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APHA honors Paint community greats at 2018 Hall of Fame celebration

Fond memories, meaningful moments and treasured relationships were celebrated in spades at the APHA Hall of Fame banquet March 4 in Irving, Texas.

The celebration banquet honored several distinguished horses, horsemen and -women who have helped shape the Paint Horse community throughout the years. In addition to Hall of Fame inductees, leading stallion owners and judges emeritus, three professionals received awards highlighting their unique contributions to the community.

Learn more about the sixth APHA Hall of Fame class, judges emeritus and top stallion owners online; subscribe to the Paint Horse Journal to read more about APHA Convention in the May 2018 issue.

Don Manuello Ring Steward Award

This year, APHA’s judges introduced a new award, surprising its first recipient. Presented in its inaugural year to its namesake, the Don Manuello Ring Steward Award is awarded by the APHA Judges Committee to a ring steward who, through years of service to the industry, has exemplified the character, loyalty, integrity and camaraderie representative of the high standards established by the award’s namesake.

APHA Judge David Denniston illustrated the important of ring stewards within the competitive horse community.

“I honestly believe ring stewards are the silent heroes who keep our horse industry alive,” David said. “These are the folks who make sure the horse show happens: they see to the important behind-the-scenes issues and ensure horse shows run smoothly for exhibitors, and they keep the show moving and take care of judges so that we can focus on our job of judging the horse show.”

Don accepted his award to a standing ovation, while David illustrated his dedication to the Paint communities judges and shows.

“Tonight I am proud to lead the recognition of a true hidden figure of the horse show industry,” David said. “He’s a man who taught me so much. Not just about what it takes to be a successful horse show judge, but also about kindness, respect, communication, preparedness and being a gentleman. He is the epitome of a professional, and I’m proud to call him a dear friend.”

APHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year—Sandi Morgan

Established in 2016, the Paint Professional Horseman of the Year award honors a hardworking professional who exemplifies the APHA Professional Horsemen’s code of ethics and serves as a positive ambassador of Paint Horses and the overall equine industry.

An all-around trainer for more than 25 years, Sandi was nominated by her peers for her exemplary coaching, training and leadership efforts. In the show pen, Sandi has trained and coached Paints and exhibitors to numerous circuit championships, world championships, all-around titles and Top 20 year-end awards. As a special surprise, several of Sandi’s longtime clients secretly flew from Utah to attend the awards banquet.

“I’ve been in this industry for a long time and I’m passionate about the Paint Horse. It’s been a lifetime that I’ve spent with these Paint Horses, and those three tables are my family,” Sandi said in her acceptance speech. “You hear all the time that it takes a $50,000 horse or a $100,000 horse to win, but there are many people at that table who didn’t give $5,000 and have won many a world title. Anybody can win. You just have to work hard.”

APHA Distinguished Service Award—Chico Garcia

Chico has been a professional horseman since 1987 and has worked tirelessly to promote Paint Horses in South America. A Brazilian judge, Chico has officiated numerous Paint and Quarter Horse shows in addition to serving as a ring steward at events like the APHA World Championship Show. He was the show manager for the prestigious Mega Halter and Performance horse show in Brazil for 10 years, and in 2016 he was a show manager for PBR Brazil. Chico’s been instrumental in developing relationships between ABC Paint—Brazil’s Paint Horse registry—and APHA, as well. Furthermore, Chico’s been an international director for APHA since 2003 and a member of the International Committee.

“I started my professional life in Brazil 30 years ago,” Chico said. “The Paint Horse has given me—both in Brazil and in the United States—some of the best experiences, the best horses and lots of good friends.”

Watch for a full Convention recap in the May 2018 Paint Horse Journal. Purchase, renew or extend a subscription to the Journal today!


[Reprinting all of part of this story is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provide back to apha.com.]

About APHA
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.