2017 NRHA Derby: Day Seven

Mandy McCutcheon Wins Her Seventh NRHA Derby Championship riding Hollywood Starburst

Stephanie Gripp and Gun N For Glory sweep the Levels 3, 2, 1 and Youth Championships

Draw 18, in a field of 32 riders in the second section of the NRHA Non Pro Derby finals, Hollywood Starburst ‘burst’ into the Jim Norick Arena with NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider Mandy McCutcheon in the saddle. The score to beat was the 221.5 posted by past NRHA Non Pro Derby Champions Dr. Bill Rhoads and Mega Maggie Mae. The NRHA Hall of Famer riding the 4-year-old mare by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Hollywood Dun It and out of Chic Olena Starbuck nailed each and every maneuver requested by NRHA pattern 10 and, once the duo had closed their run, a 224 appeared on the score board and remained unbeaten.

“Our run tonight went well from the start, and I could not have asked her to be any better,” said Mandy McCutcheon. “My husband [NRHA Million Dollar Rider Tom McCutcheon] rode her as a 3-year-old, and my dad [NRHA Hall of Famer and Three Million Dollar Rider Tim McQuay] rode her a little this spring. [NRHA Professional] Debbie Brown – who trains for us – really put in a lot of time into her in the past two months and really helped me figure her out. I had a pretty good run on her in Tulsa, but not so good a run at the NRBC. We put our heads together to figure out what links were missing, and it worked!”

Bred, nominated, and raised by Sarah Willeman of Turnabout Farm Inc., Hollywood Starburst was born at Mandy and Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses in Aubrey, Texas. “Tom actually sold her to one of our customers last year and showed her at the NRHA Futurity, where he had a little trouble with her,” added McCutcheon. “This past Spring, we bought her back and sold a couple of horses at the futurity last fall so that we could have a spot for her. It’s hard to go wrong with a good Dun It mare!”

Past NRHA Non Pro Derby champions and current go-round leaders, Dr. Bill Rhoads and his 5-year-old mare nominated by Martin Bonneson, Mega Maggie Mae (Magnum Chic Dream x Cinco De Mega), settled for co-reserve honors. “I was unfortunate to draw first tonight, but she was awesome for me, and I couldn’t have asked for more,” Rhoads said.

Tying for reserve honors with Rhoads was Sandra Bentien of Auburn, California, riding Gotta Twist It Up (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Make It With A Twist). The 4-year-old mare is owned and was nominated by Bentien.

Stephanie Gripp of Sheffield, Illinois, qualified her 5-year-old AQHA and APHA double-registered mare Gun N For Glory (Gunner x Dun It For Chex), nominated by Oldenburg Farm LLC, in all four levels of the Non Pro Derby. With a 219 score, the 16-year-old left the pen with the Level 3, 2, 1 and Youth Non Pro Derby Championships! “This is amazing…if I can put words to it. This was the first time I made it to the level 4 finals, and it’s simply unbelievable,” said Gripp. “My score was held for a little bit, so I was panicked a little bit and couldn’t breathe. When they finally announced my score, I was just thrilled. I was very happy with how my horse did, and I’m very thankful to have her.”

Laura Anne Bell Parker riding George and Carol Bell’s Shirley Your A Tag (Whiz N Tag Chex x Pines BH), nominated by Lance Griffin, and Kara Gray Frye riding her Juice N Silk (Smart Like Juice x Silk N Sable Pine), nominated by Jim Irwin, tied for reserve honors in the L3 division. Both scored a 216.5.

Earning the reserve championship in the L2, L1, and Youth divisions were Coded N Karma (Electric Code x Whiz N Snap) and Raeanna Thayn. The 6-year-old gelding is owned by Robert and Robbin Thayn and was nominated by Couture Reiners. The duo scored a 218 for the titles.

