Record Purses Fuel Non Pro Preliminaries at 6666 NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

Excitement built as the 2024 6666 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel reached a pivotal point. The conclusion of preliminary competition in the Non Pro Derby has set the stage for a thrilling finals showcase. With record-breaking purses on the line at every level, riders and their equine partners have delivered exceptional performances, captivating the audience and raising the bar for reining excellence.

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

Indy Roper and the Tim Roper-owned Guns Required remained at the top of the Colston Paving 4-year-old Stakes leaderboard after scoring a 220 in the second section of the non pro preliminary. Roper purchased Guns Required at the NRHA Markel Futurity Sales as a yearling, but this was only their second time together in the showpen.

“There was something that drew me to him in the stall; he was quiet and charismatic,” said Roper. “I showed him yesterday, and he was dialed in and exceptional. I have to thank [NRHA Professional] Brian Bell because he has put in a lot of time and effort and showed the horse as a 3-year-old.”

Nominated by NRHA Corporate Partner Toyon Ranch, the gelding by Gunners Tinseltown and out of Icing Required has over $21,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE), of which nearly half came with Roper at the reins.

Elementa Amateur Derby Co-Champions – Laura Bell and Ruf Smokin Gunner

After the third day of non pro competition, Laura Bell and her own Ruf Smokin Gunner entered the Jim Norick Arena as the Elementa Amateur Derby Co-Champions. The Karl Hapcic-bred gelding (Not Ruf At All x Smokin Lady Gunner) and Bell scored a 221 to claim the title.

‘“Franklin’ was maybe not the top pick for everybody for their horse,” said Bell. “I just saw something special in him and decided to give him a chance, and I’m glad I did because he’s turned out to be my little unicorn. He just shows up every day and does his job. Every horse show I go to, he exceeds the horse show before. He deserved to get the blue ribbon today. It was pretty cool.”

Elementa Amateur Derby Co-Champions, Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby Champions, and APHA Chrome Cash Division Co-Champions – Joetta Bell and Trashy Little Dream

To say Joetta Bell and her horse, Trashy Little Dream, had a fantastic day would be an understatement. After scoring an impressive 221, the duo were named Elementa Amateur Derby Co-Champions, the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Novice Horse Non Pro Derby Champions and the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Chrome Cash Division Co-Champions.

“She is a really special horse that I had tried to buy for a long time from Steve Archer,” said Joetta. “She is more than just a show horse; she is part of our family. She is so easy and fun to ride that I feel like I am running faster than I actually am. A lot of times I need to step it up and have good eyes, and Kole [Price] helped me do that.”

The 6-year-old mare (Magnum Chic Dream x Shesa Little Trashy) was nominated for the Derby by NRHA Million Dollar Rider Justin Mathison.

APHA Chrome Cash Division Co-Champions and Prime Time Non Pro Derby Preliminary Leaders – Julie Boer and Out Of The Furnace

Julie Boer and her own Out Of The Furnace (Inferno Sixty Six x Shinaka) were the other duo named APHA Chrome Cash Division Co-Champions with a 221. Their handicapped score of a 222.5 earned landed them in the top spot of the Prime Time Non Pro Derby after the preliminary round.

“Out of the Furnace, is affectionately known as ‘Joe Jingle,’ said Boer. “Joe got his name after the late Joe Hayes. Joe bred and raised him. He’s a pretty special horse—pretty mellow, easy going but gives 110, super talented, fun to be around” and loves his peppermints after I show him.

Level 4 and Level 3 Non Pro Derby Preliminary Round Winners – Emily Opell and Shining N Tinseltown

Emily Opell and Shining N Tinseltown’s 222 from the second section held on to take the top spot in the Level 4 and 3 non pro preliminary round.

“He is so consistent,” said Opell, who won the 2022 Level 2 Non Pro Derby Championship with the stallion. “He is very business-like, there is never any foolishness and he is a sweetheart. We have had him since he was a late 3-year-old.”

Opell says that NRHA Professional Brandon Brant trained the stallion, and since she has owned him, she has done the training herself.

“It means everything to me,” said Opell, reflecting on competing at the 2024 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. “It is wild to me that we can come out and do this together, and I am so blessed to have a horse like this.”

Level 2 and Youth Non Pro Derby Preliminary Round Winners – Michelle Fumagalli and TR Mr Joe

18-year-old Michelle Fumagalli and TR Mr Joe’s 221.5 earned the duo top spots in both the Level 2 and Youth Non Pro Derbies after three days of preliminary competition. The Tamarack Ranch LLC-bred and -nominated horse is by NRHA $2 Million Sire Lil Joe Cash and out of Ms Whiz Dunit has over $30,000 in NRHA LTE.

Level 1 Non Pro Derby Preliminary Round Winners – Lindsey Lester and Pale Black

Lindsey Lester and Pale Black held onto their lead of the Level 1 after the non pro preliminary round concluded, which they set during the second section. Lester and the 6-year-old mare, by NRHA $3 Million Sire Pale Face Dunnit and out of Blazing In Black, scored a 219 to secure the top spot.

Seventeen-year-old Lindsey Lester had less than $2,300 in NRHA LTE before entering the Jim Norick Arena this week.

Pale Black was bred by Hickory Creek Ranch LLC and nominated by Ginger Schmersal.

Masters Non Pro Derby Preliminary Round Winners – Carol Bell and Vintage Couture

Carol Bell and Vintage Couture (Platinum Vintage x Couture Tag) were another duo who held onto their lead from section two. The pair scored a 220, including the handicap.

The 6-year-old stallion, bred by Bell’s husband George, has $76,000 in NRHA LTE with NRHA $2 Million Rider Brian Bell. Carol and George own the stallion together, making this win a celebration for the entire family.

As these talented Non Pro riders prepare to vie for championship glory, one thing is certain: the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel promises a finals showdown unlike any other. With record-breaking payouts motivating every maneuver and a world-class field vying for the coveted titles, fans are in for a truly unforgettable reining experience. If you cannot be at OKC Fairgrounds, visit the free live feed at or watch on the Cowboy Channel.