Reys Of Pep Reigns Supreme at Texas Best Derby with Kaleb Driggers
Kaleb Driggers and Reys Of Pep banked $8,250 at the Graham, Texas, derby.
Reys Of Pep Kaleb Driggers
Reys Of Pep and Kaleb Driggers win the heading at the Texas Best Derby in Graham, Texas, April 14. | Shelby Lynn Photos

World Champion Kaleb Driggers got his second-ever show win aboard Jake Cooper’s stallion Reys Of Pep at the Texas Best Rope Horse Derby with a score of 928.71 on four head, worth $7,450 for the heading average win and another $800 for the second round win.

The Graham, Texas-win marked the second derby title for the 2017 stallion Reys Of Pep this year, after the stud won the Roping Futurities of America heeling title in February.

Reys Of Pep Kaleb Driggers
Reys Of Pep and Kaleb Driggers won a total of $8,250 for their efforts in the Texas Best Derby. | Shelby Lynn Photo

Play-By-Play

“He was very solid all day,” said Driggers, 33, who had the help of Levi Lord on the heel side. “He never had any mistakes. I think he won second on the first one, then he won the second and third rounds I believe. The short round steer was really strong, and for me I did a really good job because there was a time or two in there where I wanted to throw because of the circumstances of the fast cattle and the short arena, but I’ve kinda learned only to use that in a last ditch effort when showing.”

Driggers—sixth in the world with $37,473 won in the PRCA this year—flew in from Logandale, Nevada’s Clark County Fair & Rodeo to show at the futurity. Driggers and Nogueira lead Logandale with a 9.4 on two head, winning third in Round 1 and splitting second, third and fourth in Round 2.

Reys Of Pep and Kaleb Driggers won a total of $8,250 for their efforts in the Texas Best Derby. | Shelby Lynn Photo
Levi Lord helped Driggers and Reys Of Pep on the heel side at the Texas Best Derby. | Shelby Lynn Photo

Reys Of Pep’s Game

“Pepper”, a son of Dual Rey out of the Docs Stylish Oak mare Peppys Stylish Lena, was the 2022 Reserve World Champion in the American Rope Horse Futurity Association in the heeling, marking the highest score of the entire futurity in the short round, and he was a finalist in the heading, too.

The RFA win in February was time-only, showing the horse’s ability to both go fast and score high under the multiple judged formats of the ARHFA and Texas Best.

“He’s the total package,” Driggers said. “Yesterday was a very, very tough setup. The barrier wasn’t too long, but the cattle were really, really fresh. One may split through there running, one may not start hardly at all. So they needed to be calm and score but yet be firing to go catch up because the arena isn’t very long.”

Reys Of Pep’s Big Future

Pepper has been hard at work in the breeding barn already in 2023, even stopping at Outlaw Equine for a collection the day before winning the Texas Best Derby.

At probably 15.1 and nearly 1,200 lbs, Reys Of Pep had won $56,066 before April 14’s Texas Best Derby put another $8,250 on his earnings. Driggers and Reys Of Pep have the ARHFA’s Oil Can Classic in Ardmore April 28-30 on their schedule, followed by the Royal Crown’s Oklahoma City futurity in May and the ARHFA’s Rosebud Spectacular in early June in OKC before Driggers heads out for the summer run in June.

“Pepper’s going to hang out at home,” Cooper said. “I’ve got guys here who work for me who will keep him on the walker. He’s so easy to keep working. Lovell trained a good horse that doesn’t need much. Colby had so much to do with this horse being great, and I’m lucky to be a part of his career.”

Cooper plans to steer Pepper in the head horse direction, but his twin brother Jim Ross thinks the horse’s future should be in the heeling.

“I think that’s just because Jim wants to ride him,” Jake joked.

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