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Lane Colston and his NRHA Derby-winning mount, Lil Ruf Whizkey. • Photo by Kelsey Pecsek Hruska.

Lil Ruf Whizkey & Lane Colston Win NRHA Derby Non-Pro

The Non-Pro leaderboard was a busy place during the 6666 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby, presented by Markel, but when the dust cleared Lane Colston and a horse nicknamed “Cowboy” stood alone.

Colston, of Frankfort, Kentucky, rode his family’s Lil Ruf Whizkey to a winning 221 to capture the Level 4 Non-Pro Championship Friday, June 25, in Oklahoma City. His score was the latest in a series of leaderboard changes, just barely eclipsing the 220.5 marked by eventual Level 4 Non-Pro Reserve Champions TR Baby Blues and Kim Muehlstaetter. 

Colston was well aware of the magnitude of the win, saying “people work their whole lives for this.” 

“This is my fourth year showing here at the Derby [and] making the finals, and I realize how tough it was,” said Colston, who also won the NRHA Derby Youth. “And you’ve got to be on your ‘A’ Game all the time for the whole show, and just one little mistake messes you up. 

“But, the stars aligned today, so that was great.”

Bred by Terry Leffew, of Clarks Hill, Indiana, Lil Ruf Whizkey is by EquiStat Elite $1 Million Sire Whizkey N Diamonds and out of Lil Ruf Startime (by Lil Ruf Peppy). The 2017 bay gelding is the leading earner for his dam, who has foaled a total of seven money earners.

Muehlstaetter’s Reserve Champion mount, TR Baby Blues, is a 2017 bay gelding sired by EquiStat Elite $3 Million Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Spooks N Sparks (by Smart Spook). He was bred by Tamarack Ranch LLC, of Joseph, Oregon.