Oklahoma City, OK – Michael Pope’s 7-year-old horse, Whizota, “tried his heart out” and that determination edged the pair over their competitors into first place. Pope, Elizabeth Cosper and Olivia Hartman were crowned USEF National Youth Reining champions of three separate age groups at Saturday’s 2011 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby.
The Youth qualified for the USEF Championships by earning points in Qualifying Classes throughout the country in 2010-2011.
Pope, a 21-year-old from Theodore, AL, won the 19-21 age division on a score of 141 over Pilot Point, TX-rider Breanne Bertrand, who took the reserve spot on Stoned Chick on 140. Pope also claimed the third-place position, riding Whizn Freckle on a score of 139.5.
“The show is always fun and people were great,” Pope said. “I am very proud of my horse he did great. It was a long trip to get here but it paid off big. Tim McQuay did a great job training this horse and I really enjoy showing him.”
Pope’s victory is just the latest in a long string of accomplishments that include: showing at all three NRHA Non Pro levels and leading the nation in USEF Youth 19-21 division and Adult Amateur division; 2009 Mississippi Reining Horse Association Year-End Champion Youth 14-18; 2008 Mississippi Reining Horse Association Year-End Reserve Champion Youth 14-18; 2005-2007 Mississippi Reining Horse Association Year-End Champion Youth 14-18; 2009 Year-End Champion Novice Horse Non Pro Level 2; and 2009 Year-End Reserve Champion Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1.