By Christina Brezack – The National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA) offers members an online program that rewards youth for their involvement outside of the show arena. The Varsity Reining Club (VRC) awards 13 scholarships collectively totaling $5,000 to be distributed to the top point-earning individuals in each age group. Over 80 youth participated this year in the VRC in 2012; Amy Stoney and Katya Koperski are receiving special recognitions as “Youths of the Year” for earning the most points in their respective age groups.
Youth members are awarded points though submissions of activities in the following categories: philanthropy, creativity, publicity and academics. Subcategories help define each submission such as photography, fundraising, community service and report back. Find out how you can join at nrhya.com.
New for 2013 – The VRC website will be re-vamped during the first quarter of 2013. VRC prizes, activities and the overall look will be new and improved. Keep a look out for a press release, email and notification on Facebook when the new site is completed.
Varsity Youth – 14 to 18-years-old as of Jan. 1, 2012
The title of Varsity Youth of the Year was earned by Amy Stoneywith 6,453 points for 580 submissions, mainly in her favored area of photography. Stoney, 16, is from McClave, Colo. and was named Varsity Youth of the Year in 2011 and Junior Varsity Youth of the Year in 2010. Her favorite submission is a creative artwork piece named “America The Beautiful,” an American Flag created from smaller photos taken of horses’ stars markings and dun horses’ dorsal stripes. It reflects her love for her home nation and reminds her how blessed she feels to live in the U.S. Stoney would like to major in business marketing to become an equine photographer marketer. She was recently elected to serve on the 2013 NRHyA Officer Team as historian.
Alexis Daggett, 19, from San Antonio, Tex., took second place by earning 5,050 points with over 175 submissions. Daggett devoted her time doing community service. She helped with the student tutoring program at her school and participating in door-to-door food drives for her local food pantry.
Third place was awarded to Megan D’Andrea, 15, from Fowler, Ohio, who earned 4,544 points by serving her community through work at the local animal shelter and barn. D’Andrea also helped younger schoolmates learn to read during her study hall.
Jasmine Alexander, 18, from Queen Creek, Ariz., took fourth place by earning 2,145 points through submissions of photography, which allowed her to showcase her artistic side. One 2012 submission that stands out to her the most; she volunteered at the Reining Horse Sports Foundation’s Arizona Rookie Day and got more out of that day by volunteering than if she had participated. Alexander is entering into college in 2013 and looking to major in equine science.
Fifth place was earned by Emma Holbrook, 16, from Stillwater, Okla., with 1,510 points. Holbrook’s favorite activity to submit for VRC is community service. One of Holbrook’s submission involved helping out with the Special Olympics State Games. She would like to use her scholarship towards earning a degree in behavioral analysis and eventually work for the FBI. Holbrook also was recently elected to serve as the 2013 NRHyA President.
Reilly Quist, 16, from Delta, Colo., received sixth place with 1,410 points. Quist’s favorite activity is community service and she volunteered in the oncology department at a local hospital. She loves helping people and hopefully making their day a little better. Her volunteer work at the hospital has encouraged her to pursue a degree in the medical field one day either as a neonatologist or a surgeon.
In seventh place was Blair Willette, 17, from Prescott, Ariz., with 1,105 points which she primarily earned through fundraising. As the president of the Jr. Lions Society at her high school, Willette was able to help organize and participate in raising funds to purchase swine for third-world countries through Outreach International. Willette has been accepted as a freshman to Duke University in North Carolina and looks forward to applying her NRHyA experiences to her college life.
Nicole Hupke, 19, from Petaluma, Calif., took eighth by earning 870 points through activities in her affiliate, the West Coast Reining Horse Association (WCRHA), as a youth representative. Hupke organized and implemented a scavenger hunt at the Northwest Regional Affiliate Finals, hosted by the WCRHA for over 30 youth. After finishing up her second year at Santa Rosa Junior College, Hupke plans on transferring to major in sports management.
Junior Varsity Youth – 13 and under as of Jan. 1, 2012
The title of Junior Varsity Youth of the Year went to Katya Koperski, who earned 1,395 points with over 20 submissions, mainly earned from her community service submissions. This is Koperski’s first year of involvement with VRC. Her favorite activities included working at the local humane society socializing dogs and helping at a youth horse camp where she assisted children in preparing their horses for riding while she also taught them about horses. Koperski, 12, from La Crosse, Wis., would like to become a horse professional or a veterinarian. She loves being involved in NRHyA because she gets to spend time and compete with her friends.
Hope Hampton, 12, from Nova Scotia, Canada, placed second with 1,160 points from her fundraising efforts. During the 2012 NRHA Futurity, Hampton sold 580 NRHyA raffle tickets, making her the top seller during the event and winning an iPad. Hampton’s future plans involve anything to do with animals.
Earning third place was Jordan Scott, 14, from Bluff City, Tenn., with 1,090 points from a variety of submissions. Through her work helping out at the local horse shows by signing people in and working the gate along with good grades and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity sealed Jordan’s position in third place.
Nicholas Muir, 14, from Lynnwood, Wash., placed fourth and earned 1,034 points. Community service was his favorite activity with the highlight of volunteering at a local barn. Not only was Muir successful outside of the show pen, but he also took Reserve Champion 13 & Under at the 2012 Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship Show, raising the money to attend the show himself. Muir wants to attend Washington State University to become a large animal veterinarian.
Firth Place was earned by Taylen Marler, 13, from El Paso, Tex., with 1,001 points. Marler participated in fundraising by selling NRHyA raffle tickets – having sold 30 tickets to just one individual. Hoping to pursue a degree in veterinarian medicine, Marler enjoys NRHyA because it provides a chance for her to make new friends that enjoy the same sport.
For more information on the National Reining Horse Youth Association, please visit nrhya.com, find NRHyA on Facebook or contact (405) 946-7400 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy Stoney headshot and “America The Beautiful” photo provide by Amy Stoney.
Katya Koperski headshot provided by Cindy Koperski.