IHSA National Championship Horse Show Western Wrap Up

University of Findlay and St Andrews University’s Connor Smith Take Top Honors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Harrisburg, Penn.—May 9, 2018 — The 2018 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) began Western and reining competition Friday, May 4, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, featuring AQHA Team Open Reining and Individual Open Western Horsemanship. All teams demonstrated their school colors and team spirit as they participated in the Parade of Teams.



Danielle Paulson from the University of Wisconsin River Falls has been on the team for two years and qualified for Nationals for the first time this year.

“Last year I had a rough go at Semi-Finals and making it back to Nationals this year was an incredible opportunity,” said Paulson, who is from Rochester, Minnesota.

While watching the warmup, she spied Juice, a cute chestnut mare owned by St. Andrews University. “I liked Juice when I saw her warming up. Her spins were great, her stops were awesome,” she said. “She was a heck of a mare to ride.”

Though Paulson has shown American Quarter Horses for 10 years, this is her first year competing in reining. Paulson also competed in NRHA Individual Open Reining and AQHA High Point Western Rider.


The third time is a charm for Codi Uecker from Rocky Mountain College who piloted Terrell, owned by the University of Findlay to the win in the Individual Open Western Horsemanship. Uecker hails from Lewistown, Montana, and is a junior studying biology. She has qualified and competed at Nationals every year of her college career. “I’m so excited,” said Uecker. It’s taken three years, so it’s good.”



Morgan Knerr from University of Findlay and her best friend, Tyler Kirby from Ohio State University were tied at 148 points after their first reining run. The judges asked the two top contenders to swap horses and return for a showdown. Knerr, who rode Karen Black’s Brie in the first round mounted up on Gunny, also owned by Black. In the end, the judges gave Knerr the top prize.

“She was so good,” Knerr said about her mount. “I knew it was a tough competition with Tyler. I know he’s a good rider. I was excited to go back in the arena and do it again.”

Knerr is a freshman studying pharmacy. She hopes to have a career in hospital pharmacy and continue riding. “Both my parents are involved in reining and I’ve grown up in the reining industry,” she said.

Before joining the University of Findlay, Knerr and Kirby rode at Autumn Rose with the Griffiths and competed together in the NRHA.



The final day of the 2018 IHSA National Championship Horse Show featured the conclusion of the Western divisions. Young men and sparkle-clad women sat tall in the saddle to compete at the Pennsylvania Farm Complex in Harrisburg. The AQHA National Champion Team University of Findlay took home the trophy after a stunning victory over talented teams from across the country. Ohio State University was named reserve champion.

In his first year at the helm as head coach, Spencer Zimmerman led the Findlay Oilers to the win, but he credits his students and the Findlay program for their success.

“The team’s dedication to one another set them apart—helping each other get to the pen, schooling each other at home, hours of practice to come out here and shine,” Zimmerman said. “I am proud of my riders for putting it all out there in the pen and remembering everything we practiced at home. It really showed.”

Zimmerman, who is from Newport, Pennsylvania, not far from Harrisburg, has spent the last two years as assistant coach to his predecessor Cindy Morehead, who retired last year. And he knows what it is like to walk in his students’ boots. During his time on the team Findlay earned two national championships.

“I was on the team for four years and I got to compete under Cindy, Clark Bradley and Jake Bowman,” he said. “It has come full circle close to my hometown.”

He explained that most of the 30-member team ride on the equestrian program as well. They ride a couple of horses a day, five to seven days a week. In addition, they have more practice. The riders that are not in the program practice as much as the others. The students have access to a depth of horses available to help them learn.

This is the University of Findlay’s sixth IHSA AQHA Team National Championship.


It was a big day for Connor Smith. The polite and humble St. Andrews University senior from Gastonia, North Carolina, won the Team Open Western Horsemanship and earned the AQHA High Point Western Rider.

Smith’s coach Carla Wennberg fought back tears of excitement and pride in her student who she described as a leader for the team. He went from the Intermediate division to Open under her tutelage, but she credits other trainers for helping to develop the talented rider.

“He’s put a lot of effort in with other trainers to help him with reining,” Wennberg said. “I can’t take all that credit.”

“You know I just took what Carla always says, ’You can never wait, you just have to start from where you are and learn from what happens as the days pass and build from that,’” Smith said.

Smith complimented Jade, the horse he drew on the final day of competition and described her as sensitive, very correct and a good mover.

Smith has been a member of the IHSA for four years and this is his second trip to Nationals. In his sophomore year, he placed third in Team Advanced Horsemanship. After graduation, Smith has a job in Charlotte with a company that does search engine optimization and web design.


Harley from Middle Tennessee State was awarded the SmartPak Most Popular Western Horse and the Triple Crown High Point Horse award went to Sarah from Alfred University. Harry Hurd, coach of the Alfred team and Kendall Woellmer from West Texas A & M University were both honored with the AQHA Sportsmanship award. Bryan Bradley from Penn State University was named Volunteer of the Year.

Thanks to the generous IHSA sponsors, the competitors, teams, coaches, volunteers and horses for a successful National Championship Horse Show. We look forward to the 2019 season and next year’s Nationals in Syracuse, New York.


