Record-Breaking Purses Turn Up the Heat

The energy is electric at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel! The second section of the Non Pro Derby prelims concluded today at the OKC Fairgrounds, showcasing another impressive display of horsemanship by talented riders and their dedicated equine partners. With record-breaking purses across all levels of non pro competition, the competition heated up as riders vied for top scores and the chance to vie for a share of the Derby’s impressive payout, a product of NRHA’s robust nomination program.

As non pros entered the second section of the preliminaries, the competition continued to get tougher as leaders changed across the board.

Level 4 and 3 Non Pro Leaders – Emily Opell and Shining N Tinseltown

Emily Opell and Shining N Tinseltown, 2022 Level 4 Non Pro Derby Champions, shook up the leaderboard with a 222 to break a three-way tie for first place.

Opell and the 6-year-old stallion had amassed $62,949 in NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE) before the show began and look to continue their hot streak together.

Bred by Charles Vaughan, the stallion is by NRHA $2 Million Sire Shine Chic Shine and out of Wimps Tinseltown.

Level 2 Non Pro and Elementa Amateur Derby Leaders – Laura Bell and Ruf Smokin Gunner

Laura Bell and her own Ruf Smokin Gunner (Not Ruf At All x Smokin Lady Gunner) rose to the top of the Level 2 Non Pro and the Elementa Amateur Derby after scoring a 221 in section two of the preliminary competition. The 5-year-old gelding was bred and nominated by Karl Hapcic and has nearly $16,000 in NRHA LTE with both Bell and her fiance, NRHA Professional Cody Sapergia, at the reins.

Level 1 Non Pro Leaders  – Lindsey Lester and Pale Black

Seventeen-year-old Lindsey Lester and her 6-year-old mare took the top spot in the Level 1 after scoring a 219.

Pale Black (Pale Face Dunnit x Blazing In Black) was bred by Hickory Creek Ranch LLC and nominated by Ginger Schmersal. The mare, owned by Jamie Lester, had $7,052 in NRHA before entering the showpen today. 

Youth Non Pro Derby Leaders –  Addisyn Schmersal and Enterprizingattitude

After scoring a 220.5 in the first preliminary round, Addisyn Schmersal and Enterprizingattitude still hold the lead in the Youth Non Pro Derby. The 5-year-old gelding’s successful career started and stayed within the family. Hickory Creek Ranch LLC bred and own the gelding who was nominated by her mom, Ginger Schmersal. Prior to Addisyn showing the horse, all of his earnings are with her dad, NRHA $5 Million Rider Craig Schmersal, at the reins.

Masters Non Pro Leaders – Carol Bell and Vintage Couture

Carol earned a 220, including handicap, to take the lead of the Masters Non Pro after the second section of the non pro preliminaries with her equine partner Vintage Couture (Platinum Vintage x Couture Tag).

The 6-year-old stallion’s career started and stayed in the Bell family as it was bred by George Bell, nominated by Carol, and is currently owned by George and Carol. Prior to Carol Bell taking the reins, Vintage Couture had been exclusively shown by NRHA $2 Million Rider Brian Bell. Prior to entering the Jim Norick arena, the stallion had more than $76,000 in NRHA LTE.

Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby Leaders – Mandy McCutcheon and Disco Ball

NRHA $3 Million Mandy McCutcheon and Disco Ball lead the way in the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby after section two of the competition with a score of 220.

The 4-year-old mare, by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Smart And Shiney, was bred and nominated by her husband, Tom, and is currently owned by the couple. Mandy rode the dam, Party Nite, to the 2019 National Reining Breeders Classic Non Pro Championship.

Colston Paving 4-year-old Stakes Leaders – Indy Roper and Guns Required

After a 220-point performance in the Jim Norick, Indy Roper and Guns Required took control of the Colston Paving 4-year-old Stakes. Owned by Tim Roper and nominated by NRHA Corporate Partner Toyon Ranch, the 4-year-old gelding (Gunners Tinseltown x Icing Required) was ridden by NRHA $2 Million Brian Bell before Indy, who has nearly $600,000 in NRHA LTE, took over the reins.