Michael Garnett and his Snoop Around (Walla Walla Whiz x Sneaking Out Tonight), nominated by Joanne Garnett, claimed both the Prime Time Non Pro and Masters Derby Championships. Micheal and his wife Joanne raised the 6-year-old gelding. “I let him trot out of a rollback today, that was my fault, but he showed really well,” said Garnett following the finals. “He’s very honest in the pen, in fact the last time he was shown was last year at Vegas. He’s not been schooled since then or been shown anywhere. He came out to show like this today and in the prelims, so I’m real happy with him!”

NRHA would like to thank all the supportive Corporate Partner and event sponsors for making our Derby awards outstanding this year!

All Non Pro level champions received:

  • Custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle
  • A custom Saddle
  • Anderson Bean boots
  • Classic Equine Product
  •  Bluebonnet Feed
  • Platinum Performance CJ
  • SmartPak Gift card
  • Kiser Hydrext Dust Suppressant and Moisture Extender
  • Level 1 & 2 Non Pro Champions recieved Shorty’s Caboy Hattery certificate
  • Level 1, 2, & 3 Non Pro Champions received a custom saddle from Continental Saddlery
  • Level 4 Non Pro Champion received a Silver Spurs custom saddle
  • The Level 4 Non Pro Champion also received a Sundowner trailer for the use of one year courteously of Twin Cities South Trailers the official trailer of the N-R-H-A Derby. Big thank you to Sundowner for making these beautiful champion trailers possible and all the Corporate Partners and Event Sponsors for all these wonderful awards.

The Prime Time Non Pro Champion received:

  • Custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle
  • Bob’s Custom Saddle
  • Anderson Bean Boots
  • Classic Equine Product
  • Bluebonnet Feed
  • Platinum Performance CJ
  • SmartPak Gift card
  • Kiser Hydrext Dust Suppressant and Moisture Extender

The Youth Non Pro Champion received:

  • Custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle
  • A Custom Silver Spurs Saddle
  • Anderson Bean Boots
  • Classic Equine Product
  • Bluebonnet Feed
  • Platinum Performance CJ
  • SmartPak Gift card

Friday Ancillary Action:

Madison Gustin, Stephanie Johnson Tie for Rookie Levels 1 and 2

Johnson Wins Prime Time Rookie

As the Non Pro Derby finalists were riding for the 2017 titles, the Adequan Championship Arena welcomed NRHA ancillary action.

The Jackpot Rookie Level 1 and $200-added Rookie Level 2 saw a tie between two competitors in the Adequan Arena on June 30. Madison Gustin and Stephanie Johnson both marked a 143.5. Johnson also won the Prime Time Rookie class.

Madison Gustin wasn’t expecting to win a class Friday, but Guns R Spooky had a different idea. The duo from Weatherford, Texas, exited the arena with a 143.5 to tie for victory.

“We went in there just trying to have fun and take it easy to get ready for our Youth classes [Saturday] and Sunday,” Madison said. “He felt good and everything was great, so we ended up with the high score.”

Gustin arrived at the 2017 NRHA Derby on Wednesday and has been using the time to practice and warm up her 2010 gelding by Smart Spook and out of Berry Yer Guns.

“I’ve just been schooling; I got here Wednesday, so we’ve just been taking it easy getting ready to show,” Gustin said.

She says “Avatar” is full of personality—her favorite quality about him.

“I’ve owned him for about two years now, and he’s literally my best friend—it’s been so much fun,” Gustin said. “He’s got talent, but he’s so much fun to be around. I’ve been riding since I was 5 and started reining when I was 8. I ride with [NRHA Million Dollar Rider] Casey Deary, and I love it. It’s where I’ve grown up; I’ve been there since I was 8. He’s my role model and always has been. It’s so much fun to be around him and all the people at the Deary barn.”

Stephanie Johnson and Light M Up put together a winning 143.5, but Johnson still says it came as a shock because of the caliber of competitors she rode against. She credits the performance to her “soul mate,” the 2012 gelding by Wimpys Little Step and out of Aleena Starlight.