Young men and women from the U.S. and Canada qualified to represent their colleges and universities in hunter seat equitation and Western horsemanship in a range of levels from Walk-Trot through Open, alumni championships, the USEF/Cacchione Cup, the NRHA Individual Open Reining final and the AQHA Western High Point Rider national final.


The IHSA was founded in 1967 by Robert Cacchione while he attended Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. The organization was established so that any full-time college student could participate in equestrian competition regardless of economic status, gender or riding level and offers Hunter Seat and Western competition at eight levels from Walk-Trot through Open divisions for both male and female college athletes. The IHSA emphasizes learning and sportsmanship and fosters teamwork. The organization has grown to include 400 member teams and 10,000 members encompassing 39 Regions, 8 Zones and 45 states and Canada. College or university teams, individuals, alumni and coaches may become members.

For more information go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com

High-res photos available upon request.

Media Contact:
Carrie Wirth
EQ Media
(612) 209-0310

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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2019 NRHA Rule Changes Approved

For Immediate Release – May 9, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Each year, National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) members have the opportunity to submit rule change proposals for addition to the next year’s official handbook. The NRHA Board of Directors then discusses the proposals, sends them to NRHA Committees for feedback, reviews opinions shared by the membership and casts votes at their annual May meeting. At this year’s meeting, the board considered 34 proposals and ultimately approved 29 to become effective in 2019.

“The board is extremely serious about this process and does their best to consider members’ opinions on these proposals as well as look for opportunities to grow the sport and to be aware of anything that might have a detrimental impact,” said NRHA President Mike Deer. “I’m proud to say all of the proposals the board approved were supported by a majority of members who participated in the online survey.”

A listing of approved rule changes is shown below with details available on nrha.com in the Members Only section.

Also approved for 2019 during last year’s rules change meeting is the move to a true 12-month membership. Starting January 1, 2019, NRHA memberships will no longer expire on December 31; memberships will now expire one year after purchase. See page 29 of the 2018 NRHA Handbook for details.


SECTION 1                  
Sub-section // Proposal
Competition // 31-01-19 – Non Pro Conditions
Competition // 37-02-19 – Category change for Prime Time Open
Event Management // 47-01-19 – Event requirements for chair judges
Event Management // 47-02-19 – Show officials requirement
Event Management // 56-01-19 and 56-02-19 – Ancillary and Jackpot show judge’s fees
Event Management // 59-01-19 – Green Level entry fees
Event Management // 61-01-19 – Show secretary deadline for submitting results to NRHA
Judging // 45-01-19 – Helmets in Para-Reining
Judging // 56-04-19 – Use of hands (Aged shows)
Judging // 59-03-19 – Simple lead changes for Entry Level Ride & Slide
Judging // 81-01-19 – Freestyle time limit
Judging // 88-01-19 – Judges’ guidelines (unapproved events)
Judging // 96-01-19 – Two-point reviews (Related to 96-02-19)
General // 07-01-19 – Rule change procedures
General // 07-02-19 – Re-establishing an annulled affiliate
General // 35-01-19 – Horse naming requirements

SECTION 2                  
Sub-section // Proposal
Competition // 59-04-19 – Move the “Green Point Scale”
Judging // 91-01-19 – Tie-Breaker
Judging // 92-01-19 – Standard western bit (one point of pull)
Judging // 92-02-19 – Rein hand (use of fingers)
Judging // 93-01-19 – Use of hands (mane)
Judging // 93-02-19 – Closed Reins in Ride & Slide and Para
Judging // 93-03-19 – Belly wraps/bands
General // 07-03-19 – Affiliate Compliance

SECTION 3                  
Sub-section // Proposal
Judging // 86-01-19 – Judges’ guidelines
Judging // 97-01-19 – Add Para-Reining Allowances from Policy to Handbook
General // 07-04-19 – Move fines to policy
General // 08-01-19 – Move part of IAP rules to resolution

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Mid-Year NRHA Board of Directors Meeting Successful

For Immediate Release – May 4, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma –  Members of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Executive Committee and Board of Directors spent two days this week at the international headquarters for their mid-year meeting. Over the course of those two days, significant discussions regarding a variety of topics took place, all with one goal in mind – improving and growing the sport of reining.

The meeting agenda included items such as:

  • Voting on 2019 rule change proposals. A detailed report will be available on nrha.com in the near future.
  • Update on ReinerSuite, the NRHA information technology re-build project.
  • Budget and financial overview.
  • Fees policy reviewed with details forthcoming.
  • Southern Australia was approved as an NRHA Affiliate.
  • Update on medications testing. 247 tests were conducted last year with 14 positive tests received. Of those 14 results, 12 were for controlled substances which are deemed to have therapeutic value and/or commonly used in equine medicine.

Board members discussed several topics related to NRHA-owned events. They were presented with a new opportunity for the NRHA Derby with further discussion to take place at the fall meeting. They also received an update on the changes to stall sponsor guidelines to take effect this year. Additionally, the 2018 NRHA Futurity schedule and dates for the 2019 NRHA Futurity and Derby were approved. More information here.

