Tenda Equine Products Sponsor Drag Awards at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel

There are numerous opportunities to win prizes at the 6666® National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel, slated for June 19th-27th in Oklahoma City. The prize pool is set to expand in 2021 as contestants with the highest scoring run of each drag during the Open and Non Pro Preliminaries will win prizes from Tenda Equine Products.

The Tenda drag awards are given at the conclusion of each set and each drag award winner can go to the Super Barn paddock stand and pick up a Tenda bucket containing Tenda Giddy Up Shampoo, Tenda Pods, Tenda Sheen, Tenda Original Poultice or Tenda Hoof oil all generously sponsored by Tenda Equine & Pet Care Products and ThorSport Farm.

“We are glad to have this special benefit for our riders, thanks to Tenda,” said NRHA Events Manager Cheryl Cody. “It’s special and fun for our exhibitors to be able to walk out of the arena and get a gift for topping the set.”

NRHA Senior Director of Corporate Relations and Communications Sammi Miller echoed that sentiment. “Tenda Equine Products are a great addition to NRHA’s Derby award program,” she said. “Thank you to Tenda and ThorWorks Industries for coming on board to sponsor the high point leader of each section inside the Jim Norick Arena!”

Tenda Equine and Pet Care Products has been serving the performance horse industry for over 45 years with a primary goal of developing and manufacturing safe and effective products to promote and improve the overall health, soundness, performance, and overall well-being of equine athletes. For more information, visit the website at https://tendahorse.com.

Skyrocketing Entries Necessitate Schedule Changes for 6666® NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

The 2021 6666® NRHA Derby presented by Markel will be the largest in history in terms of Derby entries. That’s great news; however, with 303 Non Pro and 265 Open entries in the draw, the event will present some logistical challenges.

The increased numbers were a last-minute turn-around that it is thought to be the result of the myriad of new incentives for riders that came from soaring sponsor support.  The Four Sixes Ranch’s guaranteed championship payments in all levels are a factor, as are the opportunities presented by the Story Book Stables Amateur Derby, the Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes, the Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro Stakes, and the GlycoGuard Novice Horse Non Pro and Open Derbies.

It seems that, for many exhibitors, the decision to enter was made at the eleventh hour. NRHA Events Manager Cheryl Cody explained, “The week before draw, we were substantially down in entries. They were so much lower than expected that I had taken my concerns to NRHA management. We were nearly 50 horses off the 2019 numbers, and even more from the 2020 totals. The deadline to be in the draw was Tuesday, June 1, the day after Memorial Day. From Friday evening, May 28, until midnight on June 1, we received more than 200 late Derby entries, as well as a staggering number of horse show entries!”

In checking the NRHA’s historic records, this volume of last-minute entries is unprecedented. Cody continued, “That increase, along with the anticipated accompanying ancillary entries, will make for long days for exhibitors. We have already taken steps to add a day to the show beginning in 2022. Unfortunately for this year, we will have to manage as best we can, because people have already made travel and vacation arrangements.”

NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter is looking forward to the historic event. “We are thrilled to have incredible sponsors whose support has brought us to this level. The funds they have brought in have been spread across so many divisions, benefiting all our exhibitors,” he said. “The explosive growth in our entry numbers this year have far outpaced the available dates. We have adjusted where we could this year, and plan to add another day to the schedule in 2022. We ask everyone for their patience and flexibility this year as we navigate through a record-setting, extraordinary event.”

The 2021 schedule has been modified with changes in start times and in locations for some classes as well as an amended entry deadline and schedule for the AQHA Open Class. Be sure to check the schedule and entry forms online at NRHADerby.com for complete details.

Horse of the West “Short Stirrup Series” Continues at 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel

The National Reining Horse Association has long enjoyed the coverage provided by Horse of The West (formerly NRHA Inside Reining), and the 2021 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel will be featured on the popular RFD-TV program.

According to NRHA Senior Director of Corporate Relations and Communications Sammi Miller, the program helps the NRHA Derby reach a much wider audience.

