NRCHA Cow Horse Classic Derby Open
Reined cow horse derbies are specifically for 4- and 5-year-olds, shown two-handed in a snaffle bit or hackamore and judged in three events: herd work, rein work and cow work. At the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions on Monday, February 12 in Fort Worth, Texas, winners in five Open divisions of the NRCHA Cow Horse Classic Derby were determined as competitors went down the fence in the last, and most thrilling, phase of this cow horse triathlon.
In a big and highly competitive field, a proven horse-and-rider combination rose to the top. Duals Lucky Charm (Dual Smart Rey x TRR Miss Pepcid Olena x Pepcid) and Scottsdale, Arizona, professional Kelby Phillips, the team that won the 2016 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Championship, blazed a trail of high scoring runs through three events to claim the Derby Open Championship for the gelding's owners, Mike and Robyne Stewart.
Phillips and Duals Lucky Charm scored a 444.5 composite (147 herd/149.5 rein/148 fence), taking home $22,638 in first-place money. Considering that Phillips and the gelding also earned a go-round check every time they stepped into the arena, their total take on the day was $24,845. Photo: Primo Morales
Their awards included a Bob's Custom Saddle, a Gist buckle, product from Platinum Performance and San Juan Ranch/Santa Cruz Animal Health, and a gift certificate from NexGen Compounding.
Click the player window for the winning 148 fence work by Duals Lucky Charm and Kelby Phillips.
The Derby Open Reserve Champion was Shiners Diamond Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Shiners Diamond Lady x Shining Spark), shown by California horseman Justin Wright for owners Mike and James Draper. Wright and the 4-year-old mare earned a 443 on three events (150 herd/144.5 rein/148.5 fence), taking home $18,997 in Reserve Championship money and go-round money.Photo: Primo Morales
Derby Intermediate Open
California professional Clayton Edsall piloted two horses out of the mare Sparking Train (Shining Spark x Sister Train x Reminic) to a one-two finish in the Derby Intermediate Open division.
Edsall claimed the Championship on the stallion Bet He Sparks, a Sparking Train son sired by Bet Hesa Cat. Their composite 442.5 (145 herd/149 rein/148.5 fence) earned the Intermediate Open win and 3rd place in the Open. Their combined go-round checks and placings added up to $23,827. Bet He Sparks is owned by K & L Phillips, LLC. Photo: Primo Morales
Photo: Primo Morales
Edsall's Intermediate Open Reserve Champion horse, the mare Metallic Train (Metallic Cat x Sparking Train), had the overall high scoring fence work on her way to the Reserve placing. Metallic Train's composite 441.5 (143.5 herd/148 rein/150 fence) also put her in a tie for 4th place in the Open. Her total paychecks and go-round money in the two divisions added up to $17,885. Metallic Train is owned by Beverly Vaughn. Photo: Primo Morales
Derby Limited Open
David Dillman, an NRCHA Professional from Calhan, Colorado, earned the Derby Limited Open Championship aboard Playing With Rey (Play Dual Rey x ARC Holly Cee Lena x Smart Little Lena). Dillman, who is also the mare's owner, guided her to a 424.5 composite (141 herd/142.5 rein/141 fence), earning $2,978. Photo: Primo Morales
Level 1 Limited Open
We can't confirm whether Chance Harman, of Aubrey, Texas, was laughing all the way to the winner's circle after he won the Level 1 Limited Open Derby aboard Sheza Crackin Me Up (Nabisco Roan x Sheza Shinette x Shining Spark), but he had to at least be smiling as he claimed the $2,870 first place paycheck for the mare's breeder/owner, and NRCHA sponsor Holy Cow Performance Horses, Weatherford, Texas. Harman and Sheza Crackin Me Up scored a total 424 (140 herd/142 rein/142 fence), earning the win on the tie-breaking high fence work score.
About the NRCHA Celebration of Champions
The NRCHA Celebration of Champions is three shows rolled into nine days of competition.
Although the calendar says 2018, the World Championship portion of the Celebration of Champions marks the official conclusion of the 2017 show season, by determining World and National Champions in 15 different Open and Non Pro divisions. World Championship qualifiers earned an invitation to compete in Fort Worth by qualifying at NRCHA-approved shows last year. The World Championship contestants will show in a preliminary round, with the top 10 in each division advancing to the clean slate finals for a shot at the title.
Other action at the Celebration of Champions includes the NRCHA Cow Horse Classic Derby for 4- and 5-year-old horses; special National High School Rodeo and Collegiate Invitational cow horse classes; and the crowd-pleasing World's Greatest Horseman, a grueling four-event test of the ultimate cowboy and cow horse, sponsored by NRCHA Corporate Partner DT Horses.
Admission is FREE to the public until the World's Greatest Horseman Finals on Saturday, February 17, when tickets are $20/each for general admission. Kids 10 and under are free.