When asked about the meeting NRHA President Mike Deer had this to say: “The hard work, thoughtfulness on tough questions asked at this meeting have set us up to have an even more productive meeting in August. I am very optimistic that this momentum and dedication will only continue to grow each time the executive committee and board of directors meet.”


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Spooks Gotta Whiz Hits the NRHA Million Dollar Mark

For Immediate Release – May 3, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Many successful riders, owners and horses in the reining industry spend a lifetime chasing an illustrious National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Million Dollar title. For Spooks Gotta Whiz, however, it took only seven years in the breeding shed to reach the million. After a spectacular run at the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) by many of his offspring, Spooks Gotta Whiz is unofficially an NRHA Million Dollar Sire.

Spooks Gotta Whiz is by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Gun and out of Prettywhizprettydoes. Bred by Clint Haverty, the 2007 stallion is owned by Michell Anne Kimball, who purchased the horse from Duane Hicks in 2009 after meeting him at the High Roller Reining Classic. “Baby” currently stands at Cinder Lakes Ranch in Valley View, Texas.

The bay stallion may have crossed the NRHA Million due to his success in the breeding pen, but Spooks Gotta Whiz had his fair share of glory within his competitive career, accumulating NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE) in excess of $345,147. His prominent wins include:

  • 2010 NRHA Level (L)4 Open Futurity Champion ridden by Jordan Larson
  • 2012 NRBC L4 Open Classic Champion ridden by Shawn Flarida
  • 2012 NRHA L4 Open Derby Champion ridden by Flarida
  • Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) 2014 Normandy Individual and Team Gold Medalist ridden by Flarida

Baby began his breeding career in 2011 and has produced offspring who have achieved much notoriety within the show pen. The young stallion sired the 2016 NRHA L4 Open Futurity Champion, the 2016 NRHA L3 Non Pro Futurity Reserve Champion and the 2017 NRHA L4 Non Pro Derby Reserve Champion, in addition to numerous finalists within many of the industry’s top tier shows

The stallion’s most notable offspring include:

  • Spooky Whiz (out of Myo Starlight): NRHA LTE over $181,727
  • Gotta Twist It Up (out of Make It With A Twist): NRHA LTE over $90,105
  • Thebettertohearuwith (out of Chex Out The Cowgirl): NRHA LTE over $75,670
  • Spooks Grand Slam (out of Shiney Diamond Lady): NRHA LTE over $42,768
  • Night Time Spook (out of Custom Night Time): NRHA LTE over $42,579
  • KR When In Rome (out of Crome Shiner): NRHA LTE over $40,737

Founded in 1966, the National Reining Horse Association is a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting and encouraging the development of and public interest in the sport of reining. The focus is on developing and maintaining suitable standards of performance and judging and in providing a fun filled, family-oriented atmosphere. 

Media Contact:
Hayley Eberle
Manager of Marketing & Outreach
National Reining Horse Association
(405) 946-7400 x 103


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NRBC Day 10: Hall Sweeps Non Pro Challenge

It was a successful week at the National Reining Breeders Classic in Katy, Texas, with big stops and smart maneuvers conquering the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. In Sunday’s action The Non Pro Classic Challenge brought tough competition with Greg Hall dominating the event riding Chics Mainattraction to win the titles in all levels and the Prime Time of the Non Pro Classic Challenge, plus the $5,000-added Non Pro worth a total of $17,137.

Chics Mainattraction is by Conquistador Whiz out of Chictastic and has been with Hall since the now-8-year-old mare was 2. Hall scored a big 218 to take home the rewards, which included a custom saddle, six NRHA bronze trophies and an array of NRBC commemorative awards.

“She was very good all the way through – she was very nice and very soft,” Hall said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m very happy.” Hall said one of his favorite things about the mare is her consistency.

“I’ve shown her about six times in a row without schooling her and she just does everything I want her to do,” he said. “She’s a great horse.”

The Intermediate Non Pro champion was Robyn Schiller riding Smart Like Steady (Steady Tradition x Bar S Docs Gay Bar) to a score of 211.5 for the championship. Schiller purchased Smart Like Steady specifically to qualify for the World Equestrian Games and decided to enter the Intermediate Non Pro in the last minute and it paid off.

“He is a very smart 14-year-old that just wants to be good, so we always fight the anticipation, but this arena really suited him because he usually wants to get strong and I just said go ahead,” Schiller said. “I was very happy with him.”

Archer Wins Sunday’s Open

In the Open Stephen Archer rode Smart Stepin Lena (Wimpys Little Step x Smart Shiney Lena) to a score of 147.5 to win both the Open and Intermediate Open for owner Caolyn Tellepsen. Archer and Tellepsen have a special relationship and enjoy sharing the reining industry together.

“He’s a special horse and a special win for special lady,” Archer said of the day’s success. “He’s a sweet horse and kind and that’s the kind of horses Carolyn deserves.”

After this year of showing under the guidance of Archer Smart Stepin Lena with go to Tellepsen to ride and enjoy. 

