The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby concluded Saturday, June 28, with the $428,000-added Open finals at the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. This year’s Derby finals were the richest ever, paying out approximately $961,000. At the end of the event, Not Ruf At All and Jason Vanlandingham were victorious in the Open.
During the Open go-round, 571 entries competed for a spot in the finals, with 75 of the top-scoring horse-and-rider teams invited back to Saturday night’s event. Until the very end of the finals, thousands of reining fans, watching in-person and online, were treated to exciting leader board changes.
Many fans were anxious to see if one of the two past NRHA Futurity Open Champions (Not Ruf At All and Americasnextgunmodel) would follow up with another major NRHA event championship. In the end, 2013 NRHA Futurity Champions Not Ruf At All (A Sparkling Vintage x All Ruffed Up) and NRHA Professional Jason Vanlandingham, of Whitesboro, Texas, bested the field by three points for the win with a score of 229.
Vaughn Zimmerman’s stallion, nominated by Petra Zeitler Connor, won $60,000 for the Level 4 Open Championship ($57,000 to the owner and $3,000 to the nominator). Prior to his successes in the show arena, Not Ruf At All was consigned to the 2012 NRHA / Insurance Futurity Sales.
Level 3 Open
Colonels Splashy Gun (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x BH Splash) and NRHA Professional Arno Honstetter, of Scottsdale, Ariz., held onto the Level 3 Open lead they established in the first section. After nearly 30 runs in the division, they claimed Championship honors and a check for $23,475. Story Book Stables is Colonels Splashy Gun’s owner and nominator.
Level 2 Open
During the first section, Gun Affair (Gunner x Memorable Affair) and Joe Schmidt, of Pilot Point, Texas, earned a score of 222 from the judges to lead the Level 2 Open division. They stayed in the top position, winning the Championship including the $10,660 owner paycheck and the $560 nominator incentive. The 2009 mare is owned by Lil Equine LLC, and was eligible to enter the NRHA Derby thanks to nominator Victoria Lambert.
Level 1 Open
What A Lucky Hit (Hit The Lights x My Lucky Moonstone) and NRHA Professional Tell Edgmon, of Weatherford, Texas, set the pace for the finals from draw 9 in the first section with a 224.5. Their bid was more than enough to claim the Level 1 Open Championship and $5,370, including the 5 percent nominator incentive. Gary and Sandy Vickrey own the 2008 mare that was nominated by Adair Reiners. Before the NRHA Derby finals, she had earned more than $49,200 in NRHA competition, including a fifth-place finish at the NRHA Derby with Craig Schmersal.
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