In 2015, when Morgan Sykes, of University of Central Florida (UCF), accepted the EquestrianCoach.com Western Achievement of Excellence Award the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships, he told Bernie Traurig how he’d like his future within the sport to “include involvement with Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association alumni.”
“IHSA has given so much to me as an undergrad,” Sykes said. “I owe it to them to be a responsible owner, competitor and ambassador for our sport.”
That promise of involvement now includes an official announcement by the IHSA national board that Morgan Sykes has been named its first Student Leadership Initiative Liaison.
“This is the first year of a two-year trial period, so this is an initial ‘start-up’ procedure. Once student representatives have been determined by each Zone for this year, the group will be charged with determining a more formal election process to be presented to the IHSA board for approval,” said Ed Federwisch, of Savannah College of Art & Design, who has been appointed IHSA Board Mentor for Sykes for the first year.
Graduating UCF with a degree in Hospitality Management, Sykes will drive the creation and establishment of a program of communication between the IHSA board of directors and college riders identified as IHSA Student Leadership Initiative Representatives.
“The goal is to allow a transfer of ideas and concepts between both groups,” Sykes said.
Sykes will act as contact between the IHSA board of directors and appointed/elected hunt seat and Western student rider representatives from the eight IHSA Zones. Student representatives will be required to have at least two years IHSA competition experience, 18 years or older and at junior/senior status at their school. One hunt seat and one Western student representative will be invited to participate in the IHSA Winter Board of Directors Meeting through webinar technology.
Sykes interned after graduation with National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) legend Tim McQuay as part of his Western Achievement of Excellence Award. Additionally, Sykes was the 2012 NRHA Reserve Youth World Champion and made the Top 10 at the 2014 IHSA Nationals and 2013 NRHA Collegiate Challenge.