Green Reiner Champs Named

Kristi Clark and Jennifer Richards shared the win in the Green Reiner Level 1 with scores of 69.5. Clark rode Living Loving Maid (Starlights Wrangler x Hangten Spanish Lady) while Richards rode Gunna Spook You (Gunnatrashya x Sugarplum Chic).

“It was very calm and quite and I was very calm and quiet for once, so it worked out well,” Clark said with a laugh.

Richard said she was proud of her horse for showing so well, especially after the third run of the week.

“Like Kristi said [about her run] mine was also calm and collected,” Richards said. “It was the best run of the week.”

The Green Reiner Level 2 winner was Dana Pastorino riding Jac Bee Whiz (Conquistador Whiz x Cinch Up Cowboy) to a score of 70. Pastorino and Jac Bee Whiz had a successful week at the NRBC also taking home the championship in Saturday’s Green Reiner as well. She credited her mental prep before her run and her trainers for her success.

“It was pretty smooth,” Pastorino said of her run. “I had good circles and good stops. I just visualized [what I wanted] I closed my eyes and took myself through the pattern before I ran.”

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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NRBC Day 9: Scruggs & Muntean Sweep Novice Horse Non Pro Classes Sunday

Scruggs & Muntean Sweep Novice Horse Non Pro Classes Sunday champions were crowned in ancillary classes in the Tellepsen and Wheless arenas.

Mary Jane Scruggs and Laura Muntean swept the field in the Novice Horse Non Pro Levels 1 and 2, AQHA Amateur and AQHA Select to win the cochampionships in all four with scores of 141.5. Scruggs and Muntean share more than the win, they both rode 6-year-old mares to their co-championships.

Scruggs rode HA Lena Olynna and Muntean rode Guns N Whizes. Scruggs and HA Lena Olynna had a good week at the NRBC picking up another win early in the week in the Limited Non Pro.

“My horse was a little fresh this morning, but she was amazing to be so honest all week I was really proud of her,” Scruggs said.

Muntean and Guns N Whizes were first in the draw during the Novice Horse Non Pro, which made for a long class waiting to see if her score held up, but in the end Muntean was pleased with the end result. This is Muntean’s first year to show with Guns N Whizes and Muntean said the mare is proving her worth in the show pen.

“With my mare we were looking for progress all week long and we continued to do that and I was really proud of her, she showed up all week and it paid off,” Muntean said.

Yellowstone Rookie Shootout Consolation

Pam Hinton won the Yellowstone Rookie Shootout Consolation riding Juicy Little Step. Hinton didn’t qualify back to the Rookie Shootout Finals, but she ended the week with a win in the Consolation round.

“It’s very exciting, I had a ton of fun,” Hinton said. “It was the third run of the week and ‘Juicy’ is just a good little boy. He always does what he’s supposed to and he’s just easy to ride and makes it fun.”

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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NRBC Day 8: Magnum Chic Dream Becomes $5 Million Sire at the NRBC

By the end of Friday night’s NRBC Open Reining evening, Magnum Chic Dream (Smart Chic Olena x Sailin Barbee) became an NRHA $5 Million Sire. The 14- year-old stallion achieved the feat through the efforts of his foals’ performances at the NRBC. Owners, Jack and Viola Scott were on hand to witness the milestone.

“I log on every Friday and write it all down,” Jack said of keeping track of “Magnum’s” earnings and status. “I was pretty sure yesterday afternoon that he’d crossed it, but Cheryl (Cody) told me this morning [that he crossed the mark.]”

“I think Jack’s been [tracking the stats] for a year now,” Viola said with a laugh. “We’re pleased to death for [Magnum crossing the $5 Million mark as a sire.]”

Viola also noted that it was interesting to realize that Magnum crossed three of his million-dollar marks – $1 Million Sire, $3 Million Sire, and now $5 Million Sire – all at NRBC.

NRBC Youth & Ancillary Champs Named

Saturday champions were crowned in Youth, Non Pro, USA Reining, Green Reiner and Novice Horse Open classes.

In the 10 and Under Short Stirrup Becca Schaffhauser rode Dunnitwithasmokingun (Colonels Smoking Gun x Dun It Doll) to the win with a score of 71. In the Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro Jessicah Keller earned the championships with a score of 143.5 riding Snip O Satellite (New Chex Ta Cash x Snippa Gun). “I’ve been schooling her all week trying to get her ready and she showed exactly how she was supposed to; she was honest,” Keller said. “We raised her, [so it makes the win more special]. I’m really glad everything came together today.”

Jennifer Greenleaf won the USA Reining Amateur class with a score of 142.5 riding Great White Nite.

Jared Leclair and Mark Rafacz shared the win in the Novice Horse Open with scores of 72.5.

Leclair was aboard Lil Coded Jac (Jacs Electic Spark x Hot Coded Candy) owned by Susan Meyer.

“We’ve had Lil Coded Jac for about 8 months now. He’s really talented and he really started to trust me at this show,” Leclair said.

Mark Rafacz rode I Can Beat The Boys (Colonels Smoking Gun x Taris Little Whiz) to the co-championship.

“She’s really a nice mare and I’m thankful for the opportunity to show her,” Rafacz said. “She’s been a good girl since the entire time she’s been here.”

