Spooks Gotta Gun Leaves a Legacy

On Friday, November 10, Michael and Michelle Miola announced on their joint Facebook page that Spooks Gotta Gun had passed the day before. The stallion by Grays Starlight and out of Katie Gun had just crossed the NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire mark the same week.

“It is with great sadness and tears that I have to announce that our precious Spooks Gotta Gun passed away yesterday morning. He was so loved and cared for by everyone at Silver Spurs; it will not be the same without him,” the Facebook post stated.

Bred by Eric Storey, the stallion traded hands a few times before being purchased by current owner Silver Spurs Equine in 2010.

Andrea Fappani rode him to a third-place finish in the Derby Level 4 Open at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby during his show career, earning $31,864. The next month, the pair won the Derby Level 4 Open at Reining By The Bay, winning $10,000. Spooks Gotta Gun earned a total of $79,603 in the show pen between four NRHA Professionals: Clint Haverty, Shawn Flarida, Abigayle Mixon, and Fappani.

With nearly 300 offspring with NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE), Spooks Gotta Gun’s progeny record is stacked. Most notably, he is the sire to recent NRHA Hall of Fame inductee and Six Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz. ‘Baby’ was pivotal to Spooks Gotta Gun’s journey to his first million—garnering nearly $350,000 toward the sire’s offspring earnings.

Since crossing the $2 million mark in 2018, one horse has risen above the rest in ushering Spooks Gotta Gun to his next NRHA milestone: Spooks Gotta Tinsel (Tinsel Tiara). The 2018 stallion bred by Domingo Alvarado is owned by Lance Griffin. Since his show career began in 2021, Spooks Gotta Tinsel has $120,960 in NRHA LTE. His biggest win came this year during The Run For A Million, where Francesco Martinotti piloted the stallion to a 6th place finish in the Million Dollar Competition and earned a check for $45,000.

Spooks Gotta Gun’s top-earning offspring are:

  • Spooks Gotta Whiz (out of Prettywhizprettydoes), owned by Michell Anne Kimball, bred by Clint Haverty, earning $345,138
  • Spooksgottachicolena (out of Braz Us), owned by Harper Lawson, bred by Reinbow Ridge Equestrian, earning $152,949
  • Oops Itsa Spooks (out of Tejons Finally Dunit), owned by AC Quarter Horses LLC, bred by Silver Spurs Equine, earning $125,427
  • Spooks Gotta Tinsel (out of Tinsel Tiara), owned by Lance Griffin, bred by Domingo Alvarado, earning $120,960
  • Ifwhizswereguns (out of Ifwhizsweredollars), owned by Silver Spurs Equine, bred by Tanya Jenkins, earning $118,578

NRHA offers our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Spooks Gotta Gun. His influence on the reining community will be forever remembered, and we are thrilled to honor his life with the announcement of his accomplishment as an NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire.

Leclair Cracks the Code to $1 Million in NRHA Rider Earnings

Reining is a sport demanding exceptional skill, dedication, and passion. These are traits the top riders in the industry share and are true of the newest National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Professional who marked his name in the history books. After a great performance at the Southwest Reining Horse Association (SWRHA) Futurity last month, Jared Leclair surpassed an earnings milestone and was crowned an NRHA Million Dollar Rider.

“I knew going into the SWRHA Futurity that I was about $3,100 away from the milestone, and I only had one futurity horse to show to make it happen,” said Leclair. “I didn’t really have any pressure – I told myself I would get there when the time was right and that whenever it happened, it was meant to be. It was cool to do it at my affiliate in my backyard, with my customers and barn family there so they could all be part of it too.”

Leclair became an NRHA member in 1992 when he began competing in youth classes. He found success on his first trip in the show pen—riding Sugaretta Bar Band to a first-place finish in the 13 & Under at the NERHA/CRHA Reining. Eventually, that success led Leclair to non pro and eventually open competition. His first earnings were recorded in 1997, beginning the journey to this historic milestone.

“As a kid, it is always a dream to be an NRHA Million Dollar Rider, and I am thankful to be part of that elite group of riders, said Leclair. “I have had different goals in my life, to be on the cover of the reiner, which I was able to do, to be a million dollar rider. My next goal is to win the NRHA Futurity like everyone else –it’s what we wake up in the morning for. It is a tough business, it is a lifestyle, and you have to love it – and I love riding horses. I am fortunate to make a living doing what I love.”

