Katy Doke shows her horse R. J. in the Working Ranch Horse class in Dodge City.—Channing Hawks photo Katy Doke shows her horse R. J. in the Working Ranch Horse class in Dodge City.—Channing Hawks photo
**For Immediate Release** Equestrians Compete in Season's First NVRHA Show —By Misty Lethcho and Laura Nelson on 11/17/2011 Dodge City, Kan.—The first collegiate National Versatility Ranch Horse Association (NVRHA) show of the season was hosted by Dodge City Community College on Oct. 22 and 23. A totally different type of show from the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) competition, riders show their own horses. The NVRHA's mission includes raising awareness of and appreciation for the versatility of the ranch horse and fostering the preservation and enhancement of Western culture and heritage.

The first day of each show is a clinic and the horse and rider perform all of the tasks required for competition, but instead of being judged, the participant receives constructive criticism. The second day, riders compete against each other in one of five skill levels. OPSU competes in the Collegiate Division as well as Amateur divisions including Novice, Limited, Intermediate, and Advanced. NVRHA also offers the Open Division, the highest one. All competitors demonstrate their ability and their horses' ability in different classes including Ranch Riding, Ranch Trail, Ranch Cutting, Working Ranch Horse, and Conformation. NVRHA judges focus on how well the horse responds to its rider's directions, the willingness of the animal to perform various tasks that might be asked of it as well as the horse's conformation. The horse/rider duo earns points and advance through divisions, or skill levels, and as they advance, the tasks increase in complexity.

At the Dodge City show in the Collegiate division, Katy Doke placed first in Confirmation while Jena Braun earned second in the Ranch Trail class. Kenzey Sandoval took third in Ranch Riding and Doke placed sixth. Doke also placed second and third overall in the Working Ranch Horse class.

In the Novice Amateur Division, Sandoval placed sixth overall after earning sixth place in confirmation, second in ranch riding, fourth in ranch cutting, and fifth in working ranch horse. Braun placed third in ranch trail and in ranch riding plus placed fifth in ranch cutting. Misty Lethcho earned sixth in ranch riding while Clay Croft earned sixth in ranch cutting and sixth in working ranch horse.

Doke, competing in the intermediate amateur division, placed first in conformation, sixth in ranch trail, second in ranch riding, sixth in ranch cutting, third in working ranch horse, overall placing fourth.

The next NVRHA show is scheduled for April, but the OPSU team won't take a break from practicing and working to improve!