Competition Heats Up in Adequan® Arena at NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

Three days into the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel Insurance, the event is in full swing. In addition to the great prizes presented in the Adequan® Arena, exhibitors have a chance to win circuit buckles, as well. The first circuit championships were awarded Monday afternoon.

Austin Morris and John Wayne Tag Clean House in Adequan® Arena

John Wayne Tag might have one of the coolest names for reining horses competing this year at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel, and he’s proven to be an exceptional show horse, too. With Austin Morris at the reins, the eight-year-old gelding marked a 143.5 in Monday’s competition to win the second slate of Intermediate Open, Limited Open, and Rookie Professional classes, worth $2,530.

The winning doesn’t end there. Morris and John Wayne Tag also competed in the first slate of classes on Sunday, and finished in the top five both days, which secured the high point buckle for all three classes.
“I’ve been riding this horse since November of last year. I’ve only been to three or four shows with him, but every time we’ve been successful. He’s a great horse that is really easy. You can go for weeks without riding him, then get on him and he’s the same,” Morris said.

Just last week, Morris and John Wayne Tag took an eight hour trip to South Carolina for an event. “He showed really great down there, and then we drove him 22 hours here to Oklahoma City, and he was ready to show again,” Morris, of Damascus, Maryland, said. “We had a few things that happened in yesterday’s class that I knew I could do better today. I came out with the goal to have a better ride in some areas, and it all worked out.”

John Wayne Tag, by Whiz N Tag Chex and out of Kachina Oak Olena, is owned by Summerwind Farm Inc. “I thank Bob LaPorta who owns Summerwind Farm for providing my nice horses to show. I thank my girlfriend and co-worker Tricia Tillman for her support and advice, our sponsors, and everyone at Summerwind or being supportive,” Morris said.

Kalicia Walters and Lady Gotta Gun Get Redemption in Limited Non Pro

Kalicia Walters didn’t have the run she wanted in Saturday’s Limited Non Pro, but she and her mare Lady Gotta Gun came back strong in the second slate to win the class with a 142. “We worked really hard this winter, and today I got aggressive, and it paid off. We’ve worked hard to get where we are, and this was our first big win together,” Walters shared.

Lady Gotta Gun, by Spooks Gotta Gun and out of Ms Kiper Nic, is a five-year-old mare. “I have had her about a year. Luckily I live just 10 miles from Dany and Fred Tremblay, so I was able to go from our ranch, to their ranch, and back home all winter. We got a lot of practice in, and everything is coming together,” she said.

Walters has been showing reiners off and on for the past six years, and credits her success to Fred and Dany. “They have helped me a bunch this winter, and it has changed everything. I’m super excited to be working with them,” she said.

Walters will show in more non pro classes throughout the week.

Morgan Hinkle Wins Limited Non Pro High Point Championship on Wimpys King Lad

Consistency was the key for Morgan Hinkle and Wimpys King Lad. They put together two solid runs to win the high point circuit buckle for the Limited Non Pro. “This is my first high-point win – today was pretty good! We had a couple bobbles; he spooked from the cameraman once. The run was pretty clean except for that spook,” she shared.

Wimpys King Lad is by Wimpys Little Step out of King Tucks Lassie. “I’ve had him for about six years. I know him pretty well and he’s a really good horse. With all the practice we’ve had we’re finally getting it together,” Hinkle, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, said. “I thank my parents for supporting me, as well as my trainers Shane Brown and Emily Emerson.”

Hinkle is looking forward to competing in the 8 & Up Non Pro Derby on Wednesday.

A Full Day of Horse Showing at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel

A Full Day of Horse Showing at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel

For Immediate Release – June 14, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Day two of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA presented by Markel Insurance is in the books, with more than 176 entries competing in the horse show classes. Once again, large class sizes dictated the split to two arenas for the classes, with the Open horse show classes being held in the Adequan® Arena, and the Novice Horse Non Pro exhibitors competing in Arena Six.

Fappani and Piper Tie for Win of Open (1)

Andrea Fappani

Andrea Fappani and Nathan Piper tied for the win of the $6k added Open (1) class. Fappani was riding Shine Plum Shine, while Piper rode Ruff Spook, with each winning $1,846.

