The best young riders and their Paint horses rose to the top during the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Youth World Championship, held June 25 to July 8, at Will Rogers Memorial Center.
The 10-day show in Fort Worth, Texas, awarded more than $110,000 in scholarships to top finishers in 86 world championship performance and halter classes, as well as to randomly selected entries and during special events.
“Our Youth Show exemplifies what an amazing group of kids we have in our association, and this year was no exception,” APHA Executive Director Billy Smith said in a statement. “They work extremely hard to get to the World Show, and we are honored to provide them with the opportunity to save for their future education while they show their horses.”
The show attracted nearly 1,200 entries and 249 horses from 32 U.S. states and Canada. Each class paid out $1,300 in scholarships. Money for the educational awards was provided by the American Paint Horse Foundation, as well as private donations from APHA members and industry supporters. Customary prizez were also awarded at the show, including trophy buckles and saddles.
Several areas saw growth in entries over the 2017 show: Youth halter classes grew by 65%; solid-Paint bred halter classes were up 75%, and solid Paint-bred performance classes grew by 108%.
The show was held in conjunction with the Appaloosa World Championship Youth Show, the APHA Youth World Games, the Western Horseman Fence & Boxing Challenge, the inaugural Ranch Work Championship, and the ACHA Cowtown Cutting.
Seven talented youth exhibitors proved they were the best of the best, capturing the show’s All-Around and High-Point titles.
All-Around titles: Rebecca Figueroa, 14–18; Lauren Hall, 13 & Under; Ella Storch, Novice Youth; and Sabine Lazo, Solid Paint-Bred.
High-Point awards: Amanda Walsh earned the High-Point English Youth award, Jennifer Stanley took home both the High-Point Western Youth and High-Point Power Performance titles, and Delaney Good won the High-Point Walk-Trot award.
Youth World Games
Another exciting aspect of this year’s show was the inclusion of the biennial Youth World Games. With nine countries represented, each country or combination of countries entered one team composed of five exhibitors and a coach.
One rider from each team competed in classes aboard randomly selected mounts. This year the top three teams were United States, Team United (representing France, Italy & Slovakia) and Canada. Competition brought youth from all-around the globe to showcase their skills and love of Paints.
AjPHA members and clubs were also recognized for their hard work and accomplishments outside of the show pen. Amanda Nelson of North Logan, Utah, was named the AjPHA Youth Member of the Year. Amanda is an AjPHA National Director and the Utah Paint Horse Club Youth President. She was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and custom Gist Silversmiths trophy buckle. The Garden State Junior Paint Horse Club was honored as AjPHA’s Youth Club of the Year; they 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 Robyn Hanna Memorial 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. Amanda Walsh, 13, of Thornton, Colorado, received this year’s award, along with a $1,000 scholarship and custom Gist Silversmiths trophy buckle.
- The Western Horseman Fence and Boxing Challenge took place July 5-6 and presented a unique opportunity for cow horse and ranch horse competitors to exhibit in cow work only. This exciting event featured $5,000 in added money plus jackpotted entry fees, which were paid out in a 4D format modeled after the barrel racing divisional payout system. The event, which was open to all breeds of horses and all ages of exhibitors, attracted 73 entries and paid out a total of $8,425.
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