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Shawn Flarida Wins 2007 NRHA Open Derby
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The National Reining Horse Association’s (NRHA) Two Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida, from Springfield, OH, wowed the crowd during the Open Finals competition at the 2007 NRHA Derby at the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, OK. The crowd whistled and cheered during Flarida’s entire run on Walla Walla Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Shiney Walla Wanda), owned by Arcese Quarter Horses USA, Weatherford, TX. You could hear a pin drop as the crowd waited for his score. Flarida took the lead with a 231.5! The crowd went wild and Flarida looked back as he exited the arena and flashed his two-million-dollar smile. Flarida won a paycheck for $50,000 and a whole host of other awards from NRHA Corporate Partners.


It’s an amazing story. On Monday, May 14, Walla Walla Whiz had a life-threatening experience with colic. They rushed him to a local equine hospital where veterinarians ran intravenous fluids for the next 24 hours. Flarida says the veterinarians told him that it didn’t look good for the four-year-old chestnut stallion. With the veterinarians’ blessing he and Flarida competed 15 hours later in the Derby go round. The son of NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Topsail Whiz gave it his all and earned Flarida second place in the Open Derby qualifying go round. “He’s tough. He’s got more heart than most horses ever dream of. He tries hard,” said Flarida.

Besides Walla Walla Whiz, Flarida qualified KR Lil Conquistador (Conquistador Whiz x Smart Little Prize), owned by Cheree Kirkbride, Ocala, FL, and Senor Tejano Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Tajana Chic) owned by 4 R Performance Horses, Boerne, TX, for the clean-slate finals.

NRHA Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani, from San Marcos, CA, was awarded the Open Derby reserve championship. Fappani led for much of the Open Finals with a score of 225.5 on Big Chex To Cash (Nu Chex To Cash x Snip O Gun), the five-year-old stallion owned by 23 Partnership, based in San Marcos, CA. Fappani was draw number one and he said he felt confident. “I had a good horse to first in the draw. The Derby was won a few years back by draw number one and I knew if you have a good horse you can set a good pace and everyone else chases you. You have fresh ground and the judges’ attention, so I had no problem with it.” Fappani came away from the Derby with a “big check to cash” of $40,293.

The Intermediate Open Derby Champion is Jason Vanlandingham, from Whitesboro, TX, who scored a 221.5 on Rosanne Sternberg’s Whizin Off Sparks (Topsail Whiz x Setting Off Sparks). Sternberg is from England. Vanlandingham earned a paycheck of $13,567. The Intermediate Open Derby reserve championship was won by Ruben Vandorp, from Tioga, TX. Vandorp scored a 220.5 on Einsteins Revolution (Einstein x Fly Flashy Jac) owned by Wagner and Vandorp, Aubrey, TX. Vandorp earned a paycheck of $10,697.

Crystal McNutt Brock, from Scottsdale, AZ, took home the Limited Open Derby Championship. She won $2,439 by scoring a 216.5 on Red White Starlight (Seven X Starlight x Red White N Smart) owned by Michael Brock, also from Scottsdale. There was a tie for the Limited Open reserve championship between Todd Martin and Peter DeFreitas; both rider scored 215, Martin on Quixote Light (Grays Starlight x Miss Quixote Sails), owned by 4 R Performance Horses, Boerne, TX, and DeFreitas on Whizle Fritz (Topsail Whiz x Madame Fritz) owned by Lynn Anderson, Tarboro, NC, and Michael McEntire, Selma, NC. Martin is from Boerne, TX, and DeFreitas is from Selma, NC. Both earned paychecks of $1,299.



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