Gianna Pietrafeso and Smokin Tap continued to rake in titles with a victory in the $50,000 Amateur at the NCHA Western Nationals. • Photo by Ted Petit.

Last To First: Pietrafeso & Smokin Tap Win NCHA Western Nationals From Bottom Draw

Gianna Pietrafeso was the last draw in her set three times in one week at the National Cutting Horse Association’s (NCHA) Western Nationals. The third time was the charm.

As the last draw in the $50,000 Amateur finals, she marked 222 to win $4,201 aboard Smokin Tap (Smokin Trona x Tap O Lena x Doc O Lena), a Phil and Mary Ann Rapp-bred mare.

“I just wanted to get good cows,” she said. “At that point there wasn’t much left.

The first stayed in the middle, but was a little slow, she said. The second ran back and forth and her goal was to get off it as quickly as possible. The final cow was what earned her the most points. The red cow stayed in the middle and worked back and forth allowing her to show off her horse.

“She’s a kid that has ice water in her veins. She and the mare had the same look on their face going into the herd, I knew they were going to lay down a good run,” said her mother, Adrienne Pietrafeso. “It’s so much fun watching Gianna ride this mare, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stronger bond between a horse and rider.”

Gianna currently serves as president of the National Youth Cutting Horse Association (NYCHA) and her twin sister Jessica is the first vice president. Their terms will end in July.

“It has been nice to have Jessica as the vice president because we can bounce ideas off each other,” Gianna said. “We show with the other officers almost every weekend so its been fun to get to know them better and come up with new ideas for fundraisers together.”

The twins’ older sister, Nicole, competes as well. She will be a senior at Colorado State University this fall where her sisters will join her as freshman.

“This sport has been so great for us as a family,” Adrienne said. “We have traveled together for shows since they were eight years old. Nicole still comes home from college every weekend to compete.”

Gianna is currently ranked in the Top 15 youth world standings and will compete this July to finish out her Youth career. Smokin Tap and Gianna previously won the $35,000 Non-Pro at the 2017 Western Nationals and the 2014 Junior Youth Scholarship Cutting.

Whitesboro, Texas competitor Jo Ellard rode Icha La Roo (Cat Ichi x Snicker Roo x SR Instant Choice) to a 220 to win the Reserve Championship. They earned $3,313.

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