Adequan® Arena Competition Continues at NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

As the weekend got started, ancillary action continued in the Adequan® Arena at the National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel. On Friday, Green Reiners and Rookies had a busy day, and Saturday was all about the youth competitors with the Youth and Short Stirrup classes.

Logan Flaherty Wins Green Reiner 1 & 2 on SS Spiderman

With a score of 145, Logan Flaherty won both Green Reiner classes in the Adequan® Arena on Friday afternoon, June 19. He rode SS Spyderman, a 12-year-old gelding by NRHA 12 Million Dollar Sire Topsail Whiz out of Chics Velvet Lady. “I’ve been showing him about seven months now, and this is my second show for the year,” the 9-year-old explained. “I’ve done pretty well with him. He’s quiet and laid back.”

When asked his show pen strategy, Flaherty, son of NRHA Professional Committee Chairman Patrick Flaherty, shared, “We just go fast, spin, and then go in the show pen.”

Flaherty made sure to thank SS Spyderman’s owner. “I thank Jenny Ricotta for letting me ride this horse. I really appreciate it,” he said.

Tate Wynn Wins Para-Reining on Lil Nu Gunz

Tate Wynn has only been riding Lil Nu Gunz since March, and the NRHA Derby presented by Markel was their first event together. While some riders might have trouble competing on a horse they’ve had only a few months, Wynn handled the class like a pro. “I wasn’t worried about showing him. The only thing I was a little nervous about today was the spins. He’ll sometimes overspin just a little bit, but I timed him just right, and he was able to do it perfectly,” he shared.

Lil Nu Gunz is by Lil Gun and out of Nu Bar Freckles. “Bobby Avila Jr. found him for me,” Wynn said. His mother, Teresa, added, “He came from one of Shannon Rafacz’s clients, Dana Ferguson. She wanted to step up to a derby horse, so he became available, and he and Tate were a perfect match.”
Wynn made sure to thank a few key people. “I thank Bobby Avila Jr., Tristan Bagby, and Taylor Bagby,” he said.

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has made planning shows a little shaky. “I don’t know where we’ll go next. It just depends on the shows and if they cancel or not. We hope to go to the Congress for sure,” Wynn said.

Allison Thorson and Smart Cowboy Whiz Win Rookie Level 1 & 2 [1] Co-Championship

It was one year ago that Allison Thorson and Smart Cowboy Whiz won their very first class together at the 2019 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. That was in the Green Reiner, and now the pair has moved up the ranks into the Rookie. Once again, the pair finished at top of their class in their return to the Adequan® Arena.

“We have a year under our belts showing elsewhere and have used that year to work our way up the system. It’s hard to put it all together, but when you finally can, I was going to be happy no matter the outcome. Plus, there were 93 horses in that class. To be successful in that big of a class is very exciting. I’m very grateful and fortunate to be able to compete with the best of the best in these classes,” Thorson shared.

Thorson and Smart Cowboy Whiz, by Who Whiz It out of Little Smart Jac, will compete in the second slate of Rookie classes on Sunday. “We’ll wipe away our success from today and try again tomorrow,” she said. “It’s eight minutes you go in there to show, but there is a lot leading up to that, so I appreciate the Schmersal Reining Horse team. They’re wonderful, not only in working hard at the barn but also at the shows. They have really helped to put me and Cowboy together as a team. I also thank my family and my boyfriend for all the support.”

Haley Hoffman Takes Rookie Level 1 & 2 [1] Co-Championship on Wilmas Gotta Whiz

It was the first show back since people began sheltering from home, but Colorado’s Haley Hoffman was only a little nervous prior to competing in the Rookie classes on Friday evening. In the end, she and Wilmas Gotta Whiz, owned by her mother, Lisa Hoffman, tied for the win in Levels 1 and 2 with a score of 144. “She walked in really good and calm. Her turns were really good, and she was really dialed in,” Hoffman said.

Lisa raised the mare, by Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Ansons Ole Girl. “My mom also trained her all by herself. I’ve only gotten to show her a couple times, but she is really easy to show,” Haley shared. “I thank my mom and Devin Warren.”

Valencia Pitzing Claims Prime Time Rooke [1] Win With RC Fashion Chic

Valencia Pitzing of Alabama sent her horse RC Fashion Chic to NRHA Professional Ruben Vandorp in Texas for a tune-up more than a year ago, and she’s never brought him home. While she doesn’t have another reiner to practice on at home, it’s clear that the arrangement works, as she and RC Fashion Chic won the Prime Time Rookie [1] with a 140.5. “I don’t even get lessons because I live so far away, and I went about 11 weeks without riding because of COVID-19,” she shared. “We schooled at the Redbud last weekend, and Ruben had my horse ready to go for me.”

RC Fashion Chic is by RC Fancy Step out of Shesa Fashion Chic. “He’s super fun to ride and is just a really nice horse. Last night he was ready, and he was ‘on’ for me in all the maneuvers,” Pitzing said. “I thank Ruben and Arnaud Ferret for always having my horse ready and coaching me. I also thank my family for supporting me and my horse addiction.”

