Yes, It’s That Big
The reining industry has experienced incredible growth over the last several years, with major events breaking records with each show.
The 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel has also ridden the wave of increased interest spawned by the increase in entries and, of course, payout. In fact, this year’s event boasts an incredible $856,000 across the aged and ancillary events and is expected to award more than $1.5 million over the next 12 days.
In 2021, the 6666 Ranch came on as the naming sponsor of the event and cemented guaranteed payouts for the divisions of the Derby. Then, in late 2022, the NRHA Board of Directors voted on an additional elevation of the Level 4 Open and Non Pro Championship payout.
The 2023 6666 Ranch Derby guaranteed payouts to the Champions are:
- L4 Open – $100,000
- L3 Open – $35,000
- L2 Open – $20,000
- L1 Open – $10,000
- Prime Time Open – $5,000
- L4 Non Pro – $50,000
- L3 Non Pro – $20,000
- L2 Non Pro – $15,000
- L1 Non Pro – $5,000
- Prime Time Non Pro – $5,000
- Youth Non Pro – $2,000
- Masters Non Pro – $2,000
In addition to the traditional levels of the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, there are numerous other opportunities for riders to win money, thanks to the addition of the Novice Horse, Stakes, and Amateur divisions, which are awarded during the preliminary round.
The Stakes, open to 4-year-old horses only, debuted in 2021, and the support of the division was soon evident. Tamarack Ranch sponsored the $40,000-added Level 4 Open Stakes, while Colston Paving Inc. sponsored the $20,000-added Level 4 Non Pro Stakes.
Recognizing the popularity of the 4-year-old Stakes division and to support its longevity, the NRHA Board decided to add an additional $100,000 beginning in 2023, bringing the total added money of the Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes to $110,000 and $50,000 in the Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro.
Gabe Hutchins of Tamarack Ranch noted, “We believe in the welfare and longevity of the horse, and giving those 4-year-old horses another year to finish and get ready will help them in the long run.”
Kevin Colston, Colston Paving Inc. owner, echoed that sentiment, saying, “I think the Stakes at the Derby is great for everyone because our futurity horses will have had time to rest after the Futurity and be ready to roll.”
The NRHA recently announced the official addition of a 4-year-old component to the Nomination program, beginning with 2023 foals. The association has committed to its $100,000 in added money to the Stakes for three years and will continue to contribute $50,000 in added money annually once the 2023 crop is eligible. It is expected that the Stakes divisions will feature $285,000 in added money beginning in 2027.
For more information, read the press release from February here.
NRHA Executive Committee member and former President Rick Clark noted, “We feel that growing the 4-year-old division at the NRHA Derby will give a huge boost to our industry. It will provide more opportunities to owners, breeders, and riders.”
Clark and his brother, Brent, are the naming sponsor of the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Open and Non Pro Novice Horse divisions, which is open to horses who have won less than $10,000 as of May 1. The Open division boasts $15,000 in added money, while the Non Pro features $10,000.
Clark said, “We are honored to be the title sponsor of this event. The novice derby provides a great opportunity, and every time we can add an opportunity, it’s an advantage to owners and exhibitors.”
The Story Book Stables Amateur is rounding out the named divisions with $15,000 in added money. “As always, we want to support the grassroots of the industry and encourage newcomers. We believe that these groups are critical to the health, vitality, and future of the industry,” noted Story Book Stables owner Brenda Joyce.
The 6666 Ranch NRHA Derby presented by Markel is held June 15 – 25 at the OKC Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, Okla. To keep up with the latest news, schedule, and more, visit NRHADerby.com.