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June 15, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina equestrian coach Boo Major has announced the signing of Melia Blakely to a national letter of intent to join the Gamecocks for the 2010-2011 season. Blakely will be on South Carolina’s Western team, and will compete for the Gamecocks in Reining.

Known on the horse circuit as “Canada,” Blakely comes to the Gamecocks from Colwater, Ontario in Canada. She attended Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School, and is currently president of the Ontario Rening Horse Association. She was trained by Harvey and Molly Stevens.

Blakely joins the Gamecocks after a successful 2009 season. Last year, she was First Qualifier for the North American Young Rider Championships, World Champion Appaloosa Rening Reserve Champion (18 & under), Canadian National Appaloosa Show 14-18 Third Place in Horsemanship, Canadian National Appaloosa Show 14-18 Reserve Champion in Bareback Horsemanship, and won the Championship at the Canadian National Appaloosa Show 14-18 in Reining. In 2008, she was the OAHA Youth Champion.

We are very excited to have Melia join our team in the fall,” Major said. “She will be our first Canadian reiner and we think she will be able to make some positive contributions to our western team. Canada has a very good reining organization and coach Ruth Sorrel and I are looking forward to seeing what she can do for us.”