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July 5, 2012

Front page photo courtesy of Waltenberry Photography.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina rising sophomore Layla Choate wrapped up a successful week at the 2012 NRHA Derby in Oklahoma City, capturing the USEF National Youth Reining Championship in the 19-21 age division.

Choate and her horse, Plus One Chex, were locked in a tie with Michael Pope and his horse, Whizota, as both riders sat tied atop the leader board with scores of 146. In the runoff round for the championship, Choate scored 144 to claim the title, as Pope scored 143 and finished second.

“Layla had amazing rides all week, and we are all very proud of her tremendous wins,” associate head coach Ruth Sorrel said. “She competed against some great rides, and for her to come out on top says a lot about the type of rider she is.”

Choate’s USEF Championship was just one of her several accomplishments over the weekend, as the Kentucky native also won the 7-Up Non Pro class while riding Plus One Chex.

Choate also made it to the finals of the Non Pro Derby Finals riding Bonitas Latin Chic, finishing in a tie for second place with Jennifer Gilliam and her horse, Hick A Shine.

Choate had a stellar freshman season for the Gamecocks, posting a 9-6-1 record while winning two regular season MVP’s and one MVP during postseason competition. After going 5-5 during the regular season, Choate led the way with a 4-1-1 record during the postseason.

General NRHA Info:
– NRHA, with its International Headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a non-profit organization formed in 1966 to promote the sport of Reining
– 19,000+ members worldwide
– 100+ NRHA affiliates worldwide
– NRHA approves more than 800+ sanctioned events worldwide each year