November 29, 2007 -- Todd Bergen, of Eagle Point, Ore., traveled to the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity with lifetime earnings approximately $63,000 shy of the magic number needed to join the elite group of NRCHA Million Dollar Riders.
After topping the preliminary rein work, Bergen still had a long way to go, but he took two horses back to the Open Finals October 7--Nics Black Diamond and Spark Me Again. He finished sixth on Nics Black Diamond, garnering a $40,000 check, and 10th on Spark Me Again, worth an additional $25,000.
However, the new millionaire didn't realize how close he was until someone came up to him after the finals and told him.
"I wasn't counting pennies," he said. "I didn't think about it when I was showing. I just found out after the finals that I had won just enough. I'm pretty excited."
When Bergen reached that milestone and became the sixth NRCHA Million Dollar Rider, he also became the first NRCHA Million Dollar Rider ever to achieve Million Dollar status in two different associations. In 2004, he became a National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Million Dollar Rider.
Bergen won his first NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity on Boonlight Dancer in 2001. He has also had two Snaffle Bit Futurity Reserve Championships. He has won the NRHA Open Futurity twice--in 1995 on Todasmyluckyday and in 1998 with Chic Please.
The NRCHA, the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse.