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!