Arcese Quarter Horses USA and Gunnatrashya Simultaneously Cross NRHA Milestones

In a landmark achievement, Arcese Quarter Horses USA has solidified its position as the National Reining Horse Association’s (NRHA) first-ever $3 Million Owner, while their exceptional stallion, Gunnatrashya, has surpassed an impressive $11 Million as an NRHA Sire.

Arcese Quarter Horses USA has been at the forefront of excellence in the reining horse industry, consistently demonstrating a commitment to breeding and promoting top-tier reining horses. This milestone not only reflects the passion and dedication of Eleuterio Arcese and his team but also the quality of his breeding program.

Arcese became the first $2 million owner at the NRHA Futurity ten years ago. Now, they have rewritten history once again after surpassing the $3 million owner mark after a decade of breeding and owning many of reining’s top athletes.

One of the athletes making headlines for Arcese over the years was 2022 NRHA Level (L) 4 Open Futurity Champion, Andiamoe (Gunnatrashya x Wimpys Little Chic). The Arcese-bred and owned mare was destined for greatness with a championship-caliber pedigree and was one of reining’s greatest at the reins. Together, she and NRHA $7 Million Rider Shawn Flarida slid to an impressive 230 score and $350,000 during their open finals run.

Poetically, Arcese Quarter Horses USA’s leading stallion, NRHA Hall of Famer Gunnatrashya, simultaneously crossed a monumental milestone—becoming the fourth $11 Million Sire in NRHA history and the 2023 leading sire with 513 competing offspring, which earned $2.3 million in NRHA LTE (categories 1–12).

The 2006 stallion by Gunner and out of Natrasha was bred by Katarina Dorminy. With an impeccable pedigree and outstanding athleticism, Gunnatrashya was exceptional throughout his career in the show pen, all with Flarida at the reins. Together, they amassed nearly $220,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE) and championship titles at the 2009 All American Quarter Horse Congress L4 Open Futurity, the 2009 NRHA L4 Open Futurity, and the 2010 NRHA L4 Open Derby.

After retiring from the show pen, the sire has consistently produced offspring that excel at the most prestigious levels of competition. To date, Gunnatrashya has 700 NRHA money-earning offspring that have contributed to his journey to the $11 million.

At the 2023 Futurity, Marc & Kathy Gordon’s Electric Gunn (out of Electric Barbie) and NRHA Million Dollar Rider Gennaro Lendi added more than $50,000 to the sire’s earnings after placing 8th in the L4 Open. This, combined with the 11 other open finalists and 8 non pro finalists, gave Gunnatrashya a monumental push toward this latest historic milestone.

Gunnatrashya’s top five earning progeny include:

  • Gunna Stop (out of Stop Little Sister) owned by Amber Gokey, bred by Toyon Ranch LLC, with $672,762 in NRHA LTE
  • Andiamoe (out of Wimpys Little Chic) owned and bred by Arcese Quarter Horses USA, with $430,302 in NRHA LTE
  • Ten Thirty (out of Dainty Little Step) owned by Rancho El Fortin, bred by Brooke Wharton, with $418,788 in NRHA LTE
  • Super Marioo (out of HA Chic A Tune) owned by Tom and Mandy McCutcheon, bred by Hillis Akin Family Partnership, with $338,891 in NRHA LTE
  • Trash Talkin Spook (out of I Spook) owned by Marilyn Overgaard, bred by Vicki Dias, with $320,085 in NRHA LTE

NRHA is delighted to share the accomplishments of Arcese Quarter Horses USA and their impressive stallion, Gunnatrashya. Their contributions to the sport worldwide have made an irreversible impact that has changed reining for the better. We look forward to their continued success and future endeavors within all aspects of the sport.

Record-Breaking Purses Turn Up the Heat

The energy is electric at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel! The second section of the Non Pro Derby prelims concluded today at the OKC Fairgrounds, showcasing another impressive display of horsemanship by talented riders and their dedicated equine partners. With record-breaking purses across all levels of non pro competition, the competition heated up as riders vied for top scores and the chance to vie for a share of the Derby’s impressive payout, a product of NRHA’s robust nomination program.

As non pros entered the second section of the preliminaries, the competition continued to get tougher as leaders changed across the board.

Level 4 and 3 Non Pro Leaders – Emily Opell and Shining N Tinseltown

Emily Opell and Shining N Tinseltown, 2022 Level 4 Non Pro Derby Champions, shook up the leaderboard with a 222 to break a three-way tie for first place.

