Kole Price Officially Announced as NRHA’s Newest Million Dollar Rider

With the airing of the December 17, 2021 episode of The Last Cowboy on the Paramount Network, reining fans around the globe were able to watch history be made at The Run For A Million presented by Teton Ridge. Although the event was held August 21, a media embargo meant fans had to wait to learn who the winner was until the final episode of The Last Cowboy aired.

In a run-off for the Championship, Kole Price bested NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida for his first premier event win and accompanying check for $500,000.

That historic paycheck pushed Price to more than one million dollars in lifetime earnings. “Being a million-dollar rider has always been one of my biggest goals. The way I see it, that achievement puts you in an elite class of trainers,” he said. “It’s a blessing to have it happen so fast. My mentality has always been that if I thought I could do something, I’d just go as hard as I can to see if I could get it done quicker.”

So what was it like for Price to watch the most pivotal moment of his career play out on the hit show? “It was very incredible because I knew there were a lot of people outside the horse world who now know how special that event is. I think I was so caught up in the moment while I was there that I didn’t get to fully enjoy it because I was so worn out, so getting to watch it and relive it was really special,” he shared.

It was a rapid rise to the top for Price, whose first reining earnings were recorded in 2009, when he piloted SLJ Hope Hes Smart (Smart Like Juice x Navahope) to a fourth-place finish in the Limited Open at Minnesota’s Winona Horse Show. The check was less than $38, but it was the building block for a career that now includes titles at several major events, including the NRHA Futurity, NRHA Derby, and the National Reining Breeders Classic.

Price, who grew up in Illinois, showed Percherons until he was around 10 years old, and began training outside horses at 13. It was when he saw a video of NRHA Twelve Million Dollar Sire and earner of more than $185,000, Wimpys Little Step (who had been trained and shown by Flarida) that Price became a fan of reining.

In his drive to learn more about the sport, Price secured an internship during his high school and college years with NRHA Professionals Brent Loseke and Mike Davis. He then spent five years with NRHA Professional Gabe Hutchins before starting his own business in 2015.

It was at the 2018 NRHA Futurity that Price qualified all three of his entries back to the Level 4 Finals. Capitalizing on that success, he finished as the L4 Open Reserve Champion on Isnt She Perfect (Walla Walla Whiz x Miss SIlvergun) for total earnings of $130,352.

Then came Gunna Stop (Gunnatrashya x Stop Little Sister), owned by Amber Gokey. With fellow NRHA Professional Austin Roush at the reins, the talented colt had won more than $70,000 at the 2018 NRHA Futurity across Open Levels 1–4.

Price began showing the stallion in 2019, earning an L4 Open Reserve Championship at the High Roller Reining Classic. In 2020, the pair continued their winning ways, taking the L3 Open Championship at the NRHA Derby for $22,303. In 2021, the pair qualified for The Run For A Million at the Cactus Reining Classic.

The Run For A Million Championship earned Gunna Stop a place in the history books as the highest-earning horse of all time at $672,762.

“Growing up I would watch horses like Wimpys Little Step and Wimpys Little Chic, and it was just a dream that I’d get to ride horses like that and have a horse win that much. To have it happen … that hasn’t really set in yet,” he said. “The way everything happened, all together, it’s like I checked off a lot of items on the checklist all at once.”

Price’s lifetime earnings as 2021 draws to a close are $1,111,343, and he’s already looking ahead to the next million. “Long-term, I would love to be NRHA’s Leading Rider. I always want to be the best at whatever I do,” he said. “From day one, winning the NRHA Futurity has always been my main goal. I wake up at 5 a.m. each morning, and my ringtone is ‘Run for the Roses.’ That’s my inspiration every day – even those that I’m tired, worn out, and sore. I feel like if I can get an extra hour on everyone else, it will add up eventually.”

Price thanked his wife Kelsey, the Gokey family, Gunna Stop, and Taylor Sheridan. He added a special thank you to the multitude of friends and family that traveled to Las Vegas to cheer him on. “I probably had 40 people from my hometown in Illinois who came out to support me. That was so special to me,” he said.

