Wednesday, June 23 at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel kicked off in the Adequan arena with the second slate of Non Pro classes and the 8 & Up Non Pro Maturity.
Nearly 100 riders came out to try their best for a title, and in the end, Mike Hancock and Nics Custom Dually took home the Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro, Prime Time Non Pro and 8 & Up Maturity Level 2 Non Pro championships. They were also Reserve in the 8 & Up Maturity Levels 4 and 3.
Hancock only decided to bring Nics Custom Dually to the Derby the week before, and Barbara Williams, Hancock’s longtime trainer and friend, legged the gelding up during the days prior. Even with the short amount of prep time, the duo scored a 146 for their wins.
For Hancock, an NRHA Past President, it was great to be back in the show pen after a couple years hiatus.
“I took off showing for the most part in 2019 and 2020 because of my duties as NRHA President,” Hancock said. “I showed a little bit but then got back into it more seriously this year.”
He started by bringing home Nics Custom Dually (Mister Nicadual x Custom Whizper), who he has owned since the horse was 3, back in February. He showed him twice while there, then decided to bring the gelding out to Williams to finish out some shows in Oklahoma. The 8-year-old gelding has lifetime earnings of $51,944, and Hancock said he can always count on him to spin and circle well.
“Today, he was awesome,” Hancock said. “Maybe being a pasture pony was a good thing.”
Hancock thanked his wife, Bryan, for her support, and Williams for taking care of his horses and being a good friend. He was excited for the chance to show at the NRHA Derby.
“I think where we were about 15 months ago when COVID first started, we weren’t even sure we were going to have a Derby,” Hancock said. “We had some brave souls and some stout-hearted people and had a good Derby last year, and then this year is phenomenal. We’ve survived, and I’m proud to be here.”
The Non Pro and Prime Time Non Pro Reserve championships went to Kim Niven and Pale Face Gunslinger (Pale Face Dunnit x Lost In Tinseltown), who is owned by Tim Anderson. The pair scored a 145.
In the Intermediate Non Pro, Raeanna Thayn and Roseswhiz (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Rose Electric Step), along with Bill Rhoads and Mega Maggie Mae (Magnum Chic Dream x Cinco De Mega), each scored a 143.5 to tie for Reserve.
Emily Morris rode Cross Step Wrangler (Starlights Wrangler x Hollywood Two Step) to Reserve in the 8 & Up Maturity Level 2 Non Pro with a score of 144.5.
McKinnon Larcombe & Designed With Shine – 8 & Up Levels 4 & 3 Champions
Some of the best horses often come out for the 8 & Up Non Pro Maturity, and the 2021 Derby was no different. During the Maturity, powerhouse mare Designed With Shine carried McKinnon Larcombe to the Levels 4 and 3 Non Pro championships.
Designed With Shine (Smart And Shiney x Taris Designer Genes) has lifetime earnings of more than $102,000. She had only been back under saddle about a month-and-a-half after giving birth to the first baby she’s carried herself.
“It’s a good feeling to win here,” Larcombe said. “She had a year-and-a-half off for maternity leave, so it was a special win. I was glad she got to have the time off.”
Larcombe didn’t try to run hard during the Maturity. Her main goal is the upcoming Run For A Million in September, so she used the Maturity to see how her mare would respond to pressure before it.
“She’s very talented and she has the biggest heart ever,” Larcombe said. “She’s the same, consistent horse every time you show her.
“I was second in The Run For A Million on her in 2019,” Larcombe added. “I actually won about $40,000 on her that year in ancillary competition. She’s a very, very special horse.
“Daisy” is owned by Larcombe’s aunt, Shauna. Larcombe thanked her for letting her show, along with the rest of her family.
“I have been working away from home, and so they have made sure she was legged up,” Larcombe said. “It’s not just me; it’s a crew. Thanks to my support system at the barn.”
Mike Hancock and Nics Custom Dually (Mister Nicadual x Custom Whizper) took Reserve in both Levels 4 and 3 with their score of 146. The pair also swept the ancillary Non Pro classes and won Level 2.
Bo Van Duys & Voodoo Smokin Annie – 8 & Up Level 1 Co-Champions
When Bo Van Duys rode Voodoo Smokin Annie to a 142 in the 8 & Up Maturity, winning the Level 1 Non Pro Co-Championship, it was extra sentimental. The NRHA Derby is one of Van Duys’ last shows before she leaves for college at Oklahoma State.
“We are just really clicking now, and it means a lot to finally get on her level,” Van Duys said. “We went in there nice, calm and cool. We tried to fix some things from yesterday. She went in and did what I asked, and it worked out.”