She said, “Horse of the West, has helped the association to reach new people each year and show them all the excitement of reining.” With the program’s change of focus and expansion to covering both reined cow horse and barrel racing, Horse of the West has increased access to people who are already in the horse business. Their understanding of the complexities of training a horse should help draw them to the reining discipline.

In 2021 Sandbur Productions, creator of Horse of the West, is celebrating 20 years of reining coverage with the “Short Stirrup Series.”  At five unique reining events this year, Horse of the West is providing a special sponsorship to the 10 and Under class and will feature the top two finishers in the TV show.

Jenifer Reynolds of Sandbur Productions has long had a passion for reining and for the industry’s youngest riders. She said, “We want to showcase our youngest riders and encourage their involvement with horses. We hope the Short Stirrup Series will encourage families to get their kids out of the house and onto the back of a horse!”

Like many others in the reining world, Jenifer believes in the benefits of being involved with showing reining horses. “We’ve seen first-hand how young kids learn confidence, responsibility, and appreciation for animals through their involvement in reining. We want to show that benefit to our viewers,” she said.

“The sponsorship by Sandbur Productions and Horse of the West of the Short Stirrup classes is new at the 2021 Derby. Supporting the youth is something dear to NRHA and to have our long-time friends, Jenifer Reynolds and Chris Cook at Horse of the West, come along side to sponsor the youth is something we are proud to announce,” Miller said.

6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel coverage on Horse of the West is scheduled for September 13 and September 20. Remember, the show airs on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. ET on RFD-TV. For those who don’t have RFD-TV, the shows are posted on the Horse of the West YouTube channel.

Horse of the West is a multiple Telly Award and AHP Equine Media Award winning weekly show presenting coverage of reining, reined cow horse, and barrel racing. In 2020 Horse of the West garnered a record 6 million 18+ views on RFD-TV, rural America’s most important network, and is on target to repeat those viewership numbers again in 2021.

Go to www.horseofthewest.tv for a complete show schedule.

2020 NRHA Derby Presented by Markel Breaks Records

The 2020 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel was expecting a subdued look and feel. The Oklahoma State Fair implemented new protocols because of COVID-19. This included increased stall spacing, face mask requirements for staff, mandatory social distancing, and closing the event to the public.

All those measures were followed, but as the event unfolded it became clear that there was nothing subdued about the size of the show or the quality of the competition. The 2020 NRHA Derby presented by Markel became the largest in NRHA history. Not only was there a record number of horses, riders, and entries, the total purse for the show was also record-breaking, surpassing $1.1 million.

The combined payout for the Open and Non Pro Derbies set another record at $1,012,581. The Non Pro Derby had an all-time high payout of $354,620. The Open Derby had the third-highest payout in history, awarding $657,961.

“Our members were very happy that we were able to have this show and their enthusiasm was felt throughout,” said NRHA President Mike Hancock. “Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the exhibitors for their spirit of camaraderie and cooperation. Not only was it a huge show – it was a great one!”

That off-the-charts momentum continued in the Adequan® Arena, where the traditional horse show classes sometimes went well into the night or even the early hours of the next morning. NRHA Events Manager Cheryl Cody said, “When the unprecedented entries became apparent for the first weekend, we were able to shorten two extremely long days by showing concurrently in Arena 6. Once the Derby competition began, we could not do that. Thanks to the commitment of our staff and officials and the cooperation of our exhibitors, we were able to get through those incredibly long days.”

In 2020, there were 1,433 stalls filled – another record. That translated to 820 horses actually entered in the show – up from 664 last year.

The number of riders competing at the event rose substantially as well, going from 499 in 2019 to 637 this year. All that equated to record entry numbers, up to 3,301 entries from 2,750 the previous year.

The huge show led to several career achievements, including three unofficial millionaire milestones. Andrea Fappani’s Open win in the Adequan® Arena early in the week made Rancho Oso Rio LLC an NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner. When Jason Vanlandingham won the Level 4 Open Derby Championship on Saturday evening on A Vintage Smoke, he surpassed the NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider mark in earnings, and his horse’s sire, A Sparkling Vintage, became an NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire.