Price’s top 10 wins include:

  • 2021 The Run For A Million Championship (Gunna Stop) – $500,000
  • 2018 NRHA Futurity L4 Open Reserve Championship (Isnt She Perfect) – $130,352
  • 2020 NRHA Derby L3 Open Championship (Gunna Stop) – $22,303
  • 2021 NRBC L4 Open 6th (Gunna Stop) – $21,000
  • 2018 NRHA Futurity L4 Open 12th (KR Ima Trashya) – $20,392
  • 2014 NRHA Futurity L3 Open Reserve Championship (FM Shine N Tag Chex) – $20,330
  • 2021 NRBC L4 Open 9th (Trendsettter) – $15,500
  • 2020 NRHA Futurity L3 Open Reserve Championship (Four Oh One K) – $14,619
  • 2021 NRHA Derby Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes (Trendsettter) – $14,004
  • 2020 NRBC L3 Open Reserve Championship (Gunna Stop) – $12,978

NRHA Board Approves Qualification Criteria for ARC and Adequan® NAAC

Just weeks ago, the National Reining Horse Association paid out more than $118,000 to exhibitors competing in the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships in Oklahoma City. With nearly 1,000 entries, the NAAC classes provided fun, excitement, camaraderie, and some lucrative payouts and prizes.

At the December 2021 NRHA Board of Directors meeting, the Board announced the qualification criteria for the 2022 NAAC and Affiliate Regional Championships will be identical to 2021.

The first step to earning a spot in Oklahoma City is to compete at one of the 10 ARCs held across North America in late fall. To do so, a rider must be an NRHA member and a member of an NRHA affiliate. “There is no need to designate an affiliate, and riders can show at any ARC,” explained Sara Honegger, Manager of Youth, Professional, and Affiliate Programs. “We are so encouraged by the number of riders who came to Oklahoma City and the increased enthusiasm for the affiliates, ARCs and NAAC. The members of the Affiliate Committee are passionate about continuing to grow these programs and look forward to what 2022 will bring.”

Any exhibitor who receives a score higher than a zero at an ARC will be able to enter that class, on that specific horse, at the NAAC in Oklahoma City. There are no requirements to compete at an ARC other than the rider must be a member of an NRHA affiliate. Riders are encouraged to join beforehand but can also join at the ARC if they need assistance with that process, or they can always call the NRHA office to have guidance as well.

As in 2021, riders will be allowed to participate in multiple ARCs with one exception; if they win a class, they cannot compete on the same horse in the same class at another ARC.

The Board of Directors also approved a change for renewing Affiliates, who now only need to host one full slate of ancillary classes in 2022, down from three.

“The Affiliate Committee knows what a financial burden it can be to host a horse show for any affiliate, and during these times especially,” Honegger explained. “They want to find the balance of allowing our members a place to show across the country while realizing our affiliates know their region best and will host what they feel like will be most supported by their membership. This solution seemed to fit the best for 2022.”

For more information about NRHA membership, the NRHA Affiliate program, or to find a local Affiliate, visit nrha.com/affiliate.

Gunners Special Nite is Now an NRHA $5 Million Sire

Less than a year after his offspring passed four million dollars in earnings, Gunners Special Nite has made it to the next level of National Reining Horse Association Million Dollar milestones. That makes the flashy sorrel one of only nine sires in history to cross the $5 Million threshold.

Bred by Kim and Debra Sloan and raised by Tim and Colleen McQuay, the son of NRHA 13 Million Dollar Sire out of Mifs Doll (by Mifillena) was later purchased by Turnabout Farm, Inc. NRHA Professional Marcy Starr and NRHA Million Dollar Rider and Owner Tom McCutcheon rode him to over $219,000 in earnings by way of an NRHA Futurity Reserve Championship and top finishes at other major events. In 2010, McCutcheon piloted the 2004 stallion to Individual and Team gold medals for Team USA at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

With such a show presence and pedigree, his strength as a sire was predictable and he has delivered a pattern of excellence. McCutcheon noted, “Great mindedness and consistency are what he passes on to his foals – along with the physical ability. With top open horses like NRBC Champion Modern Gun and NRHA Futurity Reserve Champion Guns And Dynamite leading the way, his foals have carried him to this incredible siring level.”