Prime Time Non Pro and APHA Chrome Cash Leaders –  Julie Boer and Out Of The Furnace

Julie Boer and her own Out Of The Furnace brought the heat with a handicapped score of 222.5—taking the lead in both the Prime Time Non Pro and the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Chrome Cash divisions. The 2018 gelding, bred by the late Joe Hayes, is the progeny of NRHA $2 Million Sire Inferno Sixty Six and Shinaka.

The non pro competitors continue to vie for their spot to compete in the finals for record-breaking purses. The final day of preliminaries are tomorrow, June 19. At 6:30 p.m. tomorrow there will be the Platinum Draw Party in the Platinum Zone (sale arena) to decide which spot each competitor will have in the finals. Watch the finals in person at the OKC fairgrounds, on the Cowboy Channel, or on our free live feed at nrhaderby.com.

Rising Stars Shine at the 6666 NRHA Derby: Novice Horse and Para Reining Champions Crowned

Following a day of exceptional competition at the 2024 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, champions were crowned in the Novice Horse Ancillary Derby and the inspiring Ancillary Para Reining Championship. These divisions, designed to showcase developing equine and rider partnerships and celebrate equestrian inclusivity, provided a thrilling stage for rising stars.

Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 Champion; Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2 and 3 Co-Champions – Lexi McCutcheon and Paramount Tag

Lexi McCutcheon, who recently married NRHA $2 Million Rider Cade McCutcheon, first entered the show pen in April of last year and has already earned more than $62,583 in NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE).

Today, she rode to the top of the Novice Horse Non Pro classes on Paramount Tag (Gunners Special Nite x Stiletto Tag). Owned by her in-laws, Tom and Mandy McCutcheon, the 4-year-old gelding has $1,528 in NRHA LTE.

“‘Manny’ is just an easy horse,” said McCutcheon. “He’s a 4-year-old gelding. One of our assistants trained him last year and showed him. Then Mandy showed him in the novice horse at the 100X, and did well, so she was giving me pointers at this show for things to do. You tell him where to go and he goes there. He’s just a sweet boy—kind of goofy, but pleasant to be around.

“I’m going to show him in the second slate of the novice horse here. Then my cousin just bought him. He’s her first reiner so she will take the reins from there.”

Novice Horse Non Pro Levels 2 and 3 Co-Champions – Anne-Marie Roy and Magnum A Dare

Anne-Marie Roy and JCR Performance Horses LLC’s Magnum A Dare rode to a 140 to Co-Champion in the Novice Horse Non Pro Levels 2 and 3. The 2017 gelding by NRHA Hall of Famer Magnum Chic Dream and out of Adarable was bred by Terry Martin and has been shown by Roy’s trainer, NRHA Million Dollar Rider Jared Leclair in the past.

“‘Dallas’ is a seven-year-old gelding, and I’ve had him for about four months,” said Roy. “I started showing him in Jacksonville this year. We did a little weekend school show before this and this is the first show showing we’ve done.”

Roy, who has over $8,500 in NRHA LTE, drives on weekends to train with Leclair.

“I’m one of those weekend non pro riders” said Roy. “I live in Houston and drive up to Jared Leclair’s—a five-hour drive on the weekends—to hang out with Dallas. The love of reining for me, in terms of getting away from my day job, is great, and it’s something I look forward to; so that five-hour drive doesn’t seem so bad. In terms of his personality, he has tons. I can say he is known as the John Belushi of the barn. He probably has the messiest stall, ironically, when you get on him he gets all neat, proper, and correct. He takes care of me, he forgives me and I’m really looking forward to our journey.”

Para Reining Champions – Elizabeth Kelley and Pale Face Whiz

Elizabeth Kelley and Pale Face Whiz scored a 142 to earn the Para Reining division today in the Adequan®  Arena.

“This is Pale Face Whiz, better known as ‘Junior,’” said Kelley. “He takes very good care of me. Everything I ask him to do he does. It’s unbelievable how well he takes care of me.”

