By By Becky NewellThe American Quarter Horse JournalJuly 23, 2013
Sue Nickel and Holliday Red. Journal photo.
Sarina “Sue” Nickel has competed at every one of the six AQHA Region Eight Championships – the first show in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the second in Amarillo; and the four in Wichita, Kansas. She has taken home several buckles and numerous other cool prizes from competing in roping, reining and working cow horse aboard her now-15-year-old gelding, Holliday Red (Seven Diamonds Red-Holliday Chata by Doc Holliday).
Sue has had horses all her life. She rodeoed in high school and college, but then laid out of the show arena for several years. It was when she started showing again in the early 2000s that she realized winning isn’t everything.
“I worked with handicapped people for 10 years and then did social work for several years after that,” says the Scott City, Kansas, horsewoman. “And I was real, real competitive growing up – I rodeoed, played softball, tennis – and all I wanted was to win. But after working with the physically and mentally handicapped and doing the social work, I realized there was more to competing than winning – it’s more about just having fun.”
And the Region Eight Championship, Sue says, is the perfect place to have that fun. She has been delighted to have AQHA Professional Horseman Craig Cole of Downs, Kansas, show “Amos” in the open division in roping and working cow horse. This year, she got tickled watching Paula Pray show the big gelding in English classes.
The 2013 Region Eight Championships kicked off June 20 in Wichita, Kansas, with a record number of entries for the regional championship in addition to the AQHA pointed show in conjunction with the event. In fact, there wasn’t a single empty stall left in The Pavilions on the grounds of the now-defunct Kansas Coliseum in north Wichita. In 2012, after its third year at the Wichita location, the show was scheduled to move to Colorado. However, in the end, the committee decided to keep the show in Wichita.
View a slideshow of photos from the Region Eight Championship.
The Region Eight show was also the last opportunity for exhibitors to qualify for the 2013 Novice Championships, which are in early October in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Las Vegas. And you could hear squeals of joy from various exhibitors who upon placing in the top 10 of their class realized they had qualified for the Novice Championships.
“We’re going to Vegas,” Sharon Mullins McLendon of Gainesville, Texas, whispered to her mare, Tender Art (Artful Move-Swap Me Tender by Banquet Circuit (TB)) after they placed second in Select amateur showmanship.
Sharon is the perfect example of the Novice exhibitor the AQHA leveling program was developed for. As of the early 1990s, Sharon had earned more than 100 total points in performance classes dating back to the late 1960s. After staying out of showing for a number of years, Sharon recently went back to the show ring in pleasure driving and showmanship. She happily discovered that she could still be considered a Novice in the eyes of the new leveling program because her previous show points were earned outside of the previous three years taken into account for leveling purposes.
“AQHA has always been a big part of my life,” Sharon said, with tears in her eyes. “My daddy, Harry Mullins, was an AQHA director. We’ve piddled in a little bit of everything.
“I stopped showing before there was an amateur division,” she said. “Most of my points were earned before 1969. Now I can go show, but in the amateur division, it’s tough. Even in Select, there’s a big difference physically and ability-wise between the 50-year-olds and, say, those who are 60 – I’m 63. I even went to the AQHA convention in Reno one year to ask the show committee to make a change to the system. And then they came out with leveling.”
Sharon won a buckle in showmanship at the Region Eight Championship and is planning to compete October 2-6 at the SmartPak AQHA West Novice Championship in Las Vegas.
Elsewhere on the Region Eight show grounds, Sue was focused on her new project – a 3-year-old buckskin colt she bought at the 2012 AQHA World Show Sale in November, The Cowboy Juan (Obviously The One-Kids Double Prissy by Kids Classic Style “Amos is getting older, and I needed a young horse,” she says.
She showed the colt in the amateur 3-year-old stallion class, and they took home a buckle.
“I’m going to try to make it to the buckskin world show (with him),” she said, hopefully.
But she wasn’t done at the Region Eight show – Craig and Holliday Red took home the open all-around title and saddle.
Region Eight All-Around Titles
Novice Youth: Sara Orsak and Smokin Charlie Too
(Dont Skip Charlie-Miss Smoking Pistol by Smokey Hank Bars; bred by Dennis and Debra Trump of Pierceton, Indiana)
Novice Amateur: Shannon Young and Zipped Royally
Royal Deluxe Too-Miss Sangaree Zipper by Seven S Flashyzipper; bred by Doris Bagby of Walker, Iowa; owned by Lisa Young of Louisville, Colorado
Youth: Mandi House and Absolute Chocolate
Absolute Investment-All In Chocolate by Chips Hot Chocolate; bred by Michael and Susan Renken of Lincoln, Nebraska; owned by Melodie Brinkley of Talala, Oklahoma
Amateur: Shannon Young and Zipped Royally
Select: Linda Okken and Hour Radical Wish
The Radical Hour-Casual Asset by Investment Asset; bred by David Kunkle of Oelwein, Iowa
Open: AQHA Professional Horseman Craig Cole and Holliday Red
Seven Diamonds Red-Holliday Chata by Doc Holliday; bred by Tim Mecklenburg of Hugoton, Kansas; owned by Sue Nickle of Scott City, Kansas
Green: Bradley Ost and UF A Certain Star
Certain Potential-Prissy Legs by Zippos Old Gold; bred by the University of Florida Foundation of Ocala, Florida; owned by Courtney Archer of Pilot Point, Texas
Youth Rookie: Claire Cherrington and Zips Dandy Sensation
Good Terms-Dee Summit by Sun Dee Sensation; bred by Cliff Hartman of Marshfield, Missouri
Amateur Rookie: Kaycee Reimer and The Ultimate Party
Talk Of The Party-Elite Pass by The Ultimate Pass; bred by Mark or Tracy Willis of Edmond, Oklahoma
Equestrians With Disabilities Beginner: Courtney Miller and Im Justa Fantasy
Willers Nylon Lad-Lady Bar Cutter by Bar Gold Cutter; bred by Doreen Thomasson of Fredericksburg, Virginia; owned by Stable Strides Farm of Denton, Texas
EWD Advanced: (Tie) Kristi Sanderlin and Billies New Hobby
Red Dee Hobby-Billie Pine Bar byZippo Pine Bar; bred by Bill and Cindy Cosentino of Omaha, Nebraska; owned by Amanda Cleveland of Denton, Texas
EWD Advanced: Reyna Taylor and Dont Be Invious
Invitation Only-Zippos Punkin by Zippo Pine Bar; bred by Troy and James David Heikes of Tioga, Texas; owned by Stable Strides Farm of Denton, Texas
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