The World Para Reining (WPR) organization is dedicated to fostering competitive reining events for disabled riders around the world. The exciting conclusion of the WPR 2015 Championship Series took place at the American Quarter Horse Association World Show in Oklahoma City on Nov. 15.
The final competition consisted of six riders who placed in the following order:
1. Lauren Barwick, of Langley, Canada, riding Western Whiz, owned by Robert Thompson
2. Jeanette Wolfe, of Bay City, Texas, riding her own Hunters Dun It
3. Nicole Den Dulk, of Eden, The Netherlands, riding Chromed Tejon, owned by Briana Bartlett
4. Briana Bartlett, of Pilot Point, Texas, riding Baja Hollywood Whiz, owned by Robert Thompson
5. Deidre Hannah, of Richland Hills, Texas, riding her own Whiz Pop Bang
6. Lara Oles, of Heber City, Utah, riding Hollywood Aces, owned by BL Holdings LLC
Third-place rider Nicole Den Dulk, an accomplished Para Dressage competitor, traveled all the way from The Netherlands to practice reining for a week before the show. When asked what she thought of the experience, Dulk replied, “Reining is an amazing sport with lots of horsemanship, friendship and competition. I will definitely be back on a Quarter Horse soon!”
Many riders have been competing at sanctioned events all year in order to vie for the first-ever WPR Series World Champion Title and the coveted Bob’s trophy saddle. In addition, the WPR offered belt buckles and other prizes for the top 10 riders who earned scores at a minimum of three WPR classes.
The top-placed riders of the 2015 WPR Series are:
1. Briana Bartlett
2. Heather Smith
3. Lauren Barwick
4. Erin Alberda
5/6. Jennifer Flanagan and Courtney Braun
7. Catherine Sherwood
8. Lara Oles
Winner Bartlett stated, “I am so blessed to be the first-ever World Para Reining Series Champion, knowing that it is a legacy that will be passed from year to year to many athletes and their amazing horses to come. I look forward to continuing to promote our sport, and to continue building this dream of Para Reining. I’m excited about the future, and know that someday we will look back at this adventure knowing that we made history! It doesn’t get any more rewarding than that.”
This year, sanctioned events were held across the United States and Canada including: British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Florida, Arizona, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Nevada. In November, a historic WPR event was even held in Japan. WPR is spreading across the globe with affiliates already created in Great Britain, Poland, Slovakia, Japan and France, so even more events are expected in 2016.
This Championship Series will be offered again in 2016, and disabled riders from around the World can compete in their own countries and towns. It is easy to get involved and hold a WPR sanctioned event. Look on the WPR website to find the Criteria for the 2016 Series soon.
WPR thanks all the amazing sponsors for the WPR Series and the final class. Sherry Adams generously sponsored the WPR Series Champion trophy saddle from Bob’s Custom Saddles. Elaine Davis and Juli Moran kindly provided the beautiful top 10 award buckles from Kathy’s Show Equipment. Other sponsors include Tish Fappani, Silver Spurs Equine and Equine Oasis.