Kelley praised the horse for taking care of her in any situation, explaining that his ability to be a teammate allows her to push herself more each time she enters the show pen.

She will compete again on Thursday night in the Para Reining Championship sponsored by Dechra and NRHA Corporate Partner Hart Trailer. The prestigious title has $3,500-added and will award a Bob’s Custom Saddle to the champion.

The 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel continues to be a premier event for reining enthusiasts of all levels. The success of the ancillary Novice Horse and Para Reining classes exemplifies the show’s dedication to fostering the growth of the sport and providing a platform for riders with a passion for reining. Congratulations to all the champions and participants in these exciting divisions!

A New Slate of Reiners Take Center Stage in the Adequan Arena

The Adequan® Arena at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel transformed into a stage for exceptional reining talent today. The open division of the Derby’s ancillary competition took center stage, showcasing a group of elite riders and their remarkable equine partners. With a vibrant atmosphere and a chance to earn prestigious championship buckles, the competition provided a thrilling display of athleticism and precision.

$10,000-added 8 & Up Level 4 Open Maturity Champions – Matthew Palmer and Frozen Shining Gun

Matthew Palmer, NRHA Professionals Committee member, scored a 148 on Frozen Shining Gun to win the $10,000-added 8 & Up Level 4 Open Maturity Championship.

“He is a really special horse for me. He was brought over here from Poland,” said Palmer. “He’s been with me since The Run For A Million (TRFAM), and he was the first horse I showed at TRFAM, so it’s been a special ride with him. One of the best things about him is he has so much try, and he’s been there consistently for me throughout his career. He’s quite amazing.”

The 8-year-old gelding is by Colonels Shining Gun and Frozen Slide and is owned by Rachel Stanevich.

“He was actually the one I broke my foot on in Scottsdale right before the run for TRFAM qualifier, so this is my first ride back on him since I got hurt, and I felt like he and I needed to get back to the dance together. He was special for me today.”

$5,000-added 8 & Up Level 2 Open Maturity Champions – Sebastian Petroll and Xtra Miss Wimpy

NRHA Executive Committee member Sebastian Petroll scored a 146 to win the $5,000-added 8 & Up Level 2 Open Maturity. He rode a 9-year-old mare, Xtra Miss Wimpy, who has led him to great success in the show pen and his daughter. Along with winning larger titles like the NRHA Corporate Partner Bob’s Custom Saddles Showdown with Petroll at the 2022 NRHA Futurity, the mare is also a Short Stirrup horse for Petroll’s daughter, Lanie.

“This mare has been with us for the last six years and is part of the family now,” said Petroll. “She is really special mentally. What makes today special for me is getting to show her and to do good in the 8 & Up Maturity, is that I also showed her first daughter here [at the 2024 NRHA Derby] so it doesn’t happen very often that you get to show a daughter and mother at the same horse show, so that was a lot of fun.”

Xtra Miss Wimpy is by NRHA $4 Million Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Little Smart Wimpy, bred by Ixtul Quarter Horses LLC and owned by Ellen Cummins.

$6,000-added Open Champions – Jared Leclair and Makendiamonds

NRHA Million Dollar Rider Jared Leclair and Makendiamonds scored a 149.5 to win the $6,000-added open class. Leclair and the 8-year-old mare have had a lucrative career together, and she boasts $246,484 in NRHA LTE for owner Dorothy Queen.

 “She’s an 8-year-old mare that I’ve had a lot of history of showing,” said Leclair. “I qualified with her for TRFAM this year. I plan on showing her there, and I used this class to get her prepped for TRFAM. She’s a really special mare. We’ve got two babies on the ground by her this year. She’s got a lot of personality; we have a great relationship. Showing together, we’ve had a lot of success. I really look forward to showing her at TRFAM. I had a great warmup showing today, and I’m looking forward to the future.”

Leclair also serves on the NRHA Judges Committee. The mare he rode is by NRHA $3 Million Sire Whizkey N Diamonds by Makeit In Tinseltown, bred by CDR Farms and owned by Dorothy Queen.