After becoming an NRHA Professional, Leclair worked for Steve Simon at Quarter Mount Farm. From there, he went to McQuay Stables and worked with NRHA Hall of Famer Tim McQuay. This work led him to establish Leclair Performance Horses in Tioga, Texas, in 2007. He and his wife, Karla, have built a successful reining business—breeding, training and coaching. In 2019, Leclair was named the NRHA Non Pro Coach of the Year, and he currently serves on the NRHA Judges Committee.

Many horses and performances have helped usher Leclair to $1 million in earnings; however, one special horse stands out among the rest—Electric Code. ‘Cody’ is a 2005 stallion by Jacs Electric Spark and out of Hot Coded Candy. Bred by Janice Free, Cody has been owned by Leclair from the beginning. Initially, he was part owners with Daniel Dugan and then took full ownership in 2014.

Electric Code boasts over $204,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE). Nearly all those earnings came with Leclair at the reins. The duo’s best year in the show pen came in 2008. During the NRHA Futurity that year, they were crowned the Level 3 Open Champions and placed 3rd in the Level 4—adding more than $125,000 to their respective LTE. Since then, the duo has transitioned their success through Leclair’s breeding program. Last year, Cody added to his accolades as he became an NRHA Million Dollar Sire.

“I never thought I could have an NRHA Million Dollar Sire when I was growing up, but to do that last year and then become an NRHA Million Dollar Rider this year was really meaningful,” he said.

Heading into the SWRHA Futurity, Leclair was less than $5,000 away from hitting this historic milestone. He and Nicol Callaway’s Temptedtoshine (PS Mega Shine Chic x Misters Temptress) rode to a third-place finish in the Billingsly Ford Open Futurity. The Adh-Mor Ranch-bred gelding helped push Leclair over the million-dollar mark with a $9,000 paycheck.

“There are so many people to thank; my wife is a huge support of mine,” said Leclair. “I may be the one who accomplished it, but there is a huge team effort to get to that point.

“It isn’t just about me; it is about everyone who helped me get here, and that would probably require an additional page just to thank all of them! From horses I showed 18 years ago to owners, assistants, and all of the people on my team along the way – there is so much that goes into this. You see the success at the end of it, but it is a lot of work along the way. You have you wake up in the morning and want to work your butt off and go be somebody.”

Leclair’s top earning finishes during his career include:

  • 2008 NRHA Level 4 Open Futurity 3rd Place aboard Electric Code (Jacs Electric Spark x Hot Coded Candy), owned by Jared Leclair and bred by Janice Free, earning $99,586
  • 2006 NRBC Level 3 Open Champion aboard Dun It In Tinseltown (Hollywood Dun It x Miss Tinseltown), bred and owned by David Silva, Sr., earning $27,543
  • 2008 NRHA Level 3 Open Futurity Champion aboard Electric Code (Jacs Electric Spark x Hot Coded Candy), owned by Jared Leclair and bred by Janice Free, earning $26,188
  • 2008 SWRHA Level 4 Open Futurity Champion aboard Electric Code (Jacs Electric Spark x Hot Coded Candy), owned by Jared Leclair and bred by Janice Free, earning $19,494
  • 2005 NRBC Level 3 Open Reserve Champion aboard Dun It In Tinseltown (Hollywood Dun It x Miss Tinseltown), bred and owned by David Silva, Sr., earning $15,644

NRHA congratulates Jared Leclair on this incredible achievement and applauds his contributions to the reining community. We look forward to witnessing his continued success and the positive influence he will have on the future of the sport as an NRHA Million Dollar Rider.

Fast Track to Four Million for Casey Deary

Fans of reining and members of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) alike have seen NRHA Professional Casey Deary holding a top spot among leaderboards this past year, which led to his latest accomplishment, becoming an NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider. Deary passed this milestone just over one year after becoming an NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider.

A multiple-time NRHA Futurity Champion, NRHA Derby Champion, and World Champion in the American Quarter Horse and American Paint Horse Associations, Deary is no stranger to the winner’s circle. His incredible journey to this accomplishment is a testament to his unwavering dedication, exceptional talent, and numerous wins within the reining industry, specifically over the past year.

In 2023, Deary has notched a series of sensational victories that have solidified his position as one of the most dominant riders in the reining world. These wins include The American Performance Horseman (TAPH) Reining Champion, National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) Championship, 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel Championship, and third in the Million Dollar Competition at The Run for a Million (TRFAM).

The titles alone are impressive, but the fact that he earned all of them within six months on the same stallion adds to the prestige. Deary and Down Right Amazing (Gunner x Shesouttayourleague) added $383,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE) to their names this year. The pair were simply unstoppable. Owned by DAG Ventures LLC and bred by Curtis Performance Horses LLC, the stallion has over $600,000 in NRHA LTE, all with Deary at the reins.

