By Christina Brezack National Reining Horse AssociationApril 24, 2013
Mike McEntire of Selma, North Carolina, is the 2012 NRHA Professional Horseman of the Year. (Photo courtesy of NRHA)
The National Reining Horse Association Professional of the Year awards recognize and honor individuals who exemplify excellence in the NRHA community as an NRHA professional. These awards are presented in five different categories based on their 2012 involvement. This distinction is reserved exclusively for the elite individuals who, in all aspects of their career, consistently excel in perpetuating the growth of the NRHA, both in and out of the show pen, while maintaining the ideals of good horsemanship, sportsmanship and welfare of the reining horse.
Award recipients will be recognized at the NRHA awards banquet on Thursday, June 27, at 5:45 p.m. They will be awarded custom Montana Silversmiths spurs.
NRHA Professional Horseman of the Year
Mike McEntire of Selma, North Carolina, has been an NRHA professional since 2003. With NRHA lifetime earnings of more than $950,000, McEntire has placed on the top-20 NRHA professionals list for several years. McEntire is a perennial finalist in NRHA major events; his accomplishments in the show pen include the 2003 NRHA novice horse open world championship, the 2010 NRHA Futurity open reserve championship and the 2011 All American Quarter Horse Congress championship, among many others.
McEntire has coached and mentored many students to their first wins, first titles and multiple year-end championships. He has been called patient, honest and forthcoming. McEntire’s training philosophy is embodied and guided by his appreciation and consideration for the horse.
Find out more about Mike McEntire at www.mcentirereining.com.
NRHA Professional Horsewomen of the Year
Melanie Wilhelm from Nazareth, Texas, has been an NRHA professional since 2004. Known for her NASCAR freestyle reining exhibition at the 2012 4R Performance Horse Hometown Heroes Slide and NRHA Cowtown Classic Invitational Freestyle, Wilhelm is also active with her local affiliates and 4-H clubs, where she promotes the sport of reining and youth programs. She has been the president of the West Texas Reining Horse Association and is currently the treasurer.
Wilhelm encourages her non-pro and youth clients by setting goals and pushing her students to reach them. She leads by example as she reaches her own open goals, like becoming a 2011 NRHA Derby open finalist.
Find out more about Melanie Wilhelm at www.wilhelmperformancehorses.com.
NRHA Professional Non-Pro Coach of the Year
Kim Yancey of Ione, California has been an NRHA professional since 2003. Yancey has been featured on NRHA’s "Inside Reining," participates at Reining Horse Sport Foundation Rookie Days and sponsors NRHA shows. She rode to a 2008 top-10 finish in the NRHA novice horse open. Yancey has guided countless non-pros to many NRHA wins over the last 10 years. Most recently, Yancey coached the 2011 NRHA rookie of the year champion and reserve champion.
Yancey takes her time with her clients, making sure they understand concepts as they work on their set goals. She has been called the “Mother Teresa of Reining” due to her honest, caring characteristics as well as caring for the horses as her own.
Kim Yancey’s contact information can be found at www.yanceyperformancehorses.com.
NRHA Professional Youth Coach of the Year
Mack Weaver of Morgan, Utah, has been an NRHA professional since 2009. With the most nomination ballets of all the professional award nominees, Weaver has made a great impact on the youth, where he emphasizes respect, work ethic, volunteerism and above all, fun. Weaver demonstrates patience and a unique aptitude to teaching horsemanship skills to the young riders he coaches. Weaver and his wife, Ashley, are always willing to give up their time to volunteer with the youth in the Intermountain Reining Horse Association by helping raise money, even if that means Weaver spends all day riding dressed as a women. Weaver and his wife do this all for love of their youth.
With his continual promotion of the sport of reining, Weaver uses his extra time to put on clinics. He was one of the trainers that helped put on the Ride a Reiner program at the Professional Bull Riders World Finals last fall. He also helped coach one of the police officers for the 4R Performance Horses Hometown Heroes Slide in 2012.
To find out more about Mack Weaver, visit www.weaverreining.com.
NRHA Professional Up-And-Coming Trainer of the Year
Matthew Hudson from Marieville, Quebec, has been an NRHA professional only since the beginning of 2012. He finished the year in the top-20 professionals list, earning more than $96,700. In the last two years, Hudson has increased his NRHA lifetime earnings from $27,000 to more than $190,000. As a leader in the professional groups in Canada, he is a great advocate and supporter of NRHA and the sport of reining. He is confident, competitive, hardworking and humble.
2012 was a great year for Hudson. He was an NRHA Futurity Level 3 and 4 open division finalist, All American Quarter Horse Congress Futurity Level 3 open co-champion and Level 4 open finalist, National Reining Breeders Classic Level 3 and 4 open division finalist, along with being named trainer of the year for Quebec.
To find out more about Matthew Hudson, visit www.equineplus-excalibur-en.com.
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