As the reining industry reaches new audiences and continually breaks records, it becomes even more important to acknowledge and celebrate those who helped pave the way for success. Since 1986, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) has been doing just that with the NRHA Hall of Fame and, more recently, the NRHA Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award. With the help of the Reining Horse Foundation (RHF), these individuals, their achievements, and their contributions to the industry are celebrated and remembered.

After the dust settled on a Saturday night at South Point Arena and Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Best Shine topped the leaderboard of The Run For A Million’s Million Dollar Competition. Not only did the mare add half a million dollars to her lifetime earnings (LTE), but she also helped National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Professional Jason Vanlandingham cross the NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider mark and made her mother, Best Stop, the newest NRHA Million Dollar Dam.

This time of year is peak show season for the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA). With many Affiliate Regional Championships and exciting reining events held across the country, it is a great opportunity for riders to add to their lifetime earnings (LTE) and reach new goals for themselves. NRHA Professional Justin “Gunny” Mathison was one competitor looking to hit an association milestone and achieved it during the 100X Reining Classic and South Central Affiliate Regional Championship, where he became the newest NRHA Million Dollar Rider.

It’s no secret the name Fappani is synonymous with greatness within the reining community. As the National Reining Horse Association’s (NRHA) all-time leading rider, Andrea Fappani continues to set the standard within the sport and shatter records. Recently, he stamped his name in the history books once again by becoming the first NRHA Eight Million Dollar Rider. In addition, he accomplished yet another rare feat by adding his name to the list of NRHA Million Dollar Owners.

When NRHA Professional Craig Schmersal pulled into Las Vegas for The Run For A Million (TRFAM), he was sitting at around $5,000 away from crossing his next NRHA milestone. When the dust settled, Schmersal had slid his way to more than three times that amount—earning the title of NRHA Five Million Dollar Rider.

In 1988, Schmersal won his first check and added $61.38 to his lifetime earnings. Since then, the NRHA Professional has built a successful reining business in Scottsdale, AZ, with his wife, Ginger, and children Chris, Nick, Brendyn, and Addisyn. Having won many of the sport’s major events, his riding experience has helped pave the way to this new milestone and maintain his status as the association’s third all-time leading rider.
No stranger to pressure, Schmersal piloted two horses to checks during TRFAM’s Open Shoot Out and surpassed the $5 million mark before the show’s final event even began. It was icing on the cake when he earned another $5,000 during the Million Dollar Competition aboard No Smoking Required (Gunner x Icing Required)—a mount the NRHA Professional has ridden to great success on his journey to this milestone.
No Smoking Required is a 2013 stallion owned by Schmersal/Thorsport Inc. and bred by Carluccio Orsi. Together, ‘Ice’ and Schmersal have earned more than $458,000 since becoming an NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider in 2018. Most notably, the pair scored an impressive 229.5 to win the inaugural 2019 TRFAM Invitational, although the $307,500 in earnings did not count toward Schmersal’s road to $5 million, making this milestone an even larger achievement.
A seasoned trainer, coach, and horse owner, Schmersal’s passion for reining and NRHA is apparent to all he meets as he continues to impact non pros, youth, and the industry as a whole.

Schmersal’s top earning performances on his way to $5 million include:
    •    2021 TRFAM Million Dollar Competition 4th Place aboard No Smoking Required, owned by Schmersal/Thorsport Inc. and bred by Carluccio Orsi, earning $65,000
    •    2019 NRHA L4 Open Derby 4th Place aboard No Smoking Required, owned by Schmersal/Thorsport Inc. and bred by Carluccio Orsi, earning $40,545
    •    2019 NRHA L4 Open Futurity 8th Place aboard Starjac Vintage, owned by Teton Ridge and bred by Petra Zeitler, earning $29,791
    •    2019 NRHA L4 Open Futurity 11th Place aboard Pale Whiz, owned by Thorsport Inc. and bred by Hickory Creek Ranch LLC, earning $20,316

By NRHA Press Release

Fernando Salgado shared that his lifetime goal was to surpass a 230 score, and on the final day of competition at the 100X Reining Classic, he achieved it. Salgado and Xtra Wimpy It Good won the Elementa Open Derby Level 4 and North American Reining Stakes Open Derby Open Level 4 with a score of 231.5.

From the very start of the afternoon, when the Diamond D Cowgirls mesmerized the crowd in the opening ceremonies and the first few riders in the pen marked high scores for stunning runs, the 100X Stakes Open Finals had all the hallmarks of a spectacular reining event, with the Champions of the four levels awarded an MS Diamonds TX custom-made Trophy Ring.

After taking the lead early in the day, Andrea Fappani spent the rest of it nervously watching to see if his score of 225 would hold first place in the Invitational Open Futurity Level 4 at the 100X Reining Classic in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Luckily for Fappani, it did—earning him an additional $100,000 to add to his eight million dollars in lifetime earnings, a milestone he crossed early on in the event.

Team Sweden made history by adding European Team gold to their accolades which include the Olympic and World titles — a mission accomplished in two years only.

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