National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC), held at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, in Katy, Texas, from April 13-19, more than 180 competitors were entered in the Non-Pro preliminaries. However, only 30 horse-and-rider teams could advance to the Non-Pro finals on the afternoon of April 17, where one team showed their talent.During the
At the start of the finals, competitors were marking consistent scores, but it seemed as though everyone was waiting on one horse-and-rider duo to really top the competiton. As the 20th draw, Sarah Lynn Locker and Heavy Duty Chex entered the arena with hopes of having a better time than she did in 2014, when her other horse at the time was too sore to compete.
Once they finished their pattern and exited the arena, they took the top spot on the scoreboard with a 220 and took home the Level 4 Non-Pro Championship. Locker was excited about her win with the 4-year-old stallion, bred and owned by Hilldale Farm, of Brashear, Texas, and added that it was their first 220 as a team.
“To win something like this is unbelievable. He’s just a 4-year-old. I showed him at the [National Reining Horse Association] Futurity last fall and this is our first big show of the year, so this is a heck of a way to kick it off!” Locker said. “He just keeps getting better and better, so I’m excited to see how the rest of our year unfolds.”
Locker and Heavy Duty Chex (Nu Chex To Cash x Rondas Tio x Teninolena Badger) garnered a $30,000 paycheck, boosting the stallion’s lifetime earnings to more than $48,000. Heavy Duty Chex is also his dam’s highest-earning offspring. Locker now boasts more than $140,000 in earnings, according to Equi-Stat.
There was a three-way tie for the Level 4 Non-Pro Reserve Championship. Josh Hattig and Gunners Snappy Chic (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x Chics Miss Snap x Smart Chic Olena), Cade McCutcheon and Custom Made Gun (Gunner x Custom Made Dunit x Hollywood Dun It), and Kelle Smith and Dunit The Gunner Way (Gunner x Dun It The Hard Way x Hollywood Dun It) all had scores of 219.5 and each competitor garnered a $14,650 paycheck.
Earning the Level 3 Non-Pro Championship was Josh Hattig, of Berthoud, Colorado, and Gunners Snappy Chic. As the 25th draw in the finals, Hattig piloted the 4-year-old mare (Gunner x Chics Miss Snap x Smart Chic Olena) to score a 219.5 and take home a $9,745 paycheck.
“She ran in and stopped really big, but she caught her right front just a tiny bit and that’s why she fell forward. She circled really good and changed great,” Hattig said. “She has a huge heart and she’s a huge stopper and a really big turner. Every day and every week she just keeps getting better.”
Hattig and Gunners Snappy Chic, bred and owned by Brad Hattig, also of Berthoud, were also Level 4 Non-Pro Co-Reserve Champions and in total, garnered $24,395. With these wins, Gunners Snappy Chic boasts lifetime earnings of more than $43,000, and is her dam’s highest-earning offspring.
Taking home the Level 3 Non-Pro Reserve title was Chandler Winard and Tags Golden Star (Whiz N Tag Chex x Boogies Smart Star x Smart Starbuck). The 5-year-old gelding, bred by Lyle Visser, of Whiteboro, Texas, and Winard scored a 219 and received a $5,932 paycheck for their efforts.
Levels 2 & 1
Entered in the finals as draw 18, Chandler Winard was aboard her 5-year-old gelding Tags Golden Star (Whiz N Tag Chex x Boogies Smart Star x Smart Starbuck), bred by Lyle Visser, of Whiteboro, Texas, when they scored a 219. Not only was their score good enough to claim the Level 2 Non-Pro Championship, they also earned the Level 1 Non-Pro Championship.
“This is my second Derby. It feels pretty amazing and he is the greatest horse. He is the funniest horse I’ve ever had to show. I am really lucky,” said 16-year-old Winard, of Scottsdale, Arizona. “I just told myself it was just another show so I wouldn’t get too nervous.”
In the Level 2 Non-Pro the duo earned a $4,895 paycheck, and in the Level 1 Non-Pro they earned an additional $1,667. They were also the Level 3 Reserve Champions, worth $5,932, and they received a $9,625 paycheck for placing in the Level 4 Non-Pro finals. In total, Winard and Tags Golden Star garnered $22,119. With their wins in the Non-Pro from the NRBC, “Leroy” now boasts lifetime earnings of more than $45,000 and Winard has earnings of more than $22,000.
The Level 2 Non-Pro Reserve title was a tie between Harper Conner, who rode Vintage Glamour (A Sparkling Vintage x Starjac Miss x Hollywood Jac 86), and Julie Ridgeway, who rode Nu Pops (Nu Chex To Cash x Sugar Pop Gun 1998 x Gunner) Both horse-and-rider teams scored a 217.5 and received a $2,607 paycheck for their performances. Ridgeway and Nu Pops also earned the Level 1 Reserve title worth $1,015.
Earning the Prime Time Non-Pro Championship as draw No. 9, was Julie Ridgeway, of Loomis, California, and Nu Pops (Nu Chex To Cash x Sugar Pop Gun 1998 x Gunner). Ridgeway and the 5-year-old stallion, bred by Deborah Strahman, of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, scored a 220.5 for the win and earned a $1,644 paycheck.
“I’m very excited,” said Ridgeway after she won. “Nu Pops is fabulous. I was very lucky and fortunate because I had a great horse and he did everything I asked of him and I just sort of went along with the ride.”
Along with their Prime Time Non-Pro paycheck, the duo also earned $6,333 for placing in the Level 4 Non-Pro finals, $4,131 for placing in the Level 3 finals, $2,607 for earning the Level 2 Co-Reserve title and $1,015 for their Level 1 Reserve title. In total, Ridgeway and Nu Pops garnered $15,730. According to Equi-Stat, Nu Pops now has more than $50,000 in earnings with his wins at the NRBC, and he is his dam’s second-highest money-earner. Ridgeway has more than $24,000 in lifetime earnings.
Taking home the Prime Time Reserve title was Michael Garnett and Blo Gun (Gunner x The Hot Jewel x The Hot Express). Garnett and the 5-year-old stallion, bred by Karen Alder, of Valley View, Texas, scored a 218.5 and received a $1,001 paycheck for their efforts.
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