2018 Youth World Show Wrap-Up
by Sammy Roberts
Sorry it has taken me so long to write this. With one suitcase full of clothes for 11 days and another suitcase full of decorations, I left my computer behind. When I got home I became fully distracted with life.
Kaylee Hamm put together all the World Show stall decorations again this year, and they were incredible! The premise was (again) reach out and amplify. So, she put together an 80’s styled stall decorations theme which included everyone’s names on real vinyl records. Plus, she made stall name tags for the rider and horses to hang on the stalls, from real records. She did an unbelievable job!
I got into town on Wednesday afternoon, and Kaylee and I spent that evening and Thursday morning putting together the stall decorations with Taylor and Trent. Jim Searles had to go out and buy the correct-sized wood since I bought the wrong size. Also, the Searles helper, Cruz, put up all the stall curtains. In other words, thank you team Searles!
Friday morning was the beginning of the show for Arizona and Trent Searles decided to start it with one heck of a bang! First class, Yearling Mares, Trent and She’s That Radiant were crowned WORLD CHAMPIONS! Everyone’s eyes teared up in joy as Trent received his first golden globe and thanked his sister for being his role model. He was so happy because he finally got to bring home a globe of his own.
Kaylee Hamm was up next in Yearling Geldings with Misster E Maximum. The gelding gave Kaylee a run for her money, but she still placed 5th. Her next class was Three-Year-Old Mares with Squires Famous Doll. And like the pro that she is, Kaylee knocked it out of the park and won the World Champion title!
With no time to celebrate Kaylee switched jackets and horses and ran back into the next class in Three-Year-Old Geldings with Secretist. True to form, Kaylee was incredible and walked out of the class carrying her SECOND GOLDEN GLOBE in a matter of minutes! It was a phenomenal morning for Arizona!
Friday afternoon, Shea Graham and Taylor Searles had Horsemanship prelims. Both girls had astonishing patterns, and Taylor was able to make the cut to finals on one of her two horses, Hereicomagain, out of 127 entries!
Saturday morning was all about speed events, in which we had four girls: Alex Shulman in barrels, Shea Graham in barrels, Rylin Medcoff in barrels, poles and stakes, and Bridget Callaghan with three horses in barrels, poles and stakes. Alex had some really good runs in LV3 and LV2 barrel racing on her fancy new horse, but just missed the mark to make it back to finals. Rylin did really well in all her goes, just missing the mark to make it back to LV3 finals. However, she was a finalist in LV2 pole bending!
Shea Graham had amazing runs on her new barrel racing horse in the LV3 and LV2 but did not make the finals. Bridget Callaghan had some fantastic runs on all her horses and made it back to the finals in barrel racing. She also placed 8th in LV2 pole bending.
Saturday afternoon was Trail prelims. Shea had an extraordinary go on Lets Talk About AOK, just missing making is back to the finals by a point. Taylor Searles did something magical on Hericomagain. She scored a 242 in trail which not only brought her back to the finals, but won her the LV2 champion title.
Sunday was Ranch Riding prelims. Kate Buchanan did an amazing job on two horses and made it back to the finals on Lucky Cee Blair, as well as placing 3rd in LV2.
Level 2 Ranch riding was next, and Caroline Buchanan did an incredible job. Unfortunately, she missed finals by thismuch.
Showmanship followed with Taylor and Al Be Sweet On You. As much as she dislikes this class, she did really well making it back to the semifinals and then placing high enough to make it into the finals!
I found Morgan Farrell volunteering at the Paws for Cause pet adoption event on Sunday morning. Morgan flew into Oklahoma on her own dime to help AQHA run the show. She handed out awards, organized social events, and helped with Paws for Cause and many other miscellaneous errands that AQHA had her running around for. As one of our Region 7 directors, I felt that she went above and beyond the call of duty and represented Arizona in the most exceptional way possible. Morgan definitely deserves a team spirit award and is an exceptional role model.
Monday afternoon Taylor and Shea competed in Western Riding. Shea again had an amazing go, but she seemed to keep missing the cut back to the finals by one point for almost everything. Taylor had great goes on her two horses, Al Be Sweet On You and Hereicomagain, making it back to the finals with both. Taylor also competed in her Horsemanship Finals with Hereicomeagain, placing 7th!
Monday afternoon also had a very low moment. Our first time to the World Show family, the Carmichaels, came to watch their two girls compete; Macie and Addison. Unfortunately, the horse came up lame on the horse’s first time showing in Boxing. The family drove that whole way with 7 children for one run. It was heartbreaking.
Monday night we had our parade of teams with pizza and pictures beforehand. On a side note, I forgot the AZ flag/world show team banner for the group photo. So… my mistake. I’m sorry.
Also, I cannot believe that I’m the shortest one.
Tuesday morning, we had trail finals and Taylor did amazing even though she was disappointed in herself.
Then came working cow horse prelims. Garrett and Gavin had some great runs (especially since they are very new to the working cow horse stuff) but did not make the finals. Kate Buchanan stepped up to the plate with a great go making the finals and placing 9th in LV2!
Taylor had the Hunter Under Saddle prelims next, and after the semis she made it back to the finals. Shea and Taylor had Equitation prelims after that. Shea did really well, but like before she missed the finals by a point. Taylor completed her tremendous pattern making it back to the finals.