Opell and the 6-year-old stallion had amassed $62,949 in NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE) before the show began and look to continue their hot streak together.

Bred by Charles Vaughan, the stallion is by NRHA $2 Million Sire Shine Chic Shine and out of Wimps Tinseltown.

Level 2 Non Pro and Elementa Amateur Derby Leaders – Laura Bell and Ruf Smokin Gunner

Laura Bell and her own Ruf Smokin Gunner (Not Ruf At All x Smokin Lady Gunner) rose to the top of the Level 2 Non Pro and the Elementa Amateur Derby after scoring a 221 in section two of the preliminary competition. The 5-year-old gelding was bred and nominated by Karl Hapcic and has nearly $16,000 in NRHA LTE with both Bell and her fiance, NRHA Professional Cody Sapergia, at the reins.

Level 1 Non Pro Leaders  – Lindsey Lester and Pale Black

Seventeen-year-old Lindsey Lester and her 6-year-old mare took the top spot in the Level 1 after scoring a 219.

Pale Black (Pale Face Dunnit x Blazing In Black) was bred by Hickory Creek Ranch LLC and nominated by Ginger Schmersal. The mare, owned by Jamie Lester, had $7,052 in NRHA before entering the showpen today. 

Youth Non Pro Derby Leaders –  Addisyn Schmersal and Enterprizingattitude

After scoring a 220.5 in the first preliminary round, Addisyn Schmersal and Enterprizingattitude still hold the lead in the Youth Non Pro Derby. The 5-year-old gelding’s successful career started and stayed within the family. Hickory Creek Ranch LLC bred and own the gelding who was nominated by her mom, Ginger Schmersal. Prior to Addisyn showing the horse, all of his earnings are with her dad, NRHA $5 Million Rider Craig Schmersal, at the reins.

Masters Non Pro Leaders – Carol Bell and Vintage Couture

Carol earned a 220, including handicap, to take the lead of the Masters Non Pro after the second section of the non pro preliminaries with her equine partner Vintage Couture (Platinum Vintage x Couture Tag).

The 6-year-old stallion’s career started and stayed in the Bell family as it was bred by George Bell, nominated by Carol, and is currently owned by George and Carol. Prior to Carol Bell taking the reins, Vintage Couture had been exclusively shown by NRHA $2 Million Rider Brian Bell. Prior to entering the Jim Norick arena, the stallion had more than $76,000 in NRHA LTE.

Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby Leaders – Mandy McCutcheon and Disco Ball

NRHA $3 Million Mandy McCutcheon and Disco Ball lead the way in the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby after section two of the competition with a score of 220.

The 4-year-old mare, by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Smart And Shiney, was bred and nominated by her husband, Tom, and is currently owned by the couple. Mandy rode the dam, Party Nite, to the 2019 National Reining Breeders Classic Non Pro Championship.

Colston Paving 4-year-old Stakes Leaders – Indy Roper and Guns Required

After a 220-point performance in the Jim Norick, Indy Roper and Guns Required took control of the Colston Paving 4-year-old Stakes. Owned by Tim Roper and nominated by NRHA Corporate Partner Toyon Ranch, the 4-year-old gelding (Gunners Tinseltown x Icing Required) was ridden by NRHA $2 Million Brian Bell before Indy, who has nearly $600,000 in NRHA LTE, took over the reins.

Prime Time Non Pro and APHA Chrome Cash Leaders –  Julie Boer and Out Of The Furnace

Julie Boer and her own Out Of The Furnace brought the heat with a handicapped score of 222.5—taking the lead in both the Prime Time Non Pro and the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Chrome Cash divisions. The 2018 gelding, bred by the late Joe Hayes, is the progeny of NRHA $2 Million Sire Inferno Sixty Six and Shinaka.

The non pro competitors continue to vie for their spot to compete in the finals for record-breaking purses. The final day of preliminaries are tomorrow, June 19. At 6:30 p.m. tomorrow there will be the Platinum Draw Party in the Platinum Zone (sale arena) to decide which spot each competitor will have in the finals. Watch the finals in person at the OKC fairgrounds, on the Cowboy Channel, or on our free live feed at nrhaderby.com.

Rising Stars Shine at the 6666 NRHA Derby: Novice Horse and Para Reining Champions Crowned

Following a day of exceptional competition at the 2024 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, champions were crowned in the Novice Horse Ancillary Derby and the inspiring Ancillary Para Reining Championship. These divisions, designed to showcase developing equine and rider partnerships and celebrate equestrian inclusivity, provided a thrilling stage for rising stars.

Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 Champion; Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2 and 3 Co-Champions – Lexi McCutcheon and Paramount Tag

Lexi McCutcheon, who recently married NRHA $2 Million Rider Cade McCutcheon, first entered the show pen in April of last year and has already earned more than $62,583 in NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE).

Today, she rode to the top of the Novice Horse Non Pro classes on Paramount Tag (Gunners Special Nite x Stiletto Tag). Owned by her in-laws, Tom and Mandy McCutcheon, the 4-year-old gelding has $1,528 in NRHA LTE.

“‘Manny’ is just an easy horse,” said McCutcheon. “He’s a 4-year-old gelding. One of our assistants trained him last year and showed him. Then Mandy showed him in the novice horse at the 100X, and did well, so she was giving me pointers at this show for things to do. You tell him where to go and he goes there. He’s just a sweet boy—kind of goofy, but pleasant to be around.

“I’m going to show him in the second slate of the novice horse here. Then my cousin just bought him. He’s her first reiner so she will take the reins from there.”

Novice Horse Non Pro Levels 2 and 3 Co-Champions – Anne-Marie Roy and Magnum A Dare

Anne-Marie Roy and JCR Performance Horses LLC’s Magnum A Dare rode to a 140 to Co-Champion in the Novice Horse Non Pro Levels 2 and 3. The 2017 gelding by NRHA Hall of Famer Magnum Chic Dream and out of Adarable was bred by Terry Martin and has been shown by Roy’s trainer, NRHA Million Dollar Rider Jared Leclair in the past.

“‘Dallas’ is a seven-year-old gelding, and I’ve had him for about four months,” said Roy. “I started showing him in Jacksonville this year. We did a little weekend school show before this and this is the first show showing we’ve done.”

Roy, who has over $8,500 in NRHA LTE, drives on weekends to train with Leclair.

“I’m one of those weekend non pro riders” said Roy. “I live in Houston and drive up to Jared Leclair’s—a five-hour drive on the weekends—to hang out with Dallas. The love of reining for me, in terms of getting away from my day job, is great, and it’s something I look forward to; so that five-hour drive doesn’t seem so bad. In terms of his personality, he has tons. I can say he is known as the John Belushi of the barn. He probably has the messiest stall, ironically, when you get on him he gets all neat, proper, and correct. He takes care of me, he forgives me and I’m really looking forward to our journey.”

Para Reining Champions – Elizabeth Kelley and Pale Face Whiz

Elizabeth Kelley and Pale Face Whiz scored a 142 to earn the Para Reining division today in the Adequan®  Arena.

“This is Pale Face Whiz, better known as ‘Junior,’” said Kelley. “He takes very good care of me. Everything I ask him to do he does. It’s unbelievable how well he takes care of me.”

Kelley praised the horse for taking care of her in any situation, explaining that his ability to be a teammate allows her to push herself more each time she enters the show pen.

She will compete again on Thursday night in the Para Reining Championship sponsored by Dechra and NRHA Corporate Partner Hart Trailer. The prestigious title has $3,500-added and will award a Bob’s Custom Saddle to the champion.

The 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel continues to be a premier event for reining enthusiasts of all levels. The success of the ancillary Novice Horse and Para Reining classes exemplifies the show’s dedication to fostering the growth of the sport and providing a platform for riders with a passion for reining. Congratulations to all the champions and participants in these exciting divisions!

#Honoringthe45 Challenge

The Brant/Priest Performance Horses fire has shaken the equine world. And, from the heartbreak there are countless positive messages of inspiration, caring and community. The Reining Horse Foundation is honored to announce a $45,000 gift from the DPL Fund, at the direction of NRHA Non Pro Diana Duffey and her husband, Vince Lahey. The gift is in honor of each special animal lost to the fire.

“We are making this gift in hopes that those beautiful horses’ strong and brave spirits may continue to lift up others in need,” Diana shared. “Thank you for all RHF does in support of NRHA members. We are truly blessed to have a resource like RHF in our sport.”

Diana and Vince have issued an #HONORINGTHE45 CHALLENGE in memory of the 44 horses and 1 dog lost in the fire. They hope to inspire others to give.

You are invited to make a donation to RHF in any amount…whether $4.50, $450 or $4,500. Everything helps!

Visit the RHF table in the Super Barn or go to reiningfoundation.com/donate to participate. Your gifts are appreciated!

A New Slate of Reiners Take Center Stage in the Adequan Arena

The Adequan® Arena at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel transformed into a stage for exceptional reining talent today. The open division of the Derby’s ancillary competition took center stage, showcasing a group of elite riders and their remarkable equine partners. With a vibrant atmosphere and a chance to earn prestigious championship buckles, the competition provided a thrilling display of athleticism and precision.

