, which will be held in August at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Robert Peterson
Jacksonville, Florida – Always A Specialnite (Gunners Special Nite x Always A Dunit)
Barbara Hanaghan
Sulfur Springs, Texas – Revolvingwithmagnum (Einsteins Revolution x Magnum Done It)
Qualification for TRFAM is based on rider, not horse. Riders do not have to compete on the horse they qualified on but more are required to lease or own their TRFAM the horse based on NRHA rules.
Classic Equine Green Reiner Level 2 Champion – Taylor Overmier & Wimpy Code Red
Taylor Overmier and Wimpy Code Red got their Derby jitters out of the way Friday afternoon, June 17, in the Adequan® Arena, winning the Classic Equine Green Reiner Level 2 Championship in the process.
“We’re showing [Saturday] in section two of the Non Pro Derby, and this was actually my first time in the show pen this show,” Overmier said. “I went in trying to be smart and see what I had underneath me, push him where I was able to, check him where I needed to, and make sure I had enough horse left in his heat.”
Scoring a 143.5, Overmier and Wimpy Code Red (Electric Code x Wimpys Little Play) topped the field of more than 30 riders. The gelding was bred by Kjersten Davis and is owned by Overmier.
“He’s a huge spinner. He’s about 14.1 hands and we joke that he’s about 13 hands when he spins because he crunches down and gets into it,” Overmier said.
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Overmier made the 900-mile trek to Oklahoma City with boyfriend Matt in tow.
“This is his first time to Oklahoma, he’s not a horse person so this is a lot for him. I thank him for [his help],” Overmier said.
Hart Trailers Para Reining Champion – Elizabeth “Beth” Kelley & Nite At The Roxbury
Elizabeth “Beth” Kelley and Nite At The Roxbury (Gunners Special Nite x Lulus Freckles) brought home the Hart Trailers Para Reining Championship Friday afternoon in the Adequan® Arena.
“We’ve only been riding together for three months. He’s so much fun. We’re still learning, but every day I get on him I just have a blast,” Kelley said. “He is such a trier. I ask him to go and he goes. He never gives up.”
Under the watchful eyes of trainer Brice Briggs and service dog “Wookie,” Kelley cruised through her pattern with precision.
“Today we wanted to go clean, get my lead change, get my circles. I wanted to do a little bit better on the stops, but we’ll work on it,” Kelley said.
Kelley and Briggs have been working together for six weeks, and according to Kelley, Briggs’ instruction has her and Nite At The Roxbury, or “Ham Bone,” dialed in.

For complete results and other information, visit NRHADerby.com.