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Arizona Fall Championship Sees Continued Growth

AZQHA  | Published on 10/16/2017
The 2017 Arizona Fall Championship held in Scottsdale, AZ September 20th through 24th proved once again that it is truly  the “Show For Everyone” with a broad canvas of opportunities. The show offered a full schedule of Rail, Trail, Halter, Showmanship, Reining and Cattle Classes. It also expanded its offerings of Ranch classes with large numbers seen in Ranch Riding, Ranch Trail, Versatility Ranch Horse and Ranch on the Rail. An Interscholastic competition, youth scholarships and a Trail Challenge rounded out the myriad of equine experience. Total class entries increased by 500 over last year’s explosive growth, but the schedule and use of space was designed to accommodate everyone with relative ease. With blue sky, abundant sunshine, loads of fun and smiling faces at every turn, it’s no wonder this show just keeps on growing

The three indoor, climate controlled arenas at WestWorld were used to their highest potential during five days of stellar competition. Exhibitors showed in cool comfort under cover and outside the weather was nearly perfect as well. The newest addition to WestWorld’s equine complex is the North Hall which houses two spacious, perfectly groomed show pens, a warm up arena nestled in between them, and a vendor area. This set up was extremely convenient for exhibitors and trainers alike since it was so easy to keep everyone together. The Equidome hosted reining and cattle classes, and had its own indoor warm up area.

The Fall Championship provides exhibitors plenty of options to show amongst those with similar experience. Seasoned veterans match skills in L3 while those relatively new to showing could be confident they had a fair shot in their own classes. The show rewards the efforts in all levels equally and richly.  Circuit Champions in each level and division received a bronze trophy mounted on a slate base. Winners marveled at the beautiful detail of these substantial awards. Second through 5th in the circuit placings received an AzFC logo jacket. Best of Show Champions in All Around and Ranch & Cattle divisions received a pair of ostrich boots sponsored by Rod Patrick and Cinch gift certificates sponsored by Cinch Jeans & Shirt Company. The All Around champs in Select and Novice Amateur had an additional award of a handsome trophy buckle from Scottsdale Western World. Professionals Choice gift certificates for the Bob Avila Collection were awarded to the Reserve BOS. Having a Best of Show award in the Ranch and Cattle divisions was a welcomed addition for such a large group of exhibitors who do not often get to compete for an All Around award.

Three Scottsdale Performance Saddles sponsored by Scottsdale Western World were awarded to the Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 High Point Champions. In Level 1, Jacqueline Marlow showed Sega Luck with perseverance and consistency to accumulate the most points. The L2 Saddle winner was Shez Got Curb Appeal and Meagan  Havens. That duo also took the Best Of Show All Around Division Amateur title. Youth exhibitor Hanna Olaussen and her superb partner Wearing Only Moonlite had a fantastic run of good classes and took home several Circuit Award bronzes, claimed the Best of Show - All Around Division Youth 18 & Under Champion title and received the Level 3 High point saddle.

Other Best of Show winners included Jason Hershberger who rode Kristen Thiem's horse Pepto Hot Sox in the Open Ranch and Cattle division. Keeping it in the family, Garrett Hershberger had a hot hand roping on Moms Hail Cat to cinch the Ranch and Cattle Division Youth 18 and Under title.

The BOS All Around Novice Amateur winner was Kina Tavary riding Pass The Black Gold on her first trip to the AZFC. Anna Luperini and A Hot Affair took the All Around Division Amateur Select Best of Show. HereIComAgain owned by Katherine Tobin and shown by Deanna Searles were awarded the BOS for the All Around Open Division. Michael Hoyt road Suzanne Benson's horse Certainly Chatty to win the High Point Green Horse Award of a Buckle Box Sponsored by The Glassy Lady.

More saddles were given away in for excellence in Ranch events. Garrell Reily put together a good set of scores riding Drag It By The Bud to win the Amateur Ranch Championship. Darrell will surely love his handsome Jeff Smith saddle award. The Open Ranch Champion was Tag Yer Shiney owed by Sabrina Wilson and shown by Gary Roberts. They received a Leson Classic saddle.

The Fall Championship presented several NRCHA Added Money classes as well. In the Open Bridle, Jason Grimshaw had a dominating ride on Nic It Starlight to mark a 142 on the first day. The pair came back even stronger on day 2 besting the field with a 147.5 to pick up a total check for $550. Stephenie Bjorkman topped the judge’s card both days riding Teninolena Chex for Deah Hessian-Ruple in the 5k Non-Pro Limited. Their first run marked a 142.5 and their second day earned a score of 145. They won just shy of $300 for their efforts.

AzQHA teamed up with Arizona Stock Horse to produce a 1 day VRH Special Event. Exhibitors showed in AQHA, All Breed Cowboy and Youth divisions. AQHA Circuit Champions in the VRH took home bronze trophies. A custom wooden frame along with a show photo was awarded to the All Breed Division Champions. The show expanded its reach to even more types of exhibitors by holding an AQHA and All Breed Trail Challenge where riders navigate through a course of natural obstacles over varied terrain. Both the Trail and the VRH folks sure know how to have a good time and enthusiastically support each other.

The Arizona Quarter Horse Association conducted the first round of awards on Sunday of the Joe and Suzy Jeane Scholarship Program, sponsored by Dr Joni Hegel. All 2017 AZQHYA members were eligible to apply, and five $1,000 scholarships were awarded. Applicants had to answer a series of questions about their involvement in equine activities in front of a 4 person panel.  A total of 23 students went through the process.

More youth centered activities were in the spot light when The Fall Championship hosted an Interscholastic Competition for Western discipline riders. IEA and AzQHYA members could compete. IEA  is a national organization that is open to public school, private school and barn teams for grades 6-12. Participants do not have to own a horse and horses used at the shows are provided free of charge by enthusiastic supporters of the program. AzQHA is promoting the program as a wonderful outreach mechanism to involve more youth in equine sports. There were classes in Horsemanship and Reining for different levels of experience. Each of the 10 classes also awarded $1,000 worth of Ascent  Scholarship money for eligible youth.

Between awards, added money and give-aways, a lot of people went home with something great. First, every exhibitor was treated to a Farnam goody bag at check in. Throughout every day, the Prize Patrol routinely surprised exhibitors with fun challenges, Word-Of-The-Day gifts, and random back number give-aways proving that anybody can be a winner at this show. The Bouncy Horses from Sun Circuit made a return performance with race winners claiming 40” TVs for their hoppy skills. The Wine Race debuted to much hilarity and new challenges such as the backwards race at halter added to the fun. Roughly $9,000 worth of give-aways came in the form of gift certificates or products that were sponsored by Arizona Quarter Horse Association, Farnam, Sami’s Fine Jewelry, Barbara’s Custom Hats, Weaver, Excel and Western Legacy.

The primary objective at the inception of the AZ Fall Championship was to be the Show for Everyone. 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. Many people new to the show were extremely pleased with the welcome they received and expressed gratitude to staff an volunteers for providing a great experience. With world-class facilities, an awesome location and classes for every level of exhibitor, the AZFC hits the trifecta on what exhibitors want. It’s no wonder everyone loves showing in Scottsdale.