Brooke Judkiewicz and Lil Techno Gun claimed the 2019 NRHA Youth 13 & Under World Championship.
By Megan Arszman
The 2019 show season taught Brooke Judkiewicz a lesson in persistence. The 14-year-old rider struggled with her mare, Lil Techno Gun (Lil Gun x Peppys Pretty Pet), for the first few months. But the two gelled halfway through the year and finished the season on top, earning the 2019 NRHA Youth 13 & Under World Championship.
At first, Judkiewicz wasn’t sure the year would be successful, but thanks to her trainer, NRHA Professional Kelly Hedges, Judkiewicz and “Chloe” became a solid team.
“We had a rough start to the year,” explained the high school freshman. “We sent [Lil Techno Gun] to Texas for the winter, and I didn’t get to ride her much while she was gone.”
After the mare returned to New York from NRHA Professionals’ Monty and Ann Salmon Anderman’s place in Texas, it took a few months for Judkiewicz to relearn all her mare’s buttons.
“She had really improved, but it was like getting to know her all over again,” Judkiewicz revealed. “That was tough.”
Once the pair synced up again, everything started falling into place. The Judkiewicz family went to more shows over the summer, at one point hitting the road seven weekends in a row. They decided to aim for the title mid-summer.
“I was really excited, but also nervous,” Judkiewicz shared. “I knew I didn’t want to give up, but I knew it was going to be tough on me and my horse.”
Still, she persisted. As fall approached, Judkiewicz’s mother communicated with the school that her daughter would be missing some school days, and Judkiewicz kept up with her classwork while on the road.
“I did my schoolwork on the way to and from the shows so I could spend my time at the shows with my friends and riding,” Judkiewicz said.
When she’s not in the saddle, Judkiewicz plays center on her hockey team. She aspires to one day play professionally for the Buffalo Beauts, a local women’s professional hockey team.
“I’ve played hockey for eight years, about the same time as I’ve ridden reiners,” Judkiewicz revealed. “In both sports, you have to be persistent—especially with Chloe, because she can be a little lazy. Mentally, you have to think you’re going to win and then be your best in both sports.”
That tenacity led the young rider to not only claim the 13 & Under World Championship, but also a 13 & Under win at the Northeast Affiliate Regional Championship, giving her a chance to compete at the 2019 Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships (NAAC) in Oklahoma City.
“I’m happy that I got the opportunity to show [at the Adequan® NAAC],” she shared. “It was the biggest show that I’ve shown at so far.”
This year, Judkiewicz, who’ll be competing in the youth 14–18 division, and her family plan to breed Chloe to Ruf Lil Magnum. Another world champion campaign isn’t out of the question for the pair in the future.
“I want to thank my family for their support and telling me to never give up,” she expressed. “Also, thank you to the Andermans and to Kelly Hedges for helping me work with Chloe, and to Laurie Shaw and Ed Truman for selling her to me.”