Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - Bonnie Hippensteel of DeFuniak Springs, Florida took her first shot at a National Reining Horse Association World Championship in 1993 and became the Limited Non Pro Reserve World Champion. Since then, she's been a consistent performer and the 2001 Non Pro World Championship on Sweepalena marked her seventh world or reserve world title.
Bonnie purchased Sweepalena from Kebra Ranch in December, 2000. By Lucky Little Lena out of 1993 Youth World Champion Sweep Success, Sweepalena was bred and raised by Rocky Dare. Dare sold the gelding to Debra Sloan as a 3-year-old, then showed him to win the Atlantic Breeders Main Event and to claim a top five open finish in the Carolina Classic. Bryant Pace rode him in 2000, winning sixth at the Gordyville Breeders Cup.
When Bonnie and Sweepalena teamed up, it quickly became apparent that they had a special magic. They marked 222.5 at the February Ocala (Florida) show - Bonnie's personal highest score.
Hippensteel was introduced to reining by Charlie Smith, and he's helped her find and train all her great horses. She said that 2001 was special because both she and Charlie had a horse to haul for year end and both won titles.
Hippensteel will receive her World Championship buckle in Oklahoma City during the NRHA Derby. The National Reining Horse Association World Champions will be recognized at the annual Awards Banquet, held May 16 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
The National Reining Horse Association is the world-wide governing body of reining, responsible for promoting the sport, working to insure the highest standards of competition and educating its members and the public about reining. For information on the National Reining Horse Association, call 405-946-7400 or visit the NRHA Official Web Site at www.nrha.com.