Braya Hutton and Peppy, her beloved eight-year-old quarter horse on whom she qualified in barrels for her first Pacific Northwest Invitational Championship, sprinted to within .153 seconds of the crown (14.698) June 3 at the Deschutes County Expo Center in Redmond.
The St. Helens High junior rivaled Enumclaw (Wash.) junior Lindsay Sogge (14.546), the Washington High School Equestrian Teams State Meet's fifth seed who upset state champions in sophomore Kennedy Seroshek of Eatonville (Wash.) and Sandy senior Alyssa Price, to whom Hutton was the Oregon High School Equestrian Teams runner-up by two points.
"This weekend was a lot of fun," said Hutton, who also went 10th (16.058) in figure 8. "The competition was really strong. I'm so proud of how my girl has run her heart out for me all season long, and I couldn't be happier with everything. It was a great year."
In what could be considered another surprise, Hutton, Canby freshman Hanna Jacobs, North Bend (Coos Bay) sophomore Hayley Snelgrove and Sprague (Salem) sophomore Chloe Burris went third as OHSET's 'A' team in versatility (which illustrates a horse's gait, manner, handling and herding) with a score of 3.02 to OHSET 'B' (2.44) and WAHSET 'B' (2.61).
Kyle Parnell, a Lions freshman, went third (16 points) in his PNWIC breakaway roping premiere.
"Kyle roped his first calf pretty quickly, but unfortunately the calf stopped and turned back," St. Helens assistant coach Julie Sandstrom said. "Once he had stopped his horse it took a second to get his forward motion going again so the rope would break off, but he still had a good time. ... We knew at that time that he was sitting in third place, and there was only one more athlete who could bump him out, and that was Blain Wheeler from Scappoose. Blain had some bad luck and missed his second cow, and that kept Kyle in third place. Since Blain had caught his first one in a good time, that put him sitting in fourth (14)."
Wheeler, a senior, is set to graduate after winning OHSET and PNWIC steer daubing titles last year.
"It was a blast going back to Redmond for regionals for breakaway," Parnell said. "It was a great season, and I had a lot of fun."