My First Trip to the NRCHA World Championship Show - Results
A few weeks ago, I shared my redemption story of how I went from dead last at the 2017 AQHA World Show to earning over $22,000 in my first full year showing in the NRCHA.
When I finished up that story, we were heading to the NRCHA Celebration of Champions in Fort Worth, Texas.
Today, I want to let you know how it went. Stay tuned for my next post because I also want to share my four best tips for horse showing success that anyone can apply, no matter what level of horse showing or competing you're at.
From February 19-22, 2019, I showed in Fort Worth, Texas at the John Justin Arena in the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Being in that place was an experience in itself. Holy cow!
I qualified for the Celebration of Champions in the Non Pro Bridle, the Intermediate Non Pro Bridle and the Novice Non Pro Bridle. My first run was the preliminaries for Intermediate Non Pro Bridle. We marked a 145 in the reining at 145 on the cow to win the preliminaries and qualify for our first Finals!
We were right up there in the Novice Non Pro Bridle prelims with a 283 to qualify for our second finals.
Then, we were a 288 to finish third in the Non Pro Bridle prelims.
Yes, we had great prelims in all three divisions. Everything went just like we planned. We qualified for three finals in my very first time showing at the World Championship Show for the NRCHA. What an amazing experience! It blows my mind!
How did we end up in the finals? We finished 7th in the Intermediate Non Pro, 6th in the Novice and 7th in the Non Pro BridIe in the world. I am totally holding my head up high about that.
I'll share my insights with you. Believe me, I'm blown away. I'm so happy for our success. But the thing that got me here is being able to take a run and pick it apart and go, “Okay, where're our strengths? Where're our weaknesses? Where can we keep going?”
For all three finals, we ran NRCHA Pattern #4. I now call it the Eliminator Pattern. It is a run-in pattern, not where you just get to run past center. You have to run all the way down to the end and then start your spins. You have three run-downs right off the bat. After your last run-down, you back up to center and then do a quarter of a turn, pick up your lead into a small slow circle, transition to a big fast circle then change leads. I do not believe that there is a higher degree of difficulty for a pattern than that one. I don't know, maybe that's just me, beating my own mental game, but it was a challenging pattern. Anyway, I had a few penalties during our first finals, so we had to get some together. But totally fine. We marked a 214.5 in the reining of our last finals, which I was happy with.
All three of my finals cow work runs were not what I wanted. They were probably the most problematic of any cow works that I had all year. That's not what you want to have happen at the finals! But to ask a horse, in four days of showing, to make six runs, three of them be at the highest level of competition that you're going to get all year long, I could not ask for any more of my horse. He stayed sound, and he stayed focused. He did get a little strong on a cow. Most of it was me, just pulling on him too hard, and you're never going to win that battle.
When the dust settled, we walked out of there, 7th in the World in the Intermediate Non Pro Bridle, 6th in the Novice Non Pro Bridle and 7ths in the world in the Non Pro Bridle. We won three top 10 finalist jackets, over $3,300 in prize money, which nicely paid for my entry fees and that's all I can ask for!
We also went to the NRCHA National Awards Banquet where they announced the national champions. It still blows my mind. We ended up Reserved National Champion in the Novice Non Pro Bridle. We went into the World Finals in the top spot in the national standings. But during the finals, the second place guy came in and beat me in the finals. He edged me out for the National Championship. Congratulations to Stephen Klein, nice horse, good competitor, great job. So, Hook and I took home reserve. We got a plaque, a buckle, and another jacket.
We ended up finishing fourth in the Nation in the Intermediate Non Pro Bridle. We got a cool leather shaving kit and another jacket.
For the Non Pro Bridle, we finished third. They gave me another jacket and a beautiful show pad with tooled leather in the corner that says third-place a Non Pro Bridle for the nation.
I love prizes! The prizes are fun! Special thanks to the sponsors: CR RanchWear, Classic Equine, SDP Buffalo Ranch, Dechra/Osphos and the crew and staff for all your hard work to make these events possible!
The last thing we won was a total surprise. When we went to check out of the show office and pay our bill, the horse show secretary sees my name, my horse's name and she's like, “TI Smokum Plain Chic?” I said, “Yep that's us!” She says, “You won the AQHA Ranching Heritage Bred highest placing horse award for 2018.” When Hook was a foal, the breeders nominated him for the AQHA Ranching Heritage breeding program.
It's ironic to me because ranching is my heritage. Hook is bred to be a ranch horse, and we use him on the ranch. I’m the one who decided to polish up the ranch horse and show him! Winning the award is a tremendous honor and means so much to my family and me. It’s the icing on the cake to an incredible year. I’m so very grateful for the experience.
That’s how it turned out. We are back home, and I'm giving Hook a couple of weeks off. We've got his 2019 show season pretty well mapped out. We’ve got some surprises in store, so you have to stay tuned!
I've also got a three-year-old to show at the futurities, and I’m in the works of getting another horse to show in the derbies. I’m very excited!
That's what I have for you today. Thank you so much for reading this! I want to say good luck, and if I'm anywhere where we can meet in person, please come say hi. I'd love to hug you. Thank you for following me on my journey and look forward to the 2019 season.