Becky Shelton steered Taris Little Steps (Cromed Out Mercedes x Skeets Dot Tari) to the Novice Horse Level 2 championship with a score of 73.

“My run felt really good. I showed him in the Classic on Thursday and we didn’t make the Finals, so this was kind of my pretend finals run,” she said. “I improved on some things and I’m really happy I got the chance to improve on them.”

Shelda Magistri won the Green Reiner Level 1 riding Smart Von Reminic (Von Reminic x Smart Rose) to a score of 70. Magistri said the 16-year-old has been a great partner leading her to her first ever 70 in the show pen in today’s class. She hopes for continued success in the pen.

“I just tried to be consistent,” Magistri said. “I’ve worked really hard on my stops and I was honestly just really happy that I got my stops down today, it’s been a work in progress.”

Dana Pastorino shared the Green Reiner Level 2 co-championship with Malena Lopez with a scores of 70.5.

“We’ve been prepping all week and it all came together today,” Pastorino said. “I’ve had [Jac Bee Whiz] for about three years, which is about how long I’ve been reining.”

Pastorino rode Jac Bee Whiz (Conquistador Whiz x Cinch Up Cowboy) while Lopez rode Heza Pretty Ruf (Lil Ruf Peppy x Sheza Bonita Whiz).

Cade McCutcheon won the USA Reining Open riding Custom Made Gun with a score of 71.5.

“I was just loping him through trying to get him ready,” McCutcheon said. “I’ve shown him since he was 4 and he’s been really good to me.”

Mathieu Buton won the Equo CRI 3 on Gunna Sassya (Colonels Smoking Gun x Shining N Sassy) with a score of 74.5. Buton entered the CRI class at NRBC in preparation for the WEG test event to be held in two weeks.

“This is my first CRI this year and I have one more tomorrow,” Buton said. “I wanted to do WEG really bad last year, but I couldn’t find the right horse. I kept searching and I wasn’t about to give up.”

Buton ended up with the 2010 stallion and he has big hopes for their success at the World Equestrian Games.

Madison Rafacz won the Youth 13 & Under and the Youth 13 & Under Challenge riding Better Not Rest (Custom Crome x Rest Stop) and she said she takes special care of the 18-year-old gelding. Rafacz scored a 141 to win the class.

“I wasn’t trying to go too fast, because the score wasn’t too high, so I was taking it easy on him,” Rafacz said of her run.

Emilia Reutimann won the Youth 14-18 Challenge, shared the championship in the USA Reining Youth 14-18 with Caleb Sturgeon, shared the win in the Youth 14-18 with Sturgeon and Chalyce Head and shared the win in the Unrestricted Youth with Sturgeon. Reutimann rode Black Hails Gold (Shine Like Hail x Dun Its Black Gold) to a score of 144.5 for the co-championships.

“I showed him yesterday in the CRI and he was really good there for me too, but I missed a mark so that kind of messed me up,” Reutimann said. “Today he was really good.”

In the Youth 14-18 Caleb Sturgeon riding Hollywoodsmokee (Hollywoodstinseltown x Gun Smoke) also shared the co-championship with a score of 144.5. He also shared the co-championship in the USA Reining 14-18 with Reutimann and shared the Unrestricted Youth title with Reutimann.

“I felt really good going in,” Sturgeon said. “This is my third time to show him and ever since the first time showing him I felt an immediate connection with him.”

In the USA Reining 13 & Under Ava Bush won the title riding Shes A Shining Gun (Hes A Loaded Gun x Shining Suzanna) with a score of 138.

“I started off just school showing for the Futurity and she did tried really hard,” Bush said.

Chaylce Head and Chic Is A Steppin (Wimpys Little Step x Sanger Chic) turned in a score of 144.5 to share the co-championship in the Youth 14-18 with Reutimann and Sturgeon.

“It felt really good. She went in there and she did her job and I did mine,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Emma Lane won the AQHA Youth riding Gunner Gump (Colonels Smokin Gun x Little Patrasha Gump). She also took home the Curtis Berlin Memorial Award for the highest youth score of the week – a 146.

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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NRBC Day 7: Latimer Wins Open Classic on Modern Gun

The highlight of the NRBC each year is always the Open Classic Finals and this year’s edition was one for the history books as Duane Latimer rode Modern Gun (Gunners Special Nite x Taris Modern Design) to a score of 228 to top the Level 4 and be crowned the NRBC Open Classic champion. The win was Latimer’s first Open Classic title since 2000 when he won the title on Conquistador Whiz. This year he also topped the Prime Time to become the first Level 4 winner to also win the Prime Time.

“It’s been a little while,” Latimer said with a laugh adding that the 5-year-old stallion performed outstandingly. “He was dialed in really, really good today. I was really happy.”

As is custom in the sport camaraderie and the love of the horse shines through above all else and the crowd’s response to Latimer’s run was a prime example of the excitement and appreciation of reining that abounds at NRBC.

“[The crowd was really behind me] – it was awesome!” Latimer said.

Latimer has had Modern Gun since he was a 2-year-old and knows his style well. He said Modern Gun had been showing and schooling well all week, which set him up to push his horse to his full potential.

