Monday, July 3, 2017 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The second and final day of competition at the 2017 Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals marked the conclusion of a year-long season of team competition. Nearly 200 Western riders from across the nation spent the past two days vying for individual and national titles at the IEA Western Finals held during the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby on July 1-2. Saturday’s activities included individual competition in both Reining and Horsemanship with Sunday’s Team competition heating up the arena with the same classes, but with teams collecting points along with ribbons.
As with the individual competition day, horses schooled in the morning and the day started off with Team reining competition. Riders from across the United States filled Arena 6 at the Oklahoma City State Fairgrounds where both riders and parents alike set up banners, wore costumes, cheered loudly and created a complete atmosphere of comradery, sportsmanship and friendly competition. IEA Team Competition day is unlike most other equestrian competitions in that riders depend upon their teammates to score points during their classes to determine how their team places at Nationals.
Again, the day’s activities were live streamed courtesy of the NRHA and Equine Promotion. Waltenberry Photography captured action shots of riders in the ring. AQHA/NRHA Judges Chele McGauly of Elm Grove, Louisiana and Gretchen Mathes of Harwinton, Connecticut had their task cut out for them as competition was stiff with so many outstanding riders. Other show officials included Stewards, Megan Taylor (IHSA Board Member) and Bryan Bradley (IHSA Coach). Horse Coordinator, Ashley Bond Wilson expertly organized the vast amount of horses provided for IEA Nationals along with Barn Manager, Simon Towns (IEA Zone Captain) and In-Gate Manager, Amanda Garner (IEA Secretary). The 2017 National Finals Show Committee included IEA Executive Director, Roxane Durant, NRHA Show Manager, Todd Knerr, and NRHA Marketing Director, Hayley Eberle who expertly kept things organized and running smoothly. Long-time IEA Announcer, John Bahret utilized his quick wit in keeping the show light-hearted and the audience informed and entertained.
At the completion of classes, the IEA held a Parade of Teams, whereby every team marched with banner in hand (and sometimes in costume) around the arena as their name was announced. Durant and IEA Chief Operating Officer, Myron Leff spoke about the current state of IEA, announced where the Western Nationals will be held in 2018 (Oklahoma City) and encouraged riders to play quick “get-to-know-you” games in the center ring. NRHA Commissioner, Gary Carpenter also spoke during the Parade of Teams festivities. The day concluded with the presentation of numerous awards to both teams and individuals.
The following awards were given during the 2017 National Finals Competition. A full list of class results is attached.
Champion Western Rider
Olivia Willeke from KM Equestrian (Zone 5 – Findlay, OH)
Champion Crossover Rider
Meghan Moran from Hillside Meadows (Zone 1 – Graton, MA)
NRHA Outstanding Western Horse
Juicy provided by Jim Dudley Quarter Horses
NRHA Sportsmanship Award
Madison Vance from Diamond V Ranch Equestrians (Zone 7 – Pawnee, OK)
NRHA Coaches Sportsmanship Award
Karen Kapp-Vance from Diamond V Ranch Equestrians (Zone 7 – Pawnee, OK)
Team Spirit Award
Desert Heat Equestrian (Zone 8 – Cave Creek, AZ)
Horseman’s Knowledge Test presented by USPC, Inc.
Kate Baugh from Rocky Mountain Wranglers (Zone 8 – Berthoud, CO)
Upper School Team Championship
- Champion: King Show Horses (Zone 4 – Snellville, GA)
- Reserve Champion: KM Equestrian (Zone 5 – Findlay, OH)
- 3rd: Arizona Reining Equestrian Team (Zone 8 – Scottsdale, AZ)
- 4th: Hillside Meadows (Zone 1 – Grafton, MA)
- 5th (Tie): ABC Dream Team (Zone 2 – Otego, NY)
Saddlebrook Equestrian Team (Zone 2 – Schwenksville, NY)
- 7th: Denver Equestrians (Zone 8 – Littleton, CO)
- 8th: IIIR Stars (Zone 4 – Portal, GA)
Middle School Team Championship
- Champion: The Grier School (Zone 2 – Tyrone, PA)
- Reserve Champion: Autumn Rose Farm Equestrian Team (Zone 5 – Plain City, OH)
- 3rd: King Show Horses (Zone 4 – Snellville, GA)
- 4th: Halvorson Ranch (Zone 7 – Guthrie, OK)
- 5th: Grove City Area Equestrian Team (Zone 2 – Volant, PA)
- 6th: Desert Heat (Zone 8 – Cave Creek, AZ)
- 7th: Dare Equestrian (Zone 5 – Hilliard, OH)
- 8th: Arizona Reining Equestrian Team (Zone 8 – Scottsdale, AZ)
High resolution photos available upon request.