UPDATE: BORN TO REIN Documentary Film Producers Add New Theatre Location to AUTHORS’ TOUR Schedule; Announce Additional Partners/Sponsors

NEW Theatre Location/Partner Sponsor: The PLAINS HISTORICAL SOCIETY in Kimball County, Kimball, NE will hold its annual meeting Monday, April 22; in addition the group partners with the co-founders and authors of American Doorstop Project to sponsor a first-time screening of the documentary film BORN TO REIN at the newly-renovated Goodhand Theatre, operated by the Friends of the Goodhand, at 226 S. Chestnut Street, Kimball, NE:

    • 6:30 PM — Meet & Greet the Authors/Producers
    • 7 PM — BORN TO REIN documentary film showtime

NEW Partner/Sponsor: Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC), Scottsbluff

With three campuses in Alliance, Scottsbluff and Sidney, Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) offers endless educational, training and growth opportunities for its students, partners and community members throughout a 12 1/2-county service area in the Nebraska Panhandle.

  • A special BORN TO REIN screening, sponsored in-part by WNCC, will be held at the historic Midwest Theater in downtown Scottsbluff:
    • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, at 7 PM. The screening is FREE and open to the public.

BORN TO REIN Documentary Film Producers Announce Nebraska’s National Legacy AUTHORS’ TOUR 2024:

Celebrating 150 Years of the Kentucky Derby


AUTHORS’ TOUR Commemorates and Pays Tribute to the Kentucky Derby through its Nebraska Connections to National Hall of Fame Trainers: John Nerud, Marion Van Berg & Jack Van Berg; and America’s Triple Crown Winners: Sir Barton, Gallant Fox & Omaha


Through a major grant awarded by Humanities Nebraska and a partnership with national horse racing historian and author Jennifer S. Kelly,  BORN TO REIN Documentary Film Co-Producers, Jody L. Lamp and Melody Dobson announce a statewide Nebraska National Legacy AUTHORS’ TOUR 2024: Celebrating & Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Kentucky Derby.

The AUTHORS’ TOUR 2024 programs slated for April 18-25 will launch in eastern Nebraska the evening of Thursday, April 18th in historic downtown Ashland, Neb., at the Willow Point Gallery; and conclude in western Nebraska with a Thursday afternoon authors’ book signing event April 25that the Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford. The full schedule of Nebraska dates, times, venues, and partners include (* denotes free and open to the public):

  • *Thursday, April 18, 5:30 to 7 PM – Willow Point Gallery, ASHLAND
  • Friday, April 19, 10 AM to 12:30 PM – OLLI at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, LINCOLN
  • *Saturday, April 20, 2 PM – Columbus Public Library, COLUMBUS
  • *Sunday, April 21, 2 to 4 PM – Hall County Historical Society, Burlington Station, GRAND ISLAND
  • *Monday, April 22, 11:30 AM to 1 PM – Facebook Live Event, GROW Nebraska®, KEARNEY
  • *Monday, April 22, 6:30 PM – Goodhand Theatre, Plains Historical Society, KIMBALL
  • *Tuesday, April 23, 6 PM – Lied Scottsbluff Public Library, SCOTTSBLUFF
  • *Wednesday, April 24, 10 AM – WNCC, SCOTTSBLUFF
  • *Wednesday, 7 PM – Midwest Theater, SCOTTSBLUFF
  • Thursday, April 25, 9:30 to 11 AM – WNCC, SCOTTSBLUFF
  • *Thursday, April 25, 2 PM – Fort Robinson State Park, CRAWFORD

“While the Kentucky Derby is not historically associated with Nebraska and the state’s thoroughbred horse racing industry,” say film co-producers and authors Jody Lamp and Melody Dobson, “our desired outcome for the authors’ tour is to give the audience an awareness, knowledge and a deeper appreciation for the individuals who credit their Nebraska upbringing to overcome the insurmountable odds they mastered in America’s oldest sport.”


The award-winning documentary film BORN TO REIN pays tribute to the legends of America’s oldest sport and native-Nebraskans and National Hall of Fame trainers: father-and-son team – Marion Van Berg and Jack Van Berg of Columbus; and John Nerud of Minatare. The documentary film, released in 2019, features historic film footage and images of some of America’s Thoroughbred Horse Racing’s Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakesand Belmont Stakes. The timing of its release coincided with the 100th Anniversary of America’s first Triple Crown winnerSir 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 Carl NafzgerBob 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.”