Competition Wraps Up at NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

A long day of competition at the 2020 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel wrapped up Sunday afternoon. It was the largest Derby in the event’s history, with 3,301 entries – up from 2,750 in 2019. Complete results can be found at NRHADerby.com.

Colt Mitchell Wins Short Stirrup [2] on Playgun Chic Olena in Exciting Runoff

The only run off of the week at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel took place Sunday afternoon in the Jim Norick Arena when Colt Mitchell and Logan Flaherty battled it out for the championship in the Short Stirrup division. It was a hard-fought battle, and in the end, Mitchell finished with the win.

“It was my first run off and I thought it was pretty exciting. My game plan was to do better than I did the first time and just have fun,” Mitchell shared. “Logan did a really good job and showed that horse great, so it was a good competition.”

He added that Playgun Chic Olena, by NRHA Seven Million Dollar Stallion Smart Chic Olena out of Mamas Packin, has never really been a fan of the coliseum. “Each year he gets a little better, and this year was the best,” he said. “My stops in the runoff were the best we have had in a while. I was pretty proud.”

Mitchell added, “I thank my family for supporting me and helping me train him. I also thank the good Lord for keeping me safe and giving me this wonderful horse.”

Madison Rafacz Takes Youth 13 & Under [2] Win on Whizenboonsmal

After a busy week, Madison Rafacz wanted to take the opportunity to show one more time at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel. Sunday’s youth classes were held in the Jim Norick Coliseum, giving her a perfect opportunity to expose her horse to the arena in preparation for the American Quarter Horse Association Youth World Championships.

“He was good today. I just went in there and let him go quiet and see the arena,” the 12-year-old said. Whizenboonsmal is an 8-year-old gelding by Peptoleap out of She Whiz A Star.

While most people might be ready to go home at the end of an event, that’s not the case for her. “I’m not really ready to go home. I don’t like leaving them, especially since we haven’t been to one in a while,” she said.

Luckily, she won’t have to stay home long, as she’ll be competing at the Mid-Atlantic Reining Classic in just two weeks. “I would like to thank my parents and the entire MR barn,” she said.

Lydia Bell Takes Youth 14-18 High Point Championship on Chics Want My Number

Lydia Bell and Chics Want My Number put together two consistent runs over the weekend to win the high point championship of the Unrestricted Youth class. “He was good at this show. There is always stuff to work on, but we just keep going as a team,” she said.

Bell began showing Chics Want My Number, by NRHA 11 Million Dollar Sire Wimpys Little Step out of Dixie Chic Olena, a few years ago. “I got him from Christy Morgan. He was her derby horse, and when she had her son Cooper she decided to sell him. We’re good friends with her, and we were looking for a youth horse for me, so we bought him,” Bell said. “He’s really fun and is a mess. He keeps my life interesting because he’s always playing or getting into things.”

Bell, 17 years old, added, “I thank my parents, Christy Morgan, and God, because who knows where I would be without him.”

Anna Clausen and Smart Tinseltown Win Youth 14-18 [2] and High Point

After tying for the win of the Youth 14-18 on Saturday, Anna Clausen won the class again on Smart Tinseltown with a 143.5. The pair also won the high point for the division.

Earlier this week, Clausen and Smart Tinseltown won the Level 1 8 & Up Non Pro Derby. Smart Tinseltown, owned by Clay Clausen, is by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Smart Spook and out of Tinseltown Lil Step.

Rita Clausen Wins Youth 13 & Under High Point on Kansas City Whiz

It was a good week for Rita Clausen, who finished with the Youth 13 & Under high point championship after winning the class on Sunday and finishing as part of a three-way tie in Sunday’s section. Clausen rode Kansas City Whiz, by Easy Otie Whiz out of Kansas City Royal.

Kansas City Whiz is owned by Clay Clausen.

Bo Van Duys Wins Unrestricted Youth [2] on Voodoo Smokin Annie

Topping the second slate of the Unrestricted Youth [2] was Bo Van Duys and Voodoo Smokin Annie with a 142. Voodoo Smokin Annie, by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr out of Caleys Smokin Peppy.

