Ponoka-area ranchers Brad and Amanda Kelly are the proud owners of champion reining horse PS Mega Shine Chic, better known as “Crush,” who just won The Run for a Million $100,000 Shoot Out in Las Vegas Aug. 17, coming in first place with a score of 232.5.
The Kellys have a ranch east of Ponoka, Adh Mor Ranch (Irish for “Big Luck”), where they raise reining horses and bucking bulls.
The Kellys built their log home and started their ranch after winning an $18 million lotto ticket a few years ago.
With the win Crush, and his rider and trainer Dany Tremblay, are guaranteed a spot in the 2020 Million Dollar Invitational at the Run for a Million with the other riders in the top five.
The Kellys bought Crush as a two-year-old. He was the 2015 NRHA Futurity Prospect Sale high seller in Oklahoma City.
He was the up-and-coming two-year-old and Brad Kelly says it was, “kind of like drafting Connor McDavid” to be able to purchase him.
Crush, a quarter horse, was started as a yearling by Dany and Fred Tremblay. The Tremblays, formerly of Quebec, now train reining horses in Oklahoma, including Crush.
The Kellys send their other top reining horses to the Tremblays in the States for training as well.
They didn’t know Fred and Dany before buying Crush but Kelly said, “The horse was so well-trained and so talented — there were any number of really competent trainers who would have trained him but I left him in the very capable hands of Dany and Fred.”
Since then, the Kellys have become close friends with the Tremblays and say they have a great owner/trainer relationship.
“Those make up a pretty important team.”
Crush has only continued to “crush” the competition since then.
He went on to become the 2016 NRHA Level Four Futurity Finalist Top 10.
In 2017, he was the NRBC Open Level Four reserve champion, the Open Level Three Champion and the First Go Champion with the high score.
In 2018 Crush won the AQHA World Show Qualifier, the Top 10 Open Reining and Top Five Junior Reining.
In the same year at the High Roller Reining Classic in Las Vegas, Crush was the Reserve Open L4 Champion.
This year he was named the NRBC Open Level Four Finalist, the Open Level Three Champion and at the Reining By The Bay he was third in the Open Level Four and was the Level Three champion with a score of 228.
He also won the title of 2019 AQHA Performance Register of Merit.
Crush, now six years old, is worth more now because of his show career and is valuable to the industry because he’s a stallion.
After winning the shootout, which guarantees a spot in next year’s Run for a Million, there’s a chance the pair may be featured on Paramount Network’s show, The Last Cowboy.
The Last Cowboy, a spin-off of Yellowstone, is a documentary competition following the lives of riders competing in high-stakes reining shows, culminating in the Run for a Million where the riders compete for a $1 million purse.
Yellowstone isn’t available for viewing in Canada, but The Last Cowboy is.
The show has created huge hype around the sport and Kelly said, “I’ve never seen that big of a crowd for a reining show in my life,” as it was Aug. 17 in Las Vegas.
“We knew it was going to be a big opportunity to really showcase what this horse is made of.”
Crush has an impressive pedigree, from Shine Chic Shine and Megas Sugar Baby by Marthas Mega Jac. The Kelly’s saw his first offspring in 2018 and the first foal crop was started this year.
Kelly says Crush has now proven himself as “one of the best stallions in the game” after earning a total of $215,000.
After an appearance at an event sponsored by Adh Mor next spring, the NRBC PS Mega Shine Chic Kids Academy children’s program, and the Run for a Million, they plan on ensuring Crush does his job as a stud and will only take him to a couple of select shows.