Pitzing and RC Fashion Chic will compete in the second slate of Rookie classes on Sunday. “I’m going to try to step up my turnarounds and rundowns and be better in my stops. My horse can do it, I just have to be better,” she said.

Anna Clausen Ties for Win of Youth 14–18 on Smart Tinseltown [1]

Anna Clausen and Smart Tinseltown are already two-time winners at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel. Earlier this week, the pair won the Level 1 8 & Up Non Pro Derby, and they returned to the Adequan® Arena to tie for the win the first slate of the Youth 14–18.

“We were just trying to go for a nice, chill run where we make sure everything is correct,” Clausen said of her run. “This is not a pattern we typically run, so it was good to practice to make sure your horse is always listening to you.”

Smart Tinseltown, who’s by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Smart Spook out of Tinseltown Lil Step, is owned by Clay Clausen. “We’re showing again tomorrow and are going to do the same thing we did to get him ready today,” she said. “I thank my parents and Patrick Flaherty.”

Brogan Hill and Quik Draw McGraw Tie for Win of Youth 14–18 [1]

Brogan Hill and Quik Draw McGraw have been a team for less than a week, but if Saturday’s run in the Youth 14–18 is any indication, they’ll be a team to beat. “I think he did a phenomenal job, and I couldn’t be more impressed with him,” Hill shared. Hill and Quik Draw McGraw tied for the win of the Youth 14–18 with a 143.

Hill first laid eyes on Quik Draw McGraw, by HF Mobster out of Nestle Quik Chic, at Casey Deary’s place in Weatherford. “I was invited to go to the Deary Ranch and stayed a week. Casey told me to ride this horse. I rode him about three days, and Casey told me he thought I should buy him,” Hill said. “As soon as I got on this horse I fell in love, and we got along super great, and quickly, too.”

The 17-year-old added, “I thank my parents, my friends, Casey Deary for sure, and all the people at Deary Ranch. Most of all, I thank my horse.”

Rita Clausen Wins Youth 13 & Under [1] on Kansas City Whiz

The Clausen sisters were both victorious in Saturday’s classes, with Rita Clausen topping the Youth 13 & Under on Kansas City Whiz. “It was a good run. It was a really funky pattern, and it tripped a lot of people up, but I just tried to steer him around and not really let him do anything crazy,” Clausen shared.

Kansas City Whiz, owned by Clay Clausen, is by Easy Otie Whiz and out of Kansas City Royal. “I’ve been riding him three or four years. He’s just a really great horse and is easy to show,” Clausen said. “I thank my parents and Patrick Flaherty for helping me and supporting me through all this.”

Clausen will show again in tomorrow’s Youth and Green Reiner classes.

Colt Mitchell Takes Short Stirrup Championship on Playgun Chic Olena

It’s Colt Mitchell’s last year in the short stirrup class, and the charismatic competitor is making it count. On Saturday, he and Playgun Chic Olena claimed yet another Short Stirrup victory in the Adequan® Arena. “It was a pretty good run. I had a couple bobbles in there. In my right slow down, he almost broke gait, but I caught him. It wasn’t his fault, because he’s a great horse,” he shared.

Mitchell noted that he’s looking forward to competing in the 13 & Under classes. “I’m pretty excited to start competing in those classes. I figured I’d stick around in the Short Stirrup for now and go for it all,” he said. “I haven’t shown a horse since the NRHA Futurity, but I was ready to go and win.”

Mitchell said he’ll work Playgun Chic Olena, by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Smart Chic Olena out of Mamas Packin, on just a few things before the second slate of Short Stirrup classes on Sunday. “I’m going to work on my slowdowns and how I place myself in those,” he said. “I thank my family for helping and supporting me, and the good Lord for keeping me safe and giving me this awesome horse to show.”

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

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

Indy Roper was all smiles as she exited the Jim Norick Coliseum Arena on Friday evening, June 19, after her first run in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel Non Pro Finals.

She knew her performance on Spooks Show Time was good, and when the score, a 222.5, was announced, the cheers were resounding. However, Roper had drawn number 2 in the Level 4 Non Pro Finals, meaning she had to sweat through 31 additional runs before she was declared the victor. When the last rider had cleared the arena, it became official: Indy Roper had won her first Non Pro Derby Championship; several great prizes, including a year’s use of a beautiful Kyle Zanetti Trailer, a Bob’s Custom Saddle, Anderson Bean Boots, a custom Montana Silversmiths belt buckle, product from Classic Equine, and gift certificates to Platinum Performance, Bluebonnet Feeds, SmartPak, Shorty’s Caboy Hattery, and CINCH; and a check for $18,800. Nominator Bobby Lewis will receive 5% of the total payout.

“I’m speechless. When we started this, winning the Derby was on our bucket list. My dad and I sat down and wrote down what we wanted to accomplish, and this was it. I’ve had many ups and downs in that arena, and this is definitely the pinnacle,” Roper said.

