The 2012 National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions began Saturday, January 28. The Celebration of Champions is one of the NRCHA's premier events - and there are actually three different competitions held during the nine days of competition. Along with the Circle Y Ranch Derby, the Celebration of Champions also plays host to the NRCHA World Championship Show presented by John Deere, and the NRCHA World's Greatest Horseman.
The Circle Y Ranch Derby is decided in one go-round, and the herd work phase of the contest is now complete. Taking the lead of the Open division was Boyd Rice, Spearman, Texas, and Moonstruck Pepto with a score of 149, worth $2,465. Rice and Moonstruck Pepto, owned by Cowan Select Horses LLC of Purcell, Oklahoma, were the 2011 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Reserve Champions. Moonstruck Pepto, by One Time Pepto out of Moonstruck Cat.
Topping the Intermediate Open division was Matt Koch and SDP Blue Blood, who won the 2011 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Level 1 Limited Open Championship. The pair, who marked a 147, earned $506. Koch, of Arthur, Nebraska, owns the Laredo Blue gelding, out of SDP I Got Good Genes.
Winston Hansma, of Weatherford, Texas, leads the Limited Open Derby with a 144 on Mylights. Mylights, owned by Winston and Danny Motes, is by CD Lights out of A Genuine Highbrow, and won $327. Hansma, an acclaimed cutting trainer, has lifetime National Cutting Horse Association earnings exceeding $2 million. In fact, more than $234,000 of that was won on CD Lights - Mylight's sire.
Riding ARC Sailing Chic, Doug Williamson marked a 145 for the high score of the $5,000 Novice Horse Open division, pocketing $518. ARC Sailing Chic, owned by Barbara Hastings of Glendale, California, is by Chic Please out of Sailing Spark. Williamson is an NRCHA Hall of Fame inductee and his resume includes two Snaffle Bit Futurity Championships and a World's Greatest Horseman Reserve Championship.
The Level 1 Limited Open Derby herd work high score belonged to Kelby Phillips, who piloted Diamond J Starlite to a 145. Diamond J Starlite, by Diamond J Star out of Little Chickalena, is owned by Ty Jenkins of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The win netted a check for $400.
The Circle Y Ranch Derby continues at the 1st Community Credit Union Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas, Sunday, January 29 with the rein work. Competition will conclude on Monday, January 30, with the NRCHA's signature event - the cow work. This year the Circle Y Ranch Derby is predicted to pay out approximately $120,000!
Circle Y Ranch, owned by Penny Youngblood, sits on a beautiful 400-acre site outside Aubrey, Texas. Owner/manager Youngblood is assisted by breeding manager Nancy Pearce along with head trainer Benton Bland and assistant trainer Chelsey Fuller, and ranch foreman Johnny Whisenhunt. For more information, visit www.circleyquarterhorses.com.