“It felt great whenever I was out there, but this is a big show, and it’s my first time ever coming to this show, so you just don’t expect to knock it out of the park,” Johnson said. “My horse is amazing; he’s my soul mate in a horse. We’re still getting to know each other, and we’re doing pretty good so far. This is a dream come true.”

Johnson and “Cato” are a fairly recent team. Johnson searched high and low for the perfect horse and finally found him in the fall of 2016. They showed at their first horse show early this year and are continuing to improve.

“Last year at the Derby, I was searching for a horse, never found one, and it took six months to find him. It’s been amazing ever since,” Johnson said. “He’s done great for me; we just started showing in February and he’s been incredible at every single show. The Florida Classic was our first show and one of the bigger shows we’ve been to, and we won high point there. We’re just a good team.”

Johnson says Cato’s ability to adjust to each rider makes him incredibly special, especially since Johnson is a new reiner.

“He’s super sweet and an open-caliber horse, but he’s gentle enough and kind enough that he’s good to me, because I’m still learning and still green eligible and rookie, so he’s just a great horse,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who has a background in Western all-around and hunter/jumper, trains with Josiane Gauthier Performance Horses at Sunny Pines Farm in Lucama, North Carolina. She says Gauthier’s training has been a match since she started reining.

“I’ve been reining for a little less than two years, and I kind of fell in love with reining the minute I started it,” Johnson said. “The horses are so beautiful and so athletic. I found Josiane, and she’s the most amazing coach; we just clicked. I absolutely love it.”

Madison Rafacz Wins Jackpot Green Reiner Levels 1 and 2 Aboard Better Not Rest

Madison Rafacz is no stranger to the show pen, and it was evident in in the Jackpot Green Reiner Levels 1 and 2. The 9-year-old daughter of NRHA Professional Mark Rafacz and his wife, multiple non pro NRHA World Champion Shannon Rafacz, marked a 142 aboard Better Not Rest (Custom Crome x Rest Stop) to top the competition.

“Jay” isn’t Madison’s main mount, but she seemed perfectly comfortable aboard the big 17-year-old bay gelding. Madison says Jay is easy to ride but can be difficult to show because of his size, but he has a sweet demeanor and is constantly looking for his next snack.

“I feel good; that’s the first time I’ve actually gotten to show him and won!” Madison said. “He’s kind of hard to show, but he’s really easy to show at the same time. He’s a really good boy, and we love him.”

Madison, who’s been riding her entire life and reining since she was 4 years old, says the class was the first time she had a victorious showing with Jay.

In the Level 1, Kr Ima Selfish and Allison Arnold scored a 141.5 to take reserve honors. Stephanie Johnson and Light M Up placed second in the Level 2 with a 140.5.

The NRHA Derby welcomes USA Para Reiners

Jennifer Flanagan, executive director of Great Oak Aiken Therapeutic Riding Center in Aiken, South Carolina was the only competitor in the USA Para Reining Grade 2 riding Smart Zone to a 131.

“I think my run was good, considering this is the first time for me to show on this horse; we got a score, so that’s always a very positive thing,” said Flanagan who started competing two years ago. “At the moment, she is in training with Steve Kutie, but I’ll be taking her home to South Carolina after this weekend. I’m super excited to get her home and start building that bond together.”

Cole Jacobs and Pinstripe Benz won the USA Para Reining Grade 3 with a score of 136. Jacobs and “Pinstripe” share a special bond. Jacobs, who has been competing in reining since 2012, was pleased with his horse’s performance after lots of time in the practice pen.

Holly Leigh Jacobson of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Ruf N Loaded also competed in the USA Para Reining Grade 3, and although they received a no-score in the NRHA Para Reining class for not wearing protective headwear, Jacobson is grateful for every opportunity she has with the gelding.

“He’s such a professional horse, and I learn something new every single time I step in there. That’s the best part—you’re never done learning,” said Jacobson about her mount who was generously loaned to her by Cole Jacobs.

