Chrome is thrilled to announce the Top 10 finalists for our 2018 APHA member model search. After careful consideration by a team of Chrome photographers and art directors, the field of more than 70 entries was narrowed to our Top 10 Cowgirls and Cowboys. Two lucky grand-prize winners will star in Chrome’s 2018 fashion shoot in Texas this summer.
“This year’s class of applicants truly raised the bar—cutting down to just 10 finalists was not an easy task,” APHA Director of Publications Jessica Hein said. “Our team of judges thoroughly considers each and every entry during our mission to find finalists as unique and diverse as the membership base they represent. APHA is filled with so many passionate, beautiful and inspiring members, and we encourage everyone t0 apply or re-apply, even if they weren’t selected this year.”
All of our Top 10 finalists are APHA members, as unique as the Paint Horses they love. Meet our Top 10 Finalists below, and vote for your two favorite by May 28 (one vote per computer/device). The Top Two grand-prize winners will be announced after voting has closed.
Bryan Taylor, 36, Justin, Texas
I am fully committed to the rodeo industry; barrel racing is my primary pursuit, however I also coach and teach riders of all levels in mounted events, as well as train horses for various events. My focus is on youth, and my student’s compete in Jr/High School rodeos, playdays, parades, queen contests. I’ve enjoyed success in MP3, NBHA, and barrel futurity programs. I’m also an APHA/Markel Professional Horseman.
Hannah Risch, 25, Galion, Ohio
I am a 25-year-old wife and mother of two young cowboys. I have a lot of Native American blood along with German and Irish. I have grown up with horses my whole life, including my late stepfather’s APHA and AQHA breeding stock. I currently have his last APHA stallion, along with a mammoth jenny. While I primarily ride Western, I dabble in English and have enjoyed the little bit of driving I’ve done. I’ve learned there’s nothing quite like the rubber-necking response and wide eyes you get when riding your loud-colored APHA horse.
Jacob Tye, 31, Silver Creek, New York
I am from Western New York State grape country, home of Welches and the Niagra Grape. My life revolves around horses, but I am a guy of many things. My family owns and operates a fourth-generation construction company, and I also own/operate a horse training business, JT Performance Horses. My training techniques involve a true sixth-horse sense with a baseline in dressage. Outside of horses, I have a wonderful family, partner and pets (aka children). Snow skiing and boating are two of my favorite hobbies.
Janie Schnuck, 49, Lamar, Indiana
Every creature of God is unique. My inner child and spirit makes life fun, and it’s easy for me to give and love unconditionally. I encourage others to find their strengths and build upon them. I always find the positive in all situations and love passing it forward! I harness my intelligence and kindness into something productive, and I work to be a role model for my two beautiful girls. I am energized by challenges and do whatever it takes to get the job done. I am a fire and I surround myself with people who will fan my flame. This year, my motto is “50 and fabulous!”
Jessica Thorndycraft, 31, Seattle, Washington
People who know me will tell you I have always and will always beat to my own drum. I started out showing Paint Horses as a plus-size exhibitor with great success. I never let anyone dictate my success or failure. I took a break to get healthy I am now coming back to the APHA show ring 200 lbs lighter and I am looking forward to many more years of successful competition.
Jessica Tomlinson, 23, Plymouth, Indiana
People usually tell me that my curly, auburn hair makes me unique. But even more than that, I think my humble, caring personality and my love for APHA horses is what really makes me stand out. People know I’m a horse gal and are always asking me how my Paints are doing, what competition I’m heading to next, etc. I love spreading the news about APHA and what they have to offer!
Kaylee Kapraun, 23, Metamora, Illinois
Living a Western lifestyle in central Illinois is unique in itself. Surrounded by oceans of farmland is me, a cowgirl, pursuing dreams on a 40-horse ranch. My day-to-day activities involve riding fence, checking cattle, running a breeding program, helping others with their horses and training horses to show in ranch classes. I am passionate about liberty training, roping and cow work. I’m passionate about continuing my education with the horse; I strive to be a better horseman everyday.
Kenny Strohecker, 46, Salem, Oregon
My love and dedication for the American Paint Horse makes me unique! I was raised in the industry and my dedication to this breed is very strong—from breeding, showing and training right down to my tattoo. I have been involved in the Oregon Paint Horse Club for more than 20 years, and I have been president for two years now—I love it!
Misty McNamara, 38, Ojai, California
You wouldn’t think a co-founder of a tech startup would saddle up each morning, but I do, aboard RCR Bev Doolittle. My husband and I have an angus cow/calf operation where you can find me out riding, gathering, sorting, roping or branding cattle. It’s also what fuels my other life—building a social platform to support small business. “Bev” has taught me leadership and teamwork after spending hours together in the saddle. And that’s exactly what you need to successfully balance a ranching operation and getting a tech company off the ground.
Reece Nichols, 48, Kilgore, Texas
I have four beautiful daughters and a gorgeous wife of 24 years. I have a ranch in Kilgore, Texas, that I use as a tool to mentor boys. All of my fence has been built by high-school labor. I teach them to dream and to set goals. I have ridden horses since I was a kid, but I only began competing in 2017. I made a comment to the boys that I’d win a buckle and become a model before I turned 50; this was my way to say I’ll always challenge myself and take care of my health. I won my first buckle three weeks ago! I want these boys to see that, with hard work and God’s blessings, they can achieve what they set out to accomplish. I hope things work out where I can show them.
If I were to win, I would mostly want readers to be inspired. I want people to see how gracious God is and how our time on this earth is best spent serving others. I am thankful to have my health and the ability to ride a horse. We all love having a willing and obedient horse with a lot of try. I strive to be just that in my Christian walk.
[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.]
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.