Gunners Special Nite’s 462 foals have average earnings of $10,854. His leading performers are: 

  • Modern Gun (Taris Modern Design) $272,025
  • Guns And Dynamite (Chic Olena Starbuck) $209,565
  • Baileys Not Painted (Darlins Not Painted ) $142,640
  • Lenas Shining Gun (SL Lenas Chick) $131,010
  • Gunnersrufride (Lil Ruf Showgirl) $102,205
  • Special Made Whiskey (Starlight Acres) $96,566
  • Into The Nite (Chexy Dun It) $94,355
  • Gunners Specialolena (Dolly Jac Olena) $94,095
  • Hollywood Nites (Dun It For Chex) $93,034
  • Gunners Brite Nite (Stiletto Tag) $86,650

Gunners Special Nite stands at Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses in Aubrey, Texas. Learn more about him at GunnersSpecialNite.com.

Gunner Becomes National Reining Horse Association’s First $13 Million Sire

For a quarter-century, most everyone has had a favorite Gunner story or special memory. It might be the mighty moves of an astonishing athlete. It could be a joyful recollection of seeing him in the Norick Arena entrance in Oklahoma City as the crowd erupted in cheers the moment his floppy-eared profile came into sight. It might simply be an unforgettable run burned into someone’s memory – because there were plenty of those. It might be the magic at the birth of one of his foals.

From his 1996 futurity debut, Gunner’s stage presence and charisma were irresistible. Since then, generations of foals have followed and many have managed to sprinkle their own stardust. With the conclusion of the 2021 NRHA Futurity, his sons and daughters pushed him past yet another milestone and made him the National Reining Horse Association’s first $13 Million Sire.

His is a mighty legacy, as he literally changed the face of reining. Before him, excessive chrome and white faces were not common, as classes were filled with palominos, duns and buckskins.

Gunner had to do it the hard way, as his rejection by the American Quarter Horse Association for excessive white meant he and his foals could only receive American Paint Horse Association registration. Ultimately, like other quarter horse discards of the era, he was able to get his AQHA papers, but regardless of the initials on the papers, he continued to make history.

The son of Colonelfourfreckle out of Katie Gun was bred by Eric Story, then sold to Pam and Paul Rohus who took him to Clint Haverty. Clint and Gunner won the 1996 APHA World Show Open Reining Futurity as well as the NRHA Futurity reserve title. Under the ownership of Debra and Kim Sloan, they added the 1997 APHA Junior Reining world title and tied in 1998 for reserve in the National Reining Breeders Classic. In 2001, Gunner won the United States Equestrian Team Open Reining Championship with Bryant Pace in the saddle.

The stallion ended his show career with lifetime earnings over $173,000.

Gunner became an NRHA Hall of Fame inductee in 2003, then two years later the Sloans sold the stallion to Tim and Colleen McQuay. He lived out his life at McQuay Stables in Tioga, Texas, until his passing in 2013.

Of course, the story of that life continues to unfold. Gunner progeny have kept the magic alive and new foals and generations keep excelling years after his death, thanks to the foresight of the McQuays who collected semen prior to his passing.

NRHA Hall of Fame Inductee and Two Million Dollar Rider Tim McQuay says he is constantly overwhelmed by Gunner’s success. “When his foals were first and second in the NRHA Futurity (Americasnextgunmodel and Gunners Tinseltown in 2012), that’s the stuff you can’t even dream about. Gunner has definitely become our retirement program,” he said.      