In the USA Para Reining Grade 4/NRHA Para Reining, Cullen Santino Le Roy took victory aboard Smokin N Tinseltown with a 130. Elizabeth Kelley and Czgunnacashbigchex marked a 125.5 to earn the reserve slot.

2017 NRHA Derby: Day Six

2017 NRHA Derby Day 6

Fappani and Chic Dreamin win the Open Derby Qualifier

Fappani_and_Chic_DreaminIt took a 226 to win the Level (L)4 Open Derby qualifier, and that is exactly what NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani posted riding Silver Spurs Equine’s Chic Dreamin (Magnum Chic Dream x Skeets Red Dunit).

With the 5-year-old stallion (nominated by Casey Hinton) between the reins, Fappani came away from the 2017 NRBC with the Level 4 Open title, a feat that put the pressure on his performance in OKC. “I was really nervous coming in today,” said the Arizona-based NRHA Professional. “My horse felt really good but, when you come away from the NRBC with the championship, the pressure is on. Especially if you have to wait until the end of the week to show!”

“Chic Dreamin is such a great horse and Andrea [Fappani] is such an amazing rider,” said Michelle Miola of Silver Spurs Equine. “I am so excited with their performance today!”

Jimmy Van Der Hoeven and Electro Star (Electric Code x Rg Miss Starlight), owned by Kathy Hinton and Casey Hinton and nominated by David Hartman DVM, had posted the highest score of the first go round, first section of the L4. Fappani bested his score by one point.

NRHA Professionals Billy G Williams and Bud Lyon both posted a 222.5 to lead the L3 division. Williams rode his own 4-year-old stallion nominated by Vicky King, Prety Fashionable (Pretty Peppy Chec x Sheza Fashion Chic). Lyon rode Madison Quintanar’s 5-year-old stallion Einsteins Top Whiz (Einsteins Revolution x KR Samantha), nominated by Shady Grove Farm Inc. The duo also lead the L2 division.

Gotta Get A Diamond (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Brillante Diamantes), owned by Cross C Ranch and ridden by Sarah Cunningham, held on to the top L1 score, a 220, earned in the first section of the Open Derby qualifier.

Open Derby Bubble scores:
Level 4: 220.5
Level 3: 218.5
Level 2: 217
Level 1: 214

Thursday Ancillary Action

As open riders provided reining action in the Jim Norick Arena, the Adequan Championship Arena offered the non pro competition.

Graycen Hess and her own Chromed Olena (Cromed Out Mercedes x FS Smart Dot Chic) posted a 143.5 to win the $500-added NRHA Limited Non Pro show #2 class. “I came here to compete in my first Derby ever. We went in and did really well, but in our first turn we kind-of bobbled a little bit, so sadly we missed the finals by a point,” said the young rider. “We came into this class and, being the same pattern, I wanted to go in and fix that turn. It worked…he was right there with me and was awesome.”

Hess rides with NRHA Professional Josiane Gauthier, who found him for her in January. “I wanted a step-up horse that would be able to get me here and take care of me in the show pen. She found him and we just clicked,” she added. “Saturday and Sunday I’ll show in the Youth 14-18 and then on Sunday I’ll be showing in IEA (Interscholastic Equestrian Association).”

It took a run off to determine who would take home the $1,000-added NRHA Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 show #2. Both Kelsey Delaplaine, riding Boom Sail Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Cheeky Boom), and Adam Donahue aboard Thata Shiner (Smart Spook x SLJ Smart Like Whinny) scored a 142 to tie for the lead. Once they came back in the pen, first place honors went to Delaplaine and her mount.

James Windham and his Walks With Swagger (Topsail Whiz x Princess In Diamonds) rode to a 146.5 and the win in the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2 show #2. A point behind the winner, Greg Hall and Mary Hall’s Chics Mainattraction (Conquistador Whiz x Chicstatic) placed second.