Spooks Show Time, nicknamed “Raymond,” is known for his big stops, so the run-in stop of pattern 10 fit him perfectly. “He ran in, stopped good, and backed up nice. We got through the turns, and then I knew I could push him hard. Like I said, his claim to fame is his stops, so the final three stops showed what he could do,” Roper said.

Roper’s father, Tim, purchased Raymond in 2018 from NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner Rancho Oso Rio. “Andrea and Tish Fappani encouraged us to try him. I liked his demeanor because he’s fun to be around, and he’s smooth to ride,” Roper shared.

Spooks Show Time is by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Dolittle Lena. “He’s 7 now, so he’s done with his derbies, and he has a home for life at Roper Farms. I have twin nieces who are going to be over the moon that he’s coming back. We’ll take him back home and just enjoy him.”

Roper added, “We were so excited when they allowed us to show 7-year-olds in the derbies. Last year we had a little bad luck, so we gave him time off so he could be the healthiest he could be.”

Although Raymond has resided in Arizona with trainer Marco Ricotta, Roper keeps several reining horses at her home in Indiana. “I’m fortunate that we have some reiners at home, and that’s how I stayed in riding shape. Plus, Marco does a great job preparing my horses,” she said. “I thank Marco and Jenny Ricotta and their whole team. I thank my mom and dad, Tim and Linda Roper, and my fiancé, Trent Sidabras. I have a whole cheering crowd back in Indiana.”

Kim Muehlstaetter took the Level 4 Non Pro Reserve Championship and $12,758 on Spooks Grand Slam with a 220. Owned by Kim and her husband, NRHA Professional Martin Muehlstaetter, Spooks Grand Slam is a 6-year-old stallion by Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Shiney Diamond Lady. Spooks Show Time was nominated by Bobby Lewis.

Samantha Smith and Drinkin Moonshine Take Level 3 Non Pro Derby Championship

With a score of 215, Samantha Smith and Drinkin Moonshine clinched the Level 3 Non Pro Derby Championship. They also finished sixth in the Level 4, bringing their total earnings to $21,116. “I feel pretty good right now knowing I won the Level 3. This horse is only 4 years old, and this is the first real major event I’ve taken him to, so I’m really excited for the future,” Smith shared. “He has so much ability.”

While Smith was thrilled with the win, she admitted she could’ve ridden the stallion even better. “I chickened out on two of my stops halfway down there. They were still good, but they could’ve been better. My right turn was just OK, but my left turn was like, ‘Wow! We’re turning fast!’ In my right circles he hooked up good, and he slowed down well. I was really happy with my slow-to-slow lead change. I just wish I hadn’t weakened on those stops,” she said. “I’m really happy because we haven’t had a lot of horse shows. I really only showed him one time in Tulsa.”

Drinkin Moonshine was nominated by Peter Morgan. He’s by Shine Chic Shine out of Wimpy Little Girl, and was actually purchased for her father, NRHA Million Dollar Owner Lance Griffin. “He bought him for himself, and Martin Larcombe showed him for us at the Futurity. When my dad’s back got hurt, I got to show him. I’m not complaining,” she said with a laugh. “I thank my mom and dad. I thank Martin and his family. I especially thank my husband, Daryl, and my son, Hank, who’s my lucky charm. He’s here and we won.”

Next up for Smith and Drinkin Moonshine? “Probably the NRBC in Tulsa in August. I couldn’t have asked for this horse to be better. He’s been maturing quite well. The mistakes that were made in there were mine,” she said.

There was a two-way tie for second in the Level 3 Non Pro between Addisyn Schmersal and McKinnon Larcombe. Each marked a 214. Schmersal rode Black Gun Face, by Black Face Dunnit out of Blazing In Black, owned by Hickory Creek Ranch LLC. Schmersal had also qualified for the Level 2 and Youth finals, bringing her earnings for the night to $15,108. Her mom, Ginger Schmersal, nominated the horse.

Larcombe’s entry, Gunners Bar Fly, is owned by her aunt Shauna Larcombe and was nominated by McQuay Stables. Larcombe and Gunners Bar Fly, by NRHA 11 Million Dollar Side Gunner out of Blonde At The Bar, qualified for the Level 4 and Youth finals, for earnings of $13,820.

Madison Gustin Takes Levels 2 and 1 Non Pro Derby Championships on Win My Cash

Win My Cash is well-suited to his name. With owner Madison Gustin at the reins, the 5-year-old mare won the Level 2 and Level 1 Non Pro Derby Championships and checks totaling $12,638.

Not only was it a first derby win for 17-year-old Madison, it was her first derby, ever. “I’m on cloud nine. This is a dream come true,” she shared.

Gustin and Win My Cash, nominated by Carluccio Orsi, competed in the first section of the Non Pro Derby finals, where they marked a 214.5. “She’s been pretty nervous recently, so I just went in hoping for her to stay calm, have a clean run, and improve from the first go. She was perfect for me and let me take her. We ran a little harder, and it was a lot of fun,” Gustin recounted.

