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    Reiners on a roll

    Top horses, riders are tested at competitive High Roller Reining

    From Alden Corrigan and staff reports - October 3rd, 2013 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

    Lauren Crivelli of Visalia and her Reba's Best Step finished tied atop the High Point Rookie chart at the 2013 High Roller Reining in Las Vegas Sept. 8-14.

    Lauren Crivelli of Visalia and her Reba’s Best Step finished tied atop the High Point Rookie chart at the 2013 High Roller Reining in Las Vegas Sept. 8-14.

    Waltenberry photo

    LAS VEGAS — Bigger than ever, the 2013 High Roller Reining Classic came to South Point and challenged top reiners and their horses Sept. 7-14, then sent many of them home with more than $300,000 in cash and prizes awarded.

    Franco Bertolani of Aubrey, Texas, was a high-profile High Roller, taking the 5-year-old CFR Centenario Wimpy (Wimpys Little Step x Miss Hollywood Whiz) to a show-leading 226.5 that earned $24,192, topping the Level 4 and Level 3 Open Derby Divisions out of a whopping 126 horses. Bertolani had first showed the horse, owned by Domenico Lomuto, at last March’s Cactus Reining Classic after getting him in February. They later marked a 226 to win the NRHA Level 3 Open Derby — his last stop before the High Roller event.

    “It’s a great show,” said Bertolani, who came to the U.S. just seven months ago by way of Brazil and Italy. “The Derby was very tough, and I was lucky to be draw 122. I knew when I went in I had to run hard because Andrea (Fappani) had a 226 and Thiago (Boechat) a 225.”

    In the $45,000-added Whizkey N Diamonds Open 4-year-old Stakes, Fappani marked another 226 to win aboard SG Frozen Enterprise (Frozen Sailor x RS Rose SJ), earning $10,956. Combined with the $10,710 that the pair claimed as reserve champion in the High Roller Reining Classic Open Derby Level 4, they claimed $21,666.

    Mark Blake of Minnesota on Plum Gotta Gun.

    Mark Blake of Minnesota on Plum Gotta Gun.

    Waltenberry photo

    “You could sense that this was the biggest (HRRC) show so far,” said Fappani. “It felt to me like a national show. You felt the pressure to do well, and that’s what I love. Everybody stepped up their game.”

    In Non Pro competition, Dana Avila of Temecula wrapped up the coveted 2013 Trifecta Non Pro Challenge, a year-end prize to the same horse and Non Pro rider with the highest earnings from all three Brumley Management Group events. Avila and her husband Bob are headed to the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele in Lana’i, Hawaii, thanks to her mare, One Smart Pepto (One Time Pepto x Smart Little Margie).

    Entering the last contest of the Trifecta, Avila knew fellow Southern California Non Pro Bill Coburn was within striking distance about $1,200 behind her. She outearned Coburn by $3,917 in Las Vegas to claim the prize, but not without a four-hour wait after her run to learn how Coburn — whose go was at the end of the long class — scored.

    “It seemed like a long time. At first, we sat and watched some of the show, but I had to stay busy,” she said of the interlude. “Lots of barn chores. I tell you — the stalls get really, really clean. Then, we went back to the room to relax, and I end up turning it on in the room and watching.”

    Jaynette Raymer of Temecula and Easy Electric slide to the $500-added Prime Time Non Pro championship. They also took third in the Slate 1 Non Pro.

    Jaynette Raymer of Temecula and Easy Electric slide to the $500-added Prime Time Non Pro championship. They also took third in the Slate 1 Non Pro.

    Waltenberry photo

    In the end, it was worth the wait.

    “It was awesome,” said Dana, who says she and Bob will likely take their trip in the spring. “We’re going to take another run at the Trifecta next year. I’m not going to tell you we’re going to win by any stretch, but we’re going to take a run at it.”

    “Bella has one more Derby year, so she’s eligible,” she added. “She’s a dream horse. Now, we’re on vacation. We’ve been trail riding for the last week, and she just loves getting out — she sees everything and misses nothing.”

    Avila likes the nature of contests like the Trifecta, which reward a consistent, year-long effort.

