NRHA 2001 Youth Team Tournament Winners Announced

National Reining Horse Association Youth Team Tournament competitions were held in 2001 in conjunction with the organization's four regional Affiliate Finals.National Reining Horse Association Youth Team Tournament competitions were held in 2001 in conjunction with the organization's four regional Affiliate Finals.

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National Reining Horse Association Youth Team Tournament competitions were held in 2001 in conjunction with the organization’s four regional Affiliate Finals.

The Youth Team Tournament program, which awards scholarships to the top teams, allows state, regional or national groups to send teams to the tournament. Scholarship awards for 2001 totaled $3,600 per tournament, with $14,400 awarded for the year.

According to NRHA Youth Coordinator, Alexandra Drenning, the program was a big success in 2001. "This year, there were record amounts of teams entered in the competitions," she stated. "More than 100 youth participated throughout the United States. The affiliates gave out more prizes than ever and the crowds seemed larger, as well.

Drenning cited the sportsmanship she saw displayed at the events. "It was exciting to see youth as concerned about their teammates scores as they were with their own."

The Eastern Finals were held in Lexington, Virginia September 6-9 and a talented team by the name of Tres Locos earned the first championship of 2001. Kyle Johnson of Portland, Connecticut on Boomer Fritz, Jessicah Keller of Fayetteville, Tennessee on Pica Go and Lyndsey Jordan of Georgetown, Kentucky riding High Enterprise made up this winning trio.

Garnering second place honors were the Taylor Maids, a team composed of Brittany Franks of Franklin, Tennessee on Brink Cody, Valerie Ball from Charleston, West Virginia on Bonitas Corona Kid and Madeline Williams of Valley View, Texas on Lucky And Flashy. Finishing third were Judy Gregoire of Enfield, Connecticut on Wolverton Jessie, Eleana Lattanzio of Glastonbury, Connecticut on No Credit Chex and Jenna Blumer of Moscow, Pennsylvania on Smart Tip Olena.

At the Mountain Finals, held September 13-15 at South Jordan, Utah, top honors and $1800 in scholarship dollars went to The Sassy Riders, a team composed of Brittany Mitchell of Sandy, Utah, on Smooth Colt 045, Jake Hemingway from Riverton, Utah on Dangerous Dan, and Mardee Jones of Oakley, Utah on Sonofa Boot Jac.

Shawna McClurg of Absarokee, Montana on Colonel In Command, Cory Montgomery of Syracuse, Utah on Badgers Double Doc and Amanda Sayer of Idaho Falls, Idaho on Kings Command Chex made up the Young Rider team that claimed reserve honors.

Third place at the Mountain finals went to a team of Colorado riders – The Three Reinateers – Kelli Buckley of Berthoud on Slick, Christine Hartlaub of Littleton on Chics Missle and Sarah Jones of Watkins on Rey Jays Doc Chex.

Columbia, Missouri was the site for the Central Finals, held September 28-30 and the mid-country championship went to Hales Gals, a Minnesota team composed of Tanna Ruzicka, of Plymouth on Double R Shot, Nicole Dryden of Anoka on Kalis Holli By Golly and Angela Gebhart of Maple Grove on Canvas Cowboy.

Tres Banditos – Lyndsey Jordan of Georgetown, Kentucky on High Enterprise, Sarah Locker of Fayetteville, Tennessee on Rufus Rose and Jessicah Keller, also of Fayetteville, on Its Time to Smoke – were the Reserve Champions. There was a tie for third place between the No Name Team and the USA Sliders.

The No Name Team was made up of Jacob Ballard from Columbia, Illinois on Pepsi, Stacy Craighead of Fulton, Missouri on HGS Amazing Grace and Jessicah Keller of Fayetteville, Tennessee on Pica Go. The USA Sliders were Nebraska Reiners Serena Welsh of Madison on RTR Captivator, Ashley LaBenz of Pilger on Extremely Nimble and Lance Schmidt of Monroe on Docs Double R Chex.

The 2001 Affiliate Finals series wrapped up on October 11-14 with the Western Finals in Burbank, California and a home-state team – One Class Act – earned the championship. Kristi Harako of Yorba Linda on Classical Dunit, Kayle Bernal of Huntington Beach on Bow Tie Cody and Robert Johnston of Simi Valley on Paul Ivan Olena are One Class Act.

Second place went to another California team – The Rock Stars – Keri Blackledge of Costa Mesa on Sundance Dun It, Madelyn Mooney of Riverside on Olenas Star Jazz and Jessica DeTour of San Dimas on Miss N Money. Rounding out the top three were the No Name Team of Megan Nelson from Gilroy, California on Dun Rapt It Up, Rachel Nichols of Belgrade, Montana on Lookin To Boom and Keri Blackledge of Costa Mesa, California on Smart Blonde Chic.

The National Reining Horse Association is the governing body of the sport of reining, responsible for promoting the sport, working to insure the highest standards of competition and educating its members and the public about reining. For information on the NRHA’s Youth Programs, contact Alex Drenning at 405-946-7400 or email at