The Run For A Million Qualifiers Announced from the NRCHA Western Derby

The National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) announced the eight riders invited to The Run For A Million Cow Horse Challenge from the DT Horses Western Derby qualifier.

Out of a 77-horse field, it took a 439 composite score to earn the final invitations to the cow horse event, which will be held August 17-20. Todd Bergen riding Smartly Starstruck for the McSpyder Ranch topped the field with a 443 and secured a check for $8,265.

“Coming into the qualifier, you knew it was going to be deep and it was going to be tough, just by looking at the horses and the riders competing here,” NRCHA Two Million Dollar Rider, Todd Bergen said. “I felt very fortunate to be able to put together two good runs and qualify for Vegas this year. It is great to see events like this putting big money up for the bridle horses.”

Just like the Las Vegas qualifier, the cow work concluded with a tie for the eighth qualifying spot. This time, the tie was between Cara Hencratt riding Playing One Time, owned by the Rocking BS Ranch, and Chris Dawson aboard Reyzinette, owned by Holy Cow Performance Horses. Dawson marked a 224 in the fence work run-off to win the tie breaker and secure the final spot for The Run For A Million.

The eight riders who qualified in Scottsdale are Todd Bergen from Eagle Point, Oregon, Brad Barkemeyer from Scottsdale, Arizona, Justin Wright from Santa Maria, California, Erin Taormino of Dennis, Texas, Matt Koch of Elizabeth, Colorado, Sarah Dawson from Perrin, Texas, Kelby Phillips of Weatherford, Texas, and Chris Dawson from Perrin, Texas.

“Once again, The Run For A Million qualifier proved to be a draw, enticing our top horseman to bring their best bridle horses to the DT Horses Western Derby and compete for their chance at a spot in Las Vegas,” said Anna Morrison, NRCHA executive director. “With all of the qualifying spots settled we’re ready to set our sights on August when we’ll cheer on 16 of our sport’s best in the Cow Horse Challenge!”

The 16 qualifiers who are headed to Las Vegas for the August Run For A Million Cow Horse event are:

  • Brad Barkmeyer
  • Todd Bergen
  • Todd Crawford
  • Corey Cushing
  • Chris Dawson
  • Sarah Dawson
  • Nick Dowers
  • Shawn Hays
  • Luke Jones
  • Matt Koch
  • Kyle Noyce
  • Randy Paul
  • Kelby Phillips
  • Phillip Ralls
  • Erin Taormino
  • Justin Wright

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About the National Reined Cow Horse Association
Based in Pilot Point, Texas, the National Reined Cow Horse Association was formed in 1949 in California, with the goal of preserving and educating the public about the rich history of this traditional horsemanship. The NRCHA is responsible for promoting the sport and ensuring high standards of competition and continuing to work to keep the Vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry. The NRCHA also supports numerous affiliate clubs across the United States, Europe and abroad. These groups serve as the association’s backbone, holding many NRCHA-sanctioned competitions and events each year. For more information on these events and reined cow horse, visit

National Reined Cow Horse Association
Callie McCarthy-Boevers
Media & Communications Manager