Cody Sapergia Rides Mr Royal Hollywood to Carolina Classic Open Derby Championship

May 13, 2019 - 7:28 PM
For Immediate Release

Mill Spring, NC – May 13, 2019 – Reiners from around the country participated in the 29th annual Carolina Classic at TIEC on May 8-12, held for the second year in a row at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). In the Open Derby, Cody Sapergia topped the Level 3 and 4 leaderboards with Mr Royal Hollywood, scoring 225.5 points and $7,000 in prize money.


Abigail Grace Ehringer swept the Non-Pro Derby aboard All You Need Is Luv, claiming the championship title in Levels 1 through 4 and taking home $7,300 in prize money. Michael Hancock scored champion honors and $1,900 in prize money aboard Nics Custom Dually in the Non-Pro Derby Prime Time and Masters levels.


Cody Sapergia Claims Open Derby Championship

Securing the Open Derby Level 3 and 4 champion titles was Cody Sapergia of Smithfield, NC, with a score of 225.5 aboard Mr Royal Hollywood, George and Carol Bell’s 4-year-old stallion by Hollywoodtinseltown out of Cee Miss Hollywood. Sapergia complimented his horse’s double-win performance.


Open Derby Level 3 and 4 Champions Cody Sapergia and Mr. Royal Hollywood. ©Fletch Photos.


“The circles he ran really well and came back to me good. The first turn was really solid, quite quick and I stopped him square, so no penalties. The second set of circles and spins were also good, but I think that what really got the points were the stops at the end because he’s a really good stopper, he’s really good with the front feet, and he has a good position and goes a long way, so I was really happy with him today,” explained Sapergia.

Sapergia was looking forward to a repeat visit to TIEC and complimented his experience at the Carolina Classic.

“I was here last year for the World Equestrian Games as the coach for the Mexican Reining Team. It was great then, and I couldn’t wait to come back this time because it’s such a unique venue. It’s really cool – really big arena, really good ground and there’s lots going on with the jumping and stuff like that, so it’s exciting,” added Sapergia.

With a score of 223.5, the Open Derby Level 2 champion honors went to Amanda F. Yarbrough and Gunners Shining Star, a 4-year-old mare by Gunners Special Nite out of Whiz Bang Spark and owned by Donald C. Burgy.


Open Derby Level 2 Champions Amanda F. Yarbrough and Gunners Shining Star. ©Fletch Photos

Gilad Susman earned the Open Derby Level 1 champion title with a score of 219 on Stanley Coats’ Sparklin Magnum, a 5-year-old stallion by Magnum Chic Dream out of Still Sparklin.



Open Derby Level 1 Champions Gilad Susman and Sparklin Magnum. ©Fletch Photos


Abigail Ehringer Tops Non-Pro Derby

In the Non-Pro Derby, Ehringer of Dawsonville, GA, took champion honors in Levels 1 through 4, with a score of 214 aboard her own All You Need Is Luv, a 6-year-old gelding by Wimpys Little Step out of Easys Lil Barbie.



Abigail Grace Ehringer and All You Need Is Luv, winners of the Non-Pro Derby Levels 1 through 4.
©Fletch Photos.


Ehringer was surprised to earn a win in all four levels and is proud of her horse’s growth, bringing her score up significantly from last year’s Carolina Classic score of 201.


“My main goal was just to get through it with no penalties, and just have fun,” said Ehringer. “I’ve been derbying him for almost a year and a half now, and we kinda just started clicking last fall, so now we’re really getting comfortable together in the show pen, so I’m just now pushing him and we’re doing well.”


Michael Hancock Dominates Non-Pro Prime Time and Masters

Hancock of Rocky Mount, NC and founder of the Carolina Classic reining competition, slid into the Non-Pro Prime Time and Masters championship spots with a score of 213 aboard Nics Custom Daily, his own 6-year-old gelding by Mister Nicadual out of Custom Whizper.



Michael Hancock and Nics Custom Daily earned champion status in the Non-Pro Derby Prime Time and Masters levels. ©Fletch Photos.


As the founder of the Carolina Classic, Hancock was pleased with its second year at TIEC.


“The arena was outstanding, and I think other than a little rain to settle the dust yesterday, we had great weather and it’s been a great event. I think what went well was just the overall facility, it’s just phenomenal here. This is the 29th year of the Carolina Classic, so this is one of the early shows on the east coast that had a significant following. We’re continuing that tradition at this new facility, and only new people coming here and the people that haven’t been here will be astounded by what we are doing,” said Hancock.


Results: Click here for all results from the 2019 Carolina Classic at TIEC.


For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center, please visit

Photo Credit: ©Fletcher Photography. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release with proper credit.


Media Inquiries: Email or call 828-863-1178


About the Tryon International Equestrian Center at Tryon Resort

Tryon International Equestrian Center at Tryon Resort, host of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, is one of the world’s ultimate equestrian lifestyle destinations with first-class facilities for all FEI disciplines and showcasing hunter/jumper, equitation, steeplechase, polo, reining and multidiscipline events in Mill Spring, NC. From carousel to competition, the mission of Tryon Resort is to celebrate the magic of the horse, grow equestrian sport, and increase access to this majestic animal. A haven for equestrian competitors and enthusiasts, Tryon Resort is an iconic, year-round destination for connoisseurs of diverse cuisine and shopping, lodging getaways, and family entertainment. Learn more at

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