2017 NRHA Derby: Day Five

Jimmy Van Der Hoeven steers Electro Star to the top score in the Open Derby Qualifier

Clausen and Smart Tinseltown sweep the $15,000-added Silver Spurs Equine Non Pro 7&Up

The 2017 NRHA (National Reining Horse Association) Derby provided an action-packed day in Oklahoma City. As the first section, first go of the $392,000-added Open Derby took place in the Jim Norick Arena, the Adequan Championship Arena kept the non pro riders busy.

The first section, first go of the $392,000-added Open Derby qualifier saw 101 entries make their way into the show pen, vying for a spot in the Open Derby Finals, which will be held on Saturday.

Leading the Level (L)4 division with a 225 score was NRHA Professional Jimmy Van Der Hoeven riding Electro Star (Electric Code x Rg Miss Starlight), owned by Kathy Hinton and Casey Hinton. The 5-year-old stallion was nominated by David Hartman DVM.

NRHA Professional Brandon Brant and Show Snapn (Hollywoodstinseltown x Whiz N Snap), a 2012 mare owned by Suzanne Cooper and nominated by Couture Reiners, left the arena with a 221 score to lead the L3.

In the L2 division, with a 220, NRHA Professional Sam Schaffhauser aboard Lil Rene Gun (Gunner x Sail Away Rene), owned by James Fanello and nominated by Carlton and Khris Crowe, along with NRHA Professional Sarah Cunningham riding Gotta Get A Diamond (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Brillante Diamantes), owned by Cross C Ranch, tied to lead. Cunningham and her mount are also leading the L1.

NRHA Professional and Million Dollar Rider Todd Sommers rode Lectrik (Jacs Electric Spark x The Bun Is Dun), owned by Bearden Equine Investments and nominated by Susan Jones, to a 217 score to lead the Prime Time Open division.

Shelby Clausen and Smart Tinseltown sweep $15,000-added Silver Spurs Equine 7&Up

With a whooping 148.5, Shelby Clausen and Smart Tinseltown swept all four levels of the $15,000-added Silver Spurs Equine 7&Up class. The outstanding duo also claimed top honors in the show #2 NRHA $6,000-added Non Pro and $3,000-added Intermediate Non Pro ancillary classes.

The 7-year-old gelding, by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Smart Spook and out of Tinseltown Lil Step, owned by Clay Clausen, is no stranger to the winner’s circle. With NRHA Professional Robin Schoeller and past owner, Elizabeth Himes, in the saddle, the flashy chestnut left his mark in the pen. Prior to coming to OKC, he boasted $59,000 NRHA LTE with Clausen winning over $20,000.

“We purchased ‘Chester’ after the Futurity last year, and I fell in love with him immediately,” said the 15-year-old, fresh off her win at the NRBC where she collected top honors in the Non Pro Challenge with her mount. “My trainer, [NRHA Professional] Patrick Flaherty, brought him home after trying him and, when I first got on him, I knew immediately that he was pretty special. We didn’t have to work on any maneuver in particular – maybe just a little on his circles – yet every time I show him, he makes it all seem so easy. He’s very special!”

The talented rider, who has been riding reiners for the past 5 years, added $10,465 to her earnings today. “This year, my goal is to win the Youth World,” Clausen added. “That’s been my main goal for the past few years. I’m just so fortunate to be able to ride [Chester], and I thank my parents for that. I couldn’t do it without my trainer Patrick Flaherty.”

The Level 4 counted 44 entries. Shaunda Rai Ruckman guided her Valentino Tag (Whiz N Tag Chex x Kachina Oak Olena) to second place, two points behind the winner. The duo also took reserve honors in the Level 3 division which counted 50 entries as well as second place in the Non Pro.

