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Reigning SWRHA/Rein In Cancer Performance Versatility Champion Monica Hicks Repeats Victory
2009-10-22
While serious competition is at the heart of the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity and Horse Show, exhibitors and fans have come to expect more than a little fun from the show. And if that fun is for a good cause, it’s even better. Beginning in 2008, the show partnered with Rein In Cancer, an equine-industry based organization dedicated to the fight against cancer – and the SWRHA/Rein In Cancer Performance Halter and Pleasure Classes were created.
The classes had two very distinguished judges. For the Halter portion, exhibitors competed in front of Ted Turner, who has earned more American Quarter Horse Association Halter World Championships than anyone else in history.
Todd Sommers was the Performance Pleasure judge. A two-time NRHA Futurity Champion, himself, Sommers had his start in Western Pleasure, and his numerous titles include a string of world and national titles.
Any rider entered in the SWRHA Futurity or Horse Show can ride any horse that is also entered in the Futurity or Horse Show, allowing for bartering and bribing to get the right horse.
Monica Hicks swept both divisions and ran away with the Performance Versatility title in 2008 – but she knew there was going to be more competition in the class’s second year. “I’m really working on my strategy. I’m holding tryouts for another horse to try,” she said a few days prior to the event.
Her choice? A mare named Kachina Oak Olena, owned by Samantha Griffin of Dewinton, Alberta, Canada. “This is a great mare, and I’m really excited that Sam let me show her,” she noted.
Hicks and “Thelma” were a hit in the Performance Halter, with Hicks sporting a flashy black jacket complete with orange accents and “Bradshaw” written across the top. “You know, I thought orange would be appropriate, and I have always been a Terry Bradshaw fan,” she noted dryly, in a subtle reference to Turner’s long-time showing of ex-NFL star quarterback, Terry Bradshaw’s horses.
The halter competition proved tough, and it was actually Monica’s longtime friend, Mandy McCutcheon, who won that title with Sparklin Chic.
But Monica was not to be outdone. Although the spectators were appreciative of what they perceived was a couple of “big” changes between the two classes, Monica was adamant that the only thing that had changed was her shirt.
“It was actually Mandy’s idea. She thought that Todd Somers, the judge, would appreciate the red and black color scheme,” Monica explained. “And this is Samantha’s lucky shirt, so it just seemed right that I show in it.”
Apparently doing whatever it takes to win paid off, and Monica and Thelma won the Performance Pleasure! In the process, Monica continued her reign as the Performance Versatility Champion.
“In all seriousness, this is a great cause, and it’s a fun way to raise money and build awareness,” she said. “Thank you to everyone who makes this possible.”
For information on Rein In Cancer, visit the web site at www.reinincancer.com.
Built in 1937, the historic Hardy Murphy Coliseum has been a mainstay as an Ardmore tourist attraction. Primarily designed to host horse and livestock shows, recent renovations to the facility have given it the flexibility to host even more events. Along with the space upgrades that allow the facility to stall 500 horses, the addition of air conditioning provides Hardy Murphy with the competitive ability to attract national and regional events. The renovations have resulted in a premier competitive equine facility.
For more information on the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity, or to inquire about the SWRHA, please call 580-759-2572, or visit www.swrha.com.