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.

Complete results can be found at

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.” 

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.”