Dell Hendricks became the first rider ever to win two National Reining Breeders Classic Open Championships on Saturday night when he piloted Starlights Wrangler to a score of 224.5 to win his second title and a $50,000 paycheck.
Starlights Wrangler is by Grays Starlight out of Wranglers Connie. Owner Sally Broten of River Falls, Wisconsin was on hand for the event, herself qualified for the Non Pro finals to come on Sunday on two horses.
Hendricks drew up third in the finals but didn’t let the early draw bother him. “There’s no bad draw in the finals. I wanted to go hard and make them catch me.”
For Hendricks, the win was especially timely. “We’ve had so many changes in the past year, “ he said, referring to his move from Arizona to Texas last fall. He added that he and his wife, Terri, had just bought a new facility in Tioga, Texas, right across the road from McQuay Stables.
“I came to the NRBC this year knowing I was going to try my best to win. I knew as soon as the run began tonight that he felt good. We felt like we were together. It’s a team effort and you and your horse have to be on the same page for any of it to work. By the time he nailed that last stop, I knew we’d had a great run.”
Dell was quick to share credit for the win with his wife. ““Terri is my biggest support – that's the most important thing. I couldn’t do this without her.”
The Reserve Championship and $37,500 went to Brent Wright on Custom Pistol, owned by Steve Simon of Paxton, Massachusetts. It was a sort of déjà vu for the pair that also won the reserve championship of the 2001 NRHA Futurity.
The Intermediate Open Championship went to Tracer Gilson on Lena Dun It owned by Pat Warren of Scottsdale, Arizona. Gilson has been working for Rancho Oso Rio for nearly a year and has been riding Lena Dun It since January. His score of 221 was good for the Intermediate title and $17,728 and placed him tied for sixth in the open – earning another $14,750.
The Reserve Intermediate Open title went to Ken Eppers on Catomic (Boomernic X Seven S Catulpa) owned by Jim Dunn. That finish was worth $10,791.
In the Limited Open, the win was decided after a runoff between John Hindman on Its Cowboy Whiz (Topsail Whiz X Cowgirl Enterprise) owned by Dorminey Brothers Plantation and Jim McCutcheon on Franks Little Lady (Hollywood Dun It X Miss Dutari Rio) owned by Jim McCutcheon. Hindman took top honors and $7091. McCutcheon ended up as the Reserve Champion with $4,316.
Saltgrass Steak House National Reining Breeders Classic action continues on Sunday. The Non Pro finals begin at 1:00 pm.