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NRCHA Eastern Derby Returns to Tennessee
Photos by Nancy Brannon
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The National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) returned to the AgriCenter ShowPlace Arena, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Dom Conicelli Memorial Eastern Derby. This is the second premier reined cow horse event the association has produced east of the Mississippi River and its second year at the ShowPlace Arena. With two sets of horse show classes, a 4- and 5-year-old Open Derby with $50,000 added to the purse, and the popular Spectacular three-event classes, the Eastern Derby ran July 10-17, 2021.
The Dom Conicelli Memorial Eastern Derby started as the East Coast Reined Cow Horse Classic, which for 15 years brought together reined cow horse competitors on the east coast. It was originally founded by Paul Bailey of Sparta, Tennessee; the late Dom Conicelli of Collegeville, Pennsylvania; and Dick Rosell of Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania. In 2020 the NRCHA made the Eastern Derby one of its premier events and continues to produce it. The Dom Conicelli Memorial Eastern Derby honors Dom Conicelli, a well-known NRCHA member who helped found the Atlantic Reined Cow Horse Association. Prior to his death in 2018, Conicelli was inducted into the NRCHA Hall of Merit for his longstanding support.
The NRCHA focused on the Non Pro experience at this show. “Having an NRCHA premier event in the eastern U.S., where a higher percentage of our members are non-professionals, gives us the perfect opportunity to cater to this important part of our membership,” said Anna Morrison, NRCHA executive director. “Non Pros come to our events with a different set of expectations and questions than our professionals do, and we’re excited to focus on making this a fun and educational event for them.”
Twice during the show, Open NRCHA competitors answered questions and shared their perspectives during the “Tips From The Top” sessions, held during the Open Bridle rein work and the Open Derby cow work. This allowed Youth and Non Pro competitors to better understand how an Open rider thinks through their reining pattern and handles cow work.
In 2019, MARS Equestrian™ joined as an event supporter and is the current presenting sponsor. “We could not be more grateful to MARS Equestrian™ for their partnership and support of NRCHA and the Eastern Derby,” Morrison said. “Partners who share our passion for animals and horse sport make all the difference in being able to offer a high-quality event for our exhibitors.”
Cattle are an integral part of this type of show and Jeremy Cox of Pleasant Plains, Arkansas provided the cattle for the Eastern Derby for the second year in a row. “Cattle are an important part of the success of the show and we like to partner with a stock contractor for cattle in good condition and suited for the work required,” said Morrison. The cows are a mixture of “native heifers and steers,” she said and are segregated by class – i.e., heifers and steers are not mixed in the same class. The cows are not “trained” specifically for the job, but their handling is limited so that they resort to their natural cattle behavior and are not too dull in the arena.
In addition to the Tips from the Top, the show provided other activities, especially for the youth. Friday’s schedule will feature a Lead Line class and throughout the week youngsters could participate in a scavenger hunt for “Peanuts,” Mars’ stuffed pony.
Primo Morales Photography was the official photographer for the show. Find photos at: https://primomoralesphotography.zenfolio.com/
Follow the Eastern Derby online at https://nrcha.com/nrcha-eastern-derby/. Find all scores at: https://nrcha.com/scoring
In Monday evening’s Non Pro Derby herd work, Allison Fjelstad, riding Seven S Red Robin, swept the high scoring spot in all divisions – Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro, Novice Non Pro, and Amateur.
The Non Pro Limited Derby herd work on Monday saw Megan Waddell and Boonshinen take the high score with 214.5 points. Scores in the Open Derby herd work divisions were as follows:
Ricato Suave , Clay Volmer; Saddling At Sunrise, Boyd Rice; and One Ata Time, Ryan Gallentine, were in a three-way tie for the High Herd Score Open Derby at 219 each. Aint No Nag and Veronica Swales were very close with a score of 216.