$2,000-added Intermediate Open Co-Champions – Arnaud Ferret and Johnette Burman

In the second slate of the Intermediate Open, it took a 145 to win top honors, and a pair of NRHA Professionals were up to the task: Arnaud Ferret and Johnette Burman

For Ferret, it was a repeat of Saturday’s performance. He rode Conquistadors Dun It (NRHA $6 Million Sire Hollywood Dun It x Conquistadors Sandy) to a 145 to win the first slate of the Intermediate Open and returned to the show pen to win the same class on the same horse with the same score. The duo also earned the high-point championship buckle from Montana Silversmiths.

“We had a pretty good run. He was fun to show,” said Ferret. “He’s a big stopper, big turner, and he’s been really good to have in the barn. The owner has been showing him in the green reiner and the rookie. He’s an angel. He takes care of everyone. He’s just fun to have in the barn. After work, they love to give him cookies; he can’t wait. As soon as we get off of him, he just wants his cookie.”

The 10-year-old gelding was bred by Double Run Farm and is owned by Garret Stevens.

Burman rode Hey Good Lookin, a 7-year-old gelding who also competes in rookie classes with owner Diana Duffey.

“I just feel like this is a pretty special horse. I’ve been showing horses for a long time and there are not many horses that can do what he does,” said Burman. “His owner shows him in the rookie, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to show him in the open as well. I’ve been lucky enough in my career to have a couple of horses like this, so I kinda know the special ones and, to me, those are the special horses. I think these horses that go to horse show after horse show and show a couple of times and still give it all they have that day are pretty special. They kinda need their own little set of recognition. This is one of those horses. I was pretty proud to ride him today and have a lot of fun showing him.”

The gelding is by NRHA $4 Million Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Ritas San Jo and was bred by Double Run Farm.

$500-added Limited Open Champions – Mandy Faust and Xtra Wimpys Catalyst

Mandy Faust and Xtra Wimpys Catalyst scored a 146 to top the Limited Open. Earlier this week, ‘Zorro’ won the Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro, Limited Non Pro and Prime Time Non Pro with a 145.5 with his owner Kent Ray Taylor at the reins.

“He was just perfect for me. We are getting ready for Sunday for the non pro for his owner Kent Ray Taylor,” said Faust. “Zorro was just wonderful. He didn’t make any mistakes, and I just went on into my pattern. He was perfect,” said Faust. “We had a run-in pattern. He stopped big and turned nice for me. He was so much fun to circle that was the most fun about the whole pattern, we had to lope off into a small slow and he showed off right away.”

The 9-year-old stallion bred by Milholland Training Inc. is by NRHA Hall of Famer Wimpys Little Step and out of Im Not Blonde.

Limited Open High-Point Champion – Eduardo Giannasi and Boujee

“I just won the Limited Open high-point,” said Giannasi, who rode Boujee (NRHA Hall of Famer Magnum Chic Dream x Chexanicki). “I scored the same score on this mare as I did on Saturday. She is a really good show horse, I think, and [she is out of] a really good mare Chexanicki. A fun fact here at the show: I got to talk to Arnaud Ferret, Lauren Love and Mirjam Stillo who all rode some of the sons and daughters of Chexanicki, and that taught me a lot about trusting this mare in the show pen.”

Boujee was bred by Alpha Quarter Horses LLC and is owned by NRHA Corporate Partner Thorsport Inc.

To learn about Boujee and Giannasi’s previous wins this week, read here.

$500-added Rookie Professional Champions – Juan Robledo Coppiano and Alpha Sushi Chic

Juan Robledo Coppiano and Alpha Sushi Chic earned the top spot in the Rookie Professional in the first slate. He then won again today, making him the champion of the high-point buckle from Montana Silversmiths.

“Being here in the United States has been a dream for me,” said Coppiano. “I have watched all of the shows, the [NRHA] Derby, the [NRHA] Futurity and the NRBC [National Reining Breeders Classic] online for a long time. Being here and able to show in this arena is a dream for me and getting the championship today is just amazing; it feels unbelievable.”

