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Inaugural Rocky Mountain Hat Trick winners

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Photo courtesy Bill Wingle Carrie Gardner and Navajo (left) and Johnnie Lyons and Kookie rode together in all three of the Hat Trick rides.

Members of the Women's Surface Creek Saddle Club brainstormed about a way to increase attendance in the Competitive Trail Rides (CTR) sanctioned by the North American Trail Rider Conference (NATRC). Krisite LaValley from Cedaredge headed up the effort and decided to organize a Triple Crown type of event and named it The Rocky Mountain Hat Trick. A hat trick is usually associated with one player scoring three goals in hockey, but it can also be three consecutive sporting events or races. Alpine Bank of Delta and Montrose graciously agreed to sponsor the first ever Rocky Mountain Hat Trick.

The first leg of the Rocky Mountain Hat Trick was held in Lake George at the MLazyC Dude Ranch in July. Island in The Sky, held on the Grand Mesa in August, was the second leg. Chicken Creek held in National Forest above Mancos was the final leg.

To be eligible to win the same horse with the same rider had to participate in all three of the events. Each division and class would have a winner. The series had seven possible winners and gave all levels of riders a chance to win some great prizes. NATRC long distance trail rides judge the horse separate from the rider. A NATRC certified veterinarian judges the conditioning, soundness and trail manners of the horse. A NATRC sanctioned Horsemanship judge tracks how well the horse and rider work together as a team. Points are then given for both horse and rider depending how each placed in their division and class. The points scored for the horse and rider were then combined for all three events to determine the winners.

Four of the seven classes were in a tie at the conclusion of the second leg, Island in The Sky. However after the results from the Chicken Creek event were tabulated there were clear winners in each class.

Johnnie Lyons from Cedaredge rode Sixes Peppy Lady (Kookie) to become the Hat Trick winners in the Novice Lightweight class. Johnnie and Kookie did very well at Chicken Creek with Johnnie taking home first place in horsemanship and Kookie getting second place horse.

Carrie Gardner from Eckert and her big Tennessee Walker, SAS's My Future Is Spots (Navajo) were the Hat Trick winners in the Novice Heavyweight division. They also did very well at Chicken Creek. Navajo took home first place horse and Carrie was third place in horsemanship. Winners received a gift certificate from Riding House, a wooden plaque made by Dale Arnett from Parachute and a handcrafted hoof pack made by Brenton Flohe from Delta.

Paula Mitchell from Cedaredge wasn't able to compete in all three events due to an injury but she took home the Sweepstakes Award at the Chicken Creek ride. Paula and her Arabian gelding, Taras Sham, were the highest scoring horse and rider in the entire Novice division.

Congratulations to Surface Creek Valley's local horses and riders.

Photo courtesy Bill Wingle Rocky Mountain Hat Trick winners include, from the left: Terri Smith, Aztec, New Mexico; Dr. Kay Gunckel, Longmont; Sydney VanPoollen, De Beque; Johnnie Lyons, Cedaredge; Carrie Gardner, Eckert; and Diane Wingle, Franktown.
Photo courtesy Bill Wingle Paula Mitchell and Sham did not compete in all three of the Hat Trick rides but did take home the sweepstakes award at the Chicken Creek ride.
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Surface Creek
Clubs, Women's Surface Creek Saddle Club
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