Soroco student reins supreme | SteamboatToday.com

Soroco student reins supreme

High school senior wins National Reining Horse Championship

Alexis DeLaCruz

— Being a national champion has it perks.

“I won a saddle, a bronze (sculpture and plaque) and the belt buckle,” Soroco High School senior Bryan Luark said Wednesday. “I haven’t taken the belt buckle off since I won it.”

Luark was named the National Reining Horse Association’s Adequan North American Affiliate Champion in his age class during a competition Dec. 1 in Oklahoma City.

While Luark received the bling, his quarter horse, Boomen James Foley, got just what he deserved.

“A pat on the back,” Luark said.

Competing against the nat-

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ion’s top 14- to 18-year-olds at nationals was a dream come true for Luark – and one that has been five years in the making.

“As far as Bryan goes, he is most deserving because he is so dedicated to his horses,” said his mother, Niki Luark. “Bryan rides his horses six nights a week for three hours. He’s the one out there training them and cleaning their stalls.”

Luark credits his win to arriving in Oklahoma City early enough to be prepared of the big day.

“I wouldn’t say I knew I was going to win because you never think about taking it, but I was confident,” he said.

On the day of the competition, Luark tied with another competitor during his first run, which meant making a second run to determine a winner.

“I’ve done a run-off before, so I wasn’t too nervous, but if I had never done one, I would have been,” he said. “Everything I know and had learned leading up to this moment just came together.”

Luark scored 216 Ā½ points during his second run, narrowly beating his competition. During a reining competition, riders begin with 70 points and are awarded additional points for successful maneuvers or deducted points for mistakes. Five judges judge the run, but the highest and lowest scores are tossed. The remaining three scores are added to give the rider’s final score.

Luark missed about a week of school to compete, which both he and his family are appreciative of.

“Without Dr. (James) Chamberlin’s support of Bryan, he wouldn’t have been able to realize his dreams,” Niki Luark said.

Chamberlin, the principal at Soroco Middle and High School, said he was just proud to have Luark represent Soroco High School.

“It takes a lot of dedication and self-motivation to do what Bryan has done. It isn’t like a team sport,” he said. “(Reining) is something neat he excels at, and I am just proud to have him represent Soroco. He’s a success story.”

Luark’s next big adventure most likely will be attending a pre-veterinarian medicine program at Colorado State University after graduation in May.