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Blue Shadows hits the jackpot

Posted: July 20, 2009 10:25 p.m.
Updated: July 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Blue Shadows members Nick Munoz, far left, Samantha Yanis, Lexi Keifer and Sabrina Galasso wave to the crowd as they ride in the Reno Rodeo Parade at the end of June. The Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team was crowned Junior Division Western States Champion.

 
Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team was crowned Junior Division Western States Champion at the Reno Rodeo at the end of June.

The team, made up of 18 members, had already been crowned the California State Champion in March after a year of practice and hard work.

Team members were also named overall high-point grand champions and earned the right to perform and open the prestigious Reno Rodeo during the competition.

The Reno Rodeo is a 10-day event that is billed as the "Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West" and draws more than 120,000 rodeo fans.

During the competition, Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team members were also awarded first place in the Reno Rodeo Parade for their drill display in their trip down the historic Virginia Street parade.

One of the long-standing traditions surrounding the Reno Rodeo is the Reno Rodeo Parade, one of the largest parades of horses in the west.

During the competition, the Blue Shadows performed a themed compulsory short program in the morning session with a "Chain Gang" performance set to various jailbreak and prison-themed music selections - including the Elvis hit "Jailhouse Rock" and the Johnny Cash hit "Folsom Prison Blues."

The team raced into the indoor arena garbed in prison stripes and performed a six-minute routine. The team returned to the arena for the longer "Freestyle" program.

The team, led by Lt. Elaine MacPherson of Acton, celebrates its first perfect competition season ever, winning every division and every grand champion title in which it competed.

Next year's team will be without the leadership of MacPherson, who turned 18 and will be heading off to college.

To be eligible to compete, junior riders must be under the age of 18 on Jan. 1 of the competition year.

McPherson turns the reins over to lieutenants Skylar Hudson of Agua Dulce, Ayla Swafford of Lake View Terrace and Jamilah Jabali of Glendale.

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