Richard Robards, Guest Reporter for the Herald-News
Metcalfe County teen Mallory Russell competed at her second big event of the summer recently at the American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) World Championship and brought home a fifth-place finish in the Stake Race to claim her fourth top-five finish in the last two years. She also finished 11th in Level II Barrels.
Russell had just returned home from the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) Youth World Championship in Perry, Ga. where she qualified for finals and finished sixth nationally in 3D out of 565 participants.
In a sport where success is measured by fractions of a second, qualifying is just as, if not harder, than riding in the finals. In order to participate at either national event, a rider must accumulate points at AQHA- and NBHA-sponsored events.
At AQHYA, Russell failed to qualify for finals in pole bending after knocking the second to last prop. She then ran a clean run in Level III Barrels, but not fast enough to qualify for finals.
In the Stake Race preliminary, Russell punched in the fastest time out of 60 participants (8.214 seconds) to earn her spot in the finals.
Her fifth-place finish won her a prized AQHYA jacket and a ribbon.
In all, 771 exhibitors brought 1,056 horses for more than 3,000 entries in 74 disciplines.
She is the daughter of Teri and Jonathan Atkins, Knob Lick; Brandon and Jordan Russell, Owensboro; and the granddaughter of Billy Ray and Lisa Russell, Center; Richard and Linda RoBards, Campbellsville; and Tommy and Charlotte Atkins, Sulphur Well.
In addition to weekend competitions in places like Liberty, Hodgenville and Glasgow, the Russell Racing Team is also set to go to AQHA Congress in Columbus, Ohio in October.