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Azevedo and Poco Smart Oak Win Circle Y Ranch SRCHA Amateur Derby

The Circle Y Ranch Southwest Reined Cow Horse Association Amateur Derby, held during the 2009 Fort Dodge Animal Health Celebration of Champions, finished with Joana Azevedo and Poco Smart Oak winning the Amateur title. Azevedo admits that because she lives in Brazil and doesn't see her horse often, showing can be difficult. "It's a lot different than when you have a horse you ride every day. My horse is very special because we just click - everything works when we're together," she said.

She and Poco Smart Oak, nicknamed Annie Oakley, began the Derby with a 143 in the herd work, and followed that with a 142 in the rein work. "The cutting is the most difficult for me, and the reining is the easiest. Out of the eight times I've cut in competition, I've only not lost a cow three times, so I was really excited. In the reining we did well, but we drug a lead early in the run."

Azevedo watched the cow work, and noticed that the cattle were difficult. "I was a little nervous, but I always am for the cow work. At least it wasn't as bad as before the cutting," she laughed. "But once I get into the arena, it's great, because the adrenaline takes over and it just happens."

The 19-year-old is heading back to Brazil on Wednesday, February 4, to make a reining event over the weekend. "Annie Oakley will stay with Rhonda and Jay Holmes. I really want to thank them for all they've done for me. I've been riding with them since 2006 when I came over as a student. Thanks to all the Triple J Ranch crew," she said. "I also want to thank my mother and father, Paulo Cesar and Ana Maria Azevedo, for all their support."

Along with a check for $1,403, Azevedo won a championship buckle sponsored by Dr. Glen Blodgett and Burnett Ranches, a championship headstall from All About Cutting and Drenda Chappell and a Circle Y Derby jacket.

The Amateur Reserve Championship, a buckle from Dr. Blodgett and Burnett Ranches, a Circle Y Derby jacket, and $1,169 went to Laurie Shelton, of Brenham, Texas, and Areal Chic Magnet. Areal Chic Magnet is by Magnum Chic Dream and out of Pepocitas Freckle.

The Fort Dodge Animal Health NRCHA Celebration of Champions is held at the 1st Community Federal Credit Union in San Angelo, Texas. The event, which features the Circle Y Ranch SRCHA Derby, the NRCHA World Championship Show presented by John Deere, and the World's Greatest Horseman, runs through February 8. The show begins daily at 8am.

The National Reined Cow Horse Association, celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2009, is the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes John Deere, Adequan(r), Bob's Custom Saddles, Cinch, Inc., Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, MD Barns, Platinum Performance, Inc., Nutrena, Quarter Horse News & Performance Horse magazine, the Peppermill Hotel/Resort, Fort Dodge

West Nile Innovator, Rios of Mercedes, Merial products ULCERGARD and EQUIOXX, Great American Insurance Company and the Silver Legacy Hotel, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today's equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at http://www.nrcha.com <http://www.nrcha.com/> .


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