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NRHA Professional of the Year Awards Announced

NRHA Million Dollar Rider Dell Hendricks was named the National Reining Horse Association’s Professional Horseman of the Year for 2015. He was in good company with NRHA Professional Sam Smith earning the NRHA Non Pro Coach of the Year, plus NRHA Professional Kim Dierks as the Horsewoman of the Year, Devin Warren as Youth Coach of the Year and NRHA Professional Mathieu Buton as Up-and-Coming Trainer of the Year. With the highest number of nominations NRHA has ever had, Shane Brown, Chair of the Professionals Committee was elated. “It’s amazing the gratitude these professionals show when receiving these awards,” said Brown.

NRHA Professional Horseman of the Year

NRHA Million Dollar Rider Dell Hendricks, a resident of Tioga, Texas and active member of the Southwest Reining Horse Association, has been an NRHA member since 1991 and throughout his reining career has earned more than $1,697,000 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings.

More important than his winnings, has been his dedication to his clients and their success. His ability to communicate with riders of all ages, having clients ranging from 12 to 78, touts his success as a coach.  Not only has he been a mentor to an abundance of non pros over the years, he has served on the Executive Board, he’s a past President of NRHA and has taught clinics across the world at the request of NRHA.

Hendricks has been an NRHA Professional since 2003 and has had great success in the show pen having been an NRHA Futurity Champion, NRHA Futurity Reserve Champion, 5-Time NRBC Open Derby Champion, AQHA Congress Open Futurity Champion and World Equestrian Games Team USA Gold Medalist, accomplishments that are just a portion of his major event winnings. Hendricks’ dedication not only to the reining industry but also his clients is evident as he sets up his clientele to be in the winner’s circle.

NRHA Non Pro Coach of the Year

Sam Smith of Marietta, Oklahoma has been said to “live and breathe the sport of Reining.” And it is this lifelong dedication to promoting the NRHA and the preparation of the horses to the sport that has enabled him to be successful not only as a rider but also as a coach. With over 30 years of experience as a trainer, Smith has more than proven his talent in the show pen boasting in excess of $570,000 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings.

More importantly, Smith has coached countless youth, open and non pro circuit champions and year end winners and “demonstrates great patience with all of his riders” and “truly wants them to succeed.” In addition to Smith’s superior coaching skills, he has served on several professional committees and is also an NRHA Judge. He is also active in the Southwest Reining Horse Association (SWRHA).

With Smith’s work ethic that is “second to none” and a focus that “never falters,” he, along with his clients, will continue to be successful in the show pen.

NRHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year

Between showing reining horses as a professional, coaching clients, and developing high caliber reining prospects, Kim Diercks has established herself in the reining horse industry. An NRHA Professional, Diercks has been involved with the association since 1986 and has since established herself as a respected and successful trainer. Diercks has dedicated herself to the promotion and success of the NRHA at both the affiliate and national levels. She’s an Affiliate Board member, show manager, Rookie Day Professional, an NRHA Judge and an NRHA show representative. As well, she is active in her local affiliate, the North Central Reining Horse Association (NCRHA).

In addition to her contributions to the association, Diercks has had a successful show career with over $264,000 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings. Her list of accomplishments includes being a multiple NRHA Open Futurity Finalist, NRHA Derby Open Finalist and an NRBC Finalist. In addition, she has several National and World titles in the Morgan and Paint Horse associations as well as two US National Arabian Championships. Along with her own impressive list of accomplishments, she sets up her clients to be in the winner’s circle in both local and major competitions.

NRHA Youth Coach of the Year

Five-time World Champion Devin Warren has over 20 years’ experience as a horse trainer, breeder and showman. His dedication to “his clients, horses and family are unsurpassed,” which makes it no surprise that he has been selected as NRHA Youth Coach of the Year. Warren is active in his local affiliate, the Rocky Mountain Reining Horse Association (RMRHA) and has been on the board for six years. As well, he donates time to local 4H clubs and allows various groups to utilize his facilities. He’s also been known to reach out to up-and-coming trainers and “thinks of others before himself.”

Based in Franktown, Colorado Warren has excelled both in the show pen and in teaching on the national level. Warren not only qualified for the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships (NAAC) but also had numerous clients to qualify as well, which were just part of a number of successes during their 2015 show season.

Warren is an APHA and AQHA member, has numerous APHA Reining Championships and has been an NRHA Derby finalist. In addition, his clientele have won an extensive amount of titles and he has coached youth riders who have later gone on to ride on National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) teams.

NRHA Up-and-Coming Trainer of the Year

An NRHA Top 20 Professional and a successful horse trainer and non pro coach, Mathieu Buton has several years of experience working with some of the best professionals in the industry including NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Craig Schmersal and NRHA Million Dollar Rider Mike McEntire.

The 34-year-old trainer piloted Ms Mercedes Whiz owned by Buton and his wife Angela, to a Level (L) 2 Open championship title at the 2015 NRHA Futurity along with a Reserve in L3 and placed ninth in the L4 Open division to bring home a paycheck of more than $54,000. Hailing from France, currently a Texas resident and active member of SWRHA, Buton has been making his presence known in the reining horse industry.

He has been said to have an “unique ability to softly teach correctness to his horses as well as teaching his students to understand not only the how but also the why.”

For more information about the NRHA Professionals program or to find a professional to help with training or lessons, visit

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