The 8-year-old mare is owned, bred and nominated by Alpha Quarter Horses LLC and is by Wimpy Chic and out of Shiney Sushi.

To learn about Coppiano’s success earlier this week, read here.

Limited Non Pro Champions – McKenna Sparrow & Pretty Has Cash

Fifteen-year-old McKenna Sparrow from Washington rose to the top of the leaderboard in the second slate of the Limited Non Pro after scoring a 140.5 on her own Pretty Has Cash (NRHA $2 Million Sire Lil Joe Cash x Prettywhizprettydoes).

“Cash is pretty special because he loves bananas,” said Sparrow of the gelding bred by Clint Haverty. “He’s also the first I’ve gotten to really show in the showpen. He is very fun to ride, he has a sweet personality and he is really fun to be around.”

Sparrow joined NRHA just one year ago and already has $1,374 in NRHA LTE.

Limited Non Pro Champions High-Point Champion – Courtney Hammit & Ruff Spook

Courtney Hammit and David Hammit’s Ruff Spook (NRHA Hall of Famer Smart Spook x Ruffle Me Up) took home the Limited Non Pro High Point Championship.

“Ruff is very, very special to me because he came into my life when I was going through a hard time,” said Hammit of the Greg Hill-bred stallion. “He has made my life so much more fun and interesting. His personality is that he loves to be loved on. He’s a very spoiled boy, but out of all the horses, he deserves it the most. We had a great run. Mr. Nathan [Piper] and I have been working pretty hard, Mr. Nathan has done a great job working with me and I just have to get myself 100% so he’s [Ruff] 110%.”

As the final riders exited the Adequan® Arena today, the excitement for the remainder of the ancillary competition remained palpable. The upcoming days promise continued displays of exceptional horsemanship and fierce competition. Stay tuned for further updates on the captivating ancillary events at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel.

Leading Ladies of the Non Pro Derby

Section one of preliminary non pro competition at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel wrapped up today at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds. The event was a display of remarkable horsemanship by a group of skilled riders and their equine partners, all vying for a shot at competing in the non pro finals on Friday, June 21.

Level 4 Non Pro Leaders – Mandy McCutcheon, Addisyn Schmersal, and Gina Maria-Schumacher

At the conclusion of the first section of the Non Pro Derby, three powerhouses took the lead in the Level 4.

NRHA $2 Million Rider Mandy McCutcheon rode Dun It For Whiz to the top of the Level 4 and the Colston Paving 4-Year-Old Stakes. The gelding, owned by Mandy and her husband, NRHA $2 Million Owner Tom, already has $140,868 in NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE) with Mandy at the reins. Bred and nominated by Calvin Burger, the mare is by Dun It For Whizkey and out of Indians Gunalena.

Addisyn Schmersal and Enterprizingattitude currently lead the Level 4, the Level 3, the Youth division, and the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Chrome Cash division. The 5-year-old gelding’s successful career started and stayed within the family. He is owned and bred by Hickory Creek Ranch LLC and nominated by Ginger Schmersal. All of his previous earnings have been with Addisyn’s dad, NRHA $5 Million Rider Craig Schmersal.

NRHA Million Dollar Rider Gina Schumacher and Gunin Addy Tude have already earned $105,407 in the showpen. The 6-year-old stallion was bred and nominated by NRHA Corporate Partner Toyon Ranch and was purchased by the Schumacher-owned XCS Ranch LLC in 2021. Schumacher looks to defend her 2022 Level 4 Non Pro Derby Championship title this year on the stallion by NRHA Hall of Famer Gunnatrashya and out of Miss Lil Addy Tude, a mare owned by nominator Toyon Ranch.

Level 2 Non Pro Leaders – Kelly Moran and Flinns Smoking Gun

Kelly Moran and Flinns Smoking Gun scored a 220 to take the lead of the Level 2. The 5-year-old gelding (NRHA Million Dollar Sire In Like Flinn x Shes All Vogue) has more than $42,000 in NRHA LTE. He was bred and nominated by Neiberger Performance Horses and was purchased by Moran in February. Moran lives in Laguna Hills, California and has $152,000 in NRHA LTE.

