Schmersal Wins USEF National Open Reining Championship; Flarida Takes NRHA Derby

Craig Schmersal and Mr Dual Rey claim victory in the 2008 USEF National Open Reining Championship, while Shawn Flarida and Wimpys Little Chic win the NRHA Derby.
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Craig Schmersal and Mr Dual Rey claim victory in the 2008 USEF National Open Reining Championship, while Shawn Flarida and Wimpys Little Chic win the NRHA Derby.

July 10, 2008 -- Under the lights at the Oklahoma State Fair Park on June 28, Craig Schmersal bested some of the top reiners in the country to win the 2008 Adequan®/U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) National Open Reining Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach. Schmersal, an Oklahoma native, won the title along with his share of the $25,000 in added money. The USEF championship was part of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby.

This is Schmersal's second time winning the Adequan/USEF National Open Reining Championship. He first won the championship in 2005 when it took place in Lexington, Ky. Schmersal, 35, won the championship with a score of 225.5 aboard Mr Dual Rey, an eight-year-old Quarter Horse stallion. Taking reserve champion with a score of 223.5 was Jordan Larson, 27, of Whitesboro, Texas, on Lena Gallo, a bay Quarter Horse stallion owned by Lapke Quarter Horses.

"He [Mr Dual Rey] has just been a good show horse the whole time and I could not resist coming and showing him." said Schmersal. "He's been true blue the whole time. He's never let me down."

Schmersal credits Mr Dual Rey's consistency as a big part of their success along with their partnership with Mr Duel Rey's owner, Holly Casey.

"I've got a great owner, she's like a mother to me. She's been there for us for the whole deal. She deserves this because she supports me through thick and thin," said Schmersal.

In addition to winning the title of 2008 Adequan/USEF National Open Reining Championship, Schmersal secured a spot on the U.S Reining Team for the 2008 FEI World Reining Championship in Manerbio, Italy, September 11-14.

Also victorious was Wimpys Little Chic (owned by Arcese Quarter Horses USA, Weatherford, TX) who dominated a field of impressive four-, five-, and six-year-old reining horses to win the 2008 NRHA Derby. Ridden by NRHA's Leading Money Earning Rider Shawn Flarida, the team accomplished what no other combination has: winning the NRHA Futurity, National Reining Breeders Classic and the NRHA Derby consecutively.

Andrea Fappani piloted Reserve Champion Tinsel Jac for owners Tinsel Jac Partners, Mexico, and third place finisher Spooks Gotta Gun owned by Duane Hicks, Marietta, Okla. In a tie for fourth place were KR Lil Conquistador owned by Cheree Kirkbride ridden by Flarida and Miss Rey O Shine, owned by Bahn Quarter Horses LLC, Wildwood, Mo., and ridden by Brent Wright.

Tied for the Intermediate Open Co-Championship were Wolf Stern Partnership's Rootin Tootin Dunit ridden by Jared Leclair and Anthony Boerma/Ned Point Quarter Horse's Gallos Stylish Star with Jason Vanlandingham in the saddle. Each entry earned $11,431. A coin toss determined who would take possession of the extensive list of Intermediate Open awards, which included a Cimarron horse trailer, Pard's saddle, Gist buckle and much more. The lucky winner was Leclair. The Wolf Stern Partnership is from Horse Cove, Ky., and Boerma/Nedpoint from Paul's Valley, Okla.

A plane trip from Brazil for the NRHA Derby certainly paid off for this year's Limited Open division champion. A penalty in the go round kept Whiz Shady MA out of the Open finals. Owner Roberto Jose Ribas, Brazil, and rider Gabriel Diano, made the most of their opportunity and will take their title and bragging rights home to Brazil. The reserve champion West Coast Wrangler was ridden by owner Ryan Potucek of Fitzgerald, Ga.

Mark your calendar for next year's NRHA Derby, set for June 22-27, 2009.