Tami Nelson and Plus Me Big Time Win NRBC Non Pro Classic Challenge and NRHA Non Pro

Some horses have the extra dose of resilience it takes to overcome odds and ride to success. Plus Me Big Time, owned by Tami Nelson, Canyon, Texas, is one of those horses

“When he was a 4-year-old, he had a really bad injury, and he should not even be doing this anymore, but he’s got a really big heart,” Nelson said. On April 24 at the National Reining Breeders Classic in Katy, Texas, Nelson rode her 2004 gelding Plus Me Big Time, by Shine Big Time, in the $25,000-added Non Pro Classic Challenge for horses 7 years old and up. She won the Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro Championships with a score of 219.5.

Nelson raised Plus Me Big Time and NRBC three-time Champion Shawn Flarida showed him as a 3-year-old. The horse was laid off after his injury, and Nelson’s current trainer, Ruben Van Dorp, convinced her to get back on Plus Me Big Time and start riding again. They made the finals at last year’s National Reining Horse Association Derby and the Limited Non Pro and Level 1 Non Pro finals at the 2010 NRBC.

“He’s a good, good horse. Winning this feels great. I just want to hug him. I think he deserves it more than I do,” Nelson said. This is the pair’s first Championship title. “This is a great show. They added so much to this class, and it’s great because it gives more value to these horses.” Nelson won $7,177 in the Non Pro division and $2,871 for first in the Intermediate Non Pro. Making Nelson’s day even better, she also won the concurrently-ran NRHA Non Pro ancillary class, which came with a $1,869 paycheck.

Jeff Kirkbride, Ocala, Florida, won second place in both Classic Challenge divisions and in the NRHA Non Pro on his gelding KR Lil Conquistador. The pair marked a 218.5 in the finals and won $4,369 in the Classic Challenge Non Pro, $1,747 in the Intermediate and $1,270 in the NRHA Non Pro.

William Rhoads Wins NRBC Non Pro Classic Challenge Limited and Level 1 Non Pro

The Non Pro Classic Challenge Limited and Level 1 divisions went to a pair who were revisiting a successful partnership of the past. William Rhoads, Whitesboro, Texas, rode This Rose Will Shine to a 218 in the finals, winning a total of $1,148.

“It’s William’s horse, but his wife, Wendy, has been showing it all last year and a little bit of this year. Last year was her first year showing, and the horse just babysat her all year long. It’d be very rare if she marked under a 71 with the horse. He’s just always been very steady in the show pen,” Rhoad’s coach, Josh Visser, said. Rhoads showed This Rose Will Shine in the past, but gave him to Wendy when he got a new mount. “Wendy decided she wanted to let William show the horse in this class. She wanted him to go out and chase some money. She knew that if he showed him here, he’d have a chance to win a lot of money.”

Second place in the Limited and Level 1 went to Indy Roper, Hobart, Indiana, and Paid By Corona. The 20-year-old is coached by Sam Smith, and she scored a 217 in the finals, totaling to a $698 payday.

Melissa Hood and Watch This Way Top NRBC Classic Challenge Non Pro Prime Time

Melissa Hood also made her mark on the inaugural NRBC Non Pro Classic Challenge. She rode Watch This Way to a score of 219 in the Prime Time Non Pro division and earned a check for $624. “I just got chills!” Hood exclaimed when her title was announced in the Great Southwest Equestrian Center Coliseum.

“I just have to thank the NRBC. The implementation of the 7 and Up maturity is fabulous for the industry. It pays well. The added money was an incentive, of course, but just seeing everyone down here collecting their prizes and having a little get together here at the end of the show is really great,” Hood said. “The class was so good to watch. These older horses, it’s such a great market for the industry.”

The Classic Challenge Championship comes during Hood’s and Watch This Way’s seventh show season together. Hood has had the horse since he was a long yearling.

The Prime Time Reserve Champion was Lance Griffin, De Winton, Alberta, Canada, on Dun Playin Tag. The pair marked a 218 and won $425.

The National Reining Breeders Classic is the most successful stallion incentive program in reining history. In just fourteen years, the NRBC has grown to include nearly 200 subscribed stallions. Annually, the payout at the National Reining Breeders Classic exceeds $1.4 million. For information on the NRBC, visit the web site at www.nrbc.com or call 580-759-3939.