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July 16th Cover

July 16th Cover

PASO ROBLES — The National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby paid out more than a half-million dollars, the lion’s share of which was awarded during the Open Finals, held June 16-21 at Paso Robles Event Center.

Corey Cushing and Smart Boons, owned by Kevin and Sydney Knight, blew away the competition to win the Open Championship by eight points–a margin of victory almost unheard of in the elite competition of the Derby–and that win was worth the big prize of $45,866.

“Everything fell together. It was very special, because there were really great riders with really great cow horses here,” said Cushing, who is based in Arizona. “It was very tough, and this win means a lot because of it.”

Smart Boons (Peptoboonsmal x Smart Little Easter) began the day with a 219 in the herd work. Their draw position–last in the second set–made Cushing a little leery. “Due to a couple of friends, mainly Shadd Parkinson and Brad Barkemeyer, and I studying the cattle, we were still able to find three fresh ones, and my horse was able to work like he always does,” Cushing said.

The herd work gave them a great start, but the rein work was a cause for concern. Although he still marked a 216.5, Smart Boons was lacking “that spark.” According to his trainer, “He felt a little tired.” Cushing said he knew he had a chance at the title, so his priority was to freshen up his horse before the cow work.

“We took him back to the stalls, rinsed him off real good, and gave him some grain,” Cushing said. “I got on him about four horses before our draw to loosen him up, and he worked great. We had two good turns, and then went right to the circles.”

T.J. Good piloted Stressolena to the Open Derby Reserve Championship, winning $33,796 for owners Douglas and Cynthia Granade. Good and Stressolena (CD Olena x Stressin) began the finals with a 211 in herd work, a 217 in rein work, and finished with a 220.5 in cow work.

Andy Adams wins Intermediate Open, Tyler Merrill claims Limited Open

Andy Adams has referred to Mister Smart Chic as a “hard luck horse,” because he’s been just out of making the finals almost everywhere he’s been entered. But, after winning the Intermediate Open Derby Championship, Adams admits that luck might just have changed. The Goodnight, Texas, trainer rode the 4-year-old to a composite score of 648 and won $7,570.

“He’s really good in the herd work, and he was just solid and cut some really nice cows,” the former World’s Greatest Horseman explained. “He was also good in the rein work. He had a tough cow in the fence work, but he handled it really good. I thought he showed a lot of maturity, especially considering he is only 4. I would like to thank Salt Fork Cattle Company and Crofoot Ranches for letting me show him.”

Shadd Parkinson took Intermediate Open Reserve honors after riding Cash R Rooster (Gallo Del Cielo x Cash R Chex), owned by Allan Kaplan, to a 643 composite and $6,056 payout.

With Tyler Merrill at the reins, Circle Six Spark 205 took the Limited Open Derby Championship, winning $3,825. The pair started off slow in the herd work with a 207, but then came back with good scores–214.5 in rein work and 215.5 in cow work.

Riding Very Smart Colonel for Anne Reynolds, Jaton Lord earned the Limited Open Reserve Championship and $3,188 with a 634 composite. Very Smart Colonel is by Reynold’s stallion, former World’s Greatest Horseman champion Very Smart Remedy, and out of Colonel De Light.

Anne Reynolds and Very Smart Flo Jo win NRCHA Non Pro Derby

Riding her home-grown mare, Very Smart Flo Jo, Anne Reynolds captured the NRCHA Derby Non Pro Championship and won $11,960. The victory adds another entry to the duo’s already impressive resume, which includes a Hackamore Classic Non Pro Championship.

In the first leg of competition–the herd work–the judges awarded the pair a score of 215.5, and Reynolds felt the ride ranked among the mare’s career-best herd works. “We found some really good cows. Our second was soft but the first and third were very challenging, and was one of the best works she’s ever had,” she said.

In the rein work, the 5-year-old mare was “awesome” in the circles, but a scotch on one stop led to a 216.5. Going into the cow work as the second to last horse to work, Reynolds was aware the Michelle Cowan and Wheres My Shine had marked a 219 down the fence–and that a score of 216 or better was needed to take the lead.

Michelle Cowan and her 2007 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro Champion Wheres My Shine earned the reserve title and $9,360. Cowan rode the Shining Spark mare, out of Boomerita, to a 211 in herd work, 217.5 in rein work, and 219 in fence work.

Tish Wilhite and Just Ask Me Nice take Intermediate Non Pro

Tish Wilhite earned the Intermediate Non Pro Championship on the 4-year-old mare Just Ask Me Nice (Captain Nice x Missy Dual Master); it was their first title together.

“She just keeps getting more solid, and I think she’s getting more confidence,” Wilhite said. “She was good in the herd work, and a little tired in the rein work–but the fence work is her forte. The cows at this show were challenging, but I thought they were great. I drew a really tough one, and everything fell together.”

That high cow work score catapulted Wilhite to the top of the leader board with a 631, along with a check for $5,130.

