Although not unprecedented, attaining back-to-back National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) championships on the same horse is exceptional. With the steady influx of high-caliber horses each year, competition is always formidable.
So it’s easy to understand that Sarah Lynn Locker’s 2016 victory on Friday evening at the NRBC is quite the feat. Last year, she and Heavy Duty Chex won the Level 4 Non-Pro title with a 220. This year they returned to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center to attempt another win.
Working as the second-to-last draw, Locker and “Heavy D” laid down a picture-perfect run which resulted in a 225! “I don’t think it’s real,” she said of winning the Championship. “I tell everyone that last year hasn’t really sunk in so I don’t know that this one will, either. It’s such a cool feeling and this is one of the greatest horse shows you can go to, so to win it again – or even make the finals – is huge. To win it on the same horse is unreal.”
So was she feeling any extra pressure as the reigning champion?
“My horse is definitely more broke this year, but there was a lot of pressure in the first go just to make the finals because he was so good last year. He was in the top five of the preliminary, which was so great,” she said. “For him to come out and show like he did in the finals for me was just awesome!”
Heavy Duty Chex, by Nu Chex To Cash and out of Rondas Tio (by Teninolena Badger), is only 5 years old, so he has one more year of NRBC eligibility.
“We are definitely going to keep him. Since he won this show he’s close or just over $100,000 in earnings. We are going to keep him and hopefully stand him as a stallion. We also still own his sire and dam – they’re both home at Hilldale Farm,” Locker explained. “It’s pretty special to raise one and bring him along this far in his show career.”
“I thank Pastor Mike Seay, Ed Harrison, my sister Jessicah Keller and my brother David Hutton, and of course my mom. She’s home because we can’t all be away at the same time, but she’s the reason I can do what I do.” She added, “Thank you also to Casey Deary and the whole Deary crew. They’re all wonderfull, and Casey has always been so dedicated to helping me.”
During the awards ceremony, Locker was presented with a check for $30,000, a year’s use of a three-horse trailer from Twin Cities Featherlite/Twin Cities South, a saddle from Continental Saddlerey, a Gist Silversmiths buckle, a pair of Rios of Mercedes boots, a Whisper Bit, a saddle blanket from Yucca Flats, gift certificates to Santa Cruz Biotechnology and Thomas Moore Feed and the signature blue-crystal trophy.