brian-bell-gunnabebigtime
Brian Bell earned recognition form the NRHA thanks to horses such as Gunnabebigtime, who he rode to the NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Reserve Championship. • Photo by Waltenberry.

Trainer Brian Bell Hits NRHA Milestone

Thanks to more than $8,000 in earnings at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress, trainer Brian Bell has unofficially surpassed two million dollars in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA).

Bell, of Pilot Point, Texas, first became an NRHA Million Dollar Rider in 2013 following the NRHA Futurity, where he qualified two horses back to the Level 4 Open finals. Now, he’s a Two Million Dollar Rider in the association.

“I first got started around the time Bill Horn became NRHA’s first Million Dollar Rider, and that made me want to have that success, too,” Bell shared. “The first million was the hardest. I’ve learned so much since then and can do a better job now.”

That knowledge made it possible for Bell to earn his second million in less than eight years. In 2020, he won his biggest check to date when he piloted Gunnabebigtime (Gunnatrashya x Big Time Jazzy x Shine Big Time) to the NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Reserve Championship for $113,033.

Bell’s Beginnings

Bell started his reining career at 18 years old. He moved into the professional ranks in 1995 and quickly made his mark there as well winning several major event titles. He has successfully competed at the highest levels of reining competition, including USET Reining Championship finals, the NRHA Futurity, NRHA Derby, NRBC, All American Quarter Horse Congress and AQHA World Show.

Bell noted his father, George Bell, has been a major part of his career, beginning with youth horses and continuing to support him with good horses over the years. 

“My dad used to sit out on the track on a stump to watch. He did that so long that the stump finally rotted and we had to put a new one out there,” Bell recalled.

Career Highlights

With Turn Down For What (Einsteins Revolution x My Way Marla x Smart Starbuck), Bell finished fourth at the 2015 NRHA Futurity. The pair then finished as the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) Level 4 Open Reserve Champions in 2017.

Recent performances with standout athletes including Mr Royal Hollywood, Cee Mr Stop, Mr Hollywood Cee, Mr Boaz, and Ruf Steppin have all helped propel Bell’s lifetime earnings upwards. 

“Most of the credit has to go to the good horses I’ve gotten to ride; the ones that want to do the job for you,” he said. “I also thank the owners who have had faith in me and have given me nice horses to ride.”

Brian Bell’s Top 10 Wins (by NRHA earnings):

  • 2020 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Reserve Champion – Gunnabebigtime – $113,033
  • 2006 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Reserve Champion – Collenas Finest Tafy – $103,110
  • 2015 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open fourth place – Turn Down For What – $52,636
  • 2008 NRBC Level 4 Open third place – Great Sun Burst – $43,000
  • 2017 NRBC Level 4 Open Reserve Champion – Turn Down For What – $41,000
  • 2007 NRBC Level 4 Open fourth place – Starbucks Jazz – $37,000
  • 2006 NRBC Level 4 Open fourth place – Lean With Hollywood – $36,000
  • 2021 NRBC Level 4 Open fourth place – Mr Royal Hollywood – $30,000
  • 2020 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open eighth place – Mr Boaz – $27,481
  • 2006 NRHA Derby Level 4 Open fourth place – Lean With Hollywood – $23,281