The Arizona Quarter Horse Association awarded over $18,000 in scholarship funds during the AZ Fall Championship Show this September. It was the third year that the organization held their innovative ASCENT  scholarship competitions on the last day of the prestigious show. 

The programs are designed to encourage youth membership and reward excellence. In order to qualify for these scholarship awards, youth must be AzQHYA members and show at two of the three AzQHA No Bling Shows. Scholarship funds earned by exhibitors are kept in a restricted account by AzQHA until the student graduates from high school. Then, the funds are paid directly to the college, trade school or university that student attends.

The Interscholastic Scholarship Show offered 5 classes in Horsemanship and 3 in Reining. Riders compete on horses they have never ridden before and they are not given any time prior to the class to get to know their mount. It is a true test of horsemanship to be able to quickly figure out a horse and present it to the best of their abilities. Patrick Flaherty judged the competition.

Dr Joni Hegel, a long time AzQHA member and exhibitor, sponsors the Scholarship Show. She was on hand Sunday to present awards. “This is what it is all about,” commented Hegel enthusiastically. “This is the future of our industry. I watch these kids working so hard and there is no question I will continue to support this program.”

In total, $8,400 was awarded to the youth riders with the winner of each class receiving $500, while second and third place banked $300 and $200 respectively.

Scholarship recipients in the Horsemanship  Division were:

Future Beginner: Annabelle Hagen $500

Future Novice: Gavin Marx $500, Tyson Gillette $300

JV Beginner: Erica Severson $500, Ginia McFarland $300

JV Novice: Lauren Blumer $500, Bianca Juralvea $300

Future Intermediate: McKenna Bein $500, Kennedy Buchanan $300, 

Aubree Leyva $200

Varsity Intermediate: Molly Thigpen $500, Kaci Rodriguez $300, 

Olivia Felderhoff $200

Varsity Open: Anthony Luna $500, Lindsay Alrovy $300, Ava Marx $200

Reining Division recipients include:

Varsity Open: Anthony Luna $500

Varsity Intermediate: Molly Thigpen $500, Quinn Eisenfeld $300, Olivia Felderhoff $200

Future Intermediate: McKenna Bein $500, Kennedy Buchanan $300, 

Aubree Leyva $200

In addition to the Scholarship Show, AzQHA awarded $10,000 in scholarship funds through an interview process. The middle and high school students were asked a variety of questions about their current equine pursuits and their future ambitions. The panel of three judges included Cindy Bowen, Joan Holsten, Nicole Herr. They interviewed 30 youth throughout the day and were then tasked with selecting 10 of these exceptional students for awards of $1,000 each.

This year’s scholarship winners are:

Emily Jernigan

Alexis Tretschok

Bianca Juravlea

Erica Severson

Gabby Venezia

Bailey Schmidt

Morgan Farrell

Annika Kimery

Ginina McFarland

Quinn Eisenfeld

AzQHA is grateful to its members and companies whose donations make the scholarships possible:

Dr. Joni Hegel, Kim Wright, Kathy Tobin, Kristen Syburg, Sissy Shank, June Liston, Renee Howes, Martha Molever, Kimberly Switzer, Doug Huls, Lauren Block, Standlee, SJ Ranch and Penrod Barn.