/ by /   Apha News, PHJ News / 0 comments

One last hurrah for Karmen Hobby & Wholly Smokalicious at the 2020 Western National Championship

Article & Photos by Allison Rehnborg

After watching Karmen Hobby of Alpine, Wyoming, and Wholly Smokalicious capture three national championships and a reserve national championship on the first morning of the 2020 APHA Western National Championship Show, you could be forgiven for thinking the pair had been together for years. In fact, Karmen and “Winnie’s” partnership only dates to last year’s Western National Championships—the show that made Karmen fall in love with Winnie in the first place.

“I came here last year to watch and hopefully horse shop,” Karmen said. “That’s where I saw Winnie for the first time. She was winning a lot in the Open classes with Vivian Beard, who’s also from Wyoming. I talked to Vivian and said, ‘I want something just like your mare. Do you know where I could find one?’ Two weeks later, she called me and said, ‘We’ll sell Winnie!’ I got very lucky.”

Although new to Winnie, Karmen isn’t new to the world of Paints and showing. From 1997 to 2006, Karmen showed extensively in the all-around events at APHA shows. Then she decided to take a break from showing but continued to enjoy owning and breeding horses. But once Winnie entered her life, Karmen decided to set some new goals in the show pen.

“I always had a dream of having one last hurrah and coming out to show again,” Karmen said. “I completely changed gears from the all-around and decided to try out the ranch events. And that’s how we ended up here!”

By Smokum Bob (QH) and out of Smokalicious, the 2014 chestnut overo mare has turned out to be the perfect partner for Karmen. In addition to taking lessons from trainer Sandi Morgan of Provo, Utah, Karmen and Winnie have honed their skills in the ranching events by competing at shows in Utah and Idaho as well as some local stock horse events.

“We had a slow start because of COVID-19, so we didn’t get to show this year until May,” Karmen said.

COVID may have kept the pair out of the show pen more than Karmen would have liked, but it didn’t stop them from going all out on the first day of the 2020 APHA Western National Championships. Karmen and Winnie took home national championships in Amateur Ranch Trail, Novice Amateur Ranch Reining and Amateur Ranch Reining, and earned a reserve national championship in Novice Amateur Ranch Trail.

“The ranch trail is my favorite event, but I enjoy them all,” Karmen said. “I’m really enjoying the reining because that was the scariest event for me, due to being afraid of going fast. I’m still working on that. It’s been fun to overcome that little bit of fear and learn something new.”

In addition to looking forward to competing in more ranch classes at the Western National Championships, Karmen is already setting show goals for next year.

“My ultimate goal is to go to the APHA World Show in June. I’m hoping all that works out,” Karmen said. “But my favorite thing to do with Winnie—and we haven’t gotten to do it very much—is go trail riding. I live in the most beautiful part of the country and there’s so much to see. When we’re done with all our showing goals, Winnie and I will go trail riding all over Wyoming.”


[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided 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.