$10,000-added 8 & Up Level 4 Open Maturity Champions – Matthew Palmer and Frozen Shining Gun

Matthew Palmer, NRHA Professionals Committee member, scored a 148 on Frozen Shining Gun to win the $10,000-added 8 & Up Level 4 Open Maturity Championship.

“He is a really special horse for me. He was brought over here from Poland,” said Palmer. “He’s been with me since The Run For A Million (TRFAM), and he was the first horse I showed at TRFAM, so it’s been a special ride with him. One of the best things about him is he has so much try, and he’s been there consistently for me throughout his career. He’s quite amazing.”

The 8-year-old gelding is by Colonels Shining Gun and Frozen Slide and is owned by Rachel Stanevich.

“He was actually the one I broke my foot on in Scottsdale right before the run for TRFAM qualifier, so this is my first ride back on him since I got hurt, and I felt like he and I needed to get back to the dance together. He was special for me today.”

$5,000-added 8 & Up Level 2 Open Maturity Champions – Sebastian Petroll and Xtra Miss Wimpy

NRHA Executive Committee member Sebastian Petroll scored a 146 to win the $5,000-added 8 & Up Level 2 Open Maturity. He rode a 9-year-old mare, Xtra Miss Wimpy, who has led him to great success in the show pen and his daughter. Along with winning larger titles like the NRHA Corporate Partner Bob’s Custom Saddles Showdown with Petroll at the 2022 NRHA Futurity, the mare is also a Short Stirrup horse for Petroll’s daughter, Lanie.

“This mare has been with us for the last six years and is part of the family now,” said Petroll. “She is really special mentally. What makes today special for me is getting to show her and to do good in the 8 & Up Maturity, is that I also showed her first daughter here [at the 2024 NRHA Derby] so it doesn’t happen very often that you get to show a daughter and mother at the same horse show, so that was a lot of fun.”

Xtra Miss Wimpy is by NRHA $4 Million Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Little Smart Wimpy, bred by Ixtul Quarter Horses LLC and owned by Ellen Cummins.

$6,000-added Open Champions – Jared Leclair and Makendiamonds

NRHA Million Dollar Rider Jared Leclair and Makendiamonds scored a 149.5 to win the $6,000-added open class. Leclair and the 8-year-old mare have had a lucrative career together, and she boasts $246,484 in NRHA LTE for owner Dorothy Queen.

 “She’s an 8-year-old mare that I’ve had a lot of history of showing,” said Leclair. “I qualified with her for TRFAM this year. I plan on showing her there, and I used this class to get her prepped for TRFAM. She’s a really special mare. We’ve got two babies on the ground by her this year. She’s got a lot of personality; we have a great relationship. Showing together, we’ve had a lot of success. I really look forward to showing her at TRFAM. I had a great warmup showing today, and I’m looking forward to the future.”

Leclair also serves on the NRHA Judges Committee. The mare he rode is by NRHA $3 Million Sire Whizkey N Diamonds by Makeit In Tinseltown, bred by CDR Farms and owned by Dorothy Queen.

$2,000-added Intermediate Open Co-Champions – Arnaud Ferret and Johnette Burman

In the second slate of the Intermediate Open, it took a 145 to win top honors, and a pair of NRHA Professionals were up to the task: Arnaud Ferret and Johnette Burman

For Ferret, it was a repeat of Saturday’s performance. He rode Conquistadors Dun It (NRHA $6 Million Sire Hollywood Dun It x Conquistadors Sandy) to a 145 to win the first slate of the Intermediate Open and returned to the show pen to win the same class on the same horse with the same score. The duo also earned the high-point championship buckle from Montana Silversmiths.

“We had a pretty good run. He was fun to show,” said Ferret. “He’s a big stopper, big turner, and he’s been really good to have in the barn. The owner has been showing him in the green reiner and the rookie. He’s an angel. He takes care of everyone. He’s just fun to have in the barn. After work, they love to give him cookies; he can’t wait. As soon as we get off of him, he just wants his cookie.”

The 10-year-old gelding was bred by Double Run Farm and is owned by Garret Stevens.

Burman rode Hey Good Lookin, a 7-year-old gelding who also competes in rookie classes with owner Diana Duffey.

