courtesy of this week's Barrel Racing Report (click link to read entire issue)
by Hope Sickler
One of the hottest futurity trainers in the industry, Kelsey Lutjen, took top honors at the #10 Qualifier for RFDTV’s The American held last week in Reno, Nevada. It was the 10th stop for this year’s qualifying events as well as the BBR Western Territorial Finals. Lutjen jockeyed the very talented KN Fabs Gift Of Fame owned by Kenny Nichols & Dale Barron to the win with a time of 17.242 seconds.
KN Fabs Gift Of Fame is the 7-year-old daughter of Frenchmans Fabulous and out of Mistys Dash Of Fame by Dash Ta Fame. She is owned by Nichols Quarter Horses, Kenny Nichols and Dale Barron. Lutjen has won over $135,000.00 on the beautiful mare that they affectionately call “J-Lo” and had a very successful futurity year on her. However, her futurity year was cut a little short when the mare suffered a significant injury in November from a pasture incident.
“I am so grateful that she came back from her injury like she did. She was off a whole year and it was a miracle that she even came back as good as she did. I have been back on her for a year now and she feels great,” explained Lutjen.
Lutjen decided to enter the qualifier in Reno because she wanted to try to get qualified before the Buckeye, AZ qualifier.
“To be honest, I really wanted to go back to the semi-finals and it was stressing me not having qualified yet. The Semi-Finals was one of the coolest experiences that I have ever been to and I really wanted to go back. I talked my good friend Jordan Bassett into going with me so it made the trip better!”
Lutjen admitted that even though her run in the qualifier wasn’t picture perfect, J-lo is so freaky fast that it usually doesn’t matter if they have a few mistakes.
“She kind of went by the first barrel and then got stuck on the backside of the third barrel. My saving grace is that she is so fast and tries so hard. She can usually get through any ground and handle it,” Lutjen said.
Now with a qualification under her belt, Lutjen can breathe a sigh of relief.
“I think the whole concept of The American is great for people like me who ride futurity colts but yet can still have the opportunity to run at this kind of money and not have to go up and down the road. I am not really a rodeo person and I don’t like to travel as much as it takes to be a die-hard rodeo competitor but with The American, we still get to be in that environment and potentially run for a million dollars.”