Two Wildcats Selected for NRHA Derby

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State sophomore Morgan Campbell and freshman Alecia Zimbelman have been invited to take part in the Collegiate Reining Invitational at the 2008 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby, June 23-28 at the State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, Okla. 


Campbell was named to a list of the top four Varsity Equestrian reining riders selected to compete while Zimbelman is listed as the second alternate.


“I am very honored to have been selected to represent the Kansas State Equestrian team and all of Varsity Equestrian at the NRHA Derby,” said Campbell. “This has been a goal of mine since last year and I could not have done this without the support of my amazing teammates and my coach encouraging me with every ride.”


The NRHA Collegiate Reining Invitational selects 12 collegiate riders each year to compete on borrowed horses. Each participant only has five minutes allotted for warm-up before heading into the show pen. 


Riders selected are based on three criteria: the top four reining riders from the IHSA National Horse Show automatically qualify, the top four reining riders as selected by the Varsity Equestrian Selection Committee, and four riders are chosen based on individual NRHA accomplishments from the past two years.


“I am very excited and feel so privileged to be selected for the NRHA Derby,” said Zimbelman. “I was really happy with how my first season ended and hope to get even better next year.”


The varsity equestrian selection committee chooses its top four riders based on their season record, competition schedule, and number of MVP’s earned along with recommendations from the judges from the Varsity Championships. 


Campbell ended the regular season with a 6-4-2 record and two MVP awards, both on the road. She went on to be undefeated at the 2008 Central Championship show, picking up an additional MVP award in the first day of competition. She also helped lead the Western team to a third place finish at Varsity Championships remaining undefeated the entire weekend. 


Zimbelman also made an impact in her first season riding for the Wildcats with a 6-5-1 record, one MVP award, and a 3-1 record at the Varsity Championships.


“It is a tremendous honor for me and the entire Kansas State Equestrian team to have Morgan and Alecia represent us at the NRHA Derby,” Western head coach Casie Williamson said. “Campbell has been the backbone of our reining squad since she stepped into the program and it is great that her hard work is paying off. Alecia was so strong in her first year and we are expecting even bigger things from her next year.”


Campbell will join Georgia sophomore Sarah Locker and sophomores Leah Kuehn and Rachell Shobe from Oklahoma State on the squad, while Georgia freshman Diandra St. Hilaire and Auburn senior Julie Gibbes join Zimbelman as alternates.