Here are the contestants for the Open Reining Competition on Saturday Night. Part of this program allows you to purchase one of these riders in a live auction for a chance to win the purse. Its known as a Calcutta.  It is an added excitement to the Reining competition, the Calcutta (auction) will be held for all horse/rider combinations entered in the 2017 Michigan Horse Expo NRHA approved Open Reining competition. The Calcutta will be held immediately prior to the competition. Each rider entered in the event will be auctioned separately, with the highest bidder “buying” that rider. All the money generated by the Calcutta auction will go into a pot, with 50% of the total being divided equally between the buyer of the horse/rider combination that places 1st in the competition, and the buyer of the horse/rider combination that places 4th in the competition. The other 50% of the Calcutta pot will go towards paying judges and other expenses of the competition.

So bring your purses and be prepared to buy your favorite horse and rider! Payment on all winning bids must be settled immediately following the Calcutta, prior to the start of the competition. Payment may be made by cash or check. Winning buyers of the first and fourth place horse/rider combinations will receive their winnings immediately following the placing on the competition on Saturday evening.

Natasha Burows

Natasha is from Saginaw, Michigan. She has been riding horses her whole life.  She started showing reining horses in 2001 and has over $65,000 in NRHA earnings. She has numerous top ten NRHA year end finishes. In 2016, she won the East Central Affiliate Limited Open and went on to finish in the top ten at the North American Affiliate Championship in Oklahoma City. Natasha owns and operates Five Star Performance Horses, where she specializes in training reining  and barrel horses.



Leslie Darrow

Leslie Darrow trains out of Oak Ridge Performance Horses in Bay City, Michigan.  Oak Ridge Performance Horses is a small breeding and training facility that specializes in producing an all-around equine athlete.  Leslie operates a family friendly facility that focuses on working with both the horse and rider to produce a successful team.   Leslie has coached numerous riders to the Top Tens at the Quarter Horse Congress and the U.S. Arabian Nationals. 

Some of Leslie’s accomplishments include Michigan Reining Horse Association MBBO Derby Champions, All American Quarter Horse Congress Reserve Champion Senior Reining and numerous Top Ten’s including Freestyle Reining, Michigan Reining Horse Association Year End Champion in Limited Open & Rookie Professional, and NHRA Top Ten Limited Open and Rookie Professional.


Matt Finley – No Info Provided

Kera Gerard

Kara Gerard, of Gerard Performance Horses, runs a successful training business out of Fremont, Michigan. Kara, as well as her customers, have finished with Championships and Reserve Championships in the NRHA North Central Affiliate Championships the last three years in a row! These championships are along with All American Quarter Horse Congress Reserve Championships and Top Ten Finishes, numerous NRHA World Standing Top Ten Finishes and Year End Championships!
Besides reining Kara also specializes in APHA All Around Horses leading customers to both World and Congress Championships!


Tim Katona

Tim’s career achievements, which include multiple MRHA Futurity and Derby championships, multiple State and World Championships, competing in NRHA Futurities and Derbies, 2 major Derby wins in 2005 and currently holding the highest open run score to date at a Michigan Reining Horse event, captured in 2011 on Sonny Zan Oleana.
Tim has had the privilege of being an NRHA approved judge and having held the first NRHA Judges Clinic on his farm in Belleville, Michigan. He participated in the founding and implementation of the National Reining Horse Association Youth Program. He was also one of the founding members of the Michigan Reining Horse Association, in addition to serving on the Board of Directors for both the NRHA and MRHA. Tim also is proud to receive the 2018 NRHA Dale Wilkerson Lifetime Achievement Award.


Seth Kenoyer – No Info Provided

Matt Lantz

Matt Lantz is a NRHA Futurity Finalist, as well as receiving:
· Multiple Quarter Horse Congress Champion
· Quarter Horse Congress Futurity Finalist
· Multiple State and Regional Championships
Matt also is coach of multiple NRHA World Champions and multiple State and Affiliate Champions.



Lee Mancini

Lee Mancini has owned and operated Mancini Training Center for over 30 years in Howell, Michigan. He has trained horses that have won National and World Titles in over seven divisions with multiple breeds, his most passionate being Reining.
Today Lee is riding Gunnagetyagun, a 5 year old mare that is an All American Quarter Horse Congress futurity finalist and Champion in multiple Derbies throughout her 4 year old year.



Gene Munger

Gene Munger has held Multiple year end top ten NRHA standings in the World. He has been a Michigan Futurity and Michigan Derby Champion, in addition to multiple year end title championships. He has been a Quarter Horse Congress Champion and Reserve Champion and also top ten at the Quarter Horse Congress.
Gene trains and coaches youth and non-pro riders including a past Youth World Champion! In addition to training, coaching, and showing Gene is also an NRHA Judge. Don’t be mean, bet on Gene!!


Lindsey Nelson

Lindsey Nelson was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan and has been riding for most of her life. She started seriously riding when she got her first horse in middle school. Horses have always been her biggest passion, and as she learned more, she began showing. In her last year of 4-H, she trained her mare to do lead changes and won grand champion western riding at the state show.

Lindsey showed in 4-H and at local shows all through high school and upon graduating, made the decision to move to Findlay, Ohio for college. She currently attends the University of Findlay, double majoring in western equestrian studies and equine business management. In her freshman year, she was accepted for the University Ranch horse team. It was then that she found her passion for riding ranch horses and reining horses.  
This year will be Lindsey’s third year showing at ARHA shows, where she has won multiple different classes as well as winning reserve high point at the fall show at the University of Findlay. This is her first year showing NRHA.
After Lindsey graduates she would like to work for a trainer for a few years and eventually start her own business training and ranch and reining horses.


Corey Rogers – No Info Provided

Pat Rogers

Pat Rogers is from Portland, Michigan, where he trains and shows reining horses for MRHA and NRHA events. Pat has trained three NRHA Non-Pro World Champions and over the years, he has also trained and/or shown numerous trophy snf money earners.

Pat’s reining horses have won events such as the Lazy E Classic, the American Quarter Horse Congress. the Tradition Futurity and the MRHA Derby to name a few.


Katie Smallegan

Katie Smallegan is a native of the west Michigan area teaching many different age and experience levels in all performance events in the horse industry, but specializing in reining. Katie has been consumed with horses her entire life, and has been a working professional for 20 years this year.

Katie earned many top ten place rankings nationwide at the AQHA Congress, NRHA (National) regional affiliates, as well as many titles in NRHA approved futurities and derbies. Katie has also taken many of her clients to win many of their own titles consisting of MRHA (Michigan) Futurity and Derby champion and reserve champion, multiple top ten regional affiliate qualifiers as well as top ten national affiliate champions.  Katie has also presented multiple, one of a kind, freestyle performances

Besides competing, Katie has been an avid member on the MRHA board, serving as vice president and 2nd vice for multiple terms. Horses have always been a part of Katie’s life whether for fun or professionally and she hopes to continue to share her knowledge and experience with others through lessons, consulting, and clinics.


Bill Thomas

Bill is an NRHA Professional, he was NRHA’s 2014 World Champion, as well as a past American Ranch Horse World Champion and Pinto Horse World Champion! He is a Quarter Horse Congress Futurity Finalist, he is a Michigan Futurity Champion a Michigan Derby Champion, and holds several Michigan Year End Champion Titles including this past year as the Michigan Open Champion on Boonsmal Blue, whom he has brought with him this weekend!
“Blue” and Bill are also in the NRHA Top 10 in the Country last year!
It is a pretty safe bet, to bet on Bill!!