Sharon Avery of Fallon, Nevada, was presented with the 2013 Distinguished Service Award at the APHA Convention in honor of her outstanding participation and support of the Paint Horse breed on the local, regional and national levels.
Each year, APHA awards the Distinguished Service Award to a nominated person. Criteria for consideration include being an APHA member in good standing for 15 years; has owned a Paint Horse; has been involved in regional association leadership; has served as a regional officer, director or committee member; and has made a major contribution to a regional, state or national activity. Although anyone can nominate a person, an APHA selection committed composed of past presidents chooses the honoree.
Sharon hit the mark on all of these requirements with years of dedication to APHA and the Nevada Paint Horse Club.
Sharon bought her first Paint at the age of 12 and has owned Paints every since. She joined the NPHC in 1976 and served over the years as the club’s president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, show secretary and show manager. An instrumental part of the Zone 2 show, Sharon was part of a group that made the it one of the largest in the country.
“This has been a 35-year commitment for me, and I have been able to work with some of the greatest people in APHA,” Sharon said.
As a competitor, Sharon received 28 Registers of Merit. She topped the 1986 APHA Honor Roll and received an APHA Champion award in 1996.
In addition to her consistent involvement with APHA, Sharon also worked full-time as a school bus driver until her retirement in 2012. With retirement, she plans to spend more time camping, fishing, watching NASCAR races and nurturing a love for horses in her grandchildren. Sharon continues to manage shows for the NHPC and serve as a Zone 2 committee member, rolls she intends to continue.
“The NPHC is more like a family of friends. We gather together, show our horses, hold meetings, agree to disagree, and eat!” Sharon said. “Life is the greatest gift, and as we pass life down from generation to generation, there are those who will be remembered for ‘just being themselves.’ That is how I hope to be remembered.”
APHA also named Henry and Linda Bowlan of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, as the recipients of the 2013 Paul Harbor Racing Distinguished Service Award. Henry and Linda Bowlan began breeding and racing Quarter horses in the 1970’s. After 20 years in the Quarter Horse business they began breeding Paints in 1989 when they agreed to stand the great Paint race horse Treasured at their farm. The family business has managed many great stallions over the years, including Shawne Bug (QH) and Special Lineage (TB), but the Paint stallion that is owned by Henry and son Chuck remains at the top of their list. Judys Lineage, the 1989 tobiano stallion by Special Lineage (TB) and out of Judys Chick, had a successful racing career and was named 1992 Champion Running 3-Year-Old and 3-Year-Old Colt. “Judy” has sired 910 foals with 441 to race and earnings reaching $4.9 million. With this award, APHA honors the Bowlans for their many years of service to APHA, including acting as directors and committee members of the Racing Committee.
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The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.