Enjoy the family slideshow of our trip to Craig, CO, for the National Pattern Horse Racing Championship. We did great, and had a ball. This is the most amazing event, hundreds of families from across the country travel to this show, simply because it has become a part of their--and our--lives that they cannot be without. It is multi-generational, grandkids riding with parents and grandparents, cousins and uncles, everyone cheers for everyone, and most people smile all week long.*
I was humbled and thrilled to have run two championship times in my age group, in Pole Bending and Three-Jump Scurry, and was Reserve Champion in Polo Turn and Straight Barrels. My mare, Wave, pulled out all the stops and gave her very best runs for six days straight in all fifteen events. I was so proud of her. We placed fourth high point overall in the Senior Women Division.
Will and Joey also had an incredible show. They ran the fastest time of the whole show in Pole Bending, setting a new record in their age group. Amazingly, after sixteen events they fell short of winning the saddle by just one point (although NSCA uses multiples of ten, so their ten is like one in WA). They ran hard, though, and were right in it, even after having a rein break just as arena race began. They were disqualified for not starting within ten seconds of the first person, but after he fixed his rein they ran the fastest time in the event. :( Oh, well, builds character.
Sugar, on the other hand, decided early on that is was hot and the arena dirt too deep for her liking, so she ran the events fast on the way down then loped home. I think she felt she is blonde and has the right to do as she pleases. So Kate placed seventh overall. But they did look good, and that counts for something. :)
The National runs some wild and crazy team events, most divided into the 12-15 and then the adult divisions. However, Team Arena Race is open to all ages, and Kate, Will, and Muri and Alex Cole ran it together, and placed third! Enjoy Keith Urban, too--our souls were fed. :)
*Maybe all this good-natured comraderie is not such an accident. The NSCA Rule Book has a paragraph called Sportsmanship:
"The man on horseback, down through the ages, has been set apart from the man on foot. A man in a car or in an airplane is merely a man devoid of the romantic feeling inspired by a horse. Perhaps the man when mounted takes on the pride, courage, dependability, honesty and competitive spirit of his good horse.
The west was won by the man on horseback, and the National Saddle Clubs Assn carries on this tradition. We saddle club people--men, women, and children--ride for fun and not for business. Besides being with a horse, it is a pleasure to be with people with the same interests, resulting in the most treasured of friendships. To compete good-naturedly with one's friends is the best of sports. If one wins, it is of course, fine. If one loses, it is still fine--if he tried hard and did his honest best. To have one's competitors be happy that he won is indeed heartwarming.
We now lead the way in true sportsmanship. Let us continue to celebrate this tradition among all members of the NSCA who desire to win fairly as superior horsemen and not by trickery and violation of the rules."