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Courtesy Just Breathe & Run

LINCOLN, CA – The first annual Just Breathe and Run Benefit Barrel Race for Cystic Fibrosis was a huge hit, as about 400 people attended each day, May 19-20. Just Breathe and Run was held at the beautiful Triple Crown Equestrian Center in Lincoln, California. There was $26,000 paid out in two days and $10,000 in awards, in open, youth, novice, pole bending and the famous, stick horse race.

Considering Cystic Fibrosis’ nickname is “65 Roses,” the Cystic Fibrosis awareness color is purple and May is CF awareness month. The Fancy Feathers provided 200 beautiful feathers to the first 150 contestants as well as each peewee rider. On top of the accessory feathers, the first 150 contestants had the honor to bring home a memorable purple rose necklace along with numerous other goodies. On Saturday the facility was flooded with roses. Saturday’s theme was “roses,” so contestants, spectators, horses, and the entire facility stepped up their game and represented the true meaning behind “65 Roses” and reminded everyone to stop and smell the roses, because you only live once. On Sunday, the vibrant color of purple was spread across Triple Crown Equestrian Center and represented Cystic Fibrosis Awareness.

Just Breathe and Run is an extremely special event with a unique purpose. The co-founders of Just Breathe and Run are two high school students, Regan Davis (sophomore) and Emily Dodds (freshman). These young ladies put their minds together and created Just Breathe and Run with the help of the producer of Classic Barrel Racing, Spring Krogue. Emily was inspired through her leadership program at school, as well as her family’s drive to raise awareness towards rare diseases. Regan’s youngest sister, Danika, fights Cystic Fibrosis. She has seen the emotional toll this disease has put on her family along with everyone affected; not to mention the physical toll that it has had on Danika. This has opened doors for her to help fundraise for Cystic Fibrosis for the past decade. Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that is invisible on first glance, but deadly to each patient who fights Cystic Fibrosis. This devastating life-shortening disease which is interchangeably known as “65 Roses,” is primarily known for affecting the respiratory and digestive system, while it impacts a large portion of the rest of the body.

Just Breathe and Run recognized an equine athlete who was nominated for the “Horse With The Most Heart Award.” This horse is believed to have the most heart, try and dedication. The 2018 Horse With The Most Heart was Hunter Morgan’s exceptional partner, CD Brown, AKA “Jorge.” Not only does this nine-year-old gelding have experience in many disciplines, but he excels in each event. As a diverse competitor, Jorge and Hunter have acquired a remarkable list of accomplishments. CD Brown had no intention to be a barrel horse, let alone have an impressive career in barrel racing; yet he now is an incredible cutting, breakaway and barrel horse. In the second go at Just Breathe and Run, CD Brown and Hunter Morgan ran the fastest run of the entire weekend with a 17.390 on a standard course. He has changed the perspective of his talented jockey, who always viewed mares having the most heart. He carries a huge heart, gives her his all every time he steps into the arena, has so much try, determination and love for the game. There were almost almost 40 nominations received and 29 exceptional equine athletes that were nominated for this honorable award. Multiple judges voted and decided the 2018 Just Breathe and Run Horse With The Most Heart. These judges have education in a wide variety of equine knowledge; from equine veterinary medicine to equine assisted therapy practice. Each judge was asked to decide their top five horses with their top choice being number one. From there, the Horse with the Most Heart was decided through a point system. The entire team at Just Breathe and Run, would like to give a huge thank you to Burman Woodcraft and Krista Williams for creating the beautiful award and all of our wonderful judges who read every application closely and careful to ensure a fair decision.