“My strategy is pretty much always the same – you go in thinking you can do it,” he said. “I didn’t warm him up much or do too much outside, just loped him around and worked on some steering and then went down there stopped and did our deal. I thought I had him up to it, but you never know.”

Duane collected $75,000 for owner MS Stables along with one year’s use of a Deluxe four-horse Trailer from Twin Cities South Trailer Sales, a custom saddle sponsored by Bob’s Saddles, a Gist Silversmiths championship buckle, Anderson Bean boots, Santa Cruz products and an array of other awards and NRBC trophies.

Andrea Fappani and Pedro Baiao each marked a 225.5 to share the reserve cochampionship in the Level 4. Fappani rode Epic Titan (Colonels Smoking Gun x Princess In Diamonds) owned by Clinton Anderson. Baiao rode Michael Garnett’s Spooksgottachicolena (Spooks Gotta Gun x Braz Us). They each received $41,000 for the reserve co-championship.

Baiao Wins Open Classic Level 3

Pedro Baiao earned the Level 3 championship riding Spooksgottachicolena (Spooks Gotta Gun x Braz Us) to win $20,582. Baiao said he got a few words of special instruction from his boss, Martin Muehlstaetter.

“Martin said to me, ‘Pedro, just see how fast he can go,'” Baiao said with a laugh. ” Baiao didn’t disappoint his employer when he and Spooksgottachicolena marked a 225.5 to ultimately win the Level 3 and tie for reserve honors in the Level 4. “He was really good riding out here the whole week and that was my plan,” he said. “I didn’t know it was going to mark that, but my goal was to test his speed.”

The score was Baiao’s highest score of his career, making the NRBC championship an extra special moment.

“I knew after my second circle I was doing good,” he said with a laugh. “I could hear the crowd yelling and stuff. He hit the first stop so good and I knew some good score would come – not 225.5, but a good score. When I heard the 25 I was so excited. It was the best run of my life.”

Nicolazzi Wins Open Classic Level 2

Ricky Nicolazzi guided Spooks Show Time (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Dolittle Lena) to a score of 219 to win the Level 2 and earn $8,128. Nicolazzi has had the 5- year-old gelding, owned by Rancho Oso Rio, since September 2017 and the duo has been progressing well together sharing a highlight win at NRBC.

“I’m very happy about this horse and the winnings, especially for Rancho Oso Rio,” Nicolazzi said. “They always give me good horses to ride, so I’m really happy about it.”

Nicolazzi admits the Texas humidity took a toll on his mount, which resulted in him riding a little more conservatively than he would have liked.

“[My run] felt really good. He was a little tired at the end I couldn’t push him the way I wanted, but he’s not used to the humidity,” he said. “I don’t warm him up a lot, but I could feel I didn’t have as much horse as normal, but he did really good and showed hard.”

Maddox, Dawson and Borges Share Open Classic Level 1 Championship

There was a three-way tie in the Open Classic Level 1 between Benny Maddox, Chris Dawson and Gabriel Borges with scores of 218 to each earn $2,103.

Maddox rode Thebettertohearuwith (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Chex Out The Cowgirl) owned by Bill Coburn.

“It’s been a privilege to ride behind Andrea (Fappani) and get to show [Thebettertohearuwith] his 6-year-old year,” Maddox said.

The win at NRBC is Maddox’ first major championship which makes the NRBC a special memory for him. “My goal was just to have a cleaner run,” Maddox said. “We still had an over-turn, but other than it was really good,” I’m super excited it’s my first major win and my first major finals, so it’s super exciting.”

Dawson rode Shiney Outlaw (Shiners Nickle x Mereyda) owned by Michelle Cannon. Dawson and the 6-year-old stallion have had a big week in Katy, Texas, taking home checks from their first entry and they haven’t slowed down. The duo improved on their Open Classic Prelims performances to share the cochampionship title.

“We had a few bobbles in the go rounds, but he felt outstanding tonight and showed his little heart out,” Dawson said.

Dawson splits his time between the reining pen and the cow horse arena and says he was pleasantly surprised with the week spent at NRBC.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve been back [in reining competition] and I don’t know that this is the show I would have picked, I mean this is the toughest dadgum reining there is so to come out here and hang with these guys it’s an honor and a privilege,” he said.

Borges rode Checksworthy (Big Chex To Cash x Banjoes Shining Star) owned by Terry Leffew. Borges hasn’t had the 4-year-old mare long, having taken over the reins only in January, but the short time hasn’t hindered their performances together.

“Our second show together was here at the NRBC,” Borges said. “She’s pretty solid in her runs and she’s really nice.”

The NRBC was Borges’ first time to compete in the Level 4 finals, which was both a milestone and a learning experience.

“I feel I can get a little more out of her. It’s my first Level 4 finals so I got a little nervous in the turns, so I didn’t nail the marks but she can mark better than that,” he said with a laugh.

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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NRBC Day 6: Vazquez Tops Non Pro Classic

The National Reining Breeders Classic has seen top-shelf competition throughout the week. Reiners from across the country have traveled the miles, put in the hard work and showed up in Katy, Texas, in top form to battle it out for championship prizes and bragging rights.

