Todd Bergen: NRHA's Newest $2 Million Rider

The multi-talented professional horseman pushed his lifetime earnings over the $2-million mark at the 2015 National Reining Horse Association Derby.

From the National Reining Horse Association

As the National Reining Horse Association newest $2 million rider, Bergen is widely known for his success in the reining arena but also in reined cow horse events and in the cutting pen. (Credit: NRCHA)

Multi-millions earned at multiple competitions in multiple disciplines. That’s what you’ll see when you look at Todd Bergen’s show record. As the National Reining Horse Association newest $2 million rider, Bergen is widely known for his success in the reining arena but also in reined cow horse events and in the cutting pen. His newest championship and $2 million title was earned at the 2015 NRHA Derby, where he rode Platinum Vintage to the Level 4 open championship. The NRHA Derby is for 4-, 5- and 6-year-old horses to compete for thousands in cash and prizes.
 
With big wins at major reining events, Bergen claimed his first major NRHA open championship title in 1995 at the NRHA Derby on the 1990 stallion Lean With Me (Smart Little Lena-Chexy Lady), owned by Jon Sather. That was quite the year for Bergen, as he returned to the NRHA show pen at the 1995 NRHA Open Futurity. Riding Todaysmyluckyday (Doc O Lena-Doc Alice) for owner Tetsuro Kawashima, Bergen landed the 1992 stallion in the winner’s circle, claiming a cool $100,000.
 
It has been said that Bergen’s operation is “the launching pad for champions,” a statement that couldn’t be truer. With a sincere curiosity and passion for understanding how a horse thinks and functions, training has been a life-long passion for the Eagle Point, Oregon-based trainer. Throughout the years, Bergen has continued his winning ways in NRHA competition. His wins include a 1996 NRHA Derby open championship on Jerry Lees Surprise (Surprise Enterprise-Mizzen Topsail), then owned by Douglas Holmes. In another two years, Bergen was once again on top as he rode Chic Please (Smart Chic Olena-San O Lenita) to the 1998 NRHA Futurity open championship. At the time, Arcese Quarter Horses owned Chic Please. Chic Please was also a strong competitor in the National Reined Cow Horse Association, proving his versatility by claiming the 1998 reserve championship at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity.
 
A true horseman, Bergen stays humble. Knowing and understanding that bond between horse and rider is what keeps him in the show pen and more importantly, winning competitions.
 
On finals night of the NRHA Derby, Bergen and a flashy golden palomino stallion ran a thrilling pattern with energy and excitement. For their efforts, Bergen and his mount, Platinum Vintage (A Sparkling Vintage-Starjac Miss), owned by Harper Conner, scored a 225.5. The duo rode in as Draw 19 out of 35 in the second section. Their score held through the last ride, making Platinum Vintage an NRHADerby open champion and bumping to Bergen well over the $2 million rider mark. When asked what he plans to do after the Derby, Bergen said, “Go home and get to riding the 3-year-olds.”

It’s that kind of effort that makes champions.

Todd Bergen showed Platinum Vintage to the Level 4 open championship at the 2015 NRHA Derby.