In a field of 47 entries in the Level 2, Greg Hall and Chics Mainattraction (Conquistador Whiz x Chicstatic) placed second with a 145 score. The duo also placed second in the NRHA Intermediate Non Pro and won the Prime Time Non Pro class. On Monday, the pair won the $2,000-added Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2. Hall says the mare has gotten stronger as the week went on, but it didn’t seem to hinder them in Wednesday’s class. “It was fast,” Hall said. “She was a little strong with me—she was probably better in the novice horse the other day, but we got through it and she did what she was supposed to. She does a bit of everything pretty good.”

Three riders tied for the second slot in the Level 1 (42 entries), posting a 144.5: Cameron Sanford riding GS Smart Kitty Cat (Smart Chic Olena x Sdp Kitty Star Cat), Emily Morris riding Cross Step Wrangler (Starlights Wrangler x Hollywood Two Step), and Emmy-Lu Marsh riding Who Whiz Who (Who Whiz It x Roosters Roan Chexx).

In the USA Reining Amateur, Katsy Leeman and Footwork Revolution (Einsteins Revolution x Fancy Footwork), scored a 143 for the win. Isabella Jacuzzi and Pearl Haggard (Hollywoodstinseltown x Gunners Pearl) placed second three points behind the winners.

2017 NRHA Derby: Day Four

Mega Maggie Mae and Bill Rhoads Top the L4 Non Pro Derby Qualifier

In a field of 219 horse and riders entered in the $181,000-added 2017 NRHA (National Reining Horse Association) Derby, posting the top score in the Level (L) 4, was Dr. William ‘Bill’ Rhoads of Whitesboro, Texas riding Mega Maggie Mae. Aboard the 5-year-old mare by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire and NRHA Hall of Fame inductee Magnum Chic Dream and out of Cinco De Mega – nominated by Martin Bonneson – Rhoads posted an outstanding 223.5 in the second section of the qualifier. “My mare is amazing, and this is the highest score we’ve ever posted together,” said Rhoads about his mount, with whom he slid to the 2015 NRHA Futurity Levels 3, 2 and 1 as well as the 2016 NRHA Level 4 Non Derby Championship. “What did we do to get ready for today? We simply kept her happy and jogged her every day!” Mega Maggie Mae boasts $119.000 NRHA LTE.

David McBurney and his Fancy Steppin Whiz, a 5-year-old stallion by RC Fancy Step out of TC West Coast Wendi (nominated by McBurney), took the lead in the L3 division of the Non Pro Derby with a 218 in the first go of the first section held on Monday. McBurney had set the bar, and in the second section, Chloe Lawrence tied to win the L3 division with a 218 and topped the L2 and L1 Non Pro divisions aboard the Lawrence Ranch owned 6-year-old mare, Whiskymakesmefrisky (Topsail Whiz x DN Smart Snap). McBurney held on to the lead in the Prime Time Division.

Cade McCutcheon and Duallin Guns (Mister Nicadual x Always Gotyer Guns Up), nominated and owned by McQuay Stables Inc., scored a 217.5 to lead the Youth Non Pro division.

With a 218 score, Frederick Christen and his 5-year-old mare, Xtra Voodoo Step (Wimpys Little Step x Voodoo Chic), nominated by Xtra Quarter Horses LLC., posted a 218 to lead the Masters Derby Non Pro division.

Tuesday Ancillary Action

Dany Tremblay and Brian Welman Tie for $2,000-Added Novice Horse Open Level 2, Matthew Palmer Claims $1,000-Added Novice Horse Open Level 1

Open riders guided their horses through NRHA pattern #9 in the Adequan Arena on June 27 for the $1,000-added Novice Horse Open Level 1 and $2,000-added Novice Horse Open Level 2 classes.

Brian Welman and Dany Tremblay both marked scores of 146 to earn $822 and tie for championship honors in the Novice Horse Open Level 2 class.

Welman rode Cielo Dreaming (Magnum Chic Dream x Shiney Cielo), a horse he’s ridden for about a year, owned by Craig Vernon. The gelding came from Calcagnini Reining Horses in Pilot Point, Texas, and has found a successful show home with the Vernon family, who train with Welman in Hastings, Minnesota.

