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Craig Schmersal defends USEF National Reining title

Special to the Horsetrader - August 6th, 2009 - Show & Event News

Craig Schmersal and Mr Dual Rey win the USEF National Reining Open Championships and its Gold medal for the second consecutive year.

Waltenberry photo

Craig Schmersal and Mr Dual Rey win the USEF National Reining Open Championships and its Gold medal for the second consecutive year.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Record setting triple-digit temperatures and blazing hot scores were the buzz at the 2009 Adequan/U.S. Equestrian Federation’s National Reining Championships. Held June 26 during the annual National Reining Horse Association Derby at Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, the USEF championships determined the nation’s top reining horses and riders after a year of qualification.

Using portable fans and high-powered misters to cut the heat for competing horses, the event was able to care for the horses and athletes alike in the unseasonably warm temperatures. This, combined with air-conditioned show rings, ensured that competing horses were safe and helped top riders keep their cool under intense competition, event organizers said.

Internationally renowned reining star Craig Schmersal, a former Californian who relocated to Overbrook, Okla., a few years ago, claimed the USEF Mahajan Trophy for the USEF Open Reining Championship with a scorching score of 224 on the finals night. Riding Mr Dual Rey (Mister Dual Pep X Robin Red Rae), owned by Holly Casey of Mansfield, Ga., Schmersal and his same mount repeated last year’s win to once again take the Gold medal and $8,500 prize.

Craig Schmersal

Horsetrader File photo

Craig Schmersal

“Holly is a fantastic owner and we have a terrific relationship,” Schmersal said. “I’ve been riding this horse for five or six years now, and he just keeps getting better and better.”

Schmersal elaborated: “The (USEF National Championship) had an extremely nice set of horses, and I feel very fortunate to be on top in a class of very tough competitors.”

Longtime contender and household name, Shawn Flarida of Springfield, Ohio, scored 221.5 to earn the Silver medal aboard the 6-year-old gelding KR Lil Conquistador (Conquistador Whiz x Smart Little Prize), owned by Cheree Kirkbride of Ocala, Fla., along with $6,750.

Casey Deary scored a 219.5 aboard Custom Margarita, owned by Steven Simon of Marietta, Okla., for third place to take the Bronze medal and $5,000.

In fourth place was Pete Kyle aboard Gimme Major Bucks, owned by John Mc Elreath, who earned $2,500.

Shawn Flarida and KR Lil Conquistador earn the Silver medal in the USEF National Reining Open Championships.

Waltenberry photo

Shawn Flarida and KR Lil Conquistador earn the Silver medal in the USEF National Reining Open Championships.

Finishing in the money for fifth place was Casey Hinton riding Paid By Corona, owned by Carlie Thompson, to earn $ 2,250.

The Adequan/USEF National Reining Championship also hosted a CRI* National Championship. The one-star competition ran concurrently with the Open Championship and was a developing program for riders who are not yet on the Reining Long List. Lakshami Mahajan of Grafton, Ohio, was named the 2009 Adequan/USEF CRI* National Champion and earned her way onto the Reining Long List, an important step in an athlete’s quest to qualify for the 2010 World Equestrian Games to be held in Lexington, Ky.

Event organizers said they gave extra thanks to Jerry Kimmel and his stallion, Dun Gotta Gun, for his continued support of reining competitions at the USEF and of the U.S. Reining Team. Kimmel supplied the prize money for the 2009 Adequan/USEF National Open Reining Championship.

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