Horse Judging Team Competes at 2017 NRHA Championship

Dec. 1, 2017

CONTACT:    Dr. John Pipkin, 806-651-2557,

COPY BY:     Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129,

Horse Judging Team Competes at 2017 NRHA Championship


CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University’s horse judging team closed out its fall competition schedule with a second- and third-place overall finish at the National Reining Horse Association Championship Nov. 28-29 in Oklahoma City.

The WTAMU team earned a total of 3,746 points to garner the second-place berth and 3,666 for the third-place spot. First-place honors went to Oklahoma State University with 3,821 points. Mississippi State University placed fourth with 3,664 points, and the University of Wyoming rounded out the top five teams with 3,660WTAMU Horse Judging Team points. The event brought in 85 contestants and 20 teams to compete at the two-day event. The contestants took a written test and a penalty and maneuver test via video on day one. Competition on day two involved judging two sets of 10 horses from the NRHA Open Level 4 Futurity Semi-Finals.

Three WTAMU team members placed in the top 10 with individual honors. Kyle Vanderleest, a junior animal science major from Morrison, Ill., placed fourth overall, followed by Katy Hawkins, a junior agriculture education major from Needham, Ind., who placed sixth overall. Teammate Lauren Moore, a junior agriculture communication major from Canyon, placed ninth overall.

“These students maintained the excellent level of performance that has been established by former WT students over the past 15 years,” Dr. John Pipkin, director of the equine industry program and coach of the horse judging team, said. WT is the only university that had two teams finish in the top 10, and clearly showed the depth of ability by the students in finishing as the second and third high team overall. These students performed tremendously at every competition this fall and represented WT in the highest manner. I am extremely proud of each team member and the commitment, dedication, effort and sacrifice each made to participate this fall and represent WT so well. They are an exceptionally talented, hard-working group that earned excellent success and recognition for WT.“

Members of the team are listed by their hometowns along with their classification and majors.

Catherine Johnson, junior agribusiness/equine industry and business major

Lauren Moore, junior agriculture communication major

Clovis, N.M.
Kyla Myers, junior agriculture communication major

Elmwood, Ill.
Brooke Parrish, junior agribusiness/equine industry and business major

Kingston, Wash.
Madison Worland, junior agribusiness/equine industry and business major

Morrison, Ill.
Kyle Vanderleest, junior animal science major

Needham, Ind.
Katy Hawkins, junior agriculture education major

Paighton Kelly, junior agribusiness/equine industry and business major

Arienne Martinez, junior agribusiness/equine industry and business major


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