The 2019 National Reining Horse Association Derby provided a week of thrills and excitement for exhibitors, owners, sponsors, and spectators.
Riders posted one massive score after another, making memories with every run. Several times it looked as if a winner had been decided, but then another rider would raise the bar.
Draw 29, Guaranteed A Magnum, by Magnum With A Dream out of Guaranteed By Amos, had lifetime earnings just under $200,000 prior to the finals. In fact, he and rider Jimmy van der Hoeven won the event in 2018, entering the arena as the reigning champions.
“Casey (Hinton) and I talked it over before we walked in. It goes through your mind that you need to stay calm. Casey told me to ‘Ride what your horse can do. That’s what they do, and don’t try to do more than that,’” Van der Hoeven shared. “Those were the words I heard when I walked in, but it’s hard when people are screaming and you know what the horses before you did. Staying calm in that is not easy.”
Still, Van der Hoeven and Guaranteed A Magnum stayed the course through seemingly never-ending stops, impeccable spins, and flashy circles. The cheers of the already loud crowd reached deafening levels when the score – a 231.5 – was announced.
Van der Hoeven trains out of Casey and Kathy Hinton’s barn in Whitesboro, Texas. “I thank the whole team. Casey and Kathy are real special to me. Casey is a great coach and trainer. I also thank all the people who work at home, and my brother Roy van der Hoeven,” he said.
Craig Schmersal piloted No Smoking Required to a 231 to win the Level 4 Open Reserve Championship.
Cade McCutcheon and Shes Got Good Guns Win Open Levels 3 and 2 Championship
It was Cade McCutcheon’s first time to show in the NRHA Open Derby, and the young trainer made the most of it, qualifying all three of his entries back to the Open Level 4 finals. He finished as the Open Level 3 and Level 2 Champion on Shes Got Good Guns, by Gunner out of A Bueno Poco Dunit.
McCutcheon and Shes Got Good Guns marked a 227.5, which also ranked them eighth in place of the Open Level 4.
“She was awesome. She’s very honest in the show pen and I know I can trust her. She was there for me every step of the way,” McCutcheon said. “She’s a really good mare, and I’m just lucky to have her.”
Finishing second in the Open Level 3 was Trevor Dare and Xtra Dun Step, by Wimpys Little Step out of All Thats Dun. The pair marked a 225, also finishing 13th in the Level 4.
Reserve in the Open Level 2 went to Lorinaldo Gomes and Snip O One, who finished the finals with a 224.5. That score was also good for third in the Level 3, and fifteenth in the Level 4.
Josh Tishman Wins Open Level 1 Championship on Baileys Sidekick
With a 222.5, Josh Tishman and Baileys Sidekick won the Open Level 1 Championship, besting their preliminary round score by a point. While that feat was impressive – they also qualified for the finals of the Open Levels 2 and 3 – the story gets better. Baileys Sidekick pulled double duty at the NRHA Derby. “He was shown by both his owner, Kathy Thompson, and myself. Kathy qualified for the Non Pro Level 4 finals last night, and he and I were only a half-point from making the Open Level 4 finals,” Tishman shared. “He’s given everything he has. He has a huge heart and is pure as pure can be in the show pen for both of us every time.”
Todd Wright and SJR Karinas Lil Step finished as the Open Level 1 Reserve Champions, winning $4,845 with a score of 220.5.
Dean Brown and Gunnatrashtheplace Win Open Prime Time Title
The Open Prime Time Championship was decided in the preliminary round, and Dean Brown and Gunnatrashtheplace topped the division with a 223, earning $2,271.
Finishing second in the Open Prime Time was Martin Larcombe and Hey Joe with a 222.5, collecting $1,804.
Complete results and information about the NRHA Derby can be found at www.NRHADerby.com.