Voodoo Smokin Annie and Van Duys also tied for seventh in Level 2 and 10th in Level 3. The nare, who is by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr and out of Caleys Smokin Peppy, is 8 years old. Van Duys’s mom, Holly, owns the mare, who was purchased from Sam Smith three years ago.
“Thanks to my trainer, Shane Brown, and my parents,” said Van Duys, who is 18.
Lisa Klaus & Dun Its Red Berry – 8 & Up Level 1 Co-Champions
Lisa Klaus and Dun Its Red Berry rode from early in the draw, marking a 142 which topped the 8 & Up Maturity Level 1 Non Pro. They had a long wait after that, ultimately tying for the Co-Championship.
“I wanted to go a little harder today than I did earlier in the week,” Klaus said of her game plan. “We tried to step it up a little more and lay it out there. I always try to be smooth and slow things down.”
Klaus and Dun Its Red Berry, who is by NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Hollywood Dun It and out of Great Red Berry, also tied for seventh in Level 2, 10th in Level 3, 13th in Level 4, fifth in the Intermediate Non Pro and 13th in the Non Pro. Klaus was proud of her 12-year-old gelding, who she said carries her through the pattern without complaint.
“I have four little kids at home. I used to ride and show a bit more, but it’s a bit harder for me, so I need one like him that can be there and be solid for me,” Klaus said.
She thanked trainer Abby Lengel, who she’s been riding with for a little over a year, and Lengel’s team. She also thanked her husband, Chris, who stayed home with the kids, and Melanie and Sebastian Petroll for finding Dun Its Red Berry for her.
Molly Cherry & Guaranteed A Magnum – 8 & Up Level 1 Co-Champions
As a two-time NRHA Derby Level 4 Open Champion, Guaranteed A Magnum needs no introduction. At this year’s Derby, he did something new, carrying his owner, Molly Cherry, to the 8 & Up Maturity Level 1 Non Pro Co-Championship after scoring a 142.
“It’s a blast to show a horse of this caliber, but it’s a lot to learn,” Cherry said. “I have to stay out of his way. I have been trying this year to show this horse more and get him dialed down to Rookie speed. We’re getting a little better each time.”
Cherry normally competes in the Rookie, and the Derby was her first time to show in the Non Pro. She tried to be smooth since she sometimes has trouble guiding her horse. Her efforts paid off, as in addition to the championship, she and the gelding tied for seventh in Level 2 and fifth in the Prime Time and Intermediate Non Pro.
Guaranteed A Magnum, an 8-year-old gelding by Magnum With A Dream and out of Guaranteed By Amos, is good at everything, Cherry said.
“I’m pretty blessed with him,” she added. “Thanks to my trainer, Arnaud Ferret, and his girlfriend, Lauren Love. They take such good care of him. Arnaud has done an awesome job getting him to adapt to my level. And thanks to my friend, Eric Mendrisa, who rides in the barn. He’s been supportive and helpful.”
Intermediate Non Pro and Prime Time Non Pro High Point
After the second slate of Non Pro ancillary classes wrapped up on June 23, Paul Queen and Outta Dough were named the Intermediate Non Pro and Prime Time Non Pro High Point winners. Queen said it was a great feat for Outta Dough, a stallion who is 16 years old.
“It feels great,” Queen said. “The old man keeps proving himself. He just keeps going. He’s 16 years old now, and he’s more of a family friend.”
Outta Dough, who is called “Ben” because “it cost a lot of Benjamin Franklins to get him,” is owned by Queen’s mom, Dorothy. He was originally trained by Mike Berg after Dorothy purchased him as a 2-year-old. To keep him sound at 16, Queen said he doesn’t overshow him. He keeps him at home and just takes him to the bigger shows.
“It’s so fun to ride him because it’s just kind of like a team,” Queen said. “He’s an awesome guy. I’m going to show him until he can’t show anymore.”
In addition to competing, Ben, who is by NRHA Four Million Sire Gallo Del Cielo and out of Dough Olena, does double-duty in the breeding shed. Some stallions don’t handle juggling the two jobs well, but Ben has kept his friendly demeanor.
“He’s your best friend no matter what,” Queen said. “You come in the barn at night, and he’ll nicker at you for a treat. He’s just everybody’s best friend and a ladies’ man. All the girls at the barn just love him. He’s so much fun.”
Queen thanked Dorothy, Berg and his trainer, Jared Leclair, who he’s been working with for a year.
“They’ve been right there for me and pushing me to do better and better all the time,” Queen said.