Chance Harman and Sheza Crackin Me Up won their second premier event title this year at the NRCHA Derby• Photo by Primo Morales.

Harman Cracks NRCHA Derby Winners Circle

Chance Harman met his future employer, Chris Dawson, four years ago after finishing a rein work round at the NRCHA Derby. This year, the assistant trainer rode the Dawson barn into the Derby winner’s circle.

He did it in the Level 1 Limited Open with the Holy Cow Performance Horses homebred mare, Sheza Crackin Me Up. He and the 2013 mare by multiple Open Bridle champion Nabsico Roan out of stellar producer Sheza Shinette (by Shining Spark) marked a composite of 638.5 (212 herd/209.5 rein/217 cow).

Winning at the Derby meant a lot to the trainer who originally hails from Oberlin, Kansas

“This is a tough show out here,” said Harman, thanking Chris and Sarah Dawson and trainer Wade Meador. “Words can’t describe what it means and all the work that goes into it. Not just me – [it takes] everybody to make it work.”

Harman’s been riding for two years at Dawson Performance Horses, where he’s an assistant trainer and starts 2-year-olds. Introduced to cow horses while working at ranches in Nebraska, his resume includes stops in Texas and Alberta, Canada.

He went to the Dawson’s operation in Perrin, Texas, with the intention of riding for a few months, but ended up staying there for the past two years. Riding and working with Chris, an Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider, and Sarah, an earner of $429,272, is a great opportunity, he said.

“Just to be able to ride the caliber of nice horses that they get in, and learn from the best…it’s great every day,” said Harman, who has an Equi-Stat record of more than $33,000. “I don’t know. It feels really good. They’re great teachers.”

The $2,727 first-place check pushed Sheza Crackin Me Up’s lifetime Equi-Stat record to roughly $18,700. Earlier this year, Harman and the mare won the Level 1 Limited Open Championship at the Cow Horse Classic Derby, which was held during the NRCHA Celebration of Champions.

The mare’s dam, Sheza Shinette, has foaled 17 earners of more than $707,000. Her leading earners are Hes Shinettes CD ($193,828, by CD Olena), Heza Diamond Spark ($122,724, by Diamond J Star) and Heza Shiney Kodo ($88,200, by Kodo). She also foaled reining and cow horse earner Once A Von A Time ($76,925, by Von Reminic).

Derby Level 1 Limited Open Reserve Champions One Shiney Ring and Pedro Lizama marked a composite of 632 (208 herd/210.5 rein/213.5 cow). The 2012 red roan mare (One Time Pepto x Shining Rings x Shining Spark) earned $$2,181 for owner 50/50 Land And Cattle, of Stevenson, California. She was bred by Ruby View Quarter Horses, of Elko, Nevada.

Open Novice Horse

The Derby Open Novice Horse Championship went to Sunsets and Doug Williamson.

The Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider and the 2013 stallion by One Time Pepto earned a composite of 647 (216 herd/213.5 rein/217.5 fence). The NRCHA Hall of Fame member rode the stallion for longtime customers, Rocking J Ranch, of Glendale, California.

“He’s a huge stopper and really cow smart,” Williamson told the NRCHA. “He is a really good horse. I’m excited about him. I’ve started roping off of him and he might become a World’s Greatest horse.”

Sunsets is a son of Starlights Liz, a daughter of Grays Starlight who has foaled earners of more than $551,000. Her get includes several cutters, including leading earner Kittens ($286,248, by High Brow Cat).

The Open Novice Horse Reserve Champions were Metal Hickory 014 and John Swales. He and the 2014 stallion (Metallic Cat x Miss Hickory Hill x Docs Hickory) marked a composite of 644 (213.5 herd/220.5 rein/210 cow).

Owned by Spring Haven Ranches, of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, Metal Hickory 014 is a full brother to recent Magnificent 7 All Around Stock Horse Champion Call Me Mitch ($162,526), who was the Reserve Champion at the 2018 World’s Greatest Horseman and was competing on Friday with Phillip Ralls in the CD Survivor Memorial Open Bridle Spectacular at the NRCHA Derby. Their dam, Miss Hickory Hill (out of Whatyouthink, by Son Ofa Doc) is the mother of 12 earners of more than $510,000.

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