2018 NRHA Non-Pro Derby Ends with a Twist


Under the bright lights of the Jim Norick Arena awaited an arena full of good dirt, excited spectators, and eager competitors. All were ready to begin section two of the 2018 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Non-Pro Derby Finals, which had the highest amount of entries and purse payout in the history of the event.

After a thrilling first run, Sandra Bentien and NRHA Sire & Dam program offspring Gotta Twist It Up scored a 220 ½, tying the top score on the leaderboard. After all was said and done, the duo headed to a run off against NRHA Million Dollar Rider and Owner Jose Vazquez and his own Like Shiner, during which they scored a 224 to claim the championship in both Levels (L)4 and 3. Making the win even sweeter was the fact that Gotta Twist It Up is bred, owned and nominated by Bentien, and has earned $97,306.85 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE) with his owner aboard.

The run off left Vazquez and Like Shiner, a 2012 gelding, to claim the reserve title in both the L4 and Prime Time divisions. Owned, bred, and nominated by Smart Like Juice Inc., Like Shiner has had a successful 2018 with Vazquez, earning $60,425.01 in NRHA LTE with the night’s win.

The L3 reserve championship was taken by Jenanne Overgaard and her own Dun Spooked Us with a 219. The 6-year-old stallion was bred and nominated by Petska Trinity Equine, LLC and helped Overgaard earn the night’s highest paycheck—$36,605.96. In addition to the L3 reserve title, the pair took home third place in the L4 and the championships in the L2, 1 and Prime Time divisions.


Emily Opell and Spook N Reyn scored a 218 ½, claiming reserve honors in the L2 and 1, 3rd in the L3, 4th in the L4, and were crowned the Youth Non-Pro Derby Champions. Steve Opell’s Spook N Reyn was bred and nominated by Francesca Sternberg. Opell and the 2012 palomino stallion took home a check in excess of $30,000 for their performance.

Taking home a reserve championship in the youth division, along with top five finishes in the L1-4 were Ronny Lane Colston and Kevin Colston’s Baileys Not Painted. The gelding was bred and nominated by Turnabout Farm Inc and earned a paycheck of more than $23,000 with Colston aboard—the youngest rider in section two of the Non-Pro Derby Finals. Colston also earned nearly $10,000 on his other mount, One Stormy Nite.

The Masters division championship went to Frederick Christen and his own Xtra Voodoo Step with a score of 214 ½. In addition to the championship, Christen piloted the 6-year-old mare to a top fifteen finish in the L4, a top ten finish in the L3 and a top five finish in the Prime Time division, earning a check of more than $7,000.

Mark Blake and his own Hot Hollywood Whizky were the reserve champions of the Masters division. Bred and nominated by Turnabout Farm Inc, Hot Hollywood Whizky also helped lead Blake to top 10 finishes in the L1 and Prime Time divisions as well as a top 20 finish in the L3.

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