Brian Bell and Clemerson Barbalho Win Adequan® NAAC Titles on First Day of NRHA Futurity

While the Futurity takes place in the Jim Norick Coliseum, the NAACs are contested in the Adequan® Arena. The NAAC competition spotlights various members and horses from across North America who qualify to compete in Oklahoma City.

In addition to incredible prizes from NRHA Corporate Partners, the champion of each NAAC class will be recognized the following day in the Jim Norick Coliseum as a show of support for these successful affiliate riders.

Adequan® NAAC Open & Ancillary Open Champion – Brian Bell on Gunna Whoa

Five months ago, Catherine and David Crandon asked NRHA Professional Brian Bell which horse was the nicest at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel.

Without hesitating, Bell said, “Gunna Whoa,” a 2017 stallion in training with NRHA Professional and Million Dollar Rider Todd Sommers. The Crandons purchased the palomino, and at the Adequan® NAAC, Bell and Gunna Whoa were the champions in Open NAAC and ancillary classes. The two wins added $6,042 to the horse’s lifetime earnings of $41,040.

“This horse, I felt like I owed him to have a bigger, better run on him,” said Bell, an NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider. “I’ve marked a 221 on him, a 223 on him, and a 221.5, and I just hadn’t jumped into that higher gear like I needed to. And today, I marked a 226.5. He’s such a nice horse that he deserved to have a run like that.”

The stallion’s run was good from top to bottom, Bell said.

“My first stop was huge,” Bell said. “My backup could have been a little smoother, so I knew I had to make up a little ground after that. I asked him to turn as fast as he could, and he gave 100 percent and shut off on the money both times. My first small slow (circle), he looked like a western pleasure horse, real pretty, and then went wide open, two large fasts, changed leads, and went like a western pleasure horse again. And then two large fasts and then three big stops on the side. And my last stop was probably the biggest off of them all.”

Gunna Whoa, bred by Doug Milholland, was sired by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Inferno Sixty Six and out of Whozwhiz.

Adequan® NAAC Int. Open & Ancillary Int. Open Champion – Clemerson Barbalho on Spooks Gotta Outfire

Clemerson Barbalho and Spooks Gotta Outfire have shared a lifetime together – the horse’s lifetime, at least.

Barbalho bought an interest in the 2016 stallion when he was a weanling. When he was a yearling, he suffered a snakebite that left a wound in his muscles. To ensure the stallion was ready for the tough competition in the Adequan® Arena, Barbalho had a veterinarian give him a check-up and formulated a plan for the event.

“In the warmup, I tried to be as quick and soft as possible, and I just trusted him,” Barbalho said. “He’s honest to me always. He was super good everywhere. I knew that he was good, but I didn’t know how good it was. And I was very happy about that. More happy when I heard the score! It was very cool.”

The judges marked Barbaho and Spooks Gotta Outfire a 223.5, which gave him the win in the NAAC and ancillary Intermediate Open classes. He also was reserve champion in Open NAAC and third in Open Ancillary. The wins added $6,272 to the stallion’s lifetime earnings of $84,415.

Barbalho had encouraged breeder Tiago Coleto to cross his mare Black Custom Chex with Spooks Gotta Whiz. Coleto sold a half-interest in the resulting foal, Spooks Gotta Outfire, to Barbalho, then later the full interest. Barbalho eventually sold a half-interest to his friend Mark Weissman.

From the beginning, Barbahlo said, he knew the horse was special.

“He’s a complete horse,” Barbalho said. “He has all the parts. He’s beautiful, he’s super talented, and he has a very good personality. He’s always trying to please you. He’s like always since he was little. It’s just amazing how we are connected.”

The win qualified Barbalho and Spooks Gotta Outfire for the Bob’s Custom Saddles Intermediate Open Showdown on Thursday, Nov. 30, in the Jim Norick Coliseum. There, the pair will compete for an additional monetary prize, with the winner taking home $5,000!

“I’m super excited about that because more money,” Barbalho said. “I need a new saddle, and more money is always good.”

Bob’s Custom Saddles Intermediate Open Showdown Qualifiers

The top 10 finishers of the Adequan® NAAC Intermediate Open earn a spot in the clean-slate Bob’s Custom Saddles Intermediate Open Showdown, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 30. All qualifiers must check-in and confirm their spot in the Showdown no later than noon Nov. 22, or they will be removed from the draw, and the next place entry will be invited.

Bob’s Custom Saddles Intermediate Open Showdown Qualifiers:

  • Clemerson Barbalho & Spooks Gotta Outfire
  • Justin Mathison & Alpha Taris Chic
  • Rhea Pole & Gunners Town
  • Justin Mathison & Shes Reddy On Line
  • David Hanson & Xtra Needs A Drink
  • Randall Dooley & Platinum Knight
  • Derek Heitland & Settingthetownonfire
  • Liam Sykes & Hope N A Prayer
  • Josiah Haaby & GH Chromed Mercedes
  • Josiah Haaby & Prescribe Me Bud

Adequan® NAAC competition continues Friday with the Limited Non Pro.

Complete results, draws, and more for the NRHA Futurity can be found at