Level 1 Non Pro and Elementa Amateur Derby Leaders – Jenna Meimerstorf and Long Live Diamonds

From draw 84, Jennifer Meimerstorf and Long Live Diamonds scored an impressive 218, bounding to the lead in both the Level 1 Non Pro and Elementa Amateur Derbies. Nominated by Amy Medows and owned by Todd and Julie Meimerstorf, Long Live Diamonds is by NRHA $4 Million Sire Walla Walla Whiz and out of Chicsdreamofdiamonds.

Prime Time Non Pro Leaders – Dana Pastorino and Ziggy Rocks

After scoring an impressive 220, Dana Pastorino and Pastorino Hay & Ranch Supply Inc.’s Ziggy Rocks took the lead in the Prime Time Non Pro. The 2018 gelding by NRHA $3 Million Sire Whizkey N Diamonds and out of Shes Got Good Guns had nearly $45,000 in NRHA LTE prior to entering the Derby.

Masters Non Pro Leaders – Catherine Crandon and Flinns Dun Twistin

In 2019, Catherine Crandon nominated her own Flinns Dun Twistin (In Like Flinn x Wimpys Dun Twistin) with NRHA, making her eligible to compete at this event. It paid off after the duo’s 212.5-point performance from draw 88, giving them the lead in the Masters Non Pro Derby.

Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby Leaders – Sarayah Voorhees and Gotta Lotta Magic

Sarayah Voorhees and Wild Rose Ranch’s Gotta Lotta Magic rode to a 218 to take the lead in the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby. Although it was only the duo’s first show together, the 2018 mare by NRHA Hall of Famer Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Smoke N Magic performed well for nominator Bobby Lewis with Voorhees at the reins.

With the first section of non pro preliminary competition completed, excitement mounts for tomorrow’s continuation. The remaining sections will compete for the chance to advance to the prestigious non pro finals. We look forward to witnessing another day of exceptional reining talent on display at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel.If you are not in Oklahoma City to cheer on the competitors in person, visit nrhaderby.com for access to the free live feed of the event.

Saddle Up for Ride Guess—NRHA Fans to Test Their Skills and Win Big at the Level 4 Open Finals

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is delighted to announce Ride Guess, an exciting, interactive game that will put reining fans in the judge’s seat at the Level 4 Open Finals! Powered by Spooks Gotta Whiz, Ride Guess allows you to test your horsemanship IQ by predicting the scores of each run.

Compete, Challenge, and Win!

Whether you have an eye for a winning run or simply want to have fun by making predictions, Ride Guess gives you a chance to be part of the finals whether you are in OKC or tuning in via live feed. Ride Guess lets you go head-to-head with other fans, showcasing your reining knowledge and competing for incredible prizes. Rack up points throughout the Level 4 Open Finals, and the top three players will be crowned champions at the end of the evening!

Grand Prize Glory Awaits!

The ultimate bragging rights come with the Ride Guess grand prize – a dream package to the 2024 NRHA Futurity! Immerse yourself in the heart of the action with a two-night hotel stay in Oklahoma City, VIP badges granting exclusive access, and box seat tickets to both the Non Pro and Open Finals. You’ll also receive a parking pass for your convenience and stylish event jackets to commemorate the experience.

Additional Prizes to Spur You On!

Second place is not left out! Take home a handsome $200 gift certificate to NRHA Corporate Partner Shorty’s Caboy Hattery, allowing you to upgrade your wardrobe. And third place will score a fantastic combo from another NRHA Corporate Partner– a pair of comfortable CINCH jeans and a classic CINCH shirt, perfect for showing your reining spirit.

Don’t miss the chance to be part of the Level 4 Open Finals action! Visit nrha.com/rideguess to learn how to play Ride Guess and get ready to match your skills or luck against the best.