Friday Jose Vazquez rode Like Shiner (Smart Like Juice x Wind Her Up Shiner) to a score of 223.5 to top the Level 4 and be crowned the NRBC Classic champion and $30,000. Along with his Level 4 win Vazquez also took home the Prime Time championship. This is Vazquez’ first NRBC Non Pro championship since 2009, which makes today’s win special.

“To come here and win is really difficult, the top horses come here, the top riders come here, but I have to sneak in somewhere sometime,” Vazquez said with a laugh.

Prior to entering the pen Jose knew Jack Medows and Chicsdreamofdiamonds were leading the Level 4 with a 222. Vazquez said he used that as motivation to lay it all on the line.

“There’s pressure every time you go in, because if there’s not a 222 [before you] there will be a 222 behind you,” he said, “so the pressure is that it’s not over until it’s over. When I come to a show my hope is to make the finals, but when I make the finals then it changes and I want to step up a little bit and hopefully it will be my day.”

Along with the cash Vazquez received one year’s use of a deluxe two-horse Horse Trailer from Gary and Tammy Raak of Twin Cities Trailer Sales, a custom championship saddle sponsored by Kyle Tack, a Gist Silversmiths championship buckle sponsored by NRBC, a crystal trophy from NRBC, an NRHA bronze trophy, Anderson Bean boots, Whisper Bit from M3 Products, Ultra Cruz Equine Wellness and Joint Care plus other NRBC sponsored products like a custom embroidered cooler, a commemorative champion medal, and champion ribbon collar and roses.

Blake Takes Levels 1 and 3 Non Pro Classic Championship

Mark Blake rode Hot Hollywood Whizky to a score of 218 to win the Non Pro Level 3, Level 1, and the reserve championship in the Prime Time. Along with the $8,400 Blake picked up for winning the Level 3, his Level 1 finish garnered him another $1,553 while his Prime Time finish earned him $1,008.

“It truly was awesome,” Blake said of his run. “I could tell he was ready to roll from the get-go. He was listening and he was with me,” Blake said. “Everything just started to click, the whole pattern just got stronger, so it felt great.”

Hot Hollywood Whizky is by Topsail Whiz out of Hot Hollywood Jewels and has been performing well for Blake in several shows they’ve entered together, which Blake admits allowed his nerves to come into play during the Prelims.

“I was nervous going in, because I felt a lot of pressure from the last two shows that I’ve shown him. We’ve won everything that we entered, so I felt a lot of pressure and it probably showed in the Prelims,” Blake said. “Today that wasn’t there, it just felt great.”

Blake received a custom saddle sponsored NRBC, a Gist Silversmiths championship buckle sponsored by NRBC, an NRHA bronze trophy, Whisper Bit from M3 Products, Ultra Cruz Equine Wellness and Joint Care from San Juan Ranch and Santa Cruz Biotechnology. Plus, other NRBC sponsored products such as a crystal trophy, a commemorative champion medal, a custom embroidered cooler and champion ribbon collar and roses.

Reserve champion in the Level 3 was David McGee riding Knaughtybyknature (Magnum Chic Dream x Princess In Diamonds) with a score of 216. McGee received a Gist Silversmiths reserve champion buckle sponsored by NRBC, a custom embroidered cooler and commemorative reserve champion medal from NRBC, as well as Ultra Cruz Equine Vitamin E Plus from San Juan Ranch and Santa Cruz Biotechnology.

Opell Wins Non Pro Classic Level 2

Emily Opell rode Spook N Reyn (Smart Spook x Reyn Chex) to a score of 216.5 to win the Level 2 as well as the reserve championship in the Level 1. Opell had a busy day picking up wins in the youth classes aboard other horses as well, but the Non Pro victory was her favorite, because it’s her first time to enter the Classic.

“He’s a really, really talented horse,” Opell said of her 6-year-old mount. “I’m so blessed to have a horse and come out here and do this and the run [felt awesome]. He ran in and stopped and I thought, ‘Man, this is going to be a good run.'”

Opell pocketed $4,000 for the first place win, plus $945 for the second place Level 1 finish. She also received a custom saddle sponsored by Scottsdale Western World, a Gist Silversmiths championship buckle sponsored by NRBC, Whisper Bit from M3 Products, Ultra Cruz Equine Wellness and Joint Care. Plus, other NRBC sponsored products such as a crystal trophy, a commemorative champion medal, a custom embroidered cooler and champion ribbon collar and roses.

Kathy Thompson rode Bailleys Sidekick (Gunners Special Nite x A Shining Sidekick) to the reserve championship in the Level 2 with a score of 215.5. Thompson received a Gist Silversmiths reserve champion buckle sponsored by NRBC, a custom embroidered cooler and commemorative reserve champion medal from NRBC, as well as Ultra Cruz Equine Vitamin E Plus from San Juan Ranch and Santa Cruz Biotechnology.

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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NRBC Day 5: Neudorf Wins Yellowstone Rookie Shootout

A highlight of Friday evening’s performances inside the Great Southwest Equestrian Center Coliseum was the Yellowstone Rookie Shootout Finals featuring the top five rookies from two rounds of competition. The Yellowstone Rookie Shootout finalists were Jennifer Neudorf, Madison Rafacz, Nancy Brugato, Ava Bush and Todd Neiberger.