Win My Cash is by Lil Joe Cash and out of Win My Shine. The mare was trained by Kaci O’Rourke of Pond Hill Performance horses. “We bought her during her 3-year-old year at the Futurity where Kaci showed her,” Gustin shared. “It’s been quite the journey.”

Gustin has ridden with Casey Deary since she was 8 years old. “I thank everyone at Deary Performance Horses. They’re all so supportive and have helped me get where I am. Casey Deary has been the absolute best coach there is. Thank you to my parents for never giving up on me and allowing me to follow my dreams,” she said.

Earning the Level 1 Reserve Co-Championship were Giorgia Medows and Rachel Tillman with a 212.5. Medows piloted Isnt She Perfect, a 5-year-old mare owned by her mother, Amy. Nominated by Tamarack Ranch, the mare is by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Walla Walla Whiz and out of Miss Silver Gun. Tillman rode Benjamin Sprite, a 6-year old gelding by NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Custom Crome out of Whiz Jewels. The gelding is owned by Kelly Tillman and was nominated by Bahn Quarter Horses.

Michael Garnett Wins Masters Non Pro Title With Hollywood Nites

Michael Garnett has made the Non Pro Finals at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel several times, but for him, the achievement never gets old. Garnett and his 7-year-old stallion Hollywood Nites took the Master’s Non Pro win with a 211.5 (including handicap). They also placed in the Level 4 finals, for total earnings of $2,580. “Any time you can win anything down here, you need to feel pretty fortunate,” he shared. “My little horse was pretty good tonight. He beat me on one stop and kind of set up, but other than that he showed pretty well.”

Garnett has owned Hollywood Nites, by NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite out of NRHA Million Dollar Dam Dun It For Chex, since the colt was 3 years old. He was purchased from Cardinal Hill Training Center, who nominated the horse. “I started showing him as a 4-year-old, and I think he’s won pretty close to $100,000 now. He’s been a nice horse,” Garnett shared. “My goal here was to make the Level 4 finals, which we did, so I’m pretty happy.

“I thank Franco Bertolani for selling me this horse for Cardinal. I thank Martin Muehlstaetter and all his staff. They’re really good people and it’s a good fit,” Garnett continued.

Tying for second in the Masters Prime Time were Tamra Kyle on KR Smart Dreamer and Frederick Christen on Blonde Ambishen. Each marked a 210 (including handicap). KR Smart Dreamer, by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Magnum Chic Dream out of Smart Shiney Lena, was nominated by her husband, Pete Kyle. Blonde Ambishen, by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr out of Relaxin With A Bud, was nominated by Lisa Neiberger.

Sam Flarida Wins Youth Non Pro Championship With Hollywooddirtysecret

He was the last youth rider to compete in the second section of the Non Pro Derby finals, and Sam Flarida put on a show. He and Hollywooddirtysecret completed impressive maneuver after impressive maneuver, resulting in a score of 219.5. Not only did that win the Youth Non Pro, it was good enough to tie for third in the Level 4. The pair won $10,651.

For Flarida, the good run in the finals was the redemption he needed. “This feels really good. I felt like I let him down last year in the finals, and this year we really felt together. This is his first time showing in a full year. I’m so proud of him for coming back. He feels better than he ever has, and he seems happy and healthy,” Flarida shared.

Hollywooddirtysecret, a 5-year-old gelding, is by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Hollywoodtinseltown out of Maximum RPM. He was nominated by Patricia Duque. “We’ve had him since he was a yearling, and I’ve always had a connection with him. He was always the one that would come to me and stuff like that, so we’ve always had something there,” he said. “This horse gives you a special feeling about yourself. He makes you feel like you can do anything in the world, and he gives his all every time.”

Sam is the son of NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida. “My dad knew I was ready, so when it was time to show he just said to have fun and told me we were going to do well no matter what,” the 17-year-old shared. “I thank my whole family for everything and the whole Shawn Flarida Reiners group.”

Jennifer Neudorf and Shining In Town, who swept last year’s Non Pro Derby finals, finished second in the Youth Non Pro and fifth in the Level 4, for total earnings of $8,665. Shining In Town, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Hollywoodstinseltown out of Shine Ann, was nominated by the Sather Family Partnership.

Tami Nelson Wins Prime Time Non Pro Derby Championship on Mr Masota Star

Prior to entering the Jim Norick Coliseum for the Prime Time Non Pro Derby Finals, Tami Nelson’s trainer, NRHA Million Dollar Rider Brian Bell, told her, “You’ve done the homework, now go take the test.”

With the exam over, it’s safe to say Nelson passed with flying colors, piloting her horse Mr Masota Star to a 215.5 (with handicap) to win the Prime Time Championship. “He was amazing. He was perfect everywhere. My game plan was just go run hard and not make any mistakes. He did what I asked and was perfect,” Nelson said of her horse, by NRHA 11 Million Dollar Sire Wimpys Little Step out of Cee Another Masota. The pair also finished well in Levels 2 and 3, with total earnings for the night of $9,673.

Nelson and Mr Masota Star were working on a strong run in the preliminary round when they had a bit of bad luck. “We fell out of lead coming down to the small slow, so we had a pretty big penalty,” she shared. “He was good everywhere else and he was so solid and good for me.”

