Gianna Pietrafeso wins $50,000 Amateur

June 28th, 2018

$50,000 Amateur champion Gianna Pietrafeso on Smokin Tap. Ted Petit photos.

Gianna Pietrafeso, Elbert, Colo., and Smokin Tap, winners of last year’s NCHA Denver Nationals $35,000 Non-Pro division, scored 222 points on Thursday, June 28 to win the NCHA Western Nationals $50,000 Amateur championship. Jo Ellard, Whitesboro, Tex., and Ichi La Roo claimed the reserve title with 220 points, while Stephanie Croft, Cherokee, Okla., scored 219 points for third on Cat Xcellent.

Thirteen-year-old Smokin Tap LTE $88,347, by Smokin Trona, also carried Pietrafeso as a finalist in last weekend’s NCHA Western Nationals Senior Youth. Together, the pair has gained the finals in 13 events, winning two championships, two reserves, and two NCHA World Championship Top 10 placings. Pietrafeso is the NCHA earner of $54,164, most of which she earned with Smokin Tap.

Reserve champion Jo Ellard on Ichi La Roo. Ted Petit photo.

Non-Pro Hall of Fame champion Jo Ellard is the NCHA earner of $642,062. Ellard has bred and owned (as EE Ranches) countless NCHA National champions and finalists, as well as limited age event performers, including 2004 NCHA Derby Open champion Cat Ichi, the sire of 10-year-old Ichi La Rue.

Ichi La Roo LTE $116,169 carried Ellard to win the 2014 Brazos Bash Amateur Unlimited championship and, more recently, as a finalist in the Non-Pro division of this year’s NCHA Eastern Nationals, where Guy Woods also showed him in the Open finals.

Ellard also placed in the $50,000 Amateur finals on the Cat Ichi gelding Ichin In The Reyn, who Dusty Nelsen showed to win the $5,000 Novice championship on Monday.

Stephanie Croft, Cherokee, Okla., the NCHA earner of $87,785, enjoyed success last year in limited age event competition with Toy Story Three and Badazz Cat. She won the Western States Fall Futurity 4-Year-Old Amateur riding Badazz Cat, by High Brow Cat, and the Non-Pro Limited championship in the same event on Toy Story Three, by Cats Merada. She also showed Toy Story Three as an Amateur finalist in the Breeders Invitational and the NCHA Derby, as well as an NCHA Derby Unlimited finalist.

Her mount, Cat Xcellent LTE $6,811, in this year’s NCHA Western Nationals $50,000 Amateur, is a 4-year-old Metallic Cat gelding, who was shown by James Payne to earn money in the Open Gelding division of the 2018 Arbuckle Mountain Futurity.