“I just feel like this is a pretty special horse. I’ve been showing horses for a long time and there are not many horses that can do what he does,” said Burman. “His owner shows him in the rookie, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to show him in the open as well. I’ve been lucky enough in my career to have a couple of horses like this, so I kinda know the special ones and, to me, those are the special horses. I think these horses that go to horse show after horse show and show a couple of times and still give it all they have that day are pretty special. They kinda need their own little set of recognition. This is one of those horses. I was pretty proud to ride him today and have a lot of fun showing him.”

The gelding is by NRHA $4 Million Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Ritas San Jo and was bred by Double Run Farm.

$500-added Limited Open Champions – Mandy Faust and Xtra Wimpys Catalyst

Mandy Faust and Xtra Wimpys Catalyst scored a 146 to top the Limited Open. Earlier this week, ‘Zorro’ won the Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro, Limited Non Pro and Prime Time Non Pro with a 145.5 with his owner Kent Ray Taylor at the reins.

“He was just perfect for me. We are getting ready for Sunday for the non pro for his owner Kent Ray Taylor,” said Faust. “Zorro was just wonderful. He didn’t make any mistakes, and I just went on into my pattern. He was perfect,” said Faust. “We had a run-in pattern. He stopped big and turned nice for me. He was so much fun to circle that was the most fun about the whole pattern, we had to lope off into a small slow and he showed off right away.”

The 9-year-old stallion bred by Milholland Training Inc. is by NRHA Hall of Famer Wimpys Little Step and out of Im Not Blonde.

Limited Open High-Point Champion – Eduardo Giannasi and Boujee

“I just won the Limited Open high-point,” said Giannasi, who rode Boujee (NRHA Hall of Famer Magnum Chic Dream x Chexanicki). “I scored the same score on this mare as I did on Saturday. She is a really good show horse, I think, and [she is out of] a really good mare Chexanicki. A fun fact here at the show: I got to talk to Arnaud Ferret, Lauren Love and Mirjam Stillo who all rode some of the sons and daughters of Chexanicki, and that taught me a lot about trusting this mare in the show pen.”

Boujee was bred by Alpha Quarter Horses LLC and is owned by NRHA Corporate Partner Thorsport Inc.

To learn about Boujee and Giannasi’s previous wins this week, read here.

$500-added Rookie Professional Champions – Juan Robledo Coppiano and Alpha Sushi Chic

Juan Robledo Coppiano and Alpha Sushi Chic earned the top spot in the Rookie Professional in the first slate. He then won again today, making him the champion of the high-point buckle from Montana Silversmiths.

“Being here in the United States has been a dream for me,” said Coppiano. “I have watched all of the shows, the [NRHA] Derby, the [NRHA] Futurity and the NRBC [National Reining Breeders Classic] online for a long time. Being here and able to show in this arena is a dream for me and getting the championship today is just amazing; it feels unbelievable.”

The 8-year-old mare is owned, bred and nominated by Alpha Quarter Horses LLC and is by Wimpy Chic and out of Shiney Sushi.

To learn about Coppiano’s success earlier this week, read here.

Limited Non Pro Champions – McKenna Sparrow & Pretty Has Cash

Fifteen-year-old McKenna Sparrow from Washington rose to the top of the leaderboard in the second slate of the Limited Non Pro after scoring a 140.5 on her own Pretty Has Cash (NRHA $2 Million Sire Lil Joe Cash x Prettywhizprettydoes).

“Cash is pretty special because he loves bananas,” said Sparrow of the gelding bred by Clint Haverty. “He’s also the first I’ve gotten to really show in the showpen. He is very fun to ride, he has a sweet personality and he is really fun to be around.”

Sparrow joined NRHA just one year ago and already has $1,374 in NRHA LTE.

Limited Non Pro Champions High-Point Champion – Courtney Hammit & Ruff Spook

Courtney Hammit and David Hammit’s Ruff Spook (NRHA Hall of Famer Smart Spook x Ruffle Me Up) took home the Limited Non Pro High Point Championship.

“Ruff is very, very special to me because he came into my life when I was going through a hard time,” said Hammit of the Greg Hill-bred stallion. “He has made my life so much more fun and interesting. His personality is that he loves to be loved on. He’s a very spoiled boy, but out of all the horses, he deserves it the most. We had a great run. Mr. Nathan [Piper] and I have been working pretty hard, Mr. Nathan has done a great job working with me and I just have to get myself 100% so he’s [Ruff] 110%.”

As the final riders exited the Adequan® Arena today, the excitement for the remainder of the ancillary competition remained palpable. The upcoming days promise continued displays of exceptional horsemanship and fierce competition. Stay tuned for further updates on the captivating ancillary events at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel.