After Spooky Vortex and Lindsay McCutcheon won the 2019 Bob’s Custom Saddles Novice Horse Non Pro Derby, “Chip” found a new home in Utah.
By Lindsay Humphrey
Bob’s Custom Saddles Novice Horse Non Pro Derby winner: Spooky Vortex (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Smart Sugar Pop)
Rider: Lindsay McCutcheon
Owner: Kathleen Roach, Spanish Fork, Utah
2019 winning score: 217
Barn name: Chip
In late September 2019, Kathleen Roach took a leap of faith on a gelding that “just felt right.” Spooky Vortex (“Chip”) hopped on the trailer with Kathleen’s mare, and the trio headed north from Texas for home in Utah. Just a few months before, Lindsay McCutcheon rode the 2014 gelding to the 2019 Bob’s Custom Saddles Novice Horse Non Pro Derby title.
“I was about to leave Fort Worth after showing at the APHA World Show,” Kathleen recalled. “I’d been looking for a derby horse that whole week. It was a Sunday morning, so we couldn’t get a pre-purchase exam. It was either take him right then or who knows when I’d be back down to get him.”
Kathleen decided to take her chances, and Chip soon arrived at his new home surrounded by the Wasatch Mountain range. The gelding had a chance to adapt to the change of scenery by learning how to be a trail horse.
“I think [trail riding] helps their minds and bodies relax to do other jobs than just going in the show pen or being trained on in the arena constantly,” Kathleen shared. “It took him a while to really find the trail, but now he’s a good mountain horse. He’s still a great reining horse, too.”
It’s always been on Kathleen’s bucket list to show a derby horse. Chip gave his owner her first crack at it, and she didn’t waste any time starting toward her goals.
“The weekend after I got home from Texas, my husband and I were headed to the  Low Roller Reining Classic,” she said. “I figured I’d just ride Chip around and get used to him in a schooling class.”
Chip did so well that Kathleen entered the derby last-minute. With less than five rides together, the pair took home a check from almost every class they entered.
“Chip got me really excited for this year,” Kathleen beamed. “We made plans to show at everything we could because we finally had a derby horse.”
Her plans changed when many shows were canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, but the delay couldn’t dim Kathleen’s excitement to show Chip.
While home, the pair entered a virtual show that qualified them for the 2020 Run for a Million Non Pro Championship. And, as restrictions began to be lifted, the pair headed to WestWorld for their first show off their property. Once again, Kathleen and Chip landed in the money at the Mother’s Day Slide in Scottsdale.
Next, they plan to show at the 2020 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, where they hope to add to the success Chip achieved last year with Lindsay McCutcheon in the saddle.
The Bob’s Custom Saddles Novice Horse Derby was introduced at the 2019 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. The $25,000-added event showcases horses that might have missed their futurity year or haven’t yet hit their stride in the show pen. Click here to livestream the 2020 NRHA Derby presented by Markel.