Trailer for 'Born to Rein' documentary, telling story of Minatare connection to horse racing, debuts at Midwest Theater

SCOTTSBLUFF — Melody Dobson and Jody Lamp of the American Doorstep Project presented the first trailer for “Born to Rein,” their upcoming documentary about horse racing and its roots in Nebraska, in a press conference at the Midwest Theater on Thursday morning.

Dobson said the film’s goal is to document Nebraska’s historical connection to racing.

“Our purpose and our moment of time here is to tell an untold story,” she said. “A story some of us may know already, some of our older folks, but we want to make sure that the next generation doesn’t forget about the legacies of things that have happened in their local area.”

Lamp, a native of Minatare, said part of that purpose is to ensure that the legacy of John Nerud is not forgotten in his hometown.

“If you want to learn anything about the accomplishments of one of the nation’s most revered trainers and horse breeders in America, you can’t come here,” she said. “Unless you talk to the family and know them personally, there isn’t anything to tell you about John. The only place in Nebraska to tell you about his history is at Fonner Park, where the Nebraska Thoroughbred Racing Association has their hall of fame.”

Nerud, born in Minatare, spent 44 years as a horse trainer. He helped found the Breeder’s Cup and was inducted into the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in 1972. He died in 2015 at the age of 102.

The documentary also shines a spotlight on Marion and Jack Van Berg, father-and-son Nebraskans who also had an impact on the racing industry. It will also cover the city of Ashland, which proclaimed itself Nebraska’s horse racing capitol, and the since-demolished Grand Island horse and mule market, which was one of the largest in the world in the 1910s.

The press conference also included talks from local businessmen Kevin Kelley, Owen Palm and Down Masten, who have encouraged Dobson and Lamp through the project.

Lamp said Nerud’s reputation outside of Nebraska has already garnered national attention to the documentary.

“People outside of the borders of Nebraska are so excited for this film to come to life that we’ve already been contacted by the Equus Film Festival of New York,” Lamp said.

“We can make a big deal about the state of Nebraska in 2019,” Dobson said, “and we can also honor these men and this history as we do so.”

Dobson added that the film will debut in 2019, in time for the 100th anniversary of Sir Barton winning the first American Triple Crown.

Jody Lamp