AzQHA Presents The Arizona Fall Championship Circuit
September 20 – 24, 2018
at WestWorld in Scottsdale
Fantastic Awards and Prizes!!
Take a look at what happened in 2016:
Handsome bronze trophies are specific to each discipline, and are mounted on a stone base.
Reserve Champion Trophies
Bronze horse head trophies, mounted on a slate base awarded to Reserve Champions.
Amateur Boxing Spectacular
Jeff Smith Saddle
Sponsored by Bella Vista Ranch
High Score L2 Amateur or L2 Select Trail
Scottsdale Performance Saddle (4 judge day)
Sponsored by Scottsdale Western World
Record Entries at the 2016 Farnam Arizona Fall Championship
A great indicator that a horse show is on the right track is an increase in the number of entries. By that standard, the Farnam Arizona Fall Championship must be delivering exactly what AQHA and NSBA exhibitors want. The show, held in Scottsdale October 6-9, 2016, saw an astonishing increase of nearly 2,000 entries over the prior year. While its immense popularity is gratifying for Arizona Quarter Horse Association and CEO Doug Huls, it ushered in a few head aches as well. “We planned a schedule based on our numbers from last year,” commented Huls. As show director, he has put a lot of emphasis on having an exhibitor friendly schedule. “We like to have people done by 5 or 6 pm so that they can go out afterwards, have a great dinner and enjoy being in Scottsdale.” There’s no doubt about it, such an extreme increase in entries strained the schedule. “It made for some long nights,” admitted Huls. “We are already making adjustments to the 2017 schedule so that we ensure everyone is done early.”
Level 2 entires saw the majority of those huge increases. Many classes where 70% or more L2, and the Senior Western Riding on Sunday evening was 100% L2. The show has become known as a perfect venue for relatively new horses and riders, evidenced by increases in the novice classes in all age groups. This year, L1 Select was broken out from Amateur in several classes, yet that move did not decrease the number of Amateur entries at all.
Large increases were also seen across the board in the Ranch classes. Ranch on the Rail, Versatility Ranch Horse Conformation and VRH Trail were new additions to the schedule and saw enthusiastic participation. The large numbers have not diminished the camaraderie and fun though. When it was announced that a $1,000 hat from Diamond H would be given away to the winner of an youth/amateur long-trot race, 20 hopefuls lined up at the start. Those ranch horses sure do know how to cover some ground. A few early leaders surged to the head, but were DQ’d after breaking into a lope. After a full lap, it was Darleen Woods who had the the speed plus control to win the day.
Ranch Riding award rings, custom crafted by Sami Fine Jewelry, were given to the all around champions in Junior, Senior Novice and Amateur Ranch classes. Amateur Tabitha Smith was one proud recipient. She only started showing in AZQHA ranch classes a year ago. She commented, “I liked that it was so much fun and everyone is awesome to work with.” She also appreciates how it gives the horses something to do other than just schooling. Ranch Riding fundamentals are part of Smith’s daily life. She and her family live on 28,000 acres in Arivaca where they run 400 plus mama cows and have about 70 head of horses. Her horses grow up on the ranch and hone their skills in the real world. They learn how to go over and through anything with trusting communication. They also are used to covering a lot of ground. “When we gather cows, we’re going all morning and its usually at a long trot,” she added. “You don’t want to lallygag around.” So far, Smith hasn’t focused on campaigning a particular horse, joking, “I sell most of my horses as two year olds after 60 rides or so. I show what ever I have left over.” At the Fall Championships she rode Sayos Smoke N Chic and placed at or near the top of each class. She was an the early leader in the long-trot race for the hat when her horse broke into a lope. “I pushed him just a little too hard,” she lamented. “It can got that quick.”
One of the highlight special events was the USTPC Trail Challenge sponsored by Holly Hover and Chas Roberts Air Conditioning. This team event builds camaraderie pairing amateur and pro riders, often from across barns, in a fun, supportive environment. There is a 100% payback along with added money, and a guarantee of $1,000 to the winning team. The crowd was wowed by many of the goes, but especially blown away when both Mike Weaver and Melissa Zanetti rode their patterns bridleless. Videos of those performance went viral on Facebook, and garnered hundreds of thousands of views in less than one week.
There were several NSBA futurities offered at the Championships. It’s a great venue for these younger horses to get out there and be shown, since the fun atmosphere reduces the overall stress levels. The 3 Year Old Western Pleasure had a solid line-up, and all the horses demonstrated exceptional ability. The NSBA Trail Futurity for 3 & 4 year olds gave us a look at the horses who will undoubtedly be topping judges’ cards for year to come. A strong class of Three Year Old Hunter Under Saddle horses gleamed in the Arizona sun: the ultimate in grace and control.
The structure of the Fall Championship allows exhibitors to not only show against horses and riders of similar experience, but it rewards those efforts equally. Each Class Champion received a bronze trophy mounted on a slate base and Reserve Champions took home a bronze horse head trophy. The 3rd through 5th place in the championship round of all classes received an embroidered Farnam jacket. All Around and Best of Show Champions received a pair of Caiman boots sponsored by Rod Patrick along with 20X Atwood hats sponsored by Barbara’s Custom Hats and Cinch gift certificates sponsored by Cinch Jeans & Shirt Company. This year saw the debut of Best of Show Awards for Ranch and Cattle exhibitors in all divisions. Huls was very enthusiastic about that addition, saying “there’s a whole group of people who never thought they could compete for an all around. We give them that opportunity here, and it really showcased the versatility of their ranch and cattle horses.”
Other coveted awards included a Scottsdale Performance Saddle sponsored by Scottsdale Western World for the High Score L2 Amateur or L2 Select Trail exhibitor. Brianna Kaeckle and Good On The Range took that home. A Jeff Smith saddle sponsored by Bella Vista Ranch was the top prize in the Amateur Boxing Spectacular. It was awarded to Lauren Boychuck and Ima Miss N Texas. Custom crafted rings by Sami Fine Jewelry were awarded to the hi point champions in Junior Senior Novice and Amateur Ranch Horse classes. The Hi Point Green Horse, Missy Machine ridden by Mark Jensen, was awarded a handsome buckle box courtesy of The Glass Lady.
Between awards and give-aways, a lot of people went home with something great. Every exhibitor was treated to a Farnam goody bag at check in. Thousands of dollars worth of gift certificates were awarded from Sami’s Fine Jewelry, Standlee Feed, D. Designs, Diamond H Hats, Show Me Again and SmartPak. Anybody can be a winner at this show. The Prize Patrol routinely surprises exhibitors with fun challenges and random give-aways. The 9th place horse in a class may be the designated lucky exhibitor, or a fun display of skill may earn a quick $500. A 30X JW Brooks hat worth about a thousand dollars was given away in the Amateur Cowhorse, and a $1,000 hat from Diamond H was the trivia prize in Select Western Pleasure. There are very few shows that can even come close to the value of awards and prizes available at the AZ Fall Championship.
The primary objective at the inception of the AZ Fall Championship was to be the show for everyone. To this day, that inclusive spirit infuses everything from check-in, to awards, to the gate people who keep classes running smoothly, to the fun give-aways that anyone can win. Exhibitor Kimmie Dillon was brand new to the AQHA show world. “This has been a very positive first experience for me,” she commented while waiting for her Ranch Riding class. “I really didn’t know what to expect. But right from the start, Connie in the office was so helpful to me, and everyone from then on has be great.” Here sentiments are shared by so many, and contribute to the explosive growth this show has seen. With a schedule changes, it is certain that the AZ Fall Championship will be able to absorb the increases and maintain its fun, inclusive and rewarding reputation.