Mr Masota Star is a 6-year-old stallion Nelson purchased from George and Carol Bell, who nominated the horse, in October. “This horse does everything well. He drags his butt, he can spin, and he can circle. I haven’t had many horses that do all the parts really strong, and he does. I love him,” she said.

Nelson credits her recent move—closer to her trainer—for her success. “I actually just moved closer to Brian so I can get a lot of riding in. Before this, I was driving about 360 miles one way to ride, so the 16 miles I drive now is a big difference, and it’s been great,” she said. “I thank Brian and all his team for their help, as well as my family.”

Francesca Sternberg took reserve honors in the Prime Time Non Pro with a 214.5 (with handicap) on her horse Spooks Gotta Lena. The pair also placed in the Level 4 and Level 3 to win $10,842. Spooks Gotta Lena, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz out of Dolittle Lena, was nominated by Bobby Lewis.

Adam Donahue Wins Bob’s Custom Saddles Novice Horse Non Pro Derby on Not Ruf

The Bob’s Custom Saddle Novice Horse Non Pro Derby division debuted in the 2019 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. It was a hit with exhibitors and brought back for this year’s event.

The 2020 non pro division champion was decided during the preliminary round that ended on Tuesday, June 16. Adam Donahue and Not Ruf took the win and accompanying check for $4,351 with a 216.5. That score also qualified the pair for the finals of the Non Pro Derby in Levels 4–3 and Prime Time.

Donahue purchased 4-year-old Not Ruf in April of the gelding’s 3-year-old year. “He was originally trained by Bobby Avila Jr. and then went to Shawn Flarida for a while before I got him. I showed him here last year in the Futurity and had a little bad luck,” he shared.

Not Ruf is by Not Ruf At All and out of Kays Freckles. “He’s been a really nice horse. He’s big and physical and nice to have around,” Donahue said. “He’s starting to become a show horse now. He was a little immature as a 3-year-old, but he’s getting better every week, and I can’t wait until next year.”

Donahue, of Missouri, had planned to show Not Ruf in the Non Pro Challenge at the Run for a Million, but with the event being canceled, he’s unsure where he’ll take his horse next. “I thank Vaughn and Justin Zimmerman for breeding such nice horses. I get a lot of help from Kenny Eppers and ride with Bobby Avila Jr. every day because we’re at the same barn together. It’s a great group of people I’m surrounded by,” he said.

Tabitha Sternberg Allen and Holly Trashya took second in the Bob’s Custom Saddles Novice Horse Non Pro Derby with a 215, winning $2,648. Holly Trashya, owned by Francesca Sternberg, is by NRHA Two Million Sire Gunnatrashya out of Hickorys Holly Cee.

Novice Horse Competition Tough at NRHA Derby presented by Markel

For Immediate Release – June 19, 2020 – Oklahoma City, OklahomaThursday was a full day of competition in the Adequan® Arena at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel. In addition to the class winners, there were several high point championships awarded in the Novice Horse Open and Novice Horse Non Pro classes.

Abigayle Mixon Wins Novice Horse Open Level 1 [2] on Thischicsdunwhizit

With a score of 144.5, Abigayle Mixon and Thischicsdunwhizit won the Novice Horse Open Level 1 [2], adding $788 to the horse’s lifetime earnings. “She was really good. She went in quiet, turned good, and circled great. She might be the funnest horse I’ve ever circled. Then she ran and stopped really well, so I was really happy with her,” Mixon said. “My last show before COVID-19 was Tulsa this spring, and then we came to the Redbud before this.”

Thischicsdunwhizit, owned by Deborah Thompson and Diane Witkin, is by Walla Walla Whiz and out of This Chic Dun It. “I got her last summer and rode her for a while. She needed some time off at the first of the year, but I’ve had her pretty steady recently,” Mixon said. “I thank the owners Diane and Deborah. They’re great. They give this mare anything she needs, which makes my job easier. I also have a great support system at home with my husband and family, and my staff is amazing.”

Rodrigo Nieves and Hesa Rockin Whiz Tie for Win of Nov. Horse Open Level 2 & 3 [2]

With a score of 144, Rodrigo Nieves and Hesa Rockin Whiz tied for the win of the Novice Horse Open Levels 2 and 3 and finished second in the Level 1. All totaled, the pair won $1,538. “Yesterday Duane Latimer gave me the opportunity to show this horse in the Novice Horse Open. Thank you Duane Latimer and XCS Ranch for the opportunity,” Nieves said.

“Duane showed this horse last year, and now I have the opportunity to show him. This was the first show I had with him, but the plan is to show at the NRBC this year together,” Nieves said.

Hesa Rockin Whiz is by NRHA 12 Million Dollar Sire Topsail Whiz and out of A Bueno Poco Dunit. The 4-year-old stallion is owned by Roxanne Koepsell.