The decision to show in the Open was a last-minute one for both Fappani and Piper. Piper had planned to show Ruff Spook at another large event. “We were going to show in the Shootout. When they canceled that, I decided to bring him here to show in this Open here,” Piper said.

“This horse is still derby eligible, but it was a last-minute deal, so I figured I’d bring him and show him in this class. It’s great that the NRHA put a $6k open in here. We decided to go for it, and it worked out even though it was last minute,” Fappani shared.

Shine Plum Shine, by Shine Chic Shine and out of Plum Reyning, is owned by Rancho Oso Rio. “I showed this horse the last couple years and he’s been pretty successful. We had a little bobble on the second stop. The ground is a little more slick than what we have in Arizona, and we’ve only been on it one day so it will take a few more days to adjust. Other than that I was really happy with him. He was with me the whole time,” Fappani said. “I thank the owners Jim and Pat Warren of Rancho Oso Rio. I manage the ranch they always make sure I have nice horses to show. Thank you to my whole team. It’s always a team effort, and I appreciate them.”

Nathan Piper

While Fappani is confident about his Derby entries, he’s glad this is his second event back. “We had a show in Arizona a couple weeks ago. It was the first time we showed, and it was a good thing because I was a little rusty. Hopefully, I’m ready now,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll show in the Derby, and Luca is showing a couple in the Non Pro, and then we have a couple other non pros, but it’s pretty chill and we’re going to enjoy it. We’re definitely happy to be showing again.”

Ruff Spook, by Smart Spook out of Ruffle Me Up, is owned by Shannon and Hershel Reid. “He’s an 11-year-old stallion, and he’s had a lot of experience. This was the first time for me to show him and he was great. I’ve had him about three weeks, but he’s a machine, so it was pretty easy out there,” Piper shared. “I thank my Lord and Savior, my family, and everyone who works for me. It takes a village.”

This was also the second event for Piper. “We went to a show in Hamilton, Texas, and were very happy to have that. It will be interesting to see how it goes in the Derby. I had a system for myself, but I could see getting lost on how to prepare these last few months,” he said. “We brought 19 head of horses here. We have people showing in almost every class.”

Debbie Brown and A Glorious Nite Top Intermediate Open (1)

Debbie Brown piloted A Glorious Nite to a 146 to pocket $503 for the Intermediate Open (1) win. The five-year-old mare, by Gunners Special Nite out of Glory B Whiz, is owned by David Silva. “She was very good. She’s not been in the pen a bunch showing even though she’s five. She was really good in the maneuvers. She turned, ran, and stopped really well, and had no penalties, so it was really good,” Brown said.

Brown is a trainer at Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses and will be spending most of her week at the Derby helping out the crew. “We have a great team. I thank Tom and Mandy McCutcheon. They’re fantastic to work for. I thank the owners, David and Bonnie Silva, who have been fantastic over the years. They have such great horses and are great supporters,” Brown said.

The NRHA Derby presented by Markel Insurance, is the first big event back for Brown. “It’s nice to be getting back to the normal routine,” she said.

Wade McDonald and Smart Lil Velvet Win Limited Open (1) and Rookie Pro. (1)

With a score of 142.5, Wade McDonad and Smart Lil Velvet took the top spot of both the Limited Open (1) and the Rookie Professional (1). The dual wins came with more than $616.

Smart Lil Velvet, by Smart Like Juice out of Velvet Pistol, is owned by Bruce Koefoot.

Courtney Battison and Corona Tag Win Novice Horse Non Pro Levels 1 & 3 (1)

Courtney Battison

With COVID-19 protocols in place, Courtney Battison did not think there would be an awards ceremony in the arena, so after competing on Corona Tag in the Novice Horse Non Pro classes, she made the short trip home to Purcell. She and her mare had marked a 143, so when she got the call from Trevor and Laura Dare that there would be awards, she headed back to Oklahoma City. “I rushed back up and made it just in time,” she said. Battison and Corona Tag not only won Levels 1 and 3, they also finished reserve in the Level 2, for checks totaling $1,724.

Battison has owned Corona Tag, by Whiz N Tag Chex out of Kachina Oak Olena, for a few years. “She had a little soundness issue, but she’s all fixed up now so we’re back at it. I showed her last year and now this year,” Battison said. “She’s the same almost every time, and we had a great run today. I think my stops were a little bit better than the last time we showed. We’ve improved on that.”

