The $500-added Open Derby champion was The Saga, owned and ridden by Jill Ferdina Miller, of Lewistown, Mont. The 2004 bay gelding, race-bred top and bottom, won the derby first go, was second in the second go and won the Average. His sire, Leaving Memories, is by First Down Dash, and his dam is by the thoroughbred sprinter Reb’s Policy. Miller, a former Montana Circuit Finals qualifier, was also just named the Montana Circuit WPRA co-sanctioned barrel racing champion. Miller and The Saga also got checks in the open 1D, as did her other talented gelding, Chiquitas Cash. Miller left Great Falls with a total windfall of $1,281.35.
The promise of Circle Y trophy saddles to each of the Open Divisional average winners, numerous awards and great ground in a dry, spacious indoor arena attracted 497 open runs over three days. Contestants came from all over Montana and as far away as North Dakota and Saskatchewan.
The Circle Y 1D trophy saddle winner, Lenas Mijo Dulce, ridden by Lindsay Karp, of Missoula, Mont., swept the Open on Saturday and Sunday with smoking times of 15.546 and 15.558 respectively. Karp, the 2010 Montana WPRA Pro Rodeo Champion, bought her talented, cowbred 2002 sorrel gelding from NFR qualifier Deb Renger of Canada. Karp and her horses had been on hiatus as she awaited the arrival of her daughter, Paisley, and Saturday marked her first runs since becoming a mom just 11 days earlier. Ironically, one of the saddles sent from Circle Y was a 12-inch child’s saddle that was going to be returned for a larger size, but Karp gladly accepted it for Paisley to grow into.