The Lucas Oil Dirt & Diamonds National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Derby kicked off the new year of competition with a bang! Held at the Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, California, the three-day event drew many exhibitors from a large variety of Western states and Canada. Professionally managed by Total Equine Event Management (TEEM), the annual event had a great slate of exhibitors ready to rock the house and entertain the spectators.
Year after year, this creative group brings new ideas, launches exciting changes and provides a fresh approach to holding a competitive, yet fun horse show. With exhibitors coming from so many places, the news about the very low entry fees and high payouts has certainly spread.
“[The] NRCHA World Championships moved their dates and now start the week after our event ends,” said Jerry Alvord, show manager. “It’s the perfect stop for West Coast exhibitors heading to Fort Worth. There are also some people & trainers who don’t want to drive that far, and this gives them a great option that’s closer to home and less expensive on the bank account.”
In just the last seven years, this American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA)/National Snaffle Bit Association/Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association/NRCHA-approved five- day circuit has become the biggest show on the West Coast to start off each show year. It also offers some good ‘ol hospitality for exhibitors, and their family and friends.
“We try to create a schedule that makes time for people to get together, relax and have fun outside of the intense competition of the show,” Alvord said. “However, we’ve grown in size every year the past seven years, and this year the show was huge — we almost didn’t have enough time in a 24-hour day!
“Our class schedule creates an opportunity for trainers & exhibitors that are showing derby horses to also show in some AQHA classes,” he added. “If they have a good go, there are a lot of AQHA points available at such a big show, and if not, they get an opportunity to work on some things before their Derby runs. On Thursday night, we had a first-class Exhibitors Welcome Party hosted by Lucas Oil/Protect the Harvest with wonderful wine provided by C5 Ranch & Vineyards.”
The Lucas Oil Dirt & Diamonds NRCHA Derby portion of the show continued to draw increased attention due to its very low entry fees and high payouts. Lucas Oil Products Inc. and Protect the Harvest are the title sponsors and are very supportive of the equine sport industry as a whole.
In addition, since its inception, the derby has been supported by Dan Perez and his talented stallion Brother Jackson. Total payout for the Derby Open division was $12,900; the Non-Pro payout was $4,250; and the Non-Pro Limited division of the Derby had $860.
It was a tight race right up until the fence runs on Friday night. Composite scores were on the watch for Ken Wold, Cayley Wilson, Tucker Robinson, Les Oswald, Holly Marsh and Ron Emmons.
Coming out on top of a very tough field of Open riders was Cayley Wilson riding Remember The Magic (Very Smart Remedy x Magical Lena x Little Lenas Legend) for owner Joyce Pearson. The duo took home a custom trophy from Protect the Harvest/Lucas Oil and a check for $3,225.
The Reserve Champion was Cat Magical, ridden by Tucker Robinson for Dan and Linda Macedo. The mare (WR This Cats Smart x Smoke N My Wranglers x Wranglers Starlight) and Robinson received a custom chest from Protect the Harvest/Lucas Oil, plus a check for $2,580.
Third place went to Ken Wold showing Bright Shiney Lights (Smart And Shiney x Peppy Penny Chex x Peppy Badger Chex) for owner Joe Putnam, who received a check for $1,935. In fourth place was Les Oswald riding the Nic It In The Bud gelding Gypsy In The Bud (out of Gypsys Miss Oak x Starlights Gypsy) for DTF Venture LLC. They garnered a check for $1,548.
In the Non-Pro division of the Lucas Oil/Protect the Harvest Dirt & Diamonds Derby, competitors were vying for the $4,250 pot. Many were return exhibitors from last year’s event, in addition to several new faces.
It was a close race among the top two, Kathy Wilson and Tammy Johnston. In the end, Johnston and her horse Cee My Foolish Tangy (Cee Mr Hickory x Nu Tang x Tangys Classy Peppy) were the 2018 Non-Pro Champions with a total score of 421. Along with the championship title, the team took home the custom crystal trophy from Protect the Harvest/Lucas Oil and a check for $1,275.
Wilson and Ima Prizcee Hickory, who is also by Cee Mr Hickory and out of the Smokums Prize mare Nu Prize — a half-sister to Nu Tang — were the high fence score after marking a 143.5. That helped them snag the Reserve Championship, and they took home a custom chest from Protect the Harvest/Lucas Oil and a check for $1,063.
Derby Non-Pro Limited
The 2019 Derby Non-Pro Limited division benefitted from some added money provided by Perez, which brought the total money to $860.
Lilly Lizama showed her horse One Shiney Ring (One Time Pepto x Shining Rings x Shining Spark) to become the Non-Pro Limited Champion and took home a check for $344. The duo also received a beautiful custom trophy from Protect the Harvest/Lucas Oil.
Reserve Champion honors went to Kristin Bacchetti riding Im Kinda Smooth (Smooth As A Cat x My Kinda Pepto x Peptoboonsmal), who took home a custom chest from Protect the Harvest/Lucas Oil and a check for $258.
With the continued success of the NRCHA-sanctioned Lucas Oil/Protect the Harvest Dirt & Diamonds Derby and the non-stop growth of the Back 2 Basics Circuit, there is an added bonus for all exhibitors on the West Coast to come to this great event. The AQHA & NRCHA are the governing bodies of this competition and are responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition, ethical treatment of the animals and education of members and the public about the history and traditions of the horse.
Visit the TEEM Web Site at www.teemshows.com for upcoming shows.