Battison will stay busy this week with two horses entered in the Non Pro Derby. “I’ll also show this mare again on Wednesday. This is the first time I’ve gotten to show. We went to Tulsa to a horse show in March, and that’s been it. It’s great to be out showing again.” She added, “I thank Trevor and Laura. They’ve helped me a lot this year.”

Indy Roper and Lil Whizzer Gun Take Top Honors in Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2 (1)

Indy Roper

Once Indy Roper got off work last Friday, she and her dad loaded up to make the 14-hour drive to Oklahoma City. “We’re here now and we’re ready to go,” she said. Roper is off to a great start, having won the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2, and $631, with a 144 on Lil Whizzer Gun.

“He was excellent. I took him to an Indiana horse show last weekend and schooled him a little bit. I was hoping that he would come here and be good, and he showed off his maneuvers today,” she said.

Lil Whizzer Gun, owned by Tim Roper, is by Lil Gun and out of Sugar Baby Whiz. “We bought him as a three-year-old and showed him in some derbies. He’s a horse I have at home to help me stay tuned up for my other derby horses. I have two derby horses to show this week, and then I hope to show this horse again, too,” she said. “I went to the Mother’s Day Slide in Arizona, and that was my first time back out showing. It felt great to be showing again. We put in all that hard work, and now it’s time to be at a horse show. We’re all smiles.”

Roper had several people to thank, including her father and family back home. “They’re great cheerleaders. I also thank Marco Ricotta, who has been instrumental in tuning me up and giving me pointers while we’re here,” Roper said.

Early Ancillary Wins for Colston, Bagby, and Kulmer

NRHA Derby Presented by Markel Began Today

For Immediate Release – June 13, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The 2020 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel kicked off on Saturday, June 13, with the Non Pro ancillary classes. While the Non Pro classes would typically be held in the Adequan® Arena, large numbers for it and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Open classes forced a schedule change.

“Our numbers for this year’s Derby are up incredibly from last year’s totals. We had more than 160 horses enter the AQHA and APHA classes, which would have made for a very late night if it had followed the Non Pro. So, we moved the Non Pro to Arena 6, which helped shorten our exhibitor’s day,” noted NRHA Events Manager Cheryl Cody.

Ronny Lane Colston Wins Non Pro [1] on Chics Nite

Ronny Lane Colston has only had Chics Nite since the beginning of the year, but he rode the eight-year-old mare to the Non Pro (1) win with a 146. “It was really good. I’ve kinda been holding off showing her at a bigger show. We bought her at the beginning of the year from one of our friends, Maurice Robinson, and she’s been great,” noted 16-year-old Colston.

Colston’s family had actually purchased the mare with the intention of breeding her and raising some babies. “She’s actually bred now. I was just going to show her and win some more money on her this year. I know she’s a great horse, and she was really good for me this year,” he said.

Chics Nite is by Gunners Special Nite out of the standout mare Wind Her Up Chic. “She’s a trooper. I just get her ready and stay out of her way,” he said.

Colston hails from Kentucky and gets help from two different trainers. “Two weeks before this I went and rode with Brandon Brant for a week. Then this past week we went to the Red Bud Spectacular, and then I went to the McCutcheons and Cade helped me,” he shared. “I thank my parents, Cade, and Brandon, and everyone at the barn who helps me, too.”

Colston will stay busy this week, as he has three entries in the Non Pro Derby, as well as the 8 & Up Non Pro with Chics Nite on Wednesday.

Tristan Bagby and Shina Gun Win Int. Non Pro (1) and Ltd. Non Pro (1)

With a 145, Tristan Bagby claimed wins in the Intermediate Non Pro (1) and Limited Non Pro (1), and took reserve in the Non Pro (1). Bagby, of Kentucky, was riding eight-year-old Shina Gun, a horse her family raised. “I was happy with him everywhere. There were a couple things we could have improved on, but he was really good,” Bagby said.

Shina Gun is by Gunner and out of Shiner Light. In 2017 he won the NRHA Derby Level 1 Open championship with Barak Gibori for owner Teresa Wynn. “I just started showing him this year,” Bagby shared. “We’re just trying to get together. I thank my trainer, Bobby Avila, my parents, family, and everyone else who supports me.”

