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.
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