The Pre-Futurity rein work was completed on Sunday morning for Open, Non Pro and Non Pro Limited riders. These competitors on their three-year-old horses were the top scorers: Jule Smart Rey and Dustin Mills, High Rein Score Open, Intermediate Open Pre-Futurity (145); Two Second Cat and Abigayle Mixon, High Rein Score Limited Open Pre-Futurity (144.5); Midnight Rocks and Alex Alves, High Rein Score Level 1 Limited Open Pre-Futurity (140.5); Emily Kent and Travelin Cat Lady, High Rein Score Non Pro Pre-Futurity (142); Stefani Wagley and Boon Doxx, High Rein Score Amateur Pre-Futurity (141); Walker Preister and Bad N Boojee, High Rein Score Non Pro Limited Pre-Futurity (140).
On Saturday July 10, Cheryl Chown and Xtra Short Trick earned the High Rein Score Non Pro Limited Derby (217).
Also on Saturday, the Non Pro Derby competitors wrapped up their rein work. High scorers were: Debbie Crafton and Dualin Alittle Time, High Rein Score Non Pro Derby (219.5); Trail Townsend and TRR Lucky Brazos, High Rein Score Intermediate Non Pro (tie), Novice Non Pro, Amateur (216.5); Morgan Holmes and Monster Truk, High Rein Score Intermediate Non Pro (tie) (216.5).
Open Derby exhibitors completed their rein work on Saturday July 10. High scorers in the Open divisions were: Ricato Suave and Clay Volmer, High Rein Score Open Derby (220.5); Seven S Johnny Reb and Ashley Deacon, High Rein Score Intermediate Open Derby, Open Novice Horse (tie) (218.5); Smart With Chicks and Alex Alves, High Rein Score Limited Open Derby, Level 1 Limited Open (216); Metallic Kisses and Sarah Dawson, High Rein Score Open Novice Horse (tie) (218.5).
Open Derby Champion was: Ricato Suave and Clay Volmer; Open Derby Reserve Champion was Smart Chic An Tari with Sarah Dawson riding.
Non Pro Limited Derby Champion was Cheryl Chown and Xtra Short Trick. Non Pro Limited Derby Reserve Champion was Lucinda Rose Davie riding Rubys Reypeat.
Debbie Crafton and Dualin ALittle Time took the Non Pro Derby Championship on Wednesday July 14.
Jerry Smoke, ridden by Todd Crawford, was the Open Bridle Spectacular Champion. Travelin Miss Jonez and Sarah Dawson were Open Bridle spectacular Reserve Champion.
Metallic Snowflakes and Christian Lybbert took the Intermediate Open Bridle Spectacular Champion. Loaded With Light and Lance Scheffel were Intermediate Open Bridle Spectacular Reserve Champion.
Open Two Rein Spectacular Champion was Bet Lucky 13, ridden by Todd Crawford. Open Two Rein Spectacular Reserve Champion was Rooster Cogboon, ridden by Clayton Anderson.
Non Pro Two Rein Spectacular Champion was Meradas Cash Bar with Dakota Cox. Non Pro Two Rein Spectacular Reserve Champion was Dually Tunes with Ashley Lembke.
Amy Bailey and Electra Tuff were the Non Pro Bridle Spectacular Champions. Adeline Gracie Bricker and Dual Looks were the Non Pro Bridle Spectacular Reserve Champions.
Non Pro Limited Spectacular Champion was Oh Cay Meriah with Monica Duflock. Non Pro Limited Spectacular Reserve Champion was MC Reyn Or Shine with Greg Lewis.
Youth Cow Horse Spectacular Champion was Catelyn Walker and Playin Motown. Youth Cow Horse Spectacular Reserve Champion was Quincee Clark and Vintage San. Youth Limited Spectacular Champion was Jubilee Stringfellow and Jills Last Bet. Youth Limited Spectacular Reserve Champion was Riley Friesen and Sweethearts Legacy.
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