The American Paint Horse Association successfully concluded the 2015 AjPHA Youth World Championship Show on Independence Day after 10 days of premier competition for youth age 18 and under aboard American Paint Horses. The event took place at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth June 26–July 4 in conjunction with the National Snaffle Bit Association’s Color of Money show June 23–25.
This year, the Youth World Show offered more than $160,000 in scholarship prizes to AjPHA members competing at the show. Included were scholarships for top finishers in 80 world championship performance and halter classes, along with scholarships for rookie exhibitors, randomly selected entries and other special events. Scholarship money was provided by the American Paint Horse Foundation, as well as private donations from APHA members and industry supporters.
Money talks, and the show attracted nearly 1,300 entries and 290 horses from 32 U.S. states and Canada. Scholarship amounts per class ranged from $1,300 to nearly $6,000. With more than 150 exhibitors earning scholarships during the event, the 2015 Youth World Show put a new meaning behind the phrase “getting the most bang for your buck.”
“I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate what APHA thinks about its youth than to give back to them and their future educations,” APHA executive director Billy Smith said. “Middle class kids like those in APHA are the ones who struggle most with paying for their future educations. This gives them an opportunity to save for the future while they show their horses.“
Five exhibitors proved they were the best of the best, capturing the show’s all-around and high-point titles. The All-Around titles were awarded to Alexis Miller, 14–18; Lauren Gralla, 13 & Under; and Veronica John, Novice Youth. These three young women earned additional $1,000 scholarships, trophy saddles and more great prizes. Four additional high-point awards were presented to top-placing Youth: Alexis also earned the High-Point English Youth award, Catlyn Ward of Miles, Texas, took home both the High-Point Western Youth and High-Point Power Performance titles, and Taylor Ellor of Krum, Texas, won the High-Point Walk-Trot award. Read more about these winners on apha.com/ywcs.
AjPHA members and clubs were also recognized for their hard work and accomplishments outside of the show pen. Fifteen-year-old Alyssa Donelson of Mesa, Arizona, was named the 2015 AjPHA Youth Member of the Year. Alyssa is a National Director for Zone 2, which includes California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, and she’s active in 4-H, FFA and the National Honors Society. She was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and custom Gist Silversmiths trophy buckle. The Garden State Paint Horse Youth Club was honored as AjPHA’s 2015 Youth Club of the Year; GSPHYC also earned the From the Heart award, which is presented to the club that provides the most support to the AjPHA Presidential Service Project. The club received a combined cash prize of $1,500 for the two awards.
The Robyn Hanna Sportsmanship Award honors an exhibitor selected by an anonymous panel of judges as someone who exemplifies what it means to be a role model in and out of the arena. Ally Fink, a 17-year-old exhibitor from Coronado, California, received this year’s award, along with a $1,000 scholarship and custom Gist Silversmiths trophy buckle.
The 2015 AjPHA Youth World Championship Show crowned 94 world champions during the 10-day show, which is the largest competition in the world for Youth riding American Paint Horses.
For more information and news from the 2015 AjPHA Youth World Championship Show, visit apha.com/ywcs and check out the September 2015 issue of APHA’s Paint Horse Journal. Subscribe or renew to the Paint Horse Journal, APHA’s flagship monthly publication, at apha.com/phj/subscription or by calling (817) 222-6430.
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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 creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.