Bagby, who is 16 years old, will show Shina Gun in Wednesday’s 8 & Up class. She also has an entry for the Non Pro Derby. “We went to a show in Missouri a couple weeks ago, but this is the first major one,” she said.

Morris Kulmer Wins Prime Time Non Pro [1] on NVR What A Lucky Joe

With a 143.5, Morris Kulmer and his great horse NVR What A Lucky Joe took the top spot in the Prime Time Non Pro (1). It was an added bonus for Kulmer, who had planned to simply use the run as preparation for the Derby. “I was draw 14 and was real surprised I won. I am hoping I didn’t ruin my luck for the Derby,” Kulmer said. “I was just trying to run him through a good pattern and not make mistakes. I was happy with him and hopefully he will be good in the Coliseum.”

Kulmer has owned the six-year-old gelding, by Lil Joe Cash, since the horse was three years old. “I thank Andrea Fappani, because I probably wouldn’t have this horse if not for him. He put a great foundation on him. This horse is Lucky Joe, and I’m Lucky Mo,” Kulmer said. “We had a good time here last year, we’re having a great time here this year, and God willing, we will have a great time here next year.”

Kulmer shared that much of his success is because of his trainer, Dan Huss. “He does a wonderful job with non pros. He took an old man like me and made me a lot better,” he said.

“I thank God Almighty, Dan, the barn crew, my vet, my farrier, and my wife who is my biggest supporter. I also thank NRHA. It’s a crazy time, and just to be here is great. I thank everyone who has helped put this show together. I’m sure it’s been hard,” Kulmer said.

Complete results can be found at

2020 Derby News

6.21.20 – Competition Wraps Up at NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

6.20.20 – Jason Vanlandingham and A Vintage Smoke Win Level 4 Open Championship at 2020 NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

6.20.20 – Adequan® Arena Competition Continues at NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

6.19.20 – Indy Roper Wins Level 4 Non Pro Championship on Spooks Show Time at NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

6.19.20 – Novice Horse Competition Tough at NRHA Derby presented by Markel

6.18.20 – Craig Schmersal and No Smoking Required Win Open Preliminaries of NRHA Derby presented by Markel

6.17.20 – Horse Show Action Continues at NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

6.17.20 – Honstetter and Vanlandingham Lead Open Prelims at NRHA Derby presented by Markel

6.16.20 – Non Pros Are Finals Bound at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel

6.16.20 – Palmer and Leclair Win Novice Horse Open Classes at NRHA Derby presented by Markel

6.15.20 – Larcombe & McCutcheon Lead Non Pro Preliminaries of NRHA Derby presented by Markel

6.15.20 – Competition Heats Up in Adequan® Arena at NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

6.14.20 – A Full Day of Horse Showing at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel

6.13.20 – Early Ancillary Wins for Colston, Bagby, and Kulmer

6.4.20 – Entries Soar for the 2020 NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

5.22.20 – Entries Strong for First Major Event of the Year

5.15.20 – Get Ready to Derby!

4.24.20 – Entry Deadline Extended for NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

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Entries Soar for the 2020 NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) members may have had to stay home for the past few months due to COVID-19, but as the draw nears for the NRHA Derby presented by Markel, it’s clear they’re ready to rein.

March through May brought a drought to the reining industry, with almost all events canceled or postponed. Now, as states ease and lift restrictions, opportunities to compete are growing, and the numbers for the NRHA Derby Presented by Markel have significantly increased from 2019.

“As of June 3, entries for the Open Derby are up by nearly 20%, and the Non Pro is also up substantially,” noted Cheryl Cody of the NRHA Derby management team. “We are excited to have a horse show, and it’s clear that our owners and exhibitors want that, too.”

The Open division increased from 206 horses in 2019 to 242 in 2020, while the Non Pro Derby saw a jump from 214 to 245. Entries in the ancillary classes seem to be on track to exceed 2019 numbers as well.

“We are expecting this to be a very large show,” said Gary Carpenter, NRHA Commissioner. “Besides being up in entries, we are also substantially up in stall reservations. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be some changes, but everyone is on board and ready to do what it takes to have a great event. Let’s Derby!”

The Open and Non Pro Draws will be posted on June 5 at