If you didn’t have a horse at Just Breathe and Run, that was not a problem. On Saturday, May 19, there was a 3D $250 added stick horse race with a 100% payback. There were two divisions, 26 and over, and 25 and under. Maddie West, riding Frank the Prank, took the 1D win in the 25 and under class with a smoking fast run of a 16.761. Maia Mayer on Callie was not far behind West, taking the 2D 25 and under title running a 22.114. Colby Christianson was running to win, and that is exactly what happened! Christianson ran a 30.168 putting them in a perfect position for the 3D title in the 25 and under. The 26 and over class was one to watch. Ryan Brecht on Big Sky Racer ran the winning run of the 26 and over with a smoking 15.257! He won the 1D by over two full seconds. Coming in hot for the 2D title for the 26 and over was Deanna Houser on Cricket with a 22.205. Patti Amaro on Let Me Drink On That took home the 2018 Just Breathe and Run 26 and over Stick Horse Race 3D title with a 27.426 second run.  

On Saturday prior to the stick horse race, a 3D $250 Pole Bending took place as well. There were 39 contestants in the pole bending, first in each division received a beautiful custom made “Just Breathe and Run” jewelry holder generously made and donated by Shelby Cotter. The CHSRA 2017 Pole Bending State Champion and Nationals Qualifier, Madison Camozzi aboard KM Dazzle A Frenchmen, won the 1D pole bending with a 20.919 second run! Taking home the 2D title was Jeannette Stewart on LWK Lena Bar Bert with a 22.117. Missi Giorgi riding Footwork Commander ran a smoking 23.137 second run and adding the 3D Just Breathe and Run Pole Bending Champion title to her list of accomplishments.

The youth and open class average winners were presented numerous awards. Mrs. Pastures Horse Cookies donated 300 sample horse cookies which the first 200 contestants, each peewee rider and every award winner took home to reward their equine partners with. Bullstrong Silversmiths provided 12 gorgeous buckles, eight belt buckles and four back cinch buckles, that the winners of youth and open took home. 

A 2017 American Semi Finals Qualifier, Audrey Antonowich on her wicked partner, Smokem Azure, smoked two runs and won the 2018 Just Breathe and Run Open 1D average title. Antonowich also had the honor to take home with her along with the first ever Just Breathe and Run Open champion title, the gorgeous Bullstrong Silversmith back cinch buckle, not to mention a number of other awards as well. Jordan Ernst riding GWH Joe Song Doctari came home with the Open 1D Reserve Average Champion Title and a beautiful Bullstrong Silversmith buckle along with a handful of other awards. Winning the 2D average was the talented Julie Marron and Famous Dotty Cash. They put together two wonderful runs which put them in the perfect spot for the 2D title. Missi Giorgi and Footwork Commander had a successful weekend, taking home the 3D pole bending title and the 2D Reserve average champion title. In the 3D average, Tracey Green riding McDreamy’s Diva made a dream come true winning their first title since having a year off. Sandra Corbin with her wonderful teammate, Lola, ran hard and it paid off! This exceptional team added the 2018 Just Breathe and Run 3D Reserve average champion title to their list of accomplishments and the 3D buckle. Color Me Paisley, Amanda Stallins’ wonderful equine partner, is working hard to fill the big shoes of her older brother. She helped her mom win the 2018 Just Breathe and Run 4D Open average title and bring home a Bullstrong back cinch buckle, rose over/under and a few other awesome prizes. Melinda Waters and Shady Gaff made two great runs in the wonderful Triple Crown arena and came home with the Just Breathe and Run Open 4D Reserve average champion title.

The future is bright. In the youth there were outstanding runs and athletes. The winner of the open 1D average also took home the Youth 1D average title as well. The Youth 1D average champion is Miss Audrey Antonowich riding Smokem Azure. Another youth American Semi Finals Qualifier, Casey Mathis, riding her young horse, Bueno Badge TR, took home the 2D Youth average title and winning Bueno Badge TR’s first buckle. Winning the Youth 3D average is a multi CHSRA state qualifier, the talented, Karly Camozzi on WPG Images Red Twist, “Jess.” The Tri County Jr Rodeo Queen, Jaeden Barmettler, won the Youth 4D average with her incredible horse, Annie Amarillo.