Jesse Gentile gets top marks in collegiate reining competition at the 2011 National Reining Horse Association Derby in Oklahoma City.
By Larri Jo Starkey
Twelve college students had a chance to experience “the ultimate catch ride” July 2 at the National Reining Horse Association Derby in Oklahoma City.
Each year, NRHA invites four representatives each from Varsity Equestrian, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association and the National Reining Horse Youth Association to ride borrowed horses for a collegiate championship.
After a five-minute warm-up period on unfamiliar horses, the 12 riders performed a reining routine in the Jim Norick Coliseum while friends, coaches and family members whooped and hollered.
Working last in the first set, Paige Monfore of Auburn University took the lead on Dunit Pistol Pete with a 215.5. Dunit Pistol Pete is a 2005 buckskin gelding owned by Kathleen Ray of Aubrey, Texas.
After the drag, the first rider in the second set, McKenzie Lantz of the University of Georgia matched that mark on Playgun Chic Olena, a 2005 bay stallion owned by Teresa Wynn of Benton, Kentucky.
Those tied marks held until the end, when Jesse Gentile of Ohio State University rode in on Out Dun The Son, a 2002 dun gelding by hesa Sonofa Dun and out of PW Chicastar by Smart Chic Olena. The horse is owned by Gary and Debbie Sanders of Steele, Missouri, and they were on hand to watch their horse score a 218 with Jesse aboard.
“It was a blast,” Jesse said after his winning ride. “The first thing I thought when I was out there showing was this is so much fun. The first stop I was a little nervous about, because he stopped good in the warm-up pen but you never know when you get in.
“I asked him to speed up, and he stayed right with me the whole time. He didn’t take off or shut down on me, and he stopped huge, and the rest kind of followed.”
Paige and McKenzie remained tied for second.
“I have had the most amazing year, and I’m so blessed and so happy that I got to ride for Auburn and go out with a bang,” Paige said. “This is the last time I get to wear an Auburn shirt, and I’m happy that I got a really nice horse and got to make everyone really proud.”
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