Logan Flaherty Sweeps Green Reiner Classes on SS Spyderman

It’s been a good week for Logan Flaherty. Just days ago he and SS Spyderman won both Green Reiner classes, and he returned to the Adequan® Arena on the last day of competition to do it again. “He was good for showing three times in a row,” the 9-year-old said. He and the 12-year-old gelding marked a 140 to win the second slate and secure the high point buckle.

His father, NRHA Professional Committee Chairman Patrick Flaherty, said, “I told him to go faster than he did the other day, but he didn’t. I guess he went just the right speed.”

Logan shared he didn’t change anything from the previous day showing and prepared his horse like he always does.

SS Spyderman, by NRHA Twelve Million Dollar Sire Topsail Whiz and out of Chics Velvet Lady, is owned by Jenny Ricotta. “I thank my dad, and I thank Jenny Ricotta for leasing him to me,” Logan said.

Patrick added, “We really thank Marco and Jenny Ricotta. We were looking hard for a horse for him this year, and having trouble finding one when Jenny let us try him. We are lucky to have this horse to show. He’s turning into a really special horse for our family.”

Eduardo Ramirez and Jeweled Out Sweep Rookie 1 and 2 [2]

Eduardo Ramirez schooled Jeweled Out all week leading up to the Jackpot Rookie 1 and 2 [2] classes on Sunday, June 21. It all paid off when the duo laid down a smoking run that scored a cool 144.

The 15-year-old earned his way out of the Level 1 Green Reiner classes last year but has never rode away with a championship. That made this win extra special.

“I’m usually up there in second or third, but this was my first win,” Ramirez said. “I’m really proud of him (Jeweled Out).”

When Ramirez first entered the Adequan® Arena, Jeweled Out was right there with him. The only concern Ramirez had was picking up the right lead.

“He looks everywhere a lot in his right lead,” Ramirez said. “I don’t normally talk, or cluck, to him much, but this time on the right lead I clucked to him to see if I could get his attention and it worked.”

The 9-year-old gelding is by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Cromed Out Mercedes and out of Whiz Jewels. The pair has only been competing together for the last two years. Earlier in the show season Ramirez and Jeweled Out qualified for the Rookie Shootout at the Run for a Million.

Before Ramirez saddled up the gelding, he hadn’t been consistently ridden for a few years. Ramirez got connected with NRHA Professional Luke Gagnon and the rest, as they say, is history.

“I would like to thank Luke Gagnon, Sergio Elia and his wife, and my parents,” he concluded.

Amy Mitchell Wins Prime Time Rookie [2] and High Point on Skeets Forty Five

The Mitchell family had a great ending to the NRHA Derby presented by Markel. While Colt won the Short Stirrup title, his mom Amy pulled off the win of the second slate of the Prime Time Rookie on Skeets Forty Five. She also claimed the high point championship for the division. “I’m probably more excited for Colt right now. It was fun to get to see him in the run off,” she shared. “Today I thought my run was better than the other day. I thought my horse was perfect. All the errors were pilot errors. It was wonderful and I can’t wait to do it again.”

Skeets Forty Five is by Skeets Peppy and out of Select A Forty Five. “This horse belongs to my daughter Molly. We have had him for 11 years, and he’s 16 years old now,” she said. “He’s such a great horse. I have ridden horses my whole life but just recently started reining, and he takes care of me.”

Amy and her family have a busy schedule ahead, with plans to compete at the Mid-Atlantic Reining Horse Classic and the National Reining Breeders Classic, as well as the AQHA Youth World Championship Show. “I thank my family. They’re all very supportive, and I had a lot of friends come and cheer me on the other day. It was a lot of fun,” she said.

Allison Thorson Wins Rooke Level 1 & 2 High Point on Smart Cowboy Whiz

Two consistent runs in the Adequan® Arena resulted in the high point championship of Rookie Levels 1 and 2 for Allison Thorson and Smart Cowboy Whiz. The pair tied for first in the first slate of classes, and second in Sunday’s set. Thorson has owned Smart Cowboy Whiz for only a year, having purchased the gelding just before the 2019 NRHA Derby.

Smart Cowboy Whiz is by Who Whiz It out of Little Smart Jac.