The Lamar Community College (LCC) Ranch Horse Team proudly commends the outstanding performance of two of its students, Audreauna Shahan and Ty Arnold, at the prestigious National Western Stock Show Collegiate Challenge held recently in Denver, Colorado.
The National Western Horseman’s Challenge, a key event within the National Western Stock Show (NWSS), offers a dynamic platform for local and national competitors to engage in an evolving discipline. The Invitational Collegiate Challenge, designed to involve college horse programs, presents scholarship opportunities, with higher education programs from Colorado and Wyoming selecting two representatives each. Participants navigate a challenging course with strict rules, including three attempts or 30 seconds per obstacle and penalties for refusals, time faults, and more. The scoring system, balancing horsemanship, ability, talent, and speed, creates a thrilling competition, with the highest score reaching 160 points in the Speed Challenge. The Collegiate Challenge further adds to the excitement, awarding points based on both speed and the number of competitors, showcasing the dedication and skill of collegiate equestrians.
The Horse Program faculty selected Audreauna Shahan and Ty Arnold to represent the LCC team at the National Western Stock Show Collegiate Challenge. “We were confident in their ability to handle the unknown obstacles and prepare their horses accordingly, shares Holly Hopkins, LCC Horse Program Assistant.
Refining the horsemanship skills upon their return from winter break, the faculty guided their students in preparation for the event. Despite facing harsh winter weather conditions, Audreauna and Ty honed their horsemanship skills and acclimated their horses to the foreign Coliseum arena. They meticulously walked through patterns on foot, strategizing the best execution for each obstacle in the competition. The challenges included walking over tarps, fetching water from a well, moving a jump pole from one barrel to another, kicking a ball through a goal, jumping, digging for gold, and more. Despite facing some initial hurdles on the first day, both students successfully completed the patterns within the allotted time.
On Wednesday, January 17th, Audreauna and Ty participated in both the Team Challenge and the Speed Challenge. The Team Challenge, a relay race with a team of four riders, required each participant to conquer three obstacles. While Audreauna and Ty found themselves on different teams, the experience provided an excellent opportunity to practice their skills and forge new connections within the industry. The mystery speed challenge course proved to be significantly more extensive and varied. Despite feeling a touch of nervousness due to unfamiliarity, the challenge was exciting for both riders and their horses.
In the speed challenge, 22 riders (10 from the open division and 12 collegiate riders) ran concurrently. The course included obstacles such as grabbing a pool noodle, crossing lawn cushions with alternating red umbrellas and balloons, opening and closing a rope gate on a tarp, climbing a spool, pulling a wagon with a rope, crossing a bridge with red and white balloons, loping a tight circle with a water fountain, roping a dummy, fetching water from a well, passing over poles, finding a gold nugget at a mine, and running with the horse over poles while weaving. Time finished as they crossed the starting barrels.
Completing the pattern with one fault and a 4-minute run, Ty instilled confidence in his performance, hinting at a promising placement in the results. Nerves were high at the gate when the announcement came: “From Lamar, Colorado, Ty Arnold on Motorscootrose is taking home second place and has earned himself a thousand-dollar scholarship!” The entire LCC team jumped and cheered in celebration.
Ty reflected on his experience, stating, “My thoughts before I went in were just to go in, have fun, and enjoy the experience the stock show offered. My favorite thing about this experience was being in a situation I’ve never been put into.” Ty’s sentiments capture the essence of the challenge and the unique opportunities it presented for growth.
Ty and Audreauna’s outstanding performances add to the pride of Lamar, Colorado, and Lamar Community College. “We are extremely proud of Audreauna Shahan and Ty Arnold, and we cannot wait to see how they do with the rest of our Ranch Horse Team shows!” boasts coach Holly Hopkins.