“I bought him for Paige Vernon as a 4-year-old from NRHA Professional Stefano Calcagnini, and he’s a 5-year-old now. She’s gotten along with him pretty well. She hasn’t shown him at many majors; she’s mainly showing him up where we’re from,” Welman said. “They’ve gotten along really well, so we’re just trying to get him pretty solid. He was good today. He was okay the first day, not quite as nice as he can be. Today, he was a lot better.”

Overbrook, Oklahoma-based NRHA Professional Dany Tremblay piloted Misters Temptress (Mister Dual Pep x Colonel Pepinic) to tie for the win. Adh-Mor Ranch owns the 2012 mare, and Tremblay says she has really started to come into her own in the show pen this year.

“I rode her last year and had a few good horse shows. This year, she just keeps going—showing, showing and showing. She knows she’s in the pen, actually,” Tremblay said. “I’m leading the NRHA Top Ten Novice Horse Open Level 2 rankings right now, so hopefully we’ll stay in the lead until the end.”

The mare has a strong personality that adds to her performances. Despite being a little out of shape after a two-month break, Tremblay says she still gave her all in the class. Tremblay plans to continue gunning for the NRHA World Championship in his division by entering as many novice horse classes as he can.

“She’s kind of like my little pet—I bring her everywhere,” Tremblay said.

Matthew Palmer and Gunner Be A Maverick (Gunner x Dun It Preciously) earned third-place honors in the Level 2 with a 145 – for $497 – in addition to winning the Level 1 class, adding an extra $589 to his earnings. The gelding, owned by Mark Hurd, was purchased for his daughter Elena Hurd to have a mount to get qualified for the SVAG FEI™ World Championships for Juniors and Young Riders in Switzerland.

“Before the NRBC, Mark came to me and wanted his daughter Elena to have a horse to try [to get qualified],” Palmer said. “He only had one horse over 7 years of age, which is CC Enterprise, and he wanted to give his older daughter a chance because she’s 21, and this’ll be her last year to show in the Young Riders competition. He said to go out and ‘find me a horse if you can’.”

Palmer found Gunner Be A Maverick, a 7-year-old mount with a very limited show record through NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Craig Schmersal. With some tuning and miles, Gunner Be A Maverick has already won at the only two shows Palmer has entered him so far.

“I do a lot of business with Craig and Ginger [Schmersal], and they really take care of me, and they had this horse that had only been shown three times his whole life,” Palmer explained. “Before we got him, he won $200. An older lady had him and trail rode and showed a little bit, nothing serious. Next thing you know, we bought him and I took him to the Carolina Classic and marked a 145.5 there, and he won both the Novice Horse Level 1 and Level 2. He went from $200 in earnings to $1,000 in earnings in a day. [The NRHA Derby show] is only the second time I’ve ever shown him, and the two times I’ve shown him he’s won.”

Palmer will hand the reins to Elena Hurd for the youth classes during derby week and plans to show the gelding himself in a CRI qualifier for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in New Jersey next week.

The reserve championship slot saw a tie between NRHA Professionals Nathan Piper on Xtra Dun Right (Wimpys Little Step x SLJ Dun Juice), owned by Shannon and Hershel Reid, and Jared Leclair on The Dun Gun (Gunner x Fabulous Footwork), owned by Jenifer Seago. Both scored a 144.5 to earn $407.
###

2017 NRHA Derby: Day Three

It’s Non Pro Derby action in Okahoma City!

The 2017 NRHA Derby today welcomed the first go, first section of the $181,000-added Non Pro division of the Derby. With 227 horse-rider combinations entered, 110 made their way in the Jim Norick arena today vying for a spot in the finals.

