Michael Garnett and Lil Patron led the way after the Non-Pro preliminary round at the 2021 NRHA Derby. • Photo by Waltenberry.

Lil Patron & Michael Garnett Top NRHA Derby Non-Pro Prelims

Non-Pro riders set the bar high during the preliminary rounds of the 6666 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby presented by Markel.

In addition to record payouts in every level, Non-Pro Levels entries (excluding the new Story Book Stables Amateur and Colston Paving Non-Pro Stakes) hit an all-time high this year, with 1,013 total entries, up from 832 in 2020.
By Tuesday evening, the competitors were whittled down to the top 30 in the Non-Pro Levels 4-1; top 20 in the Prime Time Non-Pro and Youth Non-Pro; and top 15 in the Masters Non Pro. Those riders will advance into the clean-slate finals, to be held Friday. There, the champions of each division will take home, for the first time, guaranteed payouts from the Four Sixes Ranch.

Unofficially the bubble for advancing to the finals are: 

  • Level 4 – 215.5
  • Level 3 – 213.5
  • Level 2 – 212.5
  • Level 1 – 210
  • Prime Time – 214*
  • Masters – 212.5*
  • Youth – 210
  • *Includes handicap.

Winning each division of the Non-Pro preliminaries were: 

  • Level 4, Prime Time & Masters – Michael Garnett & Lil Patron (Lil Joe Cash x Miss Rey O Shine x Shining Spark) – 221.5
  • Level 3, 2 & Prime Time – Shaunda Rai Blinzler & Smoke In Whizkey (Whizkey N Diamonds x Suga Suga x Smart Like Juice) – 218.5
  • Level 1 – Kimberly Horner & Intentional (Gunnatrashya x CR Kim x One Gun) – 217
  • Youth – Lane Colston & Lil Ruf Whizkey (Whizkey N Diamonds x Lil Ruf Startime x Lil Ruf Peppy) – 219.5

Non-Pro Championships in Prelims

Three championships were decided during the Non-Pro preliminaries:

  • Lauren Love and Rebelvintage (A Sparkling Vintage x Wimpys Got Action x Wimpys Little Step) won the inaugural Story Book Stables Amateur division.
  • Lane Colston topped the new Colston Paving Non-Pro Stakes on Lil Ruf Whizkey (Whizkey N Diamonds x Lil Ruf Startime x Lil Ruf Peppy). 
  • Addisyn Schmersal was the victor in the GlycoGuard Novice Horse Non-Pro on Xtra Vintagemahogany (A Sparkling Vintage x Custom Mahogany x Custom Crome).

Non-Pro Finals & Open Prelims

The draw for the Non-Pro finals will be held Wednesday, June 22, during the Platinum Performance Non Pro Draw and Welcome Party, which will also feature Reiners Rope, a fundraiser benefitting the Reining Horse Foundation Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund.
The preliminary round of the Open Derby kicks off on Wednesday. This round, which continues through Thursday, will determine the winners of the GlycoGuard Novice Horse Open Derby and the Tamarack Ranch Open Stakes, along with the finalists of the Open Derby. The Open finals, slated for Saturday, June 26, features the Four Sixes guaranteed payouts to each Open champion.