Celebrating Unprecedented Success at the 6666 NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is thrilled to announce another record-breaking year in the 45th edition of the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. This year’s event, held June 11-23 in Oklahoma City, set new records in both participation and prize money, solidifying its status as a premier competition in the reining horse community.

Record-Breaking Purses and Participation

The 2024 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel saw an unprecedented level of competition, with record-breaking entries and purse. The total prize money awarded exceeded $1.67 million, thanks to the consistent, increasing success of the NRHA Nomination Program, generous sponsor support and the dedication of participants. As an additional bonus, exhibitors were paid out at record-breaking speed! Checks were available in the show office the next day, including the Level 4 Non Pro finalists’. The open finalists’ checks were sent out only three days later, with only a handful of champions’ checks held pending medications testing results.

Highlighting Excellence and Dedication

For 45 years, the NRHA Derby has been a celebration of skill, dedication, and the incredible partnership between horse and rider. This year was no exception, as riders from across the world showcased their talents and the culmination of countless hours of training and preparation. The exceptional horsepower was a testament to the dedication of breeders, nominators, and owners who continue to propel the industry forward. The heightened purses rewarded excellence and highlighted the sport’s growth and popularity.

Growth in Fans

This year there were many ways to be part of the action at the OKC Fairgrounds without being physically present. The free live feed at nrhaderby.com hosted 20,545 viewers for the non pro finals and 31,984 viewers for the open finals.

The Level 4 Non Pro and Open Finals were also streamed on the Cowboy Channel with 952 total hours streamed. Additional television coverage was featured on local Oklahoma City news stations, highlighting the horse and rider bonds featured in reining and the excitement of the Derby itself.

Ride Guess, powered by Spooks Gotta Whiz, was a new edition to the show that brought in participants from across the globe. This interactive game placed reining fans in the judge’s seat at the Level 4 Open Finals—allowing them to guess the scores of each horse and rider pair and receive points for the correct answers. Produced by NRHA Corporate Partner Teton Ridge, Ride Guess is a product of Inside Rodeo sweepstakes games, which has taken the Western industry by storm. On a peak night at premier Western events, this game sees 100-300 players. At the 2024 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, over 500 players worldwide participated.

Ceremonial Honors

The event also featured the NRHA Buckle Ceremony on June 15. Champions and top performers were recognized for their exceptional achievements throughout the 2023 season. The World and Reserve World Champions were presented with custom-crafted buckles by NRHA event sponsor Montana Silversmiths, a testament to their hard-earned victories. The Top 20 Professionals, Non Pros, and Owners were also honored, reflecting the depth of talent and commitment within the NRHA community. This year, the NRHA Professionals of the Year were also recognized on stage and received custom Abby Cosenza spurs.

Looking Ahead

As we celebrate the success of this year’s Derby, NRHA looks forward to continuing to elevate the sport of reining. We remain committed to providing premier events, enhancing prize opportunities, and supporting our members in their pursuit of excellence. The record-breaking achievements of the 2024 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel are a testament to the bright future of reining, and we are excited to build on this momentum in the years to come. Join us at the The World’s Richest Reining—the 2024 NRHA Futurity—the last Futurity to be held in the historic Jim Norick Arena, November 26–December 7.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

We extend our deepest gratitude to our title sponsors, 6666 Ranch and Markel Insurance, and all our NRHA corporate partners, event sponsors, and buckle sponsors, whose support has been instrumental in making this year’s Derby an unparalleled success. Their commitment to the sport and the NRHA community is invaluable.

Non Pro and Youth Competition Takes Center Stage on Closing Day at the 6666 NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

The 2024 6666 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel concluded today in Oklahoma City with a thrilling display of equestrian talent in the non pro and youth divisions. Following an electrifying week of competition, riders of all ages showcased their horsemanship and their horses’ athleticism, vying for championship titles and a share of the Derby’s record-breaking purse.

$6,000-added Non Pro Slate Two Champions – Joetta Bell & Dream On Whiz

Joetta Bell has found much success at the Derby. Earlier this week, she won several divisions in the non pro on her mount, Trashy Little Dream. Now, she’s at the top of the leaderboard again at the reins of her own Dream On Whiz (Magnum Chic Dream x Ms Sassy Whiz). The duo’s 220.5 was enough to take home the Non Pro Championship in the second slate of ancillary competition.

“I’ve owned him for a couple of years,” Bell said of ‘Patrick,’ a 7-year-old gelding bred by Hill Country Reiners LLC. “He’s just been a really good horse. We are very connected. I know everything he is thinking just by looking at his eyes.”

After a two-week show, Bell will give her horse a much-deserved break. “Now that the show is over, he’ll get to go home and be turned out. We kind of just let him relax. We do lunge line lessons with the girls on him,  ride him in the pasture, and let him just be a horse.”

$2,000-added Intermediate Non Pro Slate Two Champions / 8 & Up L1 Non Pro Maturity Champions – Dana Wetherell & Spat Toy Boy Gun

Dana Wetherell and her own Spat Toy Boy Gun rode to a 218 and the Intermediate Non Pro Championship as well as an 8 & Up Level (L) 1 Non Pro Maturity Championship. The 2016 stallion is by Spat Split And White and out of Snowy River Gunner.

“I’m obsessed with this horse. You can ask my husband—I keep every judge sheet, every placing, every back number he’s ever had,” said Wetherell of the Chiara Pelosi-bred stallion. “When my husband bought this horse for me, I struggled with auto-immune disease pretty badly and had very weak muscles. When I got him, I couldn’t bend over and take polos off and had to have help getting on and off. This horse is literally giving me my health and something to focus on, a reason to strive to get up in the morning. I can’t thank him enough; he’s giving me my health, which is priceless.”

Wetherell and the horse share a special emotional connection, which is on display any time they are around one another. “My husband gets upset. He’ll walk up to his stall while he’s eating and he just keeps eating, and when I walk up he’ll spin around and come right up to me—always wants to greet me and nickers at me every time he sees me. When [NRHA Million Dollar Rider] Trevor [Dare] shows him at the big events, they don’t allow me on the barn aisle for like two days because when he sees me, he’ll start pawing at the stall door if I don’t come see him, so it’s fun to get to show him because then I get to see him every day.”

Intermediate Non Pro High Point Champions- Kent Ray Taylor & Xtra Wimpys Catalyst

After winning several divisions of non pro classes in the first slate of competition, Kent Ray Taylor and his own Xtra Wimpys Step emerged as the High Point Champions in both the Intermediate and Prime Time divisions.

The Millholland Training Inc.-bred stallion is out of NRHA Hall of Fame inductee Wimpys Little Step and out of Im Not Blonde. The duo has been together since 2021 and works hard to take care of one another.

$500-added Prime Time Non Pro Slate 2 Champions / 8 & Up L4, L3 and L2 Non Pro Maturity Champions / Non Pro and Prime Time High Point Champions – Kathleen Armenta & Off N Running

With a score of 218, Kathleen Armenta and Off N Running finished with Championship titles in the second slate of the Prime Time Non Pro and the 8 & Up L2-4 Non Pro Maturities.

By NRHA $4 Million Sire and out of Spook Off Sparks, the 9-year-old gelding has been with Armenta since he was four. “I got him at the beginning of his 4-year-old year, so I did all the derbies on him, and we were pretty successful,” noted Armenta. “He’s probably the most special horse to me because he is the most talented horse I’ve ever had, and it’s hard to get rid of a horse like that when they age out. It’s just fun to keep riding a horse that you’ve done so well on—you don’t just move on. I don’t know if I’ll keep him forever, but right now, I’m having a really good time.”

The pair also won the Non Pro and Prime Time High Point titles after consistently scoring high in the ancillary slates of classes.

Masters Non Pro Slate 2 Champions – Dorothy Sanford & CCR Magnum Guns

Dorothy Sanford and CCR Magnum Guns (Gunnatrashya x Magnum Marilynmonroe) topped the second slate of Masters Non Pro competition. The Center Cross Ranch LLC-bred mare is owned by Sanford, who piloted her to a 208.5 and the title.

Before her success in the show pen in Oklahoma City this week, Sanford had earned $244 in the show pen.

Masters Non Pro High Point Champions – Victoria Riva & GH Cromed Mercedes

After consistently topping the leaderboard in both slates of non pro competition, Victoria Riva and GH Cromed Mercedes claimed the High Point Championship in the Masters Non Pro division. The 2012 gelding by NRHA Million Dollar Sire and out of Chic In The Bar and his owner-pilot made a great team throughout the show.

Legends Non Pro Slate 2 Champions – Sammy Graham & Brother Gun

Sammy Graham will celebrate his 73rd birthday in a few short days as champion of the second slate of Legends Non Pro competition. He earned the title aboard Brother Gun (Gunner x Shesa Smart Sister), a 15-year-old stallion bred, owned, and nominated by Graham.

After sitting the 2023 season out, the duo rode to a 206.5 to claim the title.

Legends High Point Champions – Mary Dodson and MD Shesa Shiney Chic

Consistency was key for 73-year-old Mary Dodson and her MD Shesa Shiney Chic, whose trips into the show pen earned a High Point Championship in the Legends division. Dodson bred and nominated the 2017 mare by NRHA $2 Million Sire Shine Chic Shine and out of Shesa Packin.

Youth 14-18 Champions Lenzi Halling Xtra Voodoo Herman

Lenzi Halling and Xtra Voodoo Herman earned the Youth 14-18 and Unrestricted Youth Championship in slate two and the high point title.

“I love ‘Herman’ because I originally got him as a step-up horse. He is just the best,” said Halling. “He had a little trouble with me at first because I was a new rider, but eventually, it got a lot better. I have been practicing and practicing in the show pen and preparing for each run to be my best. He loves his job and loves to be the best.”

She practices at shows and with different trainers to help her and Herman constantly improve, a journey she enjoys getting to do with her 6-year-old gelding bred by Silver Spurs Equine. 

“We tolerate each other; actually he tolerates me,” she said with a laugh. “I enjoy learning on him. It means a lot to me because of all of the hard work and effort I have put into Herman over the last two years.”

Youth 13 & Under Slate Two Champions – Millie Jean Piper and Never Outta Dough

After earning a 142.5, Millie Jean Piper and Never Outta Dough took home the title in slate two of the 13 & Under division.

“I got my horse on my birthday—it’s actually when we tried him, said Piper. “It was more of a coincidence than a birthday present, but I have had him for one year, and pretty much we have been best friends ever since.”

Her 11-year-old gelding was bred by Ryan Appleton and is by Outta Dough and out of Chex Writing Queen.

“He is very willing and puts up with all of my shenanigans,” she added.

Earlier this week, Piper also won the 13 & Under division of the CINCH Youth Speaking Contest after reciting A. General, earning a $700 scholarship.

13 & Under High Point Champions – Gracie Weeks & Its A Cash Only Deal

Gracie Weeks earned the 13 & Under high point championship on Ginger Weeks’ Its A Cash Only Deal after scoring a 142. The 7-year-old mare was bred by Stoney Russell and is by NRHA $2 Million Sire Lil Joe Cash and out of Who Whiz Doll.

Short Stirrup 10 & Under Slate Two Champions / Short Stirrup 10 & Under High Point Champions – Dylan Baker & Rambowhizz

Dylan Baker and Rambowhizz improved yesterday’s score by one point to earn the championship and high-point Short Stirrup 10 & Under title.

“He is patient with me, and he is kind. He is just the perfect horse for me,” said Baker. “It’s really fun, but I wouldn’t be able to win without him. He is a really good horse, and I wouldn’t be here without him. I thank ‘Rambo’ and my barn because they are super supportive of me.

The 7-year-old gelding was bred by Houde & Tremblay Partnership and is owned by Anita Horn.

The 2024 NRHA Derby presented by Markel has solidified its reputation as a premier reining event, attracting the world’s finest equine athletes and riders. From the heart-pounding Open finals to the inspiring displays of horsemanship in the non pro and youth divisions, the Derby has reaffirmed its commitment to showcasing the power, precision, and beauty of the reining horse. NRHA extends its congratulations to all the champions, owners, breeders and competitors and looks forward to another exciting year of competition.

Youth Riders Showcase Talent at the NRHA Derby

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is thrilled to announce the outstanding performances by youth riders at this year’s 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, held at the prestigious OKC Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City. This year’s event saw an impressive display of talent, dedication, and sportsmanship from the young competitors, underscoring the bright future of reining.

Ignacio Maximo Diano and MMB Pale Princess (Pale Face Dunnit x Paparazzi Princess) scored a 145 to top the 14-18 youth class and the youth unrestricted.

“This is my first show horse ever and I just started my show career with her. She has been consistent every single show, so I feel like there is nothing better,” said Diano.

Diano said his dad, NRHA Professional Gabriel Diano, chose his show string, as did the other trainers at the barn. Then, he fell in love with the Margarita Buey Arietti bred, Alpha Quarter Horse LLC owned-mare who is now five years old.

“There is a little mare, bald-faced and running around, and I thought, ‘That one is pretty. Let me start riding!’ It scared me when I saw 82 entries. It has been a while since we won, so it was nice to finally be back to where I was at the beginning of the year.”

Gracie Weeks topped the 13 & Under division on Its A Cash Only Deal after scoring a 138. The 7-year-old mare is by NRHA $2 Million Sire Lil Joe Cash and out of Who Whiz Doll.

“I think she is special because she is my first mare,” said Weeks. “Also, she is named ‘Lola’ because of the Barry Manilow song because she is a showgirl like the lyrics. She was kind of a unicorn when we found her. She is such a good mare for me.

“She is super sweet, but she is kind of like me a little bit—I am kind of stingy about being affectionate sometimes,” she said. “She can sometimes be really affectionate, and sometimes she isn’t. It is kind of funny to see me in her. She is very easy peasy.”

Lola was bred by Stoney Russel and owned by Ginger Weeks.

Leading the Youth 10 & Under Short Stirrup were Dylan Baker and Rambowhizz (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Rose Electric Step). The pair scored a huge 145 to take the lead.

“It feels great. I am super grateful for ‘Rambo,’” said Baker, who started competing a year ago. “He is kind and he is patient when I am learning new things, and he is always just great for me. We want to just keep trying to do our best in the short stirrup and keep on winning!”

The 7-year-old gelding was bred by Houde & Tremblay Partnership and is owned by Anita Horn.

As the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel enters the last day of competition, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to all youth competitors for their exceptional performances and dedication. We also express our gratitude to the trainers, families and sponsors who make it possible for them to be at the OKC Fairgrounds. Watch the live feed of the youth in their final slate today at nrhaderby.com.

Life of the Party

Tonight was a fitting finale to aged event classes at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel. In its 45th edition, the show shattered records and paid out more money across the Open Derby levels than ever before. With such an impressive sum on the line, All Nite Partier and Cade McCutcheon secured the coveted $100,000 Level 4 Open Derby Champion’s check with a huge 231.5.

“This win is super special. I’ve been knocking on the door of a major event title for a while,” said McCutcheon, who won the NRHA Level 4 Open Futurity in 2019. “I thought this would be the next step in my progression, and I got it done tonight. To have a horse that can go and have that kind of run is hard to find, and I’m just very lucky.”

All Nite Partier (Gunners Special Nite x Topsail Survivor) brought the heat from Draw No. 25. The 4-year-old stallion, nominated by breeder Deana Nell and owned by Sotol Investments LLC, did what he does best — “try his heart out,” McCutcheon said.

“Tonight, I stayed out of his way, and he showed up for me like he always does,” the NRHA $2 Million Rider said. “He always gives his best. He’ll never quit on you. You know you can count on him when you run through the gates on Saturday night.

“He turned as good as he has and circled as good as I could ask,” McCutcheon continued of the performance. “He did his big trick around the ends; he’s a phenomenal stopper. He’s just a special horse.”

All Nite Partier has been in training with McCutcheon throughout his career. Spending that much time together gives the trainer a connection with his horses, which he considers a leg up when it’s showtime.

“You know everything about them — the goods and bads,” McCutcheon said. “I just know him in and out, and it makes all the difference when you’re showing because you know where to hang it out there and where to not.

“And that makes it even more special,” he continued. “My first major event win, somebody else trained the horse and I just kind of put the finishing touches on. This one I’ve had since the beginning, so that makes the win a little bit sweeter.”

McCutcheon had a busy night, as he made it back in the Level 4 Open finals aboard all three of his entries. He kicked the evening off from Draw No. 1 with Finals Bound (Gunnatrashya x Wimpys Little Chic), who marked a 225 to tie for 14th. As the final draw, he and Thee Assassin (Shiners Voodoo Dr x Jerrys Sippin Soda) gave it their best shot for a score of 227 to finish eighth.

McCutcheon, who thanked many people, including new wife Lexi, said his strategy at the event was to believe in his horses and give them the best chance to run for the title. It clearly paid off.

“I actually sent all my horses home after the go-round and gave them three days off. I tried to trust them as much as I could,” he said. “The welfare of the horses is everything. They throw their heart in the dirt for us, so I try to take the very best care of them I can.”

Level 3 Open Champions: Jordan Larson and Need I Say Mor

Jordan Larson, an NRHA $3 Million Rider, rode Ixtul Quarter Horses LLC’s Need I Say Mor to top honors in the preliminary round of the Level 3 Open Derby and repeated that feat in the second section of the Open finals after scoring a 226.5.

“He ran in and stopped really big,” Larson said of his winning performance. “He circled great and ran and stopped great on the sides. You never know when you walk out of there what you scored, and I was pleasantly surprised.”

Larson said his goal for the evening was to win the Level 3 and have a solid run without pushing his horse too hard.

“I just tried to be smart and not overdo it,” Larson said. “He’s a really nice horse, super talented. It took me a minute to get with him, but he’s getting better every run.”

Bred by Curtis Performance Horses LLC and nominated by Brooke Wharton, Need I Say Mor is a 4-year-old stallion by NRHA Hall of Fame inductee Gunnatrashya and out of star broodmare Shesouttayourleague. The Ixtul Quarter Horses LLC-owned horse was first shown by NRHA $4 Million Rider Casey Deary, and Larson took over the ride in March.

“It has been fun to ride behind Casey because I know him really well, but it’s taken me a little while to get used to him and make things mine,” Larson said, thanking Deary for his work on the horse. “I would also like to thank my wife; she’s amazing. I just thank God for good gifts — a nice horse and good people to work for and everything.”

Larson and Need I Say Mor also placed ninth in the Level 4 Open, bringing the duo’s total earnings for the evening to $46,858, including nominator incentives.

Level 2 Open Co-Champions: Hot Guns N Candy and Yonathan Baruch, TR Dream About Me and Nicole Renick, and Thee American Dream and Dan Huss

There was plenty of talent to go around in the Level 2 Open Derby, where a three-way tie made for an unforgettable evening. The top teams — Hot Guns N Candy and Yonathan Baruch; TR Dream About Me and Nicole Renick; and Thee American Dream and Dan Huss — marked a 223.5 to share their piece of victory. Each duo took home $11,278 for their performance.

It all started in Section 1. TR Dream About Me (Magnum Chic Dream x Redhot Walla) and Renick set the pace from Draw No. 28.

“I have always had 100% faith in this horse,” Renick said of the 7-year-old gelding owned by Steven Sandvig and nominated by breeder Tamarack Ranch LLC, an NRHA Corporate Partner. “He is wonderful. I call him a unicorn; he is a once-in-a-lifetime horse for us. ”

TR Dream About Me has been shown by an open rider and non pro concurrently for most of his life, and Renick thanked the owners for their trust in her, as well as fiance, Adam Johnson, for his support.

In addition to their Level 2 Open Co-Championship, TR Dream About Me and Renick tied for third in the Level 3 Open Derby, worth an extra $12,499.

Thee American Dream (Magnum Chic Dream x Gunner Git Ya Dun) and Dan Huss came in 16 runs later to tie the field. The 7-year-old gelding gave Huss his all.

“I have had him since his 4-year-old year,” the Scottsdale, Arizona-based NRHA Professional said. “He has a lot of feel. He is probably not the most ideal for a non pro because he has so much feel, but it is nice because you get him light and he loves his job. He will step up and fire for you.”

Morris Kulmer owns Thee American Dream, who was bred and nominated by Pete and Tamra Kyle. He graciously stepped aside to let Huss take the reins for the Open Derby finals after he advanced to the Masters Non Pro Derby finals on the horse. Next year, Kulmer turns 80 and has plans to show in futurities and derbies.

“My wife is who I want to thank the most; she keeps me going and everything going at home and makes it easy for me to come here,” Huss said. “And Morris, he loves to show horses. He is getting older, so he knows he only has so many shows, but I let him show as much as I can.”

This win added $11,278 to his earnings, including nominator incentives.

NRHA Professional Yonathan Baruch and Hot Guns N Candy led the Level 2 in the Open preliminary round, and from Draw 15 in the second section of the finals, they scored a 223.5 to take the Co-Championship.

“This horse is a very special one to me. He was the strongest 3-year-old I had ever rode, and then we had a setback, and we had to wait two years,” he said. “This is the first time I am showing him for real, and there was a lot of concern about seeing if we could bring him up to derby-level competition. And you know what? He answered that question for me.”

Baruch said the pair was able to continue to ride and grow their bond over the past two years. They landed in a tie for 19th in Level 4 and third in Level 3, along with their Level 2 Co-Championship, bringing home $28,477, including nominator incentives.

“I just trust him. I do the preparation, and when it is time to go horse show for real, he is in the zone,” Baruch said. “I feel a transformation. He gets in the zone, and I kind of say, ‘You got this from here.’ He is a special horse, and I want him to have the spotlight.”

The Antler Ridge Ranch LLC-bred, -nominated and -owned 6-year-old stallion is by NRHA $11 Million Sire Gunnatrashya and out of Candy Coded Diamonds. The 2018 stallion had nearly $34,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings before the Derby, all with Baruch at the reins.

Level 1 Open Champions: Magoworthy and Leonardo Kellermann

Leonardo Kellermann was the star of the first section with quality runs on all three of his horses. In the end, Magoworthy carried him to the top of the Level 1 Open Derby with a 221 from Draw No. 39.

“He was really good,” Kellermann said of the 5-year-old stallion’s performances in Oklahoma City. “I showed him on the first day [of the preliminaries] and marked a 218.5, then we just did a 221 [in the finals], so he felt really good.

“He ran in really good, and he had a really good right turn,” Kellermann continued of the run. “He was with me the whole pattern. He was really solid. He gave everything he had for me.”

Kellermann started riding Magoworthy (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Banjoes Shining Star) for owner/breeder/nominator Terry Leffew about five months ago. It’s taken the team a bit to get in sync, but their top finish at the Derby proves they’re only getting better with time.

“It means everything,” Kellerman said. “Me and my family and my team put a lot of work in that, and it has been a long time that we are working hard for it. It’s really nice to be able to come here and put on a good performance, especially on a horse that has such a lot of talent and is really good-minded.”

Kellermann, who is originally from Brazil and earned his first NRHA paycheck in 2020, said Magoworthy has matured and gotten stronger since he began riding the stallion, and he is looking forward to their future together. He was also proud of his other two finalists — Pretty Voodoo Gun and Coat Of Many Colors — who landed fifth and tied for 16th, respectively, in the Level 1 Open Derby.

Altogether, with Magoworthy’s fifth-place tie in the Level 2 Open, Kellermann’s finals total exceeded $14,078, including nominator incentives.

“It’s really important for me, especially in this time of my career,” Kellermann said of his consistency at the event. “It’s my first year on my own, and I started working for 7 Lakes Ranch. To be able to come here and lay [down] nice runs with different horses, it’s been a great year.”

Kellermann acknowledged his Derby success wouldn’t be possible without his family and team, as well as Leffew and 7 Lakes Ranch owner Janice Laney.

“It’s a big team, and everybody worked really hard for this,” he said.

A New Leader

Thanks to a $40,152 paycheck for finishing third in tonight’s Level 4 Open Derby finals, Down Right Amazing etched his name in the record books as NRHA’s No. 1 horse of all time. The reward for the 7-year-old stallion’s 229 elevated his NRHA lifetime earnings to $872,735, including nominator incentives, surpassing previous leader Patriot (Smart Spook x Dunit A Lil Ruf) by $38,000-plus.

“He’s given us so much. It’s a dream you don’t know to dream,” said the stallion’s owner, Debbie Good of DAG Ventures LLC. “I’m so thrilled that he’s the one that’s going to represent these two families with Gunner and Wimpys Little Chic.”

“Amazing” is by NRHA all-time leading sire Gunner and out of the Wimpys Little Chic daughter Shesouttayourleague, the 2015 NRHA Open Futurity and 2017 NRHA Open Derby Champion who is around $25,000 from becoming an NRHA Million Dollar Dam.

“Pun intended, it’s absolutely amazing. That horse seemed like he was going to be amazing from the day he hit the ground, and he’s living up to his name. It’s incredible,” said Rob Curtis of Curtis Performance Horses LLC, who bred and nominated Down Right Amazing. “I think he is reflective of the power of Wimpys Little Chic’s legacy. Her bloodline seems destined to remake the top of our industry.”

Good has worked hard to keep Down Right Amazing happy and healthy throughout his performance career, which has included a third-place finish in the NRHA Open Futurity, two Open wins at the National Reining Breeders Classic, an Open Shootout Championship at The Run For A Million and back-to-back wins at The American Performance Horseman.

“We have a big team around him,” Good said, noting that Down Right Amazing receives spa therapy and cryotherapy to support his recovery between performances. “I really believe in maintaining my horses and doing all the things that they need to support them being a top athlete.”

With such a presence in the pen and an extensive resume, it’s no surprise Down Right Amazing has amassed an impressive fan base — and Good said she knows their cheers keep the stallion firing on all cylinders.

“He really does love his fans. He loves the crowd,” she said. “It’s so special that people have grown to love him; even people I don’t know have grown to love him and appreciate him. We really appreciate that more than people know. It really does make a difference.”

Toyon Ranch Rookie Free-For-All Finishes Strong

Reining enthusiasts were treated to a glimpse of future top talent at the 2024 6666 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel. The Toyon Ranch Rookie Free-For-All showcased a caliber of riding that left the crowd in awe, hinting at the promising careers on the horizon for these exceptional talents and their equine partners.

Winning the Toyon Ranch Rookie Level 1 and 2 and the Level 1 high-point championship was Sydney Muehlstaetter on Frederick Christen’s Xtra Voodoo Step.

Muehlstaetter and the 12-year-old mare by NRHA Hall of Famer Wimpys Little Step and out of Voodoo Chic scored a 144.5 to earn the top placing.

“She is such a sweet mare and is super happy all the time,” said Muehlstaetter. “She goes in there and is the same every time. I can trust her a lot because I know she is never going to do anything bad.

“What really makes it special is that I can trust her so much. I can go out there and I know she is going to be the same every time. She is so consistent I can put my hand there and she does everything. I just kind of sit there,” she said with a laugh.

Dick Fletcher and Rufs Got Guns (Not Ruf At All x Gunners Easter Lilly) won the second slate of the Toyon Ranch Prime Time Rookie today in the Adequan®  Arena with a 141.5 on his 7-year-old gelding. 

Fletcher has been competing in reining for less than a year.

“My wife and I retired and wanted to ride horses,” said Fletcher. “She actually got us into this. We started with ranch riding, and pretty quickly, she wanted to do reining. I didn’t want to be her tack boy, so I started reining last year. We have traveled all over the country and are having a great time. He is a good horse. He was my practice horse originally, and my show horse was acting funny and we couldn’t connect, so ‘Hank’ is now my show horse. He is really good for me. He doesn’t have any bad thoughts and that’s what I need.”

Lynnette Payne earned the Prime Time Rookie High-Point Championship on a 14-year-old gelding whom she leases from NRHA Vice President Mike Hancock and his wife Bryan: Dun Lost My Gun.

“I have been leasing him for three years now, but I have been doing reining since I was 16-years-old,” said Payne.

She was out of the industry for a while, then became reconnected when she was told she could lease a horse that fit her perfectly.

“Mike Hancock and his wife Bryan have been so kind to lease this amazing horse to me,” she continued. “He is the wonder horse. If you do your job when you go in the pen you will get a good score.”

Jennnie Tyler and Flinnderella earned the Rookie Level 2 high-point championship. Tyler and her own 6-year-old mare scored a 143 today to solidify the win and take home a Montana Silversmiths buckle.

The unwavering commitment and talent of these rookie athletes are a shining example of the remarkable spirit that thrives within the reining community. Continue following along with the excitement at the 2024 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel through the free live stream at nrhaderby.com.