Topping the Level (L)4, L3 and Prime Time divisions with a 218 score was David McBurney and his Fancy Steppin Whiz (RC Fancy Step x TC West Coast Wendy). The 5-year-old stallion, ridden prevalently by his owner, boasts over $40,000 LTE.

Stephanie Gripp rode her 5-year-old mare, Gunners Glory (Gunner x Dunit For Chex), to a 216 to lead the L2, L1 and Youth division. In the Masters Non Pro, Michael Garnett guided his own Snoop Around (Walla Walla Whiz x Sneaking Out Tonight) to the lead after posting a 216.

The second section of the qualifier will open the day on Tuesday at 8 am.

Ancillary Action

NRHA Professional Shauna Larcombe, an Australian native based in Pilot Point, Texas took first place honors in the $3000-added NRHA Intermediate Open class. “We wanted to put him in a class before Jessica (Sternberg) shows him later in the week. He’s a great horse many people would know and it’s truly a pleasure to ride him,” said Larcombe about the 12-year-old gelding that boasts over $285,635 NRHA LTE and who is owned by NRHA Million Dollar Owner and Hall of Famer Rosanne Sternberg.

Larcombe also took reserve honors with Spook N Sparkle (Smart Spook x Setting Off Sparks), also owned by Rosanne Sternberg, between the reins.

Ashley Stroh of Gainesville, Texas won both the $500-added NRHA Limited Open and the $500-added Rookie Professional in Monday’s ancillary action aboard Jerrys Mizzen Money (Jerry Lees Surprise x Miss Moth Money). “He was great, this is one of the first times I’ve tried to show him, he stayed with me 100% all the way and I’m excited to continue showing him,” said the NRHA Professional about the 2008 gelding she owns.

Riding Chics Love Me Wiimpy (Wimpys Little Step x Dream About Magic), a 2010 gelding owned by DAG Ventures LLC, Josh Tishman took second place in both classes.

Greg Hall Wins $2,000-Added Novice Horse Non-Pro Level 2, Blair McFarlin Claims Novice Horse Non-Pro Level 1

Greg Hall and Chics Mainattraction (Conquistador Whiz x Chictastic) a 7-year-old mare owned by Mary Anne Hall, Gainesville, Texas marked a 144 to win the $1,000-added NRHA Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2. The farrier of Gainesville, Texas, says the mare has continued to overcome obstacles and succeed not only in the show pen but also as a producer. Her talent shone with NRHA Million Dollar Rider Jason Vanlandingham and she continues to win for the Hall family.

“We’ve had her since she was a 2-year-old and Jason Vanlandingham jumped on her as a 5-year-old and rode her about a month and a half and made the open finals at the NRBC,” says Hall. “He handed her back and my wife showed her a bit. She is very talented and we’re breeding her—I’ve got a Hollywood Dun It yearling out of her and an Inferno weanling, and she’s got an Inferno on the way.”

Melissa Wigen and her 2007 gelding Dunit In Wranglers (Starlights Wrangler x A Bueno Poco Dunit) scored a 143 to place second.

In the $1,000-added NRHA Novice Horse Non-Pro Level 1, Auburn University animal science junior Blair McFarlin rode Lil Jac N Gin (Lil Gun x Peppys Lightning Jac) to victory with a 142. McFarlin’s school schedule keeps her from showing as much as she’d like but she is thankful for the opportunity to ride her father’s (Mike McFarlin) 5-year-old mare during the summers when she is home in Franklin, Tennessee.

“I only get to ride her three months out of the year because I’m at school, but she’s been great for me,” McFarlin said. “I just have to trust her to do her job and get used to riding nice horses again. My dad usually shows her, but I get to hop on her when I’m home from school and let her do her job. She’s fun.”

Tying for second place were Cheryl Lauder of Weatherford, Oklahoma, riding Who Whiz Smartin Off (Who Wiz It x Little Smart Jac) and Karen Shedlausdas of Austintown, Ohio riding Red Gun 2 (Gunner x Call Me N Hollywood). Both scored a 140.