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Ruben Vandorp guided Spooks Gotta Crush to the 2020 National Reining Breeders Classic Level 3 Open Championship. • Photo by Waltenberry.

Spooks Gotta Crush & Ruben Vandorp Rally Late for NRBC Win

Competing as the last rider in a finals as tough as the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) Open can be rather nerve-wracking. That’s why Ruben Vandorp only watched one other run.

“I tried not to follow any of the class. I knew what was winning it, but I didn’t know how deep it was. I watched the very first horse go, and that’s the only one I watched all night,” he said.

It must have been the right strategy, as Vandorp and his horse Spooks Gotta Crush gave it their all. The result? A score of 224 which secured the Level 3 Championship and tied for fourth in the Level 4.

All totaled, the night’s earnings came to $46,321. The winnings pushed the horse’s lifetime Equi-Stat record to more than $128,000.

“I was tickled pink with my horse,” Vandorp said. “I cannot really believe this just happened. You always hope it does, but a buddy of mine explained it to me once. He said the reason winning is so much fun is because it is so damn hard to do, so when it works it is absolutely amazing.”

Vandorp bought Spooks Gotta Crush from Trey Poole as a 2-year-old. The horse is by EquiStat Elite $2 Million Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Megas Sugar Baby (by Marthas Mega Jac). He was bred by Patsy Shelton Schutz, of Pottsboro, Texas

“I made the Futurity finals on him, and won Tulsa on him. He’s just been a blast. Last year I had some health issues and Jason Vanlandingham was kind enough to show him for me and they made the Open Derby finals and were second in the [$100,000 Open] Shootout at The Run for a Million reining,” Vandorp said. “He’s just been a great horse and is part of the family. We love him.”

Inundated with texts of encouragement prior to his run, Vandorp credited his friends.

“I can’t narrow down my thanks to just a few people. It takes a village with me,” he said. “I got so many texts from people encouraging me and saying they were praying for me and lifting me up. I had zero worries or reservations when I went into the pen.”