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Nick Dowers and A Reyl Rebel were on fire at this year’s National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Kimes Ranch Western Derby, held May 29-June 8, 2024 in Scottsdale, Arizona. EquiStat $1 Million Rider Dowers won the Open Derby last year aboard Cabanna Boy, and he came ready to contend again this year, riding Clinton Marshall’s 2019 stallion A Reyl Rebel. The duo’s composite score of 664 clinched the $100,000-added Open Derby title, adding to Dowers’ already impressive slew of wins and taking home a $50,000 prize.

Dowers has worked with “Reyl” (Metallic Rebel x Never Reylinquish x Dual Rey) who was bred by Hartman Quarter Horses, Inc., since the sorrel stallion was a yearling.

“He’s just your stereotypical gelding, like a 13-year-old kid’s horse,” Dowers said. “He’s super chill, in your pocket but he doesn’t big you. He’s just an awesome gelding.”

Dowers set his sights on the Western Derby with Reyl long before the event.

“He’s been awesome all year, and this is one of our bigger shows—it is one of the highlights for a five-year-old—so we have been gearing toward it and had it on our radar all along,” Dowers said.

Dowers, from Dyer, Nevada, had obligations the week prior to the Derby, so Reyl got a bit of a break, with just one practice session before he was loaded up for Arizona.

“He is super consistent at this point,” Dowers said. “I know him so well from having him so long. I know what it takes to prepare him now, and I feel pretty confident on him.”

Reyl is good at each of the events, Dowers said.

“I was just trying to have good, clean runs,” Dowers said. “In the finals, I thought if I could just get through the herd with a good score, I feel pretty confident about the reining to have a good score there. I knew we’d have a chance down the fence, and sure enough, we did. He’s been a solid fence work horse forever, so it worked out.”

The duo scored high in each event to garner a composite score of 664 (217 Herd/ 221.5 Rein/ 225.5 Cow).

“He’s very, very good everywhere—on any given day, he could win the herd, rein work and fence work, and it’s not super common to have a horse that is good in all three events,” Dowers said.

Winning this event with Reyl was a thrill for Dowers.

“I’m just happy to do him justice and come out with the win,” Dowers said. “It’s even more cool that I won it last year on a different horse, back-to-back, and that doesn’t happen very often. So that was exciting.”

Quarter Horse News
by Abigail Boatwright
View article on QHN