Loot For Grassroots Returns To The International

starlights-per-seAshley Weaver and Starlights Per Se won the Loot for Grassroots Gold level and tied in the NRHA Level 4 Non-Pro. • Photo by FletchAfter a six-year hiatus, the Loot for Grassroots event returned to Denver, Colorado, Sept. 23-27 as part of The International reining event, which also included the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Mountain Affiliate Regional Championships. The Loot for Grassroots offered up to a $100,000 payout to amateurs entered in the event. While there were not the needed 100 entries to make the $100,000 guaranteed, there was plenty of money and prizes to go around for many of the riders.

The event drew 25 riders who competed in three Loot for Grassroots levels – Gold, Silver, and Bronze – as well as the traditional NRHA levels. Ashley Weaver rode her 2009 mare Starlight Per Se (Starlights Starbrite x Miss Perfect Peppy x Doc Per) to sweep all three Loot for Grassroots levels plus the Levels 4, 3 and 2 Non-Pro with a score of 217. The Morgan, Utah, rider tied with London, England, rider Jessica Sternberg and her horse Shiners Chic (Smart Chic Olena x Ebony Shines x Shining Spark) in the Gold and Level 4.

“I’ve had a really good year on this little mare and saw that the money was up,” Weaver said. “It’s been a goal of mine to hit this show all year, so we made it a plan and here we are. I was a little bit nervous coming into this big pen, as my mare tends to be better in a smaller one. I really liked my run in, stop back and my turns, but my favorite thing to do on her is to circle. My goal was just to draw a check, just get a piece of it. For my score to hold out all day… I kept thinking, someone pinch me this can’t be happening!”

Janis Wagner and Skeets Conquistador (Conquistador Whiz x Skeets Scamp x Skeets Peppy) were Reserve Champions in the Loot for Grassroots Silver and Bronze.

“I had a good run,” she said. “My horse was a good boy. I made some mistakes that cost me a little, but he does what I tell him. But I was pleased with him.”

shiners-chicJessica Sternberg and Shiners Chic • Photos by FletchSternberg remembered what the Loot for Grassroots event was like before the hiatus, which was due to scheduling conflicts with the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010. The draw for her to fly in from England this year was the FEI Concours de Reining event.

“The FEI class was also an attraction, as there is quite a lot of money in that class and it’s good for me to get a CRI under my belt,” she explained.

The International FEI Concours de Reining CRI 3* boasted a field of 13 riders from the United States, France, Great Britain and Morocco. Casey Hinton, of Whitesboro, Texas, and 2005 stallion Top Gun Tonite  (Topgun Whiz x Hollywood Tonite x Hollywood Dun It) marked a 222.5 to head straight to the top of the leaderboard in the FEI Concours de Reining CRI 3*, USEF Open Qualifying Class, USA Reining Open and Mile High Maturity 7 & Over.

top-gun-toniteTop Gun Tonite and Casey Hinton • Photo by Fletch“I had him a couple of years ago; he wasn’t right. He had some injuries from when he was younger, so the owners took him home and rehabbed him for a couple of years,” Hinton said of Top Gun Tonite. “I’ve had him back all of this year and I’ve only shown him a couple of times because I was trying to target events for this fall, including the FEI event at The International, so he could get some exposure. It’s hard to find a horse for FEI events. When they get to that age to keep them honest, competitive and sound enough to score well is a challenge.  Its rare to find one as special and honest as he is.”

Other winners at The International included:

Nutrena 3-Year-Old Futurity Open: Bub Poplin riding Mr Roostar (Roosters Starlight x Whiz Icouldmeter Her x Topsail Whiz) & Cody Stark riding The Trash Man

Nutrena 4-Year-Old Futurity Open: Bub Poplin riding The Little Red Coop (Great King Pine x Wimpys Pal Omino x Wimpys Little Step)

Mile High Derby Open: Bub Poplin, of Grand Junction, Colorado, riding Smoke N Starlite (Starlights Starbrite x Little Sugar Smoke x Squaws Bobby Jac)

Mile High Derby Non-Pro: Rylee Justus, of Larkspur, Colorado, riding Gunners Blonde Chic (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x Chic Is Blonde x Smart Chic Olena)

U.S. National Championship Youth Freestyle: Emily Clark, of Castle Rock, Colorado, riding Duncans Dun It (Hollywood Dun It x Topsails Sweet Glo x Topsail Cody)

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