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 2 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