As the first National Reined Cow Horse Association premier event to be held east of the Mississippi River, the Dom Conicelli Memorial Eastern Derby, presented by MARS Equestrian had a lot of buzz before the first horse walked through the ring.
On Friday, July 17, the non-pro derby riders added a little drama to the mix.
After three rounds, two of the riders — Debbie Crafton and Ashley Lembke on Dually Tunes — finished in a tie aboard More Metal and Dually Tunes.
Though common in some Western performance disciplines, a tie in rare in cow horse. Typically, if two riders finish with the same score, the championship goes to the competitor who had the highest cow work score.
In this case, the two riders had the same composite — 436.5 — AND the same cow score — 147.5. They had a choice: Flip for the win, or run it off.
“We went ahead and ran it off,” Crafton said. “We’re friends, and that was exciting to run it off with a friend.”
During the run off, Crafton and More Metal marked a 146.5 to earn the championship. Lembke and Dually Tunes marked a 124 and were Reserve Champions.
Crafton wasn’t worried about taking the cowy 4-year-old gelding down the fence a second time. Before the run off, they’d achieved their 436.5 composite with a 143.5 in the herd work, 145.5 in the rein work and then 146.5 in the cow work.
“He actually has just been a great horse to show and ride, and he can handle the pressure,” she said. “I guess that’s what makes it so easy for him, and not challenging for me and worrisome for me, to have to run back to back.
More Metal is by Metallic Cat and out of Reycy Cowgirl (by Dual Rey). Bred by Kathleen Moore, of Madill, Oklahoma, his 10 maternal full or half siblings have won more than $200,000.
The $2,204 first-place check in Memphis pushed his lifetime earnings to more than $10,000. Crafton has a lifetime Equi-Stat record of more than $186,000.
Lembke & Dually Tunes
Although they did not win the Non-Pro, Lembke’s final composite of 436.5 was good for the Non-Pro Intermediate and Novice Non-Pro victories.
Dually Tunes is a 2015 gelding by Dual Rey and out of SDP Finely Tuned (by Smart Little Lena). Bred by the Beechfork Ranch, of Weatherford, Texas, the sorrel horse has now won more than $$7,500.
Lembke’s lifetime earnings are now past the $43,000 mark..