GOTHENBURG, NE – Horses racing through Gothenburg, the “Pony Express Capital of Nebraska,” date back before statehood in the early 1860s. Now, to commemorate and celebrate some of Nebraska’s other horse racing history, the SUN Theatre invites patrons to a special ONE-NIGHT ONLY screening of BORN TO REIN – a new documentary film showcasing America’s oldest sport and the impact and influence that three native-Nebraskans made in the national thoroughbred industry on Tuesday, August 27th at 7 p.m.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. that evening and BORN TO REIN filmmakers and co-producers, Jody L. Lamp and Melody Dobson of American Doorstop Project Productions, LLC, will be available after the screening for questions, interviews and pre-selling the film’s DVD and souvenir commemorative guide.
The co-producers also will be signing their book, A History of Nebraska Agriculture: A Life Worth Living, which features some of the stories within in the BORN TO REIN documentary film. Lamp and Dobson say BORN TO REIN honors and acknowledges for the first time on film the connections, contributions and lives and careers of native Nebraskans and National Hall of Fame Trainers – John Nerud of Minatare, NE; and father-and-son trainers, Marion and Jack Van Berg of Columbus, NE.
Born To Rein takes viewers through the journey of a young, Aurora, Nebraskan native, Marion Van Berg, who was the first Nebraskan ever to be inducted into the Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame; and the National Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 1970. His son, Jack Van Berg, born on June 7th, 1936 and raised in Columbus, would be become the first trainer ever to reach a national career high of 5,000 wins; and set a record with 496 wins in one year. Jack Van Berg was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 1985. John Nerud was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 1972.
2019 marks the 100th Anniversary of America’s First Triple Crown Winner, Sir Barton, who after retiring from racing also spent time in Nebraska, as a U.S. Army Remount Service Stallion at Fort Robinson near Crawford, NE.
“Most Nebraskans have never heard the name of John Nerud or realize that National Hall of Fame trainers like Bob Baffert and D.Wayne Lukas credit his influence in the industry for their success,” says Lamp, who was raised near his birthplace at the Nerud family homestead near Lake Minatare in western Nebraska. “Mr. Nerud certainly has been not recognized in any ‘Notable Nebraskan’ narratives prior to us working on the film, so we hope others will enjoy seeing historic footage of his history and learn something new about their state of Nebraska.”
Fast Facts about the Film and Filmmakers:
Research for Born To Rein began in 2009 after Lamp discovered a son of Sir Barton’s was sold at the May 1946 horse sale at Billings Livestock Commission in Billings, MT.
Lamp & Dobson launched the American Doorstop Project on July 1, 2015; and launched film production for Born To Rein at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., in Nov. 2017.
Lamp & Dobson continued filming at Churchill Downs during the 2018 Kentucky Derby and captured the 13th Triple Crown Winner – Justify – and his Hall of Fame Jockey, Mike Smith, leading the field of competitors around the first backstretch turn to win the first leg of the Triple Crown races.
Lamp & Dobson wrote a book – A History of Nebraska Agriculture: A Life Worth Living and launched it in Grand Island, NE on June 7, 2017 – Jack Van Berg’s 80th Birthday.
Other National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame inductees interviewed for BORN TO REIN:
Bob Baffert, Two-Time Triple Crown Winning Trainer
Carl Nafzger, Trainer of Kentucky Derby winners, Unbridled and Street Sense
D. Wayne Lukas, Trainer of 24 Thoroughbred Champions
Bill Mott, Three-Time Eclipse Award Outstanding Trainer; and 2019 Kentucky Derby winner.
Gary Stevens, Youngest jockey ever to surpass $100 million in career earnings
Pat Day, Jockey ranking fourth in all-time career victories with 8,803 wins
Born To Rein:
Born To Rein commemorates the lives and accomplishments of native Nebraskans and National Hall of Fame Horsemen, John A. Nerud of Minatare, and father-and-son Marion and Jack Van Berg of Columbus/Grand Island. Nerud, a Navy veteran and one of America’s most accomplished and revered thoroughbred horse trainers and breeders, co- founded the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Classic. He was inducted into the National Museum of Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1972.
Marion Van Berg was the nation’s leading owner in racing victories 14 times and was the first Nebraskan inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1970. Like his father, Jack Van Berg set records for the most wins. His best horse, Alysheba, won the 1987 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic, and was Horse of the Year in 1988.