Deary was also the 2022 Level 4 Open Reserve Futurity Champion on Customize My Dream, owned and bred by Devin Warren. Deary and ‘William’ have earned more than $200,000 in NRHA LTE, further pushing Deary to this milestone.

Not only does Deary find himself at the top of his game inside the show pen, but he also found time outside of the show pen to become Texas Christian University Equestrian Team’s newest assistant coach, showing his commitment to the future of reining.

Deary resides in Weatherford, Texas, with his wife, Nicole, and their kids, Wyatt, Owen, Joy, and Olivia.

Congratulations to Casey Deary on this latest milestone and the exceptional rate at which it was achieved.

Deary’s top wins that pushed him to become NRHA’s newest Four Million Dollar Rider:

  • 2022 NRHA Level 4 Open Futurity Reserve Champion – $150,000– Customize My Dream, owned and bred by Devin Warren
  • 2023 TAPH Reining Champion – $100,000 – Down Right Amazing, owned by DAG Ventures LLC and bred by Curtis Performance Horses LLC
  • 2023 NRBC Level 4 Open Champion – $100,000 – Down Right Amazing, owned by DAG Ventures LLC and bred by Curtis Performance Horses LLC
  • 2023 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel Level 4 Open Champion – $100,000 – Down Right Amazing, owned by DAG Ventures LLC and bred by Curtis Performance Horses LLC
  • 2022 TRFAM, Million Dollar Competition, 3rd Place – $80,000 – Americasnexttopgun, owned by Jody Puno/Puno Performance Horses LLC and bred by Arcese Quarter Horses USA

Make It Six Million for Spooks Gotta Whiz

The futurity season is in full swing for the reining industry. With many impressive shows featuring record-setting payouts, many reiners are achieving success and climbing milestones at an astounding rate. Among that group is NRHA Hall of Famer Spooks Gotta Whiz—the newest NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire.

Spooks Gotta Whiz is a 2007 stallion by Spooks Gotta Gun and out of Prettywhizprettydoes. Bred by Clint Haverty, ‘Baby’ had an incredible career in the show pen for owner Michell Anne Kimball, where he amassed over $345,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings. In 2010, he and NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Jordan Larson won the NRHA Level 4 Open Futurity. In 2012, NRHA Seven Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida took the reins. The duo won the Level 4 Open Championships at the NRHA Derby and the National Reining Breeders Classic that same year. They capped off an impressive career by taking home a team and individual gold medal at the 2014 World Equestrian Games.

Baby has now become an elite sire within the reining world. He currently has 475 money-earning offspring with NRHA and many more waiting to snag their first paychecks. Many of his progeny have achieved success on reining’s biggest stages, including new events like The American Performance Horseman.

Performances at the 2023 100X Reining Classic helped push Baby over the six-million-dollar mark. The stallion had 27 offspring competing in the Open and Non Pro Stakes, who earned over $444,000. Most notable were NRHA Million Dollar Owner and Eight Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani and Mic Dropp (out of Dun Dry Whiz). The pair topped the competition and won the 100X Level 4 Open Championship. Fappani and the Tim Anderson/Clark Reining Horses LLC-owned stallion added nearly $130,000 to Baby’s offspring earnings in 2023 after helping push the sire over the $5 million at the 2022 NRHA Futurity.

Spooks Gotta Whiz’s top-performing offspring include:

  • Alpha Jac Sparrow (out of Chexanicki), owned by Fritz Leeman and bred by Alpha Quarter Horses LLC, earning $237,664
  • Mic Dropp (out of Dun Dry Whiz), owned by Tim Anderson/Clark Reining Horses LLC and bred by Clark Reining Horses LLC, earning $215,927
  • Spooks Gotta Spark (out of Dolittle Lena), owned by Kevin Truax and bred by Bobby Lewis, earning $215,585
  • Spooky Whiz (out of Myo Starlight), owned by Bosque Ranch Performance Horses LLC and bred by Spence Bell, earning $186,043
  • Gotta Twist It Up (out of Make It With A Twist), owned and bred by Sandra Bentien, earning $183,837

After crossing his first million in 2018, Baby has flown through the milestones at a record pace. And while the Hall of Famer has already solidified his place in the NRHA history books, it seems inevitable that the stallion will continue reaching new milestones. Congratulations to NRHA’s newest Six Million Dollar Sire, Spooks Gotta Whiz, and owner Michell Anne Kimball.

Our Condolences – Wimpys Little Chic 2004–2023

On October 18, 2023, the reining community lost a legendary mare, Wimpys Little Chic.

