NRHA Derby Open Finalists Determined

The 2012 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby held its third day of competition with the first go, first section of the $180,000-added* Non Pro Derby and completed the go-round in the $435,000-added* Open Derby. The Derby runs June 24-30 at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


This year’s added money doubled in the Non Pro Derby and increased 55% in the Open Derby bringing the total added money to $615,000. Purse estimates for the Derby exceed $860,000 this year (75% increase over last year). Entries also have spiked to 1,130 for a 135 increase.


In the $435,000-added Open Derby, the lowest score to qualify for the finals, also known as “the bubble,” in the Level 4 was 219, Level 3 was 217, Level 2 was 215.5 and Level 1 was 214.


Yesterday’s leaders in all five divisions held their ground through today as 55 horses and riders battled for a finalist position:

  • Shiners Voodoo Dr and NRHA Professional Todd Bergen (Level 4 Open)
  • Lil Gun Dunit and NRHA Professional Troy Heikes (Level 3 Open)
  • Miz Whizconsin and NRHA Professional Robin Schoeller (Level 2 Open)
  • Dainty Little Step and Ben Baldus (Level 1 Open)
  • Lil Magnum Jessie and NRHA Professional Casey Hinton (Prime Time Open – tie)
  • Dunit A Lil Ruf and NRHA Steward Ann Salmon (Prime Time Open – tie)

The high scores of the day included:

224.5 for Spooks Gotta Whiz (Spooks Gotta Gun x Prettywhizprettydoes by Topsail Whiz) and NRHA Professional Shawn Flarida for owner Michell Anne Kimball for third in the Level 4 Open division

223.5 for Tinker With Guns (Gunner x Tinker Nic by Reminic) and NRHA Professional Andrea Fappani for owner Rancho Oso Rio LLC for fourth in the Level 4 Open division (tie)

223.5 for What A Lucky Hit (Hit The Lights x My Lucky Moonstone by Topsail Whiz) and NRHA Professional Craig Schmersal for owners Sandy and Gary Vickrey for fourth in the Level 4 Open division (tie)


Jose Vazquez (Markham, Ill.), NRHA Lifetime member and earner of more than $779,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings, rode the 2007 stallion Moonshine Juice (Smart Like Juice x Wind Her Up Shiner by Shining Spark) to a score of 219 to lead both the Level 4 Non Pro and Prime Time Non Pro divisions. Moonshine Juice ($51,000 NRHA LTE) was bred by Smart Like Juice, Inc.

Just a ½ point behind was Tish Fappani (Scottsdale, Ariz., $196,000 NRHA LTE) and Premier Diamond (Like A Diamond x S Chexy Nic by Reminic) with a 218.5. Regina De La Madrid bred the 2006 gelding. Premier Diamondhas more than $45,000 NRHA LTE with his most recent earning coming with Fappani at the 2012 National Reining Breeders Classic as a Level 4 Non Pro finalist.

The highest score in levels 1, 2 and 3 in the Non Pro Derby, as well as the second highest score in the Prime Time Non Pro division went to Anne Reynolds (King Hill, Id.) and Shiney And Verysmart (217). The pair has been extremely successful in reining and reined cow horse competition. Among their accolades are championship titles at the Level 2, Level 1 and Prime Time Non Pro divisions at the 2012 Cactus Reining Classic Derby. Reynolds bred Shiney And Verysmart (Very Smart Remedy x Shirley Shine by Shining Spark).

In the Youth Non Pro division, the competition was heated ending with a three-way tie for the lead with a 213: Hannah Mitchell aboard Chics Say Im Wimpy (Wimpys Little Step x Smart Chiclet by Smart Chic Olena, bred by Jody Quiram), Alexis Daggett riding Cee Pepto Wood (Sweet Lil Pepto x Cee Miss Hollywood by Custom Crome, bred by George Bell) and Trent Gamble on KR Smart Lil Devil (Smart Spook x KR Dirt Devil by BH Toy Soldier, bred by B Cheree Kirkbride).


The NRHA Derby Show welcomes horse enthusiasts from all backgrounds and interest levels. The first five days of the competition are free to the public making it an excellent option for the whole family. The event also offers many activities outside of the show ring such as a trade show with more than 50 vendors from around the country, NRHA Collegiate Reining Championship, NRHA Interscholastic Reining Championship, NRHA Awards & Hall of Fame Banquet, Interscholastic Equestrian Association Western National Finals and much more.


The NRHA would like to thank the following Corporate Partners for their support of the NRHA Derby: Adequan, Arenus, Bob’s Custom Saddles, Cinder Lakes Ranch and Reproduction Center, Classic Equine, Darling 888 Ranch, Horse&Rider, John Deere, Kiser Arena Specialists, Markel Insurance Company, Merial, Montana Silversmiths, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Pard’s Western Shop, Platinum Performance, Purina Mills, Quarter Horse News, Rios of Mercedes / Anderson Bean Boot Company, Miller International – Cinch / Cruel Girl, Silver Spurs Equine, SmartPak, Twister Trailer and World Development Group. NRHA also appreciates the contributions of Event Sponsors KO Trading, Sandbur Productions, Scott Cleaners and Shorty’s Caboy Hattery.
Incorporated in 1966, the National Reining Horse Association is the standard setting body of the sport of Reining. NRHA, with their International Headquarters in Oklahoma City, is responsible for promoting the sport of reining and working to ensure the highest standards of competition.

To learn more about the NRHA, its programs and family of corporate partners, visit