The second edition of the California Reined Cow Horse Association’s Paso Robles Spring Classic Derby presented by Borjon Auto Center was held at the historic Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, CA on April 13 through 17. In addition to the NRCHA approved derby classes the event included a full slate of NRCHA approved and CRCHA horse show classes presented by Santa Lucia Farm. After a successful first edition in 2021 the CRCHA was able to increase the derby added money from $72,000 to $100,000 and the horse show added money from $6,075 to $7,150 without increases to entry or grounds fees.
There were 87 horses shown in the derby, with 54 in the open, 15 in the non pro and 18 in the non pro boxing. In the open the payouts were $103,500 in the open, $28,850 in the intermediate open, $9,640 in the limited open and $4,750 in the level 1 open for a total across the 4 open divisions of $146,740. In the non pro the payouts were $20,000 in the non pro, $7,020 in the intermediate non pro and $5,120 in the limited non pro for a total across the 3 non pro divisions of $32,140. The non pro boxing paid $8,500. The resulting total derby payout was $187,380. The horse show classes paid $19,050 for a combined total event payout of $206,430.
The event was live streamed by CRCHA official videographer JF Video. Show photography was provided by CRCHA official photographer Deb Mann Images.
In addition to the derby and horse show competition, the event also offered three attractive hosted social events for attendees. Starting off with the Central Coast Wine Competition Gold Medal Wine Tasting following the derby rein work on Thursday, followed by the San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association BBQ & Derby Awards Presentations following the derby cow work on Friday and wrapping up with the Bonnie Marie Catering Mexican Fiesta following the horse show classes on Saturday.
Brendon Clark of Hollister, CA swept the top three open divisions on the 2018 AQHA bay stallion CR Hes A Tuff One (Woody Be Tuff x Cat Digs Lucinda x High Brow Cat) for owner Jill Olerich marking a 666.5 composite score (218.5 for sixth place in the open herd work, 223 for third place in the open rein work, 225 for first place in the open cow work). It was Clark’s biggest pay day to date taking home checks for $30,000 in the $60,000 added open sponsored by Call Me Mitch, $7,000 in the $10,000 added intermediate open sponsored by Roo To Do and $3,000 in the $5,000 added limited open sponsored by Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer for a total of $40,000. Originally from Morpeth, New South Wales, Australia, Clark grew up rodeoing where he saw financial opportunity in the bull riding and rose to the highest levels of the sport competing on the Professional Bull Riders circuit where he made the World Finals ten times and retired with lifetime earnings in excess of $1,000,000. While he acknowledges many cutting and reined cow horse trainers for their help, he credits Phillip Ralls and fellow Australian Hayden Upton as his biggest influences. As for the winning horse Clark says he is an exceptional athlete and never has a bad day. Clark also credits the horse’s owner for supporting his program and says she is like a member of the family.
Tracer Gilson of Sanger, CA won the $3,000 added level 1 open sponsored by F&L Steel on the 2018 AQHA red roan mare CR Peeks A Lil Tuff (Woody Be Tuff x CR A Little Peek x Halreycious) for owner JB World Marketing LLC scoring a composite of 650.5 and taking home a check for $2,000. Gilson’s score was also good for sixth in the intermediate and third in the limited paying an additional $2,200 and $2,000 for a grand total of $6,200. Gilson showed reiners as a youth and went straight from there to training reiners professionally. Early in his professional career he went to work for Randy Paul sparked by an interest in reined cow horses. Although his training business went on to focus on reining horses his interest in reined cow horses endured. The mare he showed here ended up with Gilson through a series of coincidences. Jared Jones had her at the Sun Circuit, where Gilson helped Jones with some pointers on the mare’s reining during which he took a liking to her. He then met a restauranteur while dining out during the show, they got to know each other and the restauranteur ended up telling Gilson that if he found a reined cow horse he liked that he would buy it and have Gilson show it for him. The rest is history.
Lanham Brown of Throckmorton, TX swept all three non pro divisions on the 2018 AQHA sorrel RAB Diamondsrforever (Time For The Diamond x Sparks Smart x Genuine Masterpiece) bred and owned by the Brown family’s R A Brown Ranch totaling a 651 composite score. The $12,000 added non pro sponsored by Brother Jackson paid $7,000, the $4,000 added intermediate non pro sponsored by One Fine Vintage paid $2,620 and the $2,000 added limited non pro paid $1,620 rewarding Brown with a combined paycheck of $11,620 for the long haul from Texas. gelding (215 for second place in the non pro herd work, 218 for third place in the non pro rein work, 218 tied for third place in the non pro cow work) Growing up on the R A Brown ranch, Brown was no stranger to cattle and horses, riding and roping on the ranch, and showing in ranch horse classes during high school and college. The ranch has a long history of excelling in breeding both cattle and horses. In fact, Brown’s great grandfather was a founder of the AQHA. Brown splits his time between ranch work and horse training and is particularly interested in the ranch’s horse breeding program. When it comes to support, Brown cites his parents Donnell and Kelli and his wife Josey. As for horse training and showing he mentions Matt Koch, Kelby Phillips and Jordan Williams as particularly important influences.
Windy Mathews on her 2016 AQHA brown mare Please Be A Diamond (Nics Black Diamond x RS Lets Play Please x Chic Please) topped the $4,000 added non pro boxing sponsored by Gotta Go Get It with a 636.5 composite score (208 for fourth place in the non pro boxing herd work, 213.5 for third place in the non pro boxing rein work, 215 tied for third place in the non pro boxing cow work) earning a check for $2,800. Mathews has been on horseback since she was 6 years old, getting her first horse when she was 7 years old, then showing in a variety of disciplines while growing up on the California central coast, eventually venturing into reining and then reined cow horse. She enjoys breeding her own horses and doing her own training with help as needed from trainers Justin Wright and Jared Jones. While she doesn’t show often she has had success previously finishing as reserve champion in the non pro boxing futurity at the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity in 2019 and bringing home the non pro boxing champion’s saddle from the Santa Barbara Fiesta in 2021. She credits her family for their support throughout her riding career.
In the NRCHA open bridle sponsored by Gilson Performance Horses Jake Telford of Caldwell, ID on CR Tuff Guns N Roses for owner SB Legacy Ranch LLC took the win scoring a 293 for $1,095. In the NRCHA open hackamore sponsored by Quinn Caterpillar Ron Emmons rode Scrub Oak to the win for owner LaDona Emmons marking a 292.5 for $1000. In the NRCHA non pro bridle sponsored by Silver Star Saddlesmiths it was Laurie Richards on Glitter N Glam coming out on top for owners Karin and Laurie Richards marking a 292.5 for $690. The NRCHA non pro boxing sponsored by Deb Mann Images saw Nichole Branquinho on Dressed In Oak owned by Casey and Nichole Branquinho best the class with a 292.5 winning $810. In the NRCHA youth cow horse sponsored by One Fine Vintage it was Nicole Donahoo on her Very Smart Pearl marking a 291 for the win and $200. In the NRCHA youth boxing also sponsored by One Fine Vintage it was Kiersten Fry on her Lady In Minks scoring a 285.5 and taking home $180.
The event will return in 2023 for the third year of a five-year contract.