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Samantha Smith rode Drinkin Moonshine to the NRHA Derby Level 3 Non-Pro Championship on Friday, June 19, in Oklahoma City. • Photo by Kelsey Pecsek Hruska.

Drinkin Moonshine & Samantha Smith Deliver Win at NRHA Derby

Drinkin Moonshine thrilled Samantha Smith with their win in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby Level 3 Non-Pro. 

With a score of 215, Smith and Drinkin Moonshine also finished sixth in the Level 4 Non-Pro, bringing their total earnings to $21,116. 

“I feel pretty good right now knowing I won the Level 3. This horse is only 4 years old, and this is the first real major event I’ve taken him to, so I’m really excited for the future,” Smith shared. “He has so much ability.”

While Smith was thrilled with the win, she admitted she could’ve ridden the stallion even better.

“I chickened out on two of my stops halfway down there. They were still good, but they could’ve been better. My right turn was just OK, but my left turn was like, ‘Wow! We’re turning fast!’ In my right circles he hooked up good, and he slowed down well. I was really happy with my slow-to-slow lead change. I just wish I hadn’t weakened on those stops,” she said. “I’m really happy because we haven’t had a lot of horse shows. I really only showed him one time in Tulsa.”

Drinkin Moonshine’s Story

Drinkin Moonshine was nominated by breeder Peter Morgan, of Reddick, Florida. He’s by Shine Chic Shine out of Wimpy Little Girl (by Wimpys Little Step), and was actually purchased for her father, NRHA Million Dollar Owner Lance Griffin. 

He won nearly $20,000 in the Open as a 3-year-old with Martin Larcombe at the reins, picking up checks at the Best of the West, Southwest Reining Horse Association and NRHA futurities. Smith showed him earlier this year at the Oklahoma Reining Horse Association Ride & Slide.

“He bought him for himself, and Martin Larcombe showed him for us at the Futurity. When my dad’s back got hurt, I got to show him. I’m not complaining,” she said with a laugh. “I thank my mom and dad. I thank Martin and his family. I especially thank my husband, Daryl, and my son, Hank, who’s my lucky charm. He’s here and we won.”

Co-Reserve

There was a two-way tie for second in the Level 3 Non-Pro between Addisyn Schmersal and McKinnon Larcombe, who each marked a 214. 

Schmersal rode Black Gun Face, by Black Face Dunnit out of Blazing In Black (by Rowdy Yankee), owned by Hickory Creek Ranch LLC. Schmersal had also qualified for the Level 2 and Youth finals, bringing her earnings for the night to $15,108. Her mom, Ginger Schmersal, nominated the horse.

Larcombe’s entry, Gunners Bar Fly, is owned by her aunt Shauna Larcombe and was nominated by McQuay Stables. Larcombe and Gunners Bar Fly, by Equi-Stat Elite $12 Million Sire Colonels Smoking Gun (Gunner) out of Blonde At The Bar (by Hollywood Jac 86), qualified for the Level 4 Non-Pro and Youth finals, for earnings of $13,820.