Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The lead in the round one of National Reining Horse Association Derby Open competition changed rapidly on Thursday.
With a full day of competition already done, and over a hundred runs already recorded, the seventeenth rider of the day, Andrea Fappani piloted his 2001 NRHA Futurity Champion, RR Star, owned by Lundin Farms of Del Norte, Colorado, to a score of 221. That took the lead, but that ranking only lasted through one more horse.
When two-time NRHA Derby Champion Duane Latimer came in on Remin Whiz, owned by Steve Archer and Lesa Van Swearingen of Richmond, Texas, the audience at the Oklahoma State fairgrounds knew this run was one to watch. The pair had won the first round of the National Reining Breeders Classic, just a month before, so it was no surprise when Latimer, from Marietta, Oklahoma, scored 224 to set a new pace and raise the level of accomplishment for this year’s Derby.
Finishing in second place for the round with a score of 221.5 was Dell Hendricks on 2002 National Reining Breeders Classic Champion and $50,000 winner, Starlights Wrangler, owned by Sally Broten of River Falls, Wisconsin. . It would take a score of 219 or better to become one of the twenty-two finalists at Saturday night’s open finals.
Ken Eppers of Whitesboro, Texas, finished the go at the head of the list of Intermediate Open riders on Catatomic, owned by Jim Dunn of Waterloo, Iowa. Just behind with a score of 220 was Tracer Gilson on Lenas Dun It, owned by Pat Warren. Qualifying for the Intermediate Open Finals, slated for Saturday afternoon at 4, took a score of 215 or better.
The Limited Open title is decided in the first round of competition, and Acting Smart, ridden by Marco Formentin for M.R. Langdon & Sons of Benson, North Carolina earned a score of 217.5 for the win. Reserve honors were split between Ima Bay Boggie owned by Cynthia Rubens and ridden by Pierre-Luc Phaneuf and The Sun Rises owned by Martin R. Shaughnessy and ridden by Gary Roberts to a score of 216.
The NRHA Derby show continues on Friday. Classes start at 8:00 am and the Non Pro Derby Finals begin at 1 pm. Another Friday highlight is the Collegiate National Championship Reining, to begin at 4:30. Oklahoma 4H and FFA students will be special guests of the day’s performance which also includes the United States Equestrian Team Reining Championship, beginning at 7:00 pm. Tickets are available at the gate. Cost is $6 for reserve seating and $4 for general admission.