The National Reined Cow Horse Association Jack and Phoebe Cooke Memorial Derby is the largest and richest limited age event for 4- and 5-year-old cow horses. Saturday, June 14, was the day competitors had worked toward through the preliminary and final round, as Derby Champions were crowned in Paso Robles, California.
Derby Open Champion
Sealed by a gritty cow work, Hickory Holly Time (OneTime Pepto x Hickorys Holly Cee x Doc’s Hickory), shown by Kelby Phillips for owners Garth and Amanda Gardiner, earned the Derby Open Championship with a 660.5 score.
It was a breakthrough NRCHA Premier Event Open title for the talented, up-and-coming horseman, who has trained Hickory Holly Time from the very beginning.
The pair worked their way to a 214 in the herd work, won the rein work round with a 224.5, and then sealed the championship with a 222 in the cow work. The Derby Open Championship paid $33,033 and came with a Bob’s Custom Saddle and Gist buckle sponsored by TJ and Sandra Neal; boots sponsored by Rios of Mercedes; a gift certificate and cooler bag sponsored by San Juan Ranch/Santa Cruz Animal Health; and a gift certificate from Platinum Performance.
“I’m not going to say he’s the best horse there ever was, but he’s the best horse I ever rode,” Phillips said. The Tonopah, Ariz., horseman was the former head trainer for Gardiner Quarter Horses, the Ashland, Kans., facility owned and operated by Hickory Holly Time’s owners, before going out on his own last year.
“Garth and Amanda were good enough to leave him with me, because they know how special the horse is to me. He’s not just a horse to me. He’s more like family. There are people who go their whole lifetime and never have a horse like him. I feel blessed that they left him with me after I went out on my own. Garth and Amanda have been supportive the whole time,” Phillips said.
He also thanked his wife, Abbie, and recognized his herd help through both the preliminaries and the finals: Zeph Schulz, Brandon Buttars, Zane Davis, Boyd Rice, and Phillip Ralls. Veterinarian Joe Carter, DVM, played a key role in keeping Hickory Holly Time in performance shape.
The Derby Open Reserve Champion was This One Time (One Time Pepto x Katie Starlight x Grays Starlight), shown by Todd Bergen and owned by Pam Bailey. They earned $24,340 with a 659 composite (221.5 herd/217 rein/220.5 cow).
Intermediate Open Champion
The Derby Intermediate Open Champion horse, Mister Olena Chic (Mister Dual Pep x April Olena x Smart Chic Olena), scored a total 650 to earn $6,882 for owner Day Creek Ranch, Simi Valley, Calif. The 2010 stallion was shown by Day Creek Ranch’s resident trainer, Randy Paul. Mister Olena Chic also collected a Gist buckle sponsored by TJ and Sandra Neal; and a gift certificate from Platinum Performance.
Limited Open Champion
The Derby Limited Open Champion was Tootsie Rey Time (One Time Pepto x Tootsie Rey x Dual Rey), shown by Les Oswald and owned by Richard and Rena Whyler. They collected a $5,409 paycheck, a Gist buckle sponsored by TJ and Sandra Neal, and a gift certificate from Platinum Performance.
Non Pro Champion
Tammy Jo Hays, Nocona, Texas, claimed the Derby Non Pro Championship aboard her 2013 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity horse, SDP Got Fancy Genes (RC Fancy Step x SDP I Got Good Genes x Dual Rey).
Intermediate & Novice Non Pro Champion
They won the Derby Amateur Championship earlier in the week, and Parke Greeson and Checkn Out The Ladys (Im Countin Checks x No Lady Wood x Zack T Wood) also earned the Intermediate and Novice Non Pro Championships in Paso Robles. Their prizes included two Gist buckles sponsored by TJ and Sandra Neal; two Platinum Performance gift certificates; and a Cow Trac system sponsored by Cow Trac.