Aaron Ranch Cow Horse Classic Derby Champions Crowned

Derby horses shined February 15 at the National Reined Cow Horse Association's Celebration of Champions in Fort Worth, Texas.

From the National Reined Cow Horse Association

Shiney Sparklette and Chris Dawson were the Open Champions at the NRCHA Aaron Ranch Cow Horse Classic Derby on February 15 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Primo Morales)

Finals night at the Aaron Ranch Cow Horse Classic Derby was a fast and furious affair, as talented 4- and 5-year-old cow horses handled some tough cattle on Monday, February 15 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Open Champion

After the preliminaries, Whitesboro, Texas, professional Chris Dawson was leading the Open on Reys A Shine (Dual Rey x Lil Miss Shiney Chex x Shining Spark), bred and owned by Carol Rose; and he was third on Shiney Sparklette (Shining Spark x Docs Sulena x Doc O'Lena), also bred by Rose, and co-owned by Rose and Dickson Varner. 

After the finals, Dawson emerged once again in first and third places, but the horses were reversed. Shiney Sparklette stepped to the plate with a brilliant 151 fence work, and combined with her 439.5 preliminary score (144 herd/146.5 rein/149 cow), she took home the $12,330 paycheck.  

Click here to watch Shiney Sparklette's fence work finals run.

"That mare, she's so good down the fence. She runs really easy, she's soft, and she's patient. She's one of the smarter ones I've had. She's a Shining Spark mare, and I've not had one yet that wasn't good down the fence. I just let her take the wheel a little bit, and go on with it," Dawson said. 

Shiney Sparklette's barnmate, Reys A Shine, banked $7,664 for third place, scoring a composite 786.5 (144 herd/147 rein/150 cow/145 finals cow). 

The Reserve Champion was Cashed My CD (CD Lights x Shiney Sushi x Shining Spark), shown by Commerce, Texas horseman Jay McLaughlin for owner Aaron Ranch. McLaughlin guided the palomino stallion to a total 589 score (144.5 herd/146.5 rein/150 cow/148 finals cow), earning $9,331.

The Derby Open Champions and Reserve Champions took home Gist buckles and other prizes sponsored by Aaron Ranch, Classic Equine and Platinum Performance. 

Click here for complete Aaron Ranch Cow Horse Classic results.

Intermediate Open

A blazing 151 fence work score in the finals vaulted CDs Catalena Cash (CD Olena x Shesa Lota Cash x Nu Cash) and California horseman Tucker Robinson into the Championship spot in the Intermediate Open. CDs Catalena Cash is owned by NRCHA Corporate Partner San Juan Ranch. 

The pair scored a total 584.5 (142 herd/ 143.5 rein/148 cow/151 finals cow) to earn $2,638 for the Intermediate Open Championship, and banked another $4,665 for 5th place in the Derby Open. 

Click here to watch CDs Catalena Cash in the fence work finals. 

Robinson also earned the Derby Intermediate Open Reserve Championship aboard Mo Style (Mr Playinstylish x Mo Fletch x Royal Fletch), owned by Charlie and Kit Moncrief. Mo Style earned a 580.5 composite (143.5 herd/144 rein/145 cow/148 finals cow). Mo Style earned combined paychecks of $5,082 for the Reserve and 7th place in the Open.

Limited Open

The Limited Open Champion was Smart Magnum Dun It (Magnum Chic Dream x MsMattyDillonDunIt x Matt Dillon Dun It), shown by Jordan Williams and owned by Wes and Sarah Williams. Smart Magnum Dun It scored a total 575.5 (143 herd/143 rein/142.5 cow/147 finals cow). 

Click here to watch Smart Magnum Dun I in the fence work finals.

Non Pro 

The Derby Non Pro Champion was Dave Ferguson, Cottonwood, California, riding Shadyrools (Shady Lil Starlight x Sheza Roo x Gallo Del Cielo), a gelding owned by Ferguson's wife, Kathy. 

Ferguson and Shadyrools scored a total 570.5 (145 herd/141.5 rein/140 cow/144 finals cow), earning $2,466.

"It worked out pretty good! It just kind of fell together, and away we went," Ferguson said of his finals fence work. "When the cow first came out I didn't think it was going to go very fast, but then it really went." 

Ferguson rides with NRCHA 2 Million Dollar Rider Todd Bergen, and credited Bergen's coaching for his success.

"Poor Todd, he's had to put up with a lot, trying to get me to ride better," Ferguson said, laughing. 

Click here to watch Dave Ferguson and Shadyrools in the fence work finals.

Intermediate Non Pro 

The Derby Intermediate Non Pro Champion was Morgan Holmes, Sarasota, Florida, riding Ivedunitbig (Dun It Big x Poco Smart Oak x Smart Little Lena), owned by her parents, Jay and Rhonda Holmes.

Holmes also rode Ivedunitbig's full sibling, The Smart Dun, a horse she owns, to the Intermediate and Non Pro finals. 

Holmes' combined paychecks on both horses totaled $4,384.

Click here to watch Morgan Holmes and Ivedunitbig in the fence work finals.

Novice Non Pro 

The Derby Novice Non Pro Champion was Megan Ciana, Peyton, Colorado, riding Cold Day In Hail (Rap Cat x Hailn Magic Diamonds C Shine Like Hail).

The pair also earned checks in the Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro, for a total $1,809 payday.

Click here to watch Megan Ciana and Cold Day In Hail in the finals fence work.