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NRCHA World Show Goes International

NRCHA World Championship Show Presented by Bell Performance Horses

During the Annual Fort Dodge Animal Health NRCHA Celebration of Champions, February 16-24, the NRCHA World Championship Show Presented by Bell Performance Horses commands world-wide attention. With the reined cow horse industry growing around the globe, fans are very interested in the competition for World Championships. In the past four years, international visitors have made their way to Stephenville, Texas to watch for themselves.

But until now, the riders actually competing for the titles have been from the United States or Canada. This year, the international flavor intensifies as qualifiers from the European Reined Cow Horse Association will compete for the first time, ever, at the NRCHA World Championship Show.

Competing for the NRCHA Open Hackamore World Championship will be Italy’s Markus Schoepfer on Peptos Lil Bingo (Peptoboonsmal x Conchita Gay Bingo by Bingo Hickory). Peptos Lil Bingo, the International Region Open Hackamore Champion for 2007, is owned by Braam Quarter Horse (The Netherlands) and the 6-year-old sorrel also has cutting and National Reining Horse Association earnings to his credit.

Ricky Nicolazzi, also from Italy, will be riding Coeur D Lenas Bar (Smart Little Lena x Miss Cal Sen by Cal Bar) in the Open Bridle World Championship class. The 11-year-old stallion, owned by Markus Schoepfer, is the 2007 International Region Open Bridle Champion. Like Peptos Lil Bingo, Coeur D Lenas Bar also has cutting and National Reining Horse Association earnings.

Both horses are being brought directly from Italy to the USA to participate. So what made Schoepfer decide to make the history-making journey to the NRCHA World Championships?

“These are two really exceptional horses and it’s not easy to come up with such great athletes, which is basically what made me decide to show them in the United States,” said Schoepfer. “It will be my first time showing a cow horse in the States and I’m really excited and looking forward to the experience.”

So why did he opt to have Ricky ride Coeur D Lenas Bar instead of riding him, himself? “Two reasons - the first is that Ricky is a really good friend - like a brother for me! The second is that since I had so many horses to ride this year, I felt he would be the best hand for Coeur. He’s done a great job with him - better than I could have done, and he deserves this opportunity.”

Although competing in the Circle Y Ranch Derby, also held during the NRCHA Fort Dodge Celebration of Champions, does not involve a qualification process, the NRCHA is glad to welcome yet another international entry, Italian Andrea Fasani on his Troubled Gangster (Gangster Chic x Shesa Commander Cody). Fasani is an entry in the Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro and Amateur Derby.

Fasani purchased Troubled Gangster in November after he won the NRHA Futurity Limited Non Championship with Shannon McCarty, earning nearly $9,000 and opted to keep him in the United States to continue his show career. Current plans are for the horse to go to Italy after the show, but Fasani adds, “You never know what may come up!”

The other two horses had to make an international trip, through Amsterdam, with a 3-day layover in New York. From there, it’s to Todd Crawford Performance Horses in Blanchard, Oklahoma for horses, the three riders and their friend and cow horse fan, Augusto (Otto) De Fazio.

“Todd has been great to us and is willing to host us at his place where we will be able to ride before going to Stephenville,” Schopfer concluded. He also complimented Nedpoint Quarter Horses in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma for handling the horse travel.

The National Reined Cow Horse Association, 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 Wayne Hodges 4-Star Trailers and Outlaw Conversions, 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 GASTROGARD, 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.


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