Joseph Gavin Mesalam, Versailles, Ky., scored a 221.5-point win on Dualcious LTE $61,464, as the next-to-last rider in the 27-horse finals of the NCHA Eastern Nationals $35,000 Non-Pro championship, on Wednesday, March 10, in Jackson, Miss. Cody Cain, Chancellor, Ala., earned the reserve championship with 219.5 points on CD Cats Olena LTE $40,048, while Aden Bernhagen, Corsicana, Tex., placed third with 218 points on Dr Cuzin LTE $165,193.
Gavin Mesalam, the NCHA earner of $12,595, placed fourth in the $15,000 Amateur Finals on Tuesday, riding Dualcious, and on Sunday showed Take It Eazee LTE $116,185 to place sixth in the Junior Youth Finals.
Dualcious, by Halreycious, was a 2014 NCHA Futurity Open semi-finalist and Open Limited finalist under Wes Ashlock. The gelding was also a 2017 NCHA Super Stakes Classic Open Limited and Augusta Futurity Classic Open finalist under Gabe Reynolds, who showed him to place in the 2018 NCHA Eastern Nationals $25,000 Novice.
In 2019, Gavin’s father, Randy Mesalam, the NCHA earner of $14,554, showed Dualcious to place ninth in the $35,000 Non-Pro, and yesterday placed tenth in the $35,000 Non-Pro riding 7-year-old Take It Eazee, by Smooth As A Cat.
Cody Cain, the NCHA earner of $9,600, was an NCHA Eastern Nationals Senior Youth finalist on Sunday, riding CD Cats Olena LTE $40,048, who he also showed as 2020 NCHA Eastern Nationals $2,000 Limited Rider reserve champion. In addition, Cain was a 2018 NCHA Eastern Nationals Junior Youth finalist showing Peponitas Gunner LTE $61,860 and as a $2,000 Limited Rider in 2019.
CD Cats Olena, a 17-year-old daughter of CD Olena, was bred by Gene Quirk, Jr., out of Cats Cassandra LTE $24,053, by High Brow Cat.
Aden Bernhagen, the NCHA earner of $35,797 and his gelding Dr Cuzin topped the 2019 NCHA $2,000 Limited Rider World standings and claimed reserve in the 2020 $35,000 Non-Pro standings. The pair also won the 2019 NCHA $2,000 Limited Rider World Finals and the Junior Youth championship of the 2019 NCHA Western Nationals.
In addition to his third-place finish on Dr Cuzin in the $35,000 Non-Pro, Aden also showed GS Zans Cat LTE $200,944 on Sunday as a Junior Youth finalist.
Seventeen-year-old Dr Cuzin, by Dual Rey, was bred by Kelly Schaar and trained and shown by Ronnie Rice as a limited age event finalist, including in the 2007 NCHA Futurity. Dr Cuzin is a full brother to Legal Dream LTE $198,920 out of Short Candy LTE $132,953.
The NCHA Eastern National Championships Presented by 6666 Ranch continues through March 13, 2021.
To read more from Sally Harrison, visit her blog at sallyharrison.com.