BORN TO REIN also features the journey of a young, Aurora, Nebraskan native, Marion Van Berg, who was the first Nebraskan inducted into the Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame; and the National Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 1970. Marion Van Berg’s debut in the Kentucky Derby came in 1960 with Spring Broker, who finished eighth in a 13-horse field.


John Nerud was the second Nebraskan inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 1972. In 1957, the John Nerud-trained Gallant Man lost the Kentucky Derby by a nose when his jockey misjudged the finish line and stood up in his irons too early.

While never competing in a subsequent Kentucky Derby as a trainer again, the John Nerud Tartan Farm, Ocala, Fla., breeding operation and horse pedigree sire and dam bloodline influence is found in many Kentucky Derby winnerssince 1990, including two Triple Crown winners*:


  • Unbridled, 1990
  • Grindstone, 1993
  • Real Quiet, 1998
  • Giacomo, 2005
  • Mine That Bird, 2009
  • Orb, 2013
  • California Chrome, 2014
  • *American Pharoah, 2015
  • Always Dreaming, 2017
  • *Justify, 2018
  • Mandaloun, 2021

Marion Van Berg’s son, Jack Van Berg, was born and raised in Columbus, and became the first trainer to reach a national career high of 5,000 wins; and set a record with 496 wins in one year. He was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 1985. In the 1984 Kentucky Derby, the Jack Van Berg-trained Gate Dancer placed 3rd but was disqualified and placed 4th after a complaint was lodged against him.


However, Jack Van Berg’s next opportunity to “Run for the Roses” would come three years later, when his best horse Alysheba, won the 1987 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic, and was named Horse of the Year in 1988.


Lamp and Dobson say BORN TO REIN honors and acknowledges for the first time on film how the connections, contributions, lives and careers of Nebraskans, Nerud and the Van Bergs, impacted and continues to influence the national thoroughbred industry today.


Kentucky Derby Inspires Author:


Author Jennifer S. Kelly, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, who currently lives with her family in northern Alabama, watched her first Kentucky Derby in 1988 and has loved the sport of horse racing ever since. Kelly spends her spring months looking forward to the classics and watching horses like American Pharoah and Justify capture the hearts people who also love the sport. As a fan, freelance turf writer, and horse racing historian, Kelly writes about the sport’s past and present, seeking to capture the stories that keep people coming back to the racetrack.


In 2019, Kelly’s first book, Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown, was published by the University Press of Kentucky (UPK). Her newest title The Foxes of Belair: Gallant Fox, Omaha, and the Quest for the Triple Crown (2023), also published by UPK, chronicles the lives and careers of the second and third Triple Crown winners, bred and owned by William Woodward and trained by “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons.


Kelly’s current project A Crown Most Splendid focuses on the evolution of the American Triple Crown from three stakes races with their own histories and traditions into the sport’s most elite achievement.


“I write to explore stories that we think we know, finding new ways to look at these great moments in the sport and reveal new perspectives on old names,” Kelly says. “Especially for modern audiences who fell in love with stories like Seabiscuit’s.”


Educated at the University of Montevallo and The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Kelly also contributes to websites like America’s Best Racing, and TwinSpires Edge, and to publications like The BloodHorse and Trainer magazines.

  • 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 their first book – A History of Nebraska Agriculture: A Life Worth Living, which launched Grand Island, NE on June 7, 2017 – Jack Van Berg’s 80th Birthday. Lamp & Dobson’s second book – A History of Montana Agriculture: A Life of Discovery features the story of Marcus Daly, Montana’s Copper King and connection to the thoroughbred horse racing industry and the foundational development of America’s first Triple Crown winner – Sir Barton.
  • 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, Four-Time Eclipse Award Outstanding Trainer; 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

For more information about the 2024 AUTHORS’ TOUR, to bring the Born To Rein documentary film to a theater near you, or to book the filmmakers and the film for your next event, contact the producers at office@BornToRein.com or call 406.698.9675. American Doorstop Project Productions, LLC P.O. Box 1681 • Scottsbluff, NE 69361

Previous Abundant April: Free Training Opportunities for Businesses

Leave Your Comment

GROW Nebraska® is a nonprofit 501c3 providing training and education to Nebraska businesses.
© GROW Nebraska Foundation. 2024. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Site Map.