Jennifer Neudorf’s 10-year-old gelding Blue Collar Tag (Whiz N Tag Chex x Kachina Oak Olena) has been performing well for Neudorf all week picking up paychecks in the rookie classes to qualify her for the shootout. The pair showed big in the Coliseum to turn in a crowd-pleasing performance and earn a score of 72.5 to top the class and win the Yellowstone Rookie Shootout.

“It was my first time [showing in the Coliseum] and it felt really good. I had a lot of fun,” Neudorf said. “I pushed him more in my circles and I just put my hand down and said ‘whoa’ in his stops and it felt really cool to win [the Shootou] and I’m really happy.”

Rafacz became the reserve champion riding Whizenboonsmal to a score of 72, followed by Bush with a 71 on Shes A Shinging Gun. Neiberger finished fourth from a score of 70.5 on Who Dat Hot Chich, and Brugato finished fifth riding Mister Black Magic.

Taylor Sheridan, writer, director and producer of Paramount Network’s new series “Yellowstone” – the namesake of the new rookie challenge – and Cole Hauser, one the show’s stars were on hand to present awards to the rookies, including the custom golf cart awarded to Neudorf.

Bertolani Dominates Open Reining Night On Wimpys Littlecolonel

Franco Bertolani took home big wins in Friday night’s NRBC Open Reining Night presented by Kimmel Reining Horses. Bertolani was first in the draw and scored a whopping 226 which held up through thirty riders and won the National Reining Horse Association $25,000-added Open, the NRBC Open Classic Challenge and the CRI 3.

Bertolani rode Wimpys Littlecolonel (Wimpys Little Step x One right Chic) owned by George Lawrence.

“I have a couple of horses that I listed before I started to try to be apart of the Brazilian team and Wimpys Littlecolonel was on my list and I talked to the owners and they were pretty excited,” Bertolani said. “I will decide after NRBC which one I will choose for WEG.

“This is a very big pen, so the judge has a lot of time to look at you, because the pen is so huge, so it’s very important that you stay out of the penalty box,” he continued. “If you want to mark you need to run. If you go slow, or if you go medium speed it looks too slow, because it’s so big. So, I tried to show hard and stay out of the penalty box. He’s a good horse; he has a big heart.”

Although the big check was a welcomed reward Bertolani said being able to represent Brazil is always a noble and humbling moment.

“It’s always nice, I like the international competition. It’s like you are giving back to your country,” Bertolani said. “The reining isn’t as big in Brazil as it is here in the US, but they follow along and watch on the internet and cheer, so I think the way I represent my country is the way I give back to them also.”

Larson Wins USA Reining

Jordan Larson rode ARC Gunnabeabigstar (Gunnatrashya x Wimpys Little Chic) an 7-year-old stallion owned by HDC Quarter Horses to a score of 225.5 to take the USA Reining championship, reserve in the Open Challenge, reserve in the NRHA Open, and tied for second in the CRI 3 with Casey Deary.

“He was good, it was kind of like a dress rehearsal for the WEG trials. He turned awesome,” Larson. “I have some things I want to work on – I didn’t show him full speed, but I was really happy with him. This will be the last thing I do with this horse. He’s been really special to me and my family, so I’ll just go try to do as good as we can and represent the US.”

Casey Deary rode Heavy Duty Chex (Nu Chex To Cash x Rhondas Tio) to a score of 75 for the silver medal in the CRI 3. 

Larcombe Tops Limited Non Pro

The competition continued with the ancillary classes, plus the start of the youth classes. McKinnon Larcombe rode Taris Dreamer (Magnum Chic Dream x Taris San Cutter) to a score of 145 to top the Limited Non Pro.

“I’ve only had him for four months now, so I’m just getting to know him,” Larcombe said. “This is the biggest show we’ve been to so far and I haven’t really ran him super hard yet, so I went out there with a plan to push it a little more and I told myself to trust him and it paid off.”

In second place was Tina Ellis riding Whatacromedmercedes (Cromed Out Mercedes x What A Sunrise) to a score of 142.5.

Youth Champions Named

The Youth classes saw a lot of action with Faith Horner riding Bit Of Magnum (Magnum Chic Dream x Bitsy Bye Remedy) to the Youth 13 & Under win with a score of 137.5.

“It was really fun, he ran really fast and he did all of his maneuvers very well,” Horner said. “He’s a two-time world champion, so I love him a lot.”

Emma Lane won the Youth 14-18 with a score of 146 riding Gunner Gump, who’s by Colonels Smoking Gun out of Little Patrasha Gump. Lane also won the USA Reining Youth 14-18.

Emily Opell topped the Unrestricted Youth riding HA Tears Of The Sun (Lena Spark x HA Chic A Tune) with a score of 144.5.

Becca Schaffhauser rode Dunitwithasmokingun (Colonels Smoking Gun x Dun It Doll) to a score of 70.5 to win the 10 and Under Short Stirrup.

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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