While the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Celebration of Champions spotlights horses of every age, the limited-age event showcases some of the top derby horses in the sport. This year’s Tres Osos Cow Horse Derby boasted 30 entries in the Non-Pro division, and when it was all said and done, Toni Hagen Heath, of La Grande, Oregon, and homebred Legend De Lena stood above the rest after marking a 643 composite.
Legend De Lena (by Smart Peppy Doc) is a half-brother to another of Heath’s good horses, Ima One Time Wonder (by One Time Pepto).
“I’m very tickled. I’m very happy for this horse,” Heath said after winning. “He’s really coming into his own and he’s had to play second fiddle to his older sister all last year so this year he got rid of her out of this class. He was consistent all the way through so I was really proud of him. He was a show horse this week.”
Both horses are out of My Legend Del Cielo, a Gallo Del Cielo (Rooster) mare who won nearly $10,000 during her career. Ima One Time Wonder is an earner of $50,257, while the champion’s check of $4,958 boosted Legend De Lena’s lifetime earnings to $22,442.
During the Tres Osos Derby, Legend De Lena, or “Charlie,” and Heath marked a 213 in the herd, a 217 in the rein work and a 213 down the fence.
“He was a good, nice, solid-acting horse, which is fun,” Heath said. “He’s finally growing up. He’s just five this year, so it’s finally come around for him.”
Heath plans to keep showing the gelding as long as she owns him — though that time might be limited.
“My husband keeps saying he’s for sale but he won’t price him to anybody, so it’s a good thing [because] I get to keep on showing him,” she said with a laugh. “He’s going to be somebody’s non-pro horse for a long time I think because he’s just solid and sound.”
Paul Bailey & Stylish Daisy Duke
15M (Stylish Rey Gay x Classy Smokinlena x Tangys Classy Peppy)
Owner: Paul & Amy Bailey, Sparta, TN
Breeder: Nelle Murphy, Marietta, OK
Score: 642 (212 herd/213.5 rein/216.5 cow)
Carrie Volmer & Sweet N Reycie
15M (Sweet Lil Pepto x Sheza Skeeto Rey x Red Rey King)
Owner: Carrie Volmer, Millsap, TX
Breeder: William & Billie Aylesworth, Lipan, TX
Score: 637.5 (209 herd/215.5 rein/213 cow)
Garrell Reilly & Maebe Lucky
14S (Metallic Cat x Scoot A Lil Closer x Smart Lil Scoot)
Owner: Garrell Reilly, Casa Grande, AZ
Breeder: Kathleen Moore, Madill, OK
Score: 622.5 (211 herd/205.5 rein/206 cow)
Katie Fox & Metallic Heritage
13G (Metallic Cat x Dual Heritage x Dual Pep)
Owner: Dan Fox, Chino, CA
Breeder: Greg Coalson, Weatherford, TX
Score: 636.5 (206 herd/212.5 rein/218 boxing)