Ranch Riding Finals and Ranch Riding 13 and Under was also on Tuesday night. Kate did an impeccable job in the finals. Caroline Buchanan decided that it was her night to shine in the 13 and under and place 9th on one horse and 15th on another. Her smile could not have gotten any bigger!
Wednesday morning was the reining prelims. Caroline did fantastic but missed the finals bythismuch. Kate decided to knock everyone off their seats and make it back to the finals on her TWO horses, Spark Me Again and Lucky Cee Blair!
Taylor had the Showmanship Finals that morning and did and incredible job placing 11th.
Western Pleasure prelims were that afternoon. Taylor was on Hereicomagain, and Shea had her new horse Just Flat Out Cool.
Both girls made it back to the semis. Taylor had an incredible ride and made it back to the finals. Shea too had a great ride, but her 3-year-old was over being in the show pen, and Shea missed the last cut.
Taylor and Shea headed into the Western Pleasure Finals that morning. Shea placed 14th on a 3-year-old!
The announcer continued down the list, one by one, and Taylors name was last! She was the World Champion in Western Pleasure with Hereicomagain!
Taylor was all smiles when she came out, but with no time to take it in, she quickly had to change clothes and horses to go back into the Western Riding Finals with Hereicomeagain and Al Be Sweet On You.
Both patterns were beautiful. When it came time for the line-up the announcer was again going down the list, one by one. Al Be Sweet On You and Taylor were announced 7th place. The announcer kept going and Taylor and Hereicomagain ended up the last ones standing. Taylor had just won her SECOND World Champion title in back to back classes!
Shea had both Western Horsemanship and Western Pleasure L2 Finals later that day. Her 3-year-old pleasure horse was tired of being in the pen, but Shea showed off what a talented rider she was. However, in Horsemanship, she had recently trained Lets Talk About AOK how to buck on command. What her mom warned her about may or may not have come true… But I’ll never tell.
Kate Buchanan had her Working Cow Horse Finals in the early afternoon. She did amazing, especially with a cow that gave her a run for her money. She placed 7th!
Later that afternoon we had the roping prelims and LV2 finals with Garrett Hershberger, Gavin Hershberger, and Kate Buchanan.
Gavin placed 7th in the LV2 Breakaway Roping with Jackies Buck Fever.
Heading came next. Kate Buchanan placed 3rd in the LV2 Heading Finals, making it back to the LV3 Finals.
Garrett Hershberger placed 6th and 14th in L2 Heading making it back to the finals on Moms Hail Cat and Roobs Shining Cube. Gavin Hershberger placed 8th in L2 Heading!
Heeling followed and the Hershbergers knocked it out of the park!
Gavin Hershberger won Reserve World Champion in the L2 Heeling! And Garrett Hershberger won 3rd place in the L2 Heeling!
Gavin made it back to the finals on two horses, Spooktazular Blonde and Jackies Buck Fever. Garrett made it back to the finals as well with Moms Hail Cat and Roobs Shining Cube.
First thing Friday morning Kate Buchanan had her two horses in the Reining Finals. Kate had absolutely beautiful rides. She placed 9th with Lucky Cee Blair and 11th with Spark Me Again.
Taylor had both Hunter Under Saddle and Equitation Finals later that morning. Taylor won Reserve World Champion on She Says Aloha in the Hunter Under Saddle Finals!
Shea Graham had both her Equitation LV2 Finals and LV2 HUS Finals that afternoon. She had an incredible pattern in Equitation and ended up placing 10th!
Saturday morning was an unbelievable last day in OK.
First, we had our Heading Finals. Once all the runs were complete, it was announced that there was going to be a tie-breaker run for 1st place. Then it was announced that Kate Buchanan was one of them! Kate ran again and did phenomenal.
The announcer kept everyone on the edge of their seats until he finally called Kate to be the Reserve World Champion in Heading on Clutch Montana.
The Heeling Finals followed, and the Hershberger boys did an incredible job with smiles that reached ear to ear.
Gavin placed 5th on Jackies Buck Fever and 11th on Spooktazular Blonde!
The announcer continued down: 4th place… 3rd place… And holy cow, Garrett was still out there on his two horses! Garrett won World Champion in Heeling on Moms Hail Cat, and Reserve World Champion on Roobs Shining Cube!!!
That was it. I left and barely made it to my plane as it was boarding.
I know it’s hard to get the excitement, drama, and suspense from reading placing reports on something that happened two weeks ago. But there were so many emotions during those 11 days.
If these kids were disappointed in themselves, they hid it from the public and demonstrated incredible sportsmanship. The victories could be felt throughout the stadium. I had tears coming down my cheeks in each win, and I was not even emotionally invested in the journey that it took to get them there. These kids earned their way to the Youth World with days, months, and years of practice with their horses. They earned their stalls and entries to be paid for by us by volunteering.
These kids are the role models that we want to showcase for youth in Arizona, not because of their accomplishments or trophies, but because they represent what true dedication, commitment, and enthusiasm can create. Perseverance in this sport can make dreams come true. But even when trophies were not awarded, the kids were grateful for the journey, the friendships and the memories our organization was able to construct for them.
They all considered it the highest honor just to be there.
I consider it the highest honor to be able to call them friends.
It was a tremendous 11 days, and I could not be prouder to label them the Arizona Youth Team.