National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Hall of Famer, ‘Lexi’ earned more than half a million dollars in four short years in the show pen, all with NRHA Hall of Famer Shawn Flarida at the reins. The pair are the only ones in reining history to win the NRHA Futurity, NRHA Derby, and the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) consecutively.

Lexi (Wimpys Little Step out of Collena Chic Olena) was bred by Double Run Farm and purchased by Arcese Quarter Horses USA in 2007. She is currently NRHA’s leading dam and is nearing two million dollars in offspring earnings, demonstrating that her impact on the industry will continue both in the show pen and in the lives of many.

“The reining world loved Lexi so much,” said Michele Flarida. “We could literally write chapters on this special horse and her bond with Shawn, Mr. Arcese, Monnie [Monica] Watson, and Jeff Oswood. We will make sure that she is never forgotten and that she shines through the legacy she leaves.”

Shawn Flarida shared the following in processing this great loss:

“Wimpys Little Chic is simply the greatest reining horse to ever draw a breath. I have asked Michele to write a book about our journey in this life together. She said the chapter on Wimpys Little Chic (Lexi) would be entitled, “A Love Story.” I won’t remind the world of all her tremendous accomplishments inside the show pen and as a producer. Instead, I will tell you about the beautiful little blonde filly, born in the same hallowed pasture as her daddy (Wimpys Little Step) on a beautiful farm in North Carolina (Double Run Farm) to a beautiful woman (Miss Monnie Watson) who fell in love with her immediately.

This was her first home and Miss Monnie never once doubted her abilities. Lexi grew and got strong and made her way to her next home in Springfield, Ohio with me and my family. Like her first home, Lexi’s next home had seen its many champions and great ones as well. She didn’t care. She was different than all the rest and she damn sure knew it. Particular and quirky, like all the greats, but with a confidence that was boundless. Our bond was one of true love. She expected my undivided attention and got it.

Recognizing her enormous talent, I introduced Mr. Arcese to Miss Monnie and our Lexi. Now anyone who knows Mr. Arcese, knows that part of the fun for him is the deal. He is a master at negotiations. He stood in silence as he watched Lexi and I work. I brought Lexi over to him. She put her head in his hands and without hesitation, he hugged Miss Monnie and said she was now his. Simply put, Lexi had her effect on him, and he fell in love. Lexi had her three…her breeder, her rider, and her owner. She had everything she needed to rise to her destiny.

First the 2007 futurity. As great as she was in the go rounds, she was still doubted. A good friend stopped to tell me good luck and the fact that no futurity champion sire had yet produced a futurity champion himself. I didn’t know that. Neither did she. We didn’t care. We won.

NRBC Derby time, 2008. She drew up early but her three (breeder, owner, and rider) never doubted her courage and determination. In fact, Lexi was just now growing into herself as a 4-year-old and an athlete. Her confidence gave me confidence and I gave her the knowledge and room to be great. We won with a 233.5.

The weeks leading up to the 2008 NRHA Derby were some of the most fun that I have ever had as a horseman. I had my best girl and she had me. The greatest gift Lexi ever gave me was to know my worth as a horseman. She damn sure knew hers and the fact that she needed me to show it to everyone gave me such confidence and joy. Two weeks out from the show and Michele took my phone and the computer. I thought it was weird but had work to do so whatever. It wasn’t until after the Derby run that she told me why. The True Triple Crown of Reining hung in the balance. NO horse HAD Ever or HAS EVER won the NRHA Open Futurity, NRBC Open Derby and NRHA Open Derby consecutively. Literally thousands of emails, text messages, phone calls…most wishing Lexi and I all the best but plenty of doubters and critics as well. I didn’t know that. Neither did Lexi. We didn’t care. We won.

Lexi didn’t stop there. She went on to enjoy another 2 years of amazing success in the showpen. People from all over the world fell in love with this mare just like her original three did. She left her stall here…the same stall as all the other greats that came before her. It was time for her to show her worth now as a producer (what an understatement). She went to her home at Oswood Stallion Station where she met another man she made fall in love with her, Jeff Oswood. I missed her so much and her stall stood empty till a gorgeous colt named Spanky arrived. The world knows him as Gunnatrashya.

The legacy of Wimpys Little Chic is undeniably unparalleled. She always gave so much more than she took until today when she takes a piece of our collective hearts with her to her newest and final Home. The whole world knows your name baby girl. You shattered every record, forged relationships that we cherish, and made dreams come true. My turn to carry you on the rest of our voyage together. I will always love you.”

NRHA extends its deepest condolences to the Watsons, the Flaridas, the Oswoods, and all who loved Lexi.