The Novice Horse Non Pro classes wrapped up today in the Adequan® Arena at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel on Thursday, June 22. After 108 entries spread across three levels, and a run-off tiebreaker in the Level 2, Sarah Grace McNally and Kary Key came home with class wins, while Alicia Rapp and Melissa Wigen took home high-point buckles.
Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 & 2 High Point – Alicia Rapp & CS Just Viintage
Alicia Rapp and CS Just Viintage, a 2019 mare, won the High Point for both the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 and Level 2 at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel.
CS Just Viintage, or “Missy,” as she is affectionately known, is sired by Platinum Vintage and out of Snow Town and was bred by XCS Ranch, LLC.
With this only being their second time in the show pen together, Rapp is very pleased with Missy’s performance this week. “She’s proven to me here that she wants to be a show horse, so it’s been a great experience,” Rapp explained.
“I tried to step her up a little bit today just to see if she would hang with me. And she did… I felt like our circles were really strong, and our stops are getting better and better,” Rapp shared of the pair’s run in the second slate..
Rapp thanked her long-time trainer, Ted Chancey, as well as her equine chiropractor and acupuncturist, Mari Little.
Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 & 3 (2) Champion – Sarah Grace McNally & Smartys Bea
Sarah McNally and Smartys Bea won the second slate of the Level 1 and Level 3 Novice Horse Non Pro. They were also reserve in the Level 2 after a tie-breaking run-off.
Smartys Bea, a 2017 mare sired by Colonels Smart Spook and out of Bea With a Twist, was bred by Monte Strusiner.
“She’s a wonderful horse, under saddle and on the ground,” McNally said. “She really likes to have a job. Under saddle, she is the most consistent and calm and loving horse. My four-year-old daughter does leadline on her at our local shows. She’s a wonderful mare, we love her so much.”
The pair scored their personal high score at this show, with a 72.5 under one of the judges and a 144.5 overall. Up next for this duo is the All Star Reining Stakes in Ocala, Florida.
McNally made a point to thank her trainers, Tricia Tillman and Austin Morris, as well as Bob LaPorta. Most of all, she thanked her mother, who has supported her since her youth career in AQHA, calling her the “best show mom you could ever imagine.”
Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2 (2) Champion – Kary Key & Spookadeous
Kary Key and Spookadeous won the second slate of the ancillary Level 2 Novice Horse Non Pro after a tie-breaking run-off.
Spookadeous is a 2018 stallion, sired by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Gun, out of Trash N For Chex, and bred by Key and her mother, Pat Fletcher.
“He’s five, but he’s really just coming into his own this year,” Key said. “We did stuff last year, but he’s had such a big change this year. Every day he gets better.”
Not only is Spookadeous becoming a fabulous show horse, but he also has a big personality. “He’s always looking for his cookie. This horse works for food. So, for example, if I get back in the aisleway and I don’t have cookies for him, I will probably be disowned,” Key explained, laughing.
Key has big goals for this homebred stallion. “I want to make the finals of the major events… we were Level 1 at the NRBC, but I want to be a Level 4 finalist. I think this horse can do it, but I hope I can learn how to do it as well,” she said.
Key thanked her mother, Pat Fletcher, who bred Spookadeous, as well as most of the horses that Key has had in her show string. She also thanked Naike Bell and the entire Brian Bell barn, stating that she is always “striving to be a little Brian Bell” when she shows.
Novice Horse Non Pro Level 3 High Point – Melissa Wigen & Starlight Escalade
Melissa Wigen and Starlight Escalade won the Level 3 Novice Horse Non Pro High Point title.
Starlight Escalade, sired by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Starlights Wrangler out of Escalante Chic, was bred by Adair Reiners, LLC.
Wigen and her 9-year-old gelding, known around the barn as “Rascal,” had a week full of improvements and hard work leading up to this High Point win, coming off a great year in 2022. “We’ve been working on making it correct and working on finesse,” explained Wigen.
As a horse trainer’s wife, Wigen got the advice she needed to hear today, to just go in and have fun, and accomplished just that. The pair also avoided the penalty box, a goal Wigen had after her ride earlier this week.
While her future plans with Rascal are not set in stone, Wigen is excited at the prospect of showing the gelding again on Sunday, as well as in Denver, and potentially the Run For A Million in Las Vegas. This week, she is also excited to cheer on her daughter, Kendall, and her husband, Travis.
Competition continues Friday in the Adequan® Arena with the second slate of the Novice Horse Open classes. It will be followed by the first section of the Toyon Ranch Rookie Free For All. Find draws, results, news, and more at NRHADerby.com.