Nicole Sutton wants to one day do what her idol, Carrie Underwood, did at James Brown Arena – sing in front of a sold-out crowd.
The aspiring singer of country and pop music hopes to follow in the footsteps of Underwood and possibly get her big break on American Idol.
“Maybe,” Sutton said. “I kind of want to do something with equine, but I’m leaning toward singing, too.”
Sutton’s doing just fine right now with her horses. Aboard Teninos Little Rebel, Sutton marked a career-best 225 to capture the Area 18 Youth Scholarship Cutting finals at James Brown Arena.
Sutton of Cleveland, Ga., won this event for the second time in three years, claiming the scholarship prize of $3,000. In three years, she’s accumulated $8,000 in scholarship money. The White County High School sophomore said she wants to attend college, though she’s unsure of her future major.
Christian Miller and Little Leos Starlight finished second at 221 for $2,000. Chisholm Clark and Swinging Til Five, the defending champions, marked 219.5 out of the final spot for $1,500.
Teninos Little Rebel is an 11-year-old mare by Lil Tenino Fair out of Daughter of Pearl. Sutton and her family bought the horse in summer 2009 and have been impressed with her demeanor.
“The faster the cows go, the more adrenaline there is with her,” Sutton said. “She just puts a whole lot of heart into it.
“She’s very consistent on everything. She goes out to win no matter what.”
Sutton and Teninos Little Rebel ran ninth in the 14-horse field. Despite her previous success in this competition, Sutton entered the pen a bundle of nerves.
“I was shaking,” she said. “My last cow was very fast. That’s about all I remember. I remember stopping.”
Sutton said returning to Augusta is special being a Georgia cutter. That doesn’t make it any easier, though.
“It’s very nerve-wracking,” she said. “There’s new people every year and they have new horses.”