graduation, Kelly worked for renowned horseman Jack Brainard,
then apprenticed with NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider and NRHA Hall
of Fame member Tim McQuay. While working for Brainard, Kelly met
Pietro Artinghelli and returned with him to his native country,
Italy. For the past eight years, Kelly and Pietro have worked
for Roberto Cuoghi at Impresa Agricola Cuoghi, a facility that
has consistently bred, raised and/or trained winners. In European
Reining competition, Kelly and Master Snapper have accumulated
earnings of approximately 50,000 euros. Kelly and Roberto felt
the time was right to ride in the US. It was a move they will
not soon regret.
On Saturday night May 20th, Kelly, 34, became the first woman
to win the NRHA Derby Open Division and Master Snapper became
the first European born, bred, raised and trained horse to win
the title. Kelly also earned another entry in the NRHA history
books when she became the first rider to win the Open, Intermediate
Open and Limited Open divisions in one Derby.
Kelly’s parents, and other family members, were on hand to watch
her victory. “This was the first time they ever saw me show in
real life,” she said. Kelly was cheered by enthusiastic spectators
as she walked to the center of the arena to begin her Derby Finals’
ride and received a standing ovation when she completed her pattern.
“I thought the standing ovation was really neat,” said Kelly.
“It was really super special that my family was there to see it.”
and Master Snapper have already returned to Italy where they plan
to compete in major NRHA-approved reinings such as the Americana
in Germany and the Mallorca Western Festival in Spain.