Michelle Chapman and Reyny Day Dreamer Win Nov. Horse Open Level 2 & 3 [2] Co-Championship

Michelle Chapman and Reyny Day Dreamer claimed the co-championship of the Novice Horse Open Level 2 & 3 after marking a 144 in Thursday night’s competition. The wins were worth a cool $1,023. “He was really good. We tried some different warmup techniques for this run,” she shared.

Reyny Day Dreamer, by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Magnum Chic Dream and out of Reyny Chex, is owned by Carolyn Tracey Brose and Maron Neff. “He’s been a really special horse. He’s homegrown and home raised, so that has been super awesome for my customers Tracy and Maron,” Chapman said. “I started him as a baby and showed him here at the NRHA Futurity where we made the Level 1 finals. I’ve ridden him a long time and he’s been a joy to train and go show.”

Chapman is looking ahead to the next event, which will likely be the Summer Slide in Denver, Colorado. “We’re excited to go compete there and give it a try,” she said. “I thank God. He’s number one in my life. Thanks to Tracy and Maron who own the horse, my husband and family who support me, and all the people along the way who have been great to me.”

Trevor Dare and Ruffed Up Spooks Win Nov. Horse Open Level 1 & 3 High Point

Trevor Dare and Ruffed Up Spooks put together two consistent runs in the Novice Horse Open classes to win the high point buckle for Levels 1 and 3. “He’s a little greener but is a really good, strong horse. I thought we would try to show him in the novice horse classes here,” Dare shared.

Ruffed Up Spooks, a 4-year-old stallion, is by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Gun out of All Ruffed Up. “I’ve had him since the first of January. He was in training with Duane Latimer last year, and Duane got him really broke and feeling really good. It was fun to take over,” Dare said.

Dare made a couple minor tweaks between the two slates of classes. “The first day I trusted him a little too much in his stops. The ground was a little faster than he’s used to, so I didn’t want to pick up on him too much. The second run I got him stopped a little stronger, but he was similar on both runs. I think he will be a horse show horse,” Dare said. “He’s for sale so if someone buys him, that’s awesome, but if not I hope to continue to show him.”

Jared Leclair Wins Nov. Horse Open Level 2 High Point on Lime A Rita

Jared Leclair and Lime A Rita can constantly be found near the top of results, and on Thursday the duo clinched the Novice Horse Open Level 2 high point championship. Lime A Rita, owned by Susan Meyer, is by Custom Legend and out of She Slides Wright.

Kristen Avila and Xtra Voodoo Sinbar Win Novice Horse Non Pro Levels 2 and 3 [2]

Kristen Avila and Xtra Voodoo Sinbar had a little tough luck in the Non Pro Derby preliminary round, but the Novice Horse Non Pro class was the perfect opportunity to make some adjustments while in Oklahoma City. “We had two and a half points worth of penalties in the Derby, so I thought we would come back here and redeem ourselves,” Avila shared.

She and the 5-year-old mare did just that, winning Levels 2 and 3, as well as $2,252, with a 143. “Her run today was good. I just wanted to cruise her through the pattern. Since we were just coming off a run, I didn’t want to run her really hard today. We just scaled it back, took it easy, and cruised through,” she said.

Avila and her husband, Bobby Avila, Jr., have owned Xtra Voodoo Sinbar, since her yearling year. The mare is by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Wimpy Little Sinbar. “I have done really well with her. She’s a really neat mare, and definitely my princess,” Avila admitted. “I thank my husband for always being there to coach and support me, and the rest of my family who is there for us.”

Avila is considering attending the Mid Atlantic Reining Classic in Lexington, Virginia, in July, and then the National Reining Breeders Classic in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in late August.

Madison Rafacz Claims Novice Horse Non Pro Levels 2 and 3 High Point on Hezza Rowdy Whiz

Consistency is a key component of success, so there’s little doubt that young Madison Rafacz of Florida will be successful. On Thursday she claimed two more high point awards, this time in the Novice Horse Non Pro on her horse  Hezza Rowdy Whiz. “I marked a 142 earlier this week. He was really good then, and so good for me today, so I’m really proud of him,” Rafacz shared.

Hezza Rowdy Whiz, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Conquistador Whiz out of CF Glad Rags, is owned by Madison’s parents Shannon and Mark Rafacz. “He’s a super fun horse. I have been showing him since last August and we’ve gotten along pretty well. My dad was showing him, but I took him over because he likes me more,” she said with a smile.

Rafacz isn’t done showing. She’ll compete in both slates of youth classes over the weekend on Hezza Rowdy Whiz and her other horse Whizenboonsmal. “I thank my parents and the whole MR team. I also thank my grandma, who I call Naynay. She always calls to cheer me on, so I want to thank her,” she shared.

Nicole Ellis and Xtra Sparkles N Town Win Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 High Point

Nicole Ellis and Xtra Sparkles N Town might have struggled their first couple years together, but the two had their chemistry right at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel. There the pair claimed the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 high point championship.
“The first two years were pretty bad, but it got better the end of last year, and this one has been the best yet. We had our best score ever and we’re starting to connect,” Ellis shared.

Xtra Sparkles N Town is by NHA Two Million Dollar Sire Hollywoodstinseltown and out of Sparkling Radiance. “She’s about the weirdest horse I have ever ridden, but she’s so sweet. She’s going to show in the Green Reiner tomorrow with my 13-year-old sister. She is a show machine,” Ellis said. “She showed great both Sunday and today. She’s always the same.”

The high point buckle isn’t even the high point of Ellis’ time in Oklahoma City. She’ll be competing in the Level 1 Non Pro Finals on Friday! “It’s my very first finals ever,” she said. Ellis will compete in the first section of the Non Pro Finals on KR Lovetts Shine. “I thank my trainer Kelly Sapp, my whole barn family, my farrier Dan Yarbrough, and my mom Michel Ellis.”

Victoria Lambert and her horse Goodtime Tinseltown won the Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 [2]. Goodtime Tinseltown, by Hollywoodstinseltown out of Good Time Whiz Girl, is owned by Lambert’s husband Carl. Lambert and Goodtime Tinseltown marked a 142.5 to win $883.

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

For Immediate Release – June 18, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The preliminary rounds of the National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel are in the books. The open preliminaries were held June 17-18 and featured 247 talented entries, each vying for a chance in the clean-slate finals.

With COVID-19 regulations requiring the event to be closed to the public, the whoops and hollers that typically emit from the Coliseum were shockingly subdued. The competition, on the other hand, was intense as ever.

Craig Schmersal and No Smoking Required impressed the judges with an impeccable run, securing the go-round win with a 223. No Smoking Required, Schmersal’s 2019 Level 4 Open Derby Reserve Champion, is by NRHA 11 Million Dollar Sire Gunner out of Icing Required. The 7-year-old stallion, owned by Wranglen Partnership, also carried Schmersal to the 2019 Run For a Million Co-Championship. No Smoking Required was nominated by Carluccio Orsi.

Topping the Open Level 3 and Open Level 2 was Arno Honstetter and Shine Yur Gun. The pair also tied for second in the Level 4. Shine Yur Gun, a 6-year-old stallion by Gunner and out of Lil Miss Shiney Chex, is owned and nominated by Carol Rose.

Winning the preliminary round of the Level 1 Open was Marie Kleiner and Pale Face Gunslinger with a 220. The 6-year-old stallion, by Pale Face Dunnit and out of Lost In Tinseltown, is owned and nominated by Tim Anderson.

Winning the Open Prime Time was Ann Salmon Anderman and her 4-year-old stallion Maximum Mag with a 221.5. Maximum Mag, by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Magnum Chic Dream and out of Dunit A Lil Ruf, was nominated by Anderman.

The Bob’s Custom Saddles Novice Horse Open Derby winner is decided during the preliminary round, and Fernando Salgado claimed the win with a 219 on Gotta Shiney Peso. Gotta Shiney Peso, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Cee Bee Shine, is owned by Pedro Herandez. The 4-year-old stallion was nominated by Diane Beckmann. Look for coverage of the Novice Horse Open Derby winner in Saturday’s news.

Unofficially a 217.5 was the magical number for Level 4 finals hopefuls, and Open Level 3 riders were shooting for a 215.5 It took a 213 to make it back for the Level 2 finals, and the bubble score in the Open Level 1 was a 202.5 The Open Finals begin Saturday, June 20, at 11 a.m., with the Open Level 4 finalists competing at 5 p.m.

For more information and complete results, visit

Horse Show Action Continues at NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

For Immediate Release – June 17, 2020 – Oklahoma City, OklahomaHorse show competition at the National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel continued Wednesday, June 17. The Non Pros reigned supreme in the Adequan® Arena, competing in the normal ancillary classes as well as the 8 & Up Derby.

8 & Up Level 4 Non Pro Derby and Non Pro [2] Champion – Lane Colston and Chics Nite

Lane Colston started out his week at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel with a win on Chics Nite. He and the standout mare returned to the Adequan® Arena on Wednesday for another win, this time claiming the Level 4 Non Pro 8 & Up Derby Championship. He also won the concurrently-run Non Pro [2] class, clinching the Non Pro high-point buckle. All totaled, Colston and Chics Nite won $5,227.

“She was really good,” Colston said of Chics Nite, an 8-year-old mare by NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite out of Wind Her Up Chic. The pair marked a 145. “I pushed her a little harder than I did the other day, and she was really good for me. She did everything I asked to the best of her ability. On the last stop she kind of picked her foot up, but it was because she jerked her front shoe off. She tried her hardest and I couldn’t have asked for a better ride.”

Colston, of Kentucky, is already looking to the next event. “I might show her at one of our shows in Kentucky, and then probably not anymore until the NRBC. She’s pregnant and will have a Magnum With A Dream baby next year,” he said. “I thank my parents Kevin and Amy Colston. I thank Tom, Mandy, and Cade McCutcheon for their support, and also Brandon Brant who helped me with this mare a few weeks ago. They are all always there for me.”