With 967 competing offspring and average earnings per foal of $12,695, his top earners are:

  • Tinker With Guns (Tinker Nic) $344,117
  • All Bettss Are Off (Wimpys Little Chic) $307,418
  • Gunners Tinseltown (Miss Tinseltown) $305,307
  • Americasnextgunmodel (Cee Dun It Do It) $289,486
  • No Smoking Required (Icing Required) $252,158
  • Gun Dun It (Dun It In Tinseltown) $220,391
  • Gunners Special Nite (Mifs Doll) $219,737
  • Gunnatrashya (Natrasha) $218,046
  • Always Gotyer Gunsup (Always A Dunit) $171,401
  • Miss Silver Gun (Miss Taris Rey) $167,888

Gunnatrashya’s Record-Breaking Rise to NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Status

In what might be one of the quickest jumps to the next tier on the National Reining Horse Association’s Million Dollar Sire roster, Gunnatrashya sailed past the Six Million Dollar mark during the NRHA Futurity. As the year comes to a close, the stallion, by NRHA 13 Million Dollar Sire Gunner and out of Natrasha, sits at No. 7 on NRHA’s Leading Sire list with $6,788,072 in offspring earnings.

Gunnatrashya, owned by Arcese Quarter Horses USA, first became an NRHA Million Dollar Sire in 2017, less than three years after his first foal crop entered the show pen. In every subsequent year, the stallion, owned by Arcese Quarter Horses USA, has passed another million-dollar milestone. Thanks to major event championships, Gunnatrashya actually surpassed two in 2021.

The stallion, a former Open Futurity Champion himself, sired Ten Thirty, who won the historic $350,000 Level 4 Open Futurity Championship check with Casey Deary at the reins.

Gunnatrashya also sired Trashinyurdreams, who won Open Levels 3 and 2 and finished fourth in the Open Level 4 with Jesse Beckley, worth $120,652.

There were 18 Gunnatrashya offspring competing in the Open Futurity Finals, for total earnings of $671,856. The stallion was also well-represented in the CINCH Non Pro Futurity Finals, with eight entries earning $93,690. All totaled, Gunnatrashya foals were responsible for more than $765,545 in the aged event alone.

Gunnatrashya offspring also made waves at The Run For A Million presented by Teton Ridge. Kole Price piloted Gunna Stop (Stop Little Sister) to the $500,000 championship check, making Gunna Stop the highest-earning reining horse in history.

Gunnatrashya, bred by Katarina Dorminy, had just as successful a show pen career as he has had in the breeding shed. With NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider and Hall of Fame Inductee Shawn Flarida at the reins, Gunnatrashya was the 2009 NRHA Open Futurity Champion, the 2010 NRHA Open Derby Champion and the 2009 All American Quarter Horse Congress Open Futurity Champion. Even with limited showing, he accumulated more than $218,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings.  

Gunnatrashya’s top-earning offspring are:

  • Ten Thirty (out of Dainty Little Step): $369,059
  • ARC Gunnabeabigstar (out of Wimpys Little Chic): $298,999
  • Super Marioo (out of HA Chic A Tune): $290,267
  • Inferno Sixty Six (out of Snip O Gun): $205,690
  • Gunna Stop (out of Stop Little Sister): $172,762
  • ARC Gunna Mark Ya (out of Shiney Miss Marker): $163,877
  • Gunnabebigtime (out of Big Time Jazzy): $147,486
  • Gunnarickashay (out of Rondas Tio): $147,229
  • Loveya (out of Love Em N Lena): $131,861
  • Trashinyurdreams (out of This Chicsdundreamin): $124,986

Gunnatrashya now stands at NRHA Corporate Partner Oswood Stallion Station in Weatherford, Texas. You can learn more about Gunnatrashya at ArceseQuarterHorses.com, or at OswoodStallionStation.com/Gunnatrashya

Congratulations to Gunnatrashya and Arcese Quarter Horses USA.

Photo (first) by Cam Essick 
Photo (second) by Waltenberry