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Todd Bergen, Smart Luck Win CD Survivor Open Bridle Spectacular Championship

smart-luck-13derbyLeft to right: Todd and Missy Bergen’s kids, Halle and Gavin; Missy Bergen; Smart Luck’s owner, Cindy Warn; Todd Bergen and Smart Luck; Nancy Crawford-Hall; Phil Hall; Todd Bergen’s assistant trainers, Erin and Anthony Taormino.Superior cow horses were on display at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Jack and Phoebe Cooke Memorial Derby in Paso Robles, Calif., Friday, June 14. The CD Survivor Open Bridle Spectacular, a $50,000-added event sponsored by Holy Cow Performance Horses, brought a thrilling nighttime show of bridle horse herd work, rein work and cow work to the spacious outdoor arena at the Paso Robles Event Center.

Eagle Point, Ore., professional Todd Bergen guided Smart Luck (Very Smart Remedy x Gunna Be Lucky x Gunna Smoke), owned by Cable Creek Ranch, to an untouchable 665.5 composite score (224 herd/224.5 rein/217 cow), winning the $28,500 championship check.

 It was the second consecutive time for the 7-year-old stallion and Bergen to win the CD Survivor Bridle Spectacular Championship; they also claimed the title last year, in Smart Luck’s first time to show down the fence in the bridle. He is currently undefeated in his bridle career. He has shown three times in NRCHA bridle events and won three championships, adding $65,850 to his lifetime earnings, which now surpass the $228,000 mark in cow horse and reining money.

“He’s a once in a lifetime horse, that one right there. And I think he’s getting better,” Bergen said.

Bergen has trained and shown Smart Luck throughout his career, and said he cannot remember another time when the stallion performed better than he did in Paso Robles.

“Those three runs were maybe three of the best I’ve ever had on him. The rein work, as much as he’s been shown, he was as pure and honest as could be. The herd work, he got tested pretty hard and just tried so hard. The fence work, we were fixing to be a huge score, and then that cow just cut in front of me. I was thrilled with him,” Bergen said.

The CD Survivor Open Bridle Spectacular was established to honor the memory of Holy Cow Performance Horses‘ late stallion, CD Survivor.

Sired by CD Olena and out of the Peppy San Badger mare, Hav A Lil Lena, CD Survivor brought grit, talent and beauty to the reined cow horse arena. To Holy Cow Performance Horses’ owner, Nancy Crawford-Hall, he epitomized the ideal bridle horse.

Unfortunately, CD Survivor’s life was cut short in 2009. In his memory, Crawford-Hall established the $50,000 added Open Bridle Spectacular at the NRCHA Derby. The class has become the NRCHA‘s richest event for bridle horses. In addition to the lucrative payout, the champion’s name is engraved on the CD Survivor Memorial Trophy that resides at Holy Cow Performance Horses.

“Nancy puts $50,000 up to this event and supports the NRCHA like nobody else. To have events like this, because of people like her, is what keeps this business going,” Bergen said. “To have  these purses for the older horses is great. It’s the best thing we’ve got going right now. That just fuels the whole industry, from the time we get these horses as 2-year-olds. It all trickles down. I think I speak for everybody showing – we all know that without her support, it would be just another horse show. I know everybody thanks her a lot, but it’s never too much.”

The Reserve Champion was Smooth N Cash (Smooth As A Cat x Dox Gavacash x Miss N Cash), shown by Jake Gorrell for owner Roloff Ranch. They scored a 662.5 (221 herd/220.5 rein/221 cow), earning $22,800.

Laurie Ward Wins Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular

LaurieWardLeft to right: Laurie Ward’s father, Ronnie Richards; her daughter, Bo Branquinho; Laurie Ward; and Laurie’s mother, Karin Richards.It was only his second time to show in the bridle, but No Chic Flicks (Chic Please x Pandalita Star x Grays Starlight) looked like a seasoned campaigner as he carried Laurie Ward to the National Reined Cow Horse Association Jack and Phoebe Cooke Memorial Derby Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular Championship in Paso Robles, Calif.

Ward guided No Chic Flicks, who is owned by her parents, Ronnie and Karin Richards, to a composite 649 score (214 herd/217 rein/218 cow). The Championship came with a $4,020 check and great prizes, including a C.R. Morrison Trophy; a $50 gift certificate and cooler bag from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies; a gift certificate from Platinum Performance; and a fleece blanket from Back On Track.

“He worked great in all three events. It’s only his second time in the bridle. I won the Sherri Gilkerson Memorial Bridle Spectacular on him last month, and that was his first time in the bridle,” Ward said. “Flick” has been a steady performer in the show pen for her since his 3-year-old year.

“He’s won over $100,000, and I’m very, very lucky to have him. He is a very honest horse. He never wants to do anything wrong. He feels comfortable in the bridle, he has the ‘look’ of a great bridle horse, and I think he will have a long and successful career in the bridle,” she said.

Ward, Kingsburg, Calif., is a top Non-Pro, with approximately $430,000 in career NRCHA earnings.  She thanked her family, her best friend, Annie Reynolds, and Reynolds’ Why Worry Ranch staff for their assistance. Ward especially thanked Randy Paul for his help and support.

The Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular Reserve Champion was Snowville, Utah horsewoman Sophia Buttars. She guided her mare, CD Hen House (Cluck Rooster Cluck x Rafter S Santa Golda x Mr San Cuatro) to a 647 composite score, earning $3,216 and some prizes: a $50 gift certificate/cooler bag from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies and a set of quick wraps from Back On Track.

Intermediate Non-Pro, Novice Non-Pro & Youth Bridle Champion

JorgeLuisCidJorge Luis Cid and Peppy Nicolena swept three bridle divisions at the NRCHA Derby.Jorge Luis Cid, Gainesville, Texas, collected a trio of Championships in Paso Robles on Friday, winning the NRCHA Derby Intermediate Non-Pro Bridle, Novice Non-Pro Bridle and Youth Bridle classes on his mare, Peppy Nicolena (Nic It In The Bud x Chelsea Lena x Smart Peppy Doc). He also placed 3rd in the Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular.

Cid’s combined paychecks totaled $5,424, and he will take home a matching set of three C.R. Morrison trophies, $50 gift certificates/cooler bags from Santa Cruz Biotechnologies, and leg wraps from Back On Track. His runs in the Non-Pro classes were highlighted by a big 221 fence work that had spectators whooping and cheering.

“She was amazing. It was the first time I felt I could handle any situation with her. She’s a hard horse to ride. She takes a lot of preparation to compete, but today she was unbelievable. She was right there, and soft, and everything you could ask,” the 18-year-old Venezuelan-born horseman said.

He started riding cow horses a year ago, and loves the challenge of the sport.

“The cutting, reining and cow horse are the best sports in the Western deal, and I want to be at the top. It has been a great experience,” he said.

Cid rides with NRCHA Professional Shawn Hays, who trained Peppy Nicolena and sold the mare to Cid last year. He met Shawn and his wife, Tammy Jo, through a mutual friend from Venezuela.

“They are amazing people, and I thank them for everything they have done for me,” Cid said. He also appreciated the support from his parents and family in Venezuela. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here,” he said.