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.
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