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Eric Freitas Wins 2009 NRCHA Hackamore Classic Non Pro Championship on Travelin Cielo

The first of the 2009 National Reined Cow Horse Association Hackamore Classic Champions were crowned Sunday, April 26, at the Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, California, when the Non Pro riders finished the cow work early in the afternoon.

Eric Freitas earned the Non Pro Championship on his horse, Travelin Cielo, by Travalena and out of Peppys Powderedsugar. Consistency paid off for the pair - with scores of 143 in the herd and rein work, they came back in the cow work with an impressive 149.

"The cattle were a little tough in the herd work. We just had a safe run. Our rein work was good, if a little soft," said Freitas. "When it came down to the cow work, I knew we'd have to mark big. Luckily, we drew the right cow and everything worked out right."

The Non Pro title came with a big check for $5,628. Although Freitas was the one who rode Travelin Cielo in competition, he was quick to give credit to Korie Baker. "Korie trained him and keeps him legged up for me. I just show up and show him. She's the reason we are able to do so well," he said. "I also want to thank John and Brenda Stephenson of San Juan Ranch. They're the breeders and are the ones who sold him to me."

The Reserve Championship went to Anne Reynolds, who rode Very Smart Flo Jo, by Very Smart Remedy and out of Teena Cash Flo, to a 433.5 composite. Reynolds, who won the Non Pro title in 2008, collected $4,690 in earnings. Very Smart Flo Jo is owned by Anne's mother, Joyce Pearson.

Carol Roberts claimed the Intermediate Non Pro Championship on Ill Be A Superstar. They started the weekend marking a 148 in the herd work. "She was awesome. She was everywhere I wanted her to be. As long as I stayed out of her was she did what she was supposed to," said Roberts. The high herd score was followed by an equally impressive 147 in the rein work, when the mare "just did her job and was easy to show."

But in the cow work, a slight pilot error resulted in a 137. "It was my boo boo. We left wide and couldn't get the cow over. We're working at leaving better. I'm still very thrilled with where we ended up."

The Intermediate title paid $2,820, and Roberts also collected third place in the Non Pro division, worth an additional $3,752.

Although Roberts doesn't have a place to practice her cow work, she explained that some very special people let her use their facilities. "I really have incredible friends - Shannon McCarty and Jo Anne Carollo are great. I am blessed to have such a great circle of friends." She added, "I also want to thank my amazing herd help. Jon Roeser, Ed Robertson, Brandon Staebler, and Lance Johnston were great."

Right behind Roberts in both divisions was Patty Ralls and Chicken Time, by A Chic In Time and out of Paula Bud Acre. Their scores of 139, 143.5, and 137 netted a check for $2,115 in the Intermediate Non Pro, and $2,814 for their fourth place finish in the Non Pro.

Rick Petty picked up the Amateur title on Buenonic Reins, a gelding that the Petty family raised. The 5-year-old gelding is by Shiners Buenonic, a stallion owned by Rick's son, Bubba, and his wife, Nicole.

"He's out of Shiners Buenonic's first foal crop. He'd done real well and I'm real glad I get to show him this year," explained Petty.

At the Hackamore Classic, the pair collected a $1,274 check, thanks to scores of 140 in the herd work, 136.5 in the rein work, and 137 in the cow work. "He was as soft as could be in the herd work, and anything we did wrong in the rein work was rider error," Petty said. "We had a very unruly little cow in the fence work. It was set up good going down the fence, and must have seen a sign it didn't like, and jumped away from it. We had some open field turns and this horse circled up like a trooper."

Petty thanked Kris and Brandon Staebler for their help, and his son, Bubba, for doing such a great job training Buenonic Reins. "I also can't thank my sweet wife, Susan, enough. She's my support, and she keeps me going. I couldn't do it without her."

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, 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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