But the day was bittersweet. While Sunday will always be the day that Wilhite earned the Intermediate Non Pro Championship, she’ll also remember it as her first Father’s day without her father.

“My dad passed away the Wednesday before the show began. He had been having a lot of problems, so I was spending as much time with him as I could. He was asking me when my next show would be, and I told him about the Derby. He made me promise that, no matter what happened to him, I would go show my horse,” Wilhite said. “It was tough because this was Father’s Day, but at the same time, it is so cool to me that I was able to go and win. I know my father would be excited, too.”

Ashley Good earned the Intermediate Non Pro Reserve Championship on Cinnabars Lil Spark (Cinnabars Lil Lena x Shiners Oakie Val) after marking 201 in herd work, 213.5 in rein work, and 213 down the fence, winning $4,104.

Todd Crawford and Uno What Time It Is win Jack and Phoebe Cooke Open Bridle Spectacular
Saturday at the NRCHA Derby ended much like it began. An earthquake rocked the city early in the morning, then the earth shattering stops, turns, and cow works presented a night of excitement for the conclusion of the Jack and Phoebe Cooke $50,000 Added Open Bridle Spectacular.

In his first time to show Uno What Time It Is (A Chic In Time x Uno What Weeno) at an NRCHA premier event, Todd Crawford piloted the stallion to the championship, winning by 4.5 points to earn $30,625 for owner Julie Gibbons.

“He is good minded, and is definitely the kind you’d want to be able to show all the time,” said the Blanchard, Okla., trainer.

Claiming Reserve honors and $24,500 in the Open Bridle Spectacular with a 653 composite was Zane Davis, who rode Bobby Starlight (Grays Starlight x Cats Bobby Sox) for John Semanik.

Christina Allen wins Limited Open Bridle on Smart Madera

In the last show of her career, Smart Madera captured the Limited Open Bridle Championship with Christina Allen at the reins. Smart Madera, owned by Cottonwood Springs Ranch, marked 215.5 in rein work and 221.5 in fence work for a 437 total, winning $1,530.

Casey Branquinho won the Limited Open Bridle Reserve Championship on Just Mr Cool (Mister Dual Pep x Colonels Hot Chic), owned by the Ward Ranch, of Kingsburg, Calif., pocketing $1,275 for the 436 composite.

Patty Ralls, Dana Avila, Kylie Knight win Non Pro Bridle titles at NRCHA Derby

The Non Pro Bridle Spectacular results sheet read like a who’s who among top bridle horses. The top four horses have combined lifetime earnings exceeding a half-million dollars. Bridle Spectacular classes at NRCHA events are structured to showcase the most seasoned cow horses–those that are finished in the bridle.

Patty Ralls grew up in Santa Maria, Calif., just a short distance from Paso Robles, where the NRCHA Derby was held. On June 20, with friends and family watching, the transplanted Texan piloted Chromium Cowboy, to 217 in rein work, and 217.5 in cow work–perfect compliments to the 211 marked earlier for the herd work.

Those high scores translated to the Non Pro Bridle Spectacular Championship, and a $4,760 payday. “I had a really tough first cow in the cow work, and the judges whistled me out. I was a little disappointed, because I was sure we could have handled it and I thought it would have been an exciting cow to work–especially with all my family there to watch it. Luckily, I drew another really good cow, and everything worked great,” Ralls said.

Ralls has owned Chromium Cowboy since he was a 3-year-old, shortly before he earned the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Reserve Championship with her husband, Ron. Since then, Patty and Chromium Cowboy have won NRCHA World Championships, qualified numerous times for both NRCHA and AQHA World Shows, and won many other titles. “He’s the greatest horse. I always said everyone should have one great horse in their lifetime–he is definitely mine,” she said.

Kylie Knight earned the Non Pro Bridle Spectacular Reserve Championship, and the Provisional Intermediate Non Pro Bridle title on Reminic Moon Shine. “This is my first big NRCHA show back since I hurt my back the last time. It feels great to be able to ride this horse again and compete,” she said.

The college Junior took home $1,032 for the Intermediate Non Pro Bridle title, and an additional $3,808 for the reserve.

Dana Avila rode another cow horse veteran with an illustrious career–Brother White–to the Novice Non Pro Bridle Championship, the Intermediate Non Pro Bridle Reserve Championship, and fourth place in the Non Pro Bridle Spectacular. Those three places equated to earnings of $5,215.

Avila showed Brother White for a year in the NRCHA Non Pro Limited, going un-defeated and winning the 2004 Non Pro Limited World Championship. “I went to showing at AQHA events, because I wanted to get my feet wet before coming back to NRCHA events. I have to say that this Non Pro Bridle class was probably the toughest I’ve ever seen. I’m very glad I took time to get more experience,” she said.

Chris Mathews took home the Novice Non Pro Bridle Reserve Championship on Ima Chic Please (Chic Please x Smokum Chex Mint) with a 429 total, pocketing $1,656.

For complete results, visit: www.nrcha.com/pdf/news/prod/ShowResults.asp

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