NRHA Derby Open Finalists Determined

Todd Bergen
The 2012 National Reining Horse Association Derby held its third day of competition with the first go, first section of the $180,000-added Derby Non-Pro and completed the go-round in the $435,000-added Derby Open.

This year’s added money doubled in the Derby Non-Pro and increased 55 percent in the Derby Open, bringing the total added money to $615,000. Purse estimates for the Derby exceed $860,000 this year (75 percent increase over last year). Entries also have spiked to 1,130 for a 135 increase.

In the $435,000-added Derby Open, the lowest score to qualify for the finals, also known as “the bubble,” in the Level 4 was 219, Level 3 was 217, Level 2 was 215.5 and Level 1 was 214.

Monday’s leaders in all five divisions held their ground through Tuesday as 55 horses and riders battled for a finalist position. The leaders for each level are:

Shiners Voodoo Dr and NRHA Professional Todd Bergen (Level 4 Open)

Lil Gun Dunit and NRHA Professional Troy Heikes (Level 3 Open)

Miz Whizconsin and NRHA Professional Robin Schoeller (Level 2 Open)

Dainty Little Step and Ben Baldus (Level 1 Open)

Lil Magnum Jessie and NRHA Professional Casey Hinton (Prime Time Open – tie)

Dunit A Lil Ruf and NRHA Steward Ann Salmon (Prime Time Open – tie)

The high scores of the day included:

- 224.5 for Spooks Gotta Whiz (Spooks Gotta Gun x Prettywhizprettydoes x Topsail Whiz) and NRHA Professional Shawn Flarida for owner Michell Anne Kimball for third in the Level 4 Open division

- 223.5 for Tinker With Guns (Gunner x Tinker Nic x Reminic) and NRHA Professional Andrea Fappani for owner Rancho Oso Rio LLC to tie for fourth in the Level 4 Open division

- 223.5 for What A Lucky Hit (Hit The Lights x My Lucky Moonstone x Topsail Whiz) and NRHA Professional Craig Schmersal for owners Sandy and Gary Vickrey to tie for fourth in the Level 4 Open division


Jose Vazquez, Markham, Ill., NRHA Lifetime member and earner of more than $779,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings, rode the 2007 stallion Moonshine Juice (Smart Like Juice x Wind Her Up Shiner x Shining Spark) to a score of 219 to lead both the Level 4 Non-Pro and Prime Time Non-Pro divisions. Moonshine Juice ($51,000 NRHA LTE) was bred by Smart Like Juice, Inc.

Just a ½ point behind was Tish Fappani, Scottsdale, Ariz., ($196,000 NRHA LTE) and Premier Diamond (Like A Diamond x S Chexy Nic x Reminic) with a 218.5. Regina De La Madrid bred the 2006 gelding. Premier Diamond has more than $45,000 NRHA LTE with his most recent earning coming with Fappani at the National Reining Breeders Classic as a Level 4 Non-Pro finalist.

The highest score in levels 1, 2 and 3 in the Non-Pro Derby, as well as the second highest score in the Prime Time Non-Pro division, went to Annie Reynolds, King Hill, Idaho, and Shiney And Verysmart (217). The pair has been extremely successful in reining and reined cow horse competition. Among their accolades are championship titles at the Level 2, Level 1 and Prime Time Non-Pro divisions at the Cactus Reining Classic Derby. Reynolds bred Shiney And Verysmart (Very Smart Remedy x Shirley Shine x Shining Spark).

In the Youth Non-Pro division, the competition was heated ending with a three-way tie for the lead with a 213: Hannah Mitchell aboard Chics Say Im Wimpy (Wimpys Little Step x Smart Chiclet x Smart Chic Olena), bred by Jody Quiram, Alexis Daggett riding Cee Pepto Wood (Sweet Lil Pepto x Cee Miss Hollywood x Custom Crome), bred by George Bell, and Trent Gamble on KR Smart Lil Devil (Smart Spook x KR Dirt Devil x BH Toy Soldier), bred by B. Cheree Kirkbride.

Shiners Voodoo Dr & Todd Bergen Lead NRHA Derby Open

Entering the arena at draw 102, Shiners Voodoo Dr and National Reining Horse Association Professional Todd Bergen captured everyone’s attention and clenched the Level 4 Open division lead with a score of 226. Xtra Quarter Horses LLC owns and stands the 2007 palomino stallion that was bred by Rogers Heaven Sent Ranch. Shiners Voodoo Dr (Shining Spark x Voodoo Chic x Smart Chic Olena) has more than $37,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings, including a win at the 2009 John Deere Futurity in Tulsa, Okla. 

Quistador ($185,000 in NRHA LTE, Conquistador Whiz x Miss N Becky x Okie Paul Quixote, bred by Joe Hayes) and NRHA Professional Shawn Flarida scored a 225 earlier in the day for owners Gus and Gaynia Revenberg. The 2007 stallion ranks second in the Level 4 Open division.

Lil Gun Dunit (Lil Gun x Hollywood Baby Dunit x Hollywood Dun It) and NRHA Professional Troy Heikes claimed the lead in the Level 3 Open division and third place in the Level 4 Open division. They marked a 223 for owner Denise Bixler. Lil Gun Dunit is a 6-year-old AQHA/APHA dual-registered gelding.

Miz Whizconsin (Inwhizable x Schoen Melody x Heza German Melody) and NRHA Professional Robin Schoeller were the final entry of the day on Monday; and they ended the day in style with a 219.5 to move into the lead in the Level 2 Open division for owner B. Elizabeth Himes. Wisconsin’s Bill Kasten bred the 2007 mare that won the 2010 North Central Reining Horse Association’s Open Futurity with Joan Kasten Erickson.

In the Level 1 Open division, Dainty Little Step ($19,400 NRHA LTE) and Ben Baldus’ 218.5 topped the standings. WT Waggoner Estate’s homebred is a 2006 mare by Wimpys Little Step out of Tucks Little Poco by Poco King Tuck.

Lil Magnum Jessie ($157,000 NRHA LTE, Magnum Chic Dream x Lil Ruf Jessie x Lil Ruf Peppy, bred by Nedpoint Quarter Horses, Inc.) and NRHA Professional Casey Hinton tied for the lead in the Prime Time Open division with Dunit A Lil Ruf (Lil Ruf Peppy x A Bueno Poco Dunit x Hollywood Dun It, bred by Sandi Holt) and NRHA Steward Ann Salmon with a 219. Dunit A Lil Ruf and Salmon also are second in the Level 2 Open division.