8 & Up Level 3 Non Pro Derby Co-Champion – Bailey Kolsun and Diamond Studded Guns

Bailey Kolsun and Diamond Studded Guns marked a 144.5 in the Adequan® Arena to tie for the win of the 8 & Up Level 3 Non Pro Derby. Having also entered in the Level 4, as well as the horse show Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro, the Texan pocketed $3,031.

“He was awesome for me today. He stopped huge and circled big, so I was really happy with him,” Kolsun shared.

It was only the third show back after quarantine for Kolsun, of Pilot Point, Texas. “We schooled at Hamilton, and then were here for the Red Bud. I missed showing so much,” she said.

Kolsun has owned 8-year-old Diamond Studded Guns, by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya and out of Like To Flo, since his 3-year-old year. “He was too green as a 3-year-old to be shown, but I’ve shown him pretty much every time he’s been in the pen, except for a few times when my trainer Ruben Vandorp showed him,” she said. “I thank Ruben, the assistants, and all my good friends at the barn. I also thank my parents back home who are stuck across the border in Canada.”

8 & Up Level 3 Non Pro Derby Co-Champion – Madison Rafacz and Whizenboonsmal

Madison Rafacz and Whizenboonsmal are always a team to watch, and a few months of quarantine didn’t change that. With a score of 144.5, Rafacz and Whizenboonsmal took the 8 & Up Level 3 Non Pro Derby Co-Championship and also finished high in the Level 4 Derby and Non Pro [2], worth a cool $4,131.

“I didn’t really know I was going to show here, and he’s pretty much just been a fat pony at home,” Rafacz said of Whizenboonsmal, an 8-year-old gelding by Peptoleap out of She Whiz A Star. “When we came here I figured we would just do what we always do. I just went in and showed the horse I had, and it went well.”

Rafacz has been busy the past couple weeks, and will stay that way through the end of the Derby. “We were home for three days from a show in South Carolina, and then we came here. I’ll show again in the novice tomorrow, and then I have this horse and another one in the youth later this week,” she said.

Rafacz added, “I thank my parents especially, and the entire MR team. They’re just my best friends and I appreciate them a lot.”

8 & Up Level 2 Non Pro Derby Champion and Int. Non Pro [2] Co-Champion – Bundy Lane and Gunner Gump

Winning the Level 2 of the 8 & Up Non Pro Derby was Bundy Lane and Gunner Gump with a 143.5. Lane also placed in the Level 3, Level 4, the Non Pro [2], Intermediate Non Pro [2], and the Prime Time Non Pro [2]. Not only did Lane rake in $5,146, he won the high-point buckle for the Intermediate Non Pro and the Prime Time Non Pro.

Gunner Gump is by NRHA 11 Million Dollar Sire Gunner and out of Little Patrasha Gump.

8 & Up Level 1 Non Pro Derby Champion – Anna Clausen and Smart Tinseltown

Anna Clausen and Smart Tinseltown were looking for redemption when they walked into the Adequan® Arena to compete in the 8 & Up Non Pro Derby. “It didn’t go too well in the first slate of non pro classes. I made sure to get the pattern correct in my head today before I showed, and it helped,” the 16-year-old shared.

With a 143, Clausen took sole possession of the Level 1, and also placed in the top five of Levels 2 through 4. Cross entered into the Non Pro [2] and the Intermediate Non Pro [2], Clausen won $3,813. “Today he was great. He is always good, it’s just a matter of getting me right, and it happened today. He’s always there for me when we’re going to show. I love him,” Clausen said of Smart Tinseltown, who’s by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Smart Spook out of Tinseltown Lil Step.

Since the quarantine, Clausen was only able to compete one time prior to the Derby. “I showed at the Mother’s Day Slide, but before that we’ve just been home riding almost every day. It’s just not the same as a horse show, so we’re glad to be here,” she said. “I thank my parents Andrea and Clay Clausen, and Patrick Flaherty.”

Int. Non Pro [2] Co-Champion – Kimberly Horner and Lil Red Dreamer

When her run in the Non Pro Derby didn’t go as planned, Kimberly Horner decided to enter Lil Red Dreamer in the Intermediate Non Pro [2]. “We made a few mistakes in the Derby and couldn’t stay out of the penalty box, so I came back and showed him today,” she explained. The pair tied for the win of the class, worth $1,059. “It was mainly to work on me and boost my confidence before we head to the NRBC later this year. This helped quite a bit with that.”

Horner has owned Lil Red Dreamer, by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Magnum Chic Dream out of Skeets Red Dunit, a little over a year. “He’s super easy. Today we just made an easy, relaxed ride, and it worked well. Now he’s going to head home for some rest, but I’ll stay, and my daughter Faith will show in the youth classes,” Horner said.

It was the first event back for Horner, who quarantined with her family in Florida. “We were there for three months and didn’t even ride. I needed a reason to come back, and once I saw the Derby was on, we loaded up the car and came back to Texas. It feels wonderful to be back at a horse show,” she said. “I thank my trainer Casey Hinton and his team. I also thank my family. My husband and kids are all supportive. I also thank my mom who wasn’t able to come but is one of my biggest fans.”