    “It’s a great thing — it gives you a goal, yet although you go in to win, you don’t need to win every event. You need to be solid. You just have to keep hitting at it. It’s fun, and it keeps it interesting through the year.”

    In other Non Pro action, Lauren Crivelli of Visalia and Reba’s Best STep Yet tied Mark Blake of Minnesota for the Rookie 2 High Point, but lost in the tiebreaker. She and “Lil Wimp” were Reserve High Point in both the Rookie 1 and 2.

    Loren Booth of Orange Cove and her Custom Made Spook, were the top Californians, taking fourth.

    Loren Booth of Orange Cove and her Custom Made Spook, were the top Californians, taking fourth.

    Waltenberry photo

    Another standout in the Non Pro division was Janette Raymer of Temecula, who captured the Prime Time Non Pro title in the High Roller Reining Classic Slate 1 classes on her 7-year-old gelding, Easy Electric. She also finished third in the Slate 1 Non Pro competition behind fellow Californians Kirstin Booth of Temecula, who took the title on Lil Ruff Hollywood, and Reserve Champion Sandra Bentien of Auburn on her Make It With A Twist.

    The performance exemplified the steady improvement of Raymer, who has been reining six years, the last 18 months with Tanya Jenkins.

    “She’s taking me to the next level –stepping me up slowly,” said Raymer. “I got the reserve champion circuit in Las Vegas, and then I did well at the NRBC in the maturity class, so she’s definitely helped me a lot and got me there.”

    Raymer acquired Easy Electric three years ago from Dorothy Queen while riding under trainer Mike Berg. She campaigned “six Pack” in derbies and now is enjoying showing him in maturity events for horses over age 6.

    “I tend to keep my horses — I fall in love with them,” said Raymer, who also still has her first reining horse, 13-year-old Rudy. “I actually am really into the maturity classes. I believe in taking really good care of my horses and riding them into their older years.”

    Abby Lengel of Colorado made her first visit to the High Roller Classic memorable, winning the $30,000-added Non Pro Futurity on her mare Tackie Dreams.

    Abby Lengel of Colorado made her first visit to the High Roller Classic memorable, winning the $30,000-added Non Pro Futurity on her mare Tackie Dreams.

    Waltenberry photo

    Her passion for maturity classes spawned a new maturity class event at this month’s California Reining Horse Association Challenge in Burbank Oct. 24-27. She approached the CRHA board with the idea in July, and in 30 days she had secured enough sponsorships for the $4,500-added class for Non Pros in Levels 2, 3, and 4. Others, including Jenkins, have helped kickstart the inaugural event with a nice list of prizes.

    “I really hope that it will be a great show,” says Raymer, who would consider 20 to 30 entries a success this year. “I hope that the maturity class catches on, and we can do it next year with both Non Pro and Open classes.”

    It is a heartfelt cause, she says, “to take care of our horses and make them healthy, strong and happy into their older years.

    “The more we promote taking care of them and having long careers as reiners, then perhaps more people will put effort into them,” she adds. “Maybe poeple will keep them and hold their value longer. Also, people who start out reining start out on an older horses, so it would make the sport better, too.”

    RESULTS ONLINE: Http://bit.ly/1310A_HHR

    Reiners rise to occasion to assist Hansons

    LAS VEGAS — The reining family came together for a heartfelt cause after reiners, organized by Barbi Boyle, created the Hanson Family Fund for David and Becky Hanson. Becky is undergoing treatment for cancer.

    “The response has been totally overwhelming from the community we all live in, the reining community,” Boyle said. “We’ve had amazing response from the clients of theirs, clients of ours, horse trainers, people from Europe, the cow horse community people who didn’t even know Becky and David Hanson.”

    The event, which raised $82,000, featured both silent and live auctions. Auctioneers included Al Dunning, Bob Avila, Jimmy Nichols and Brian Bell.

    ‚ÄúThere is light at the end of a tunnel, and someone at the other side of the door if you knock,” said Ollie Galligan, President of the West Coast Reining Horse Association. “There is family around us in times of need, a love one cannot describe.”

    Those interested in making a donation to the Hanson Family Fund can do so online at http://bit.ly/1310A_Becky.

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