Byars, Oklahoma – Todd Bergen rode Nic It In The Bud to the Championship of the National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby in Woodside, California July 12-14. Owned by Arcese Enterprises and Eric Storey, the 5-year-old Reminic son has been a consistent winner for Bergen. In 2001, he won the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Stakes, was also a top ten finalist in both the NRCHA and National Reining Horse Association Futurities, and finished in the Junior Reining top five at the AQHA World Show.
Lately, though, Bergen had been focused on a slightly different direction for the stallion. “All I have showed him in this year is cutting. I didn’t really know how he was going to be. I only did reining on him for two days before we left to come here!” said Todd.
Two days must have been enough! In the finals Todd and Nic It In The Bud took the lead heading to the fence. “I didn’t want to play it safe and have something go wrong. I was only two points ahead of Todd Crawford and knew I had to put a run together.”
At first glance, Bergen’s cow looked like a worthy partner. “I felt my cow was going to be pretty good when it came out, but after I boxed it for a second, I wasn’t so sure. It wouldn’t go anywhere and I knew it was going to run once I started down the fence. I tried to move it across the end and it just wouldn’t set up like I wanted so I went ahead and left the end and it ran hard. I was a bit behind and the cow came off the fence toward me. My horse moved right with him and we made a good turn. The cow stayed pushy and we made another turn and circled up. I felt like my horse gave it his all. He has a big heart and a lot of try.”
With a score of 148 in the fence, Todd just had to sit and wait to see how the rest of the field finished. But in the end his total score of 446 was enough to keep him in the winner’s circle.
Todd Crawford claimed the Derby Reserve Championship on Lena Smokum, a 4-year-old mare owned by Arcese Enterprises. After Bergen’s strong finish, Crawford knew he had to make a great run. “I had to mark a 150 to tie Todd Bergen and 150.5 to beat him and I came close!” His 148 score gave him a 444 total and that secured the reserve championship!
Anne Reynolds of Hammett, Idaho rode Max McLain to the Non Pro Derby Championship. According to Reynolds, the 4-year-old gelding was strong in all parts of the finals as he moved toward his first win and the veteran champion was pleased with both his performance and his newfound maturity. “I really like this horse and I am glad that I was able to win it on him. He is a really nice horse and has matured a lot.”
As in the Open, it was the cow work that decided the title. “It was close between a few of us and the ones that went before me were having a bit of trouble. I was just hoping to survive!” laughed Anne. And survive she did. She finished with a score of 435 to sweep the field.
The Derby Non Pro Reserve Championship went to the 2001 NRCHA World Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro Champions JoAnne Carollo and Plan to Win.
Donnie Bricker, of Temecula, California, rode to the Limited Open Championship on Tuxskeeto, a gray gelding owned by his wife, Laurie. Donnie purchased Tuxskeeto from Don Murphy last November at the AQHA World Show. “Laurie needed a nice horse to show and I had always liked the way this horse worked. I had seen him late into his two-year-old year and liked him.”
The pair had a nice go in the herd, but Bricker was disappointed in the reined work. “I didn’t prepare him right. The ground was deeper than it was in the go-round and I didn’t have him ready for that.”
Bricker’s disappointment faded after the cow work. With a score of 152 down the fence, Donnie and Tuxskeeto turned in the highest score of the whole show. “It was awesome! This was by far the absolute best run of my life! Smoky Pritchett was right after me and he was smiling as I came out. He said I marked a pair of sixes and I thought he was pulling my leg. I looked at Nelle Murphy and she said that I marked a 77, 76 and a 76. I was so excited!”
Patty Pollard made a long trek from Gainesville, Texas to claim the Derby at Woodside $50,000 Limited Non Pro title on Jays Story. Patty Pollard has shown her 5-year-old gelding for two years and is currently leading the AQHA Amateur Working Cow Horse standings. She also ropes on him and plans to qualify in the heading.
Pollard was pleased with his performance at Woodside and their total score of 424.5. “He was so good for me here. I was nervous on the day of the finals but Jay held together for me.”
The Reserve $50,000 Limited Non Pro title went to Tish Wilhite of Clovis, California on Tequila Slide. Fresh off her win of the NRCHA Hackamore Classic just two months earlier, Wilhite put together a score of 420.5 for the reserve finish.
Amateur honors went to Bo Davis of Kingsburg, California, on Whos Your Papa. Besides winning the Amateur title, which is based on the first round of competition, she also qualified for the Non Pro Finals and finished eighth.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through cooperation with its Corporate Partner Family which includes Bayer Corporation, Cinch, Inc., Flowmaster, MD Barns, Platinum Performance, Inc., Purina Mills, Inc., Skyline Silversmiths, Sundowner Trailers, Western Horseman, Silver Legacy and Reno Hilton. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at www.nrcha.com.