AzQHA 2018 Award Celebration

Arizona Quarter Horse Association Celebrates Its Members’ Accomplishments At A Fun and Festive Awards Dinner.

Arizona Quarter Horse Association exceeded expectations with their 2018 Year End Awards Celebration for AzQHA, Arizona Stock Horse Association and Arizona Reined Cow Horse Association members on February 2, 2019. The festivities were held at Los Cedros USA, a unique horse facility and event venue in Scottsdale. Reminiscent of a Moroccan citadel, Los Cedros is a mix of ancient design and modern flair that provided an exotic and casually elegant setting for the evening. About 260 people attended this special celebration event. Enormous hand-hewn timber doors ushered guest into the lush courtyard where dinner, drinks, fun and friends were enjoyed. Members were greeted with goodie bags from Farnam and photo ops resembling a red carpet premier.

Dinner was provided by area gourmet food trucks, and everyone enjoyed sampling goodies from one, or all of them. While the majestic setting provided a prime canvas, it was truly made magical by the artful strokes of Jayne Vatcher’s crew at Cre8tive Event Rentals. They sponsored and provided all the audio and visual equipment, tables, settings and lighting that tied everything together. Dramatic fire tables added a warm glow as night fell.

As the evening’s presentations got underway, AzQHA CEO Doug Huls gave a brief report on the status of the organization and the growth of its biggest shows. An organization like this is only successful with the hard work and dedicated hours of service from volunteers. The Youth Volunteer of the Year, Morgan Farrell, was awarded with a buckle for all that she has done helping with the Youth program. Ray Belmore, who spends countless hours handling a multitude of tasks at the shows, was treated to a heartfelt round of applause and a buckle as the Volunteer of the Year. Doug Huls then surprised Carol Belmore with another award, citing how she is always at the ready to fix any problem that pops up at Sun Circuit or the Fall Championship. Carol was also recognized for her ability to inspire and manage the army of volunteers who make those shows run efficiently.

The celebration next took time to induct two new members into the AzQHA Hall of Fame.

Becky Dunning and Peggy Kimes are the dynamic duo behind America’s Horse Cares, an AQHA program that supports equine assisted therapy across the country. Peggy also held the reins of Sun Circuit for several years, guiding it to new heights and setting it on the course for becoming one of the preeminent AQHA shows in the world. Becky served on the AzQHA board form many years and has been a horse show announcer in Arizona and across the country.

Members work hard all year preparing for shows that range from the “No Bling” series to VRH events, Trail Challenges and the nationally prominent Fall Championship and Sun Circuit. The year end champions and reserve champions in each class were honored with awards that included trophy buckles, decorative head stalls, leather halters, utility bags, saddle pads, blankets, embroidered coolers, blankets and saddles. All around Hi Point awards were given to youth, amateur and select exhibitors in both Pattern and Rail and Ranch and Cattle divisions. and seven Versatility Ranch Horse Saddles were awarded. AzRCHA presented the winners of their saddle series. Shadd Parkinson won the Open Bridle, Karen Stallings won the Non-Pro Bridle and No-Pro Limited went to Bronwyn McCormick. All together over $30,000 in awards were given.

The evening was a resounding success by everyone’s account. AzQHA board member Anica Reddick spear headed the Banquet committee and lobbied hard for the unique outdoor setting. She commented afterward how pleased she was that the Board agreed with her out-of-the-box thinking. She is quick to include everyone who was integral to the planning and presentation saying, “I would like to foremost thank AZQHA and my Awards & Banquet Committee for helping this event be successful.” She adds, “Big thanks go to Connie Hay, Dana Yingling, Sammy Roberts, Curt Fender, and Julie Hoefling.”

AzQHA supports AQHA shows, non-competitive and recreational horse activities though out the state and maintains and active youth program. Many shows have opportunities for All-Breed participation as well. Members who exhibit at AQHA or State approved shows can earn points toward year end awards. As this Year End Awards Celebration demonstrates, the experiences are priceless and the rewards are grand. 

The courtyard provided a welcoming environment for members and family to mingle while browsing the bounty of silent auction items before the evening’s program got underway. Attendees bid on everything from weekend vacations to artwork, wine baskets to jewelry.  Over $7,000 was raised from the auction for the AzQHYA Scholarship Fund. The money will be specifically designated for the live interview scholarships that are open to all Youth members.