Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association Riders Claim Top Slots at NRHA Collegiate Reining Championships during NRHA Derby

July 10th, 2015 10:08 AM | No Comments

Press Release

Holly Phillips on Olenas Chocolatechic [photo credit: Waltenberry]

Holly Phillips on Olenas Chocolatechic [photo credit: Waltenberry]

University of Findlay’s Holly Phillips and University of Central Florida’s Morgan Sykes finished first- and second-place to deliver two of the best finishes ever by Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association members in the National Reining Horse Association Collegiate Reining Championships, Saturday, June 27, during the NRHA Derby in Oklahoma City, OK, in front of judges Charlie Smith, Kelly Hedges and Steve Ross.
“I’m not surprised by her win,” University of Findlay (Ohio) coach Clark Bradley said, referring to Phillips, who was NRHA-qualified for the class and also rides on the Oilers’ IHSA Western team. “She drew a nice horse and showed smart. She can ride a really precise pattern, and has exceptionally good hands and good position, which helps her set a horse up really well.”
Sykes’ reserve title (according to IHSA national board member, Naomi Blumenthal) is the highest-placing ever by an IHSA-qualified rider in the NRHA Collegiate Reining Championships. Sykes’ 210 score was just .5 behind Phillips, who delivered a 210.5 title-winning effort on Maurice Robinson’s Olenas Chocolatechic.
Sykes, who rides for the UCF Knights and coach Russell Drawdy (and has been personally coached by Florida State University coach Jean Anthony), said after his go, “I had an excellent draw on a horse named Kiss My Trash. He gave everything I asked for and more! I had a rider error on my right roll back, which resulted in a two-point trot penalty, but was excited to see IHSA represented in both the first- and second-place finishes. I love Trash-bred horses. If they know their job, like this one did, you just stay out of their way and let them do their thing.”
He’s got a lot of feel. He’s really good at reading horses,” said Sykes’ UCF IHSA Western coach, Russell Drawdy. Drawdy, and his wife and assistant coach, Teresa, are both former NRHA Reserve World Champions, and credit teamwork with getting Sykes to the top of college reining, including the “wonderful” coaching provided him by Anthony, who coaches the Florida State University IHSA Western team.
Also finishing in the Top 10 were IHSA-qualified entries SUNY Oswego’s Danielle Grasmeder, who tied for fifth and Alfred University’s Alexa Buckeit who was ninth. IHSA-qualified rider placings in BOLD:
1 Olenas Chocolatechic Holly Phillips 210.5

2 Kiss My Trash Morgan Sykes 210.0
3 Custom Made Pistol Layla E Choate 208.5

4 Chocolate Whiz Chic Claudia S Spreng 207.0

5 Kr Ima Selfish Danielle R Grasmeder 206.5
5 Dun Berry Legend Elizabeth Hayes 206.5

8 Hollywood Cielo Kyndall Harper 205.0

9 Thechicksarewatching Alexa Buckeit 204.5
10 Bet You Luv This Kid Lauren Garmon 194.0

Plum Chrome Makayla Maciejewski 0

The Boominator Laura Sumrall SC

NRHA is proud sponsor of the IHSA Western Semi Finals, the last prestigious qualifying step to the annual IHSA National Championships, to be hosted May 2016 and 2017 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary in 2017 of the launch of IHSA, now the largest and oldest (1967) collegiate riding program in America.
IHSA promotes competition for riders of all skill levels, who compete individually and as teams at regional and national levels, based on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of his or her financial status or riding level. Learn more about its teams and scholarships at

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