Sonoita Quarter Horse Show

The longest-running American Quarter Horse show celebrates 75 years May 9-12 in Arizona.

By Betty Barr
Sonoita Quarter Horse Show
February 8, 2013

"Table Manners" by Deborah Fellows, courtesy of Sonoita Quarter Horse Show

This year’s Sonoita show will feature a special amateur high-point award – "Table Manners," a bronze of a mare and foal, created by artist Deborah Fellows. (Courtesy of Sonoita Quarter Horse Show)

After a two-year hiatus, the Sonoita Quarter Horse Show will host its 75th annual event May 9-12 at the Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo Association in Sonoita, Arizona.

Sonoita is a landmark town in American Quarter Horse history. With the first Sonoita Quarter Horse Show held in 1936, the show is the longest-running Quarter Horse show in the United States. American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame horses Lightning Bar and son Doc Bar both hailed from Sonoita. As a tip of the hat to these achievements, the Sonoita Quarter Horse Show and Races was honored in May 2000 with American Quarter Horse Historical Marker No. 27. In its 75 years, the Sonoita show has earned a reputation on the circuit as one of the best run and friendliest places to compete.

The show hit a short run of bad luck a few years ago; the event was cancelled in 2010 due to an equine flu virus outbreak, and wasn’t conducted in 2011, a result of unforeseen circumstances. This year, however, a local committee of dedicated horsemen, headed up by Steve and Gail Getzwiller, vowed to revive the historic show.

This year’s show will feature a special amateur high-point award – "Table Manners," a bronze of a mare and foal, created by artist Deborah Fellows. All-around buckles will also be awarded in each category. The judges set for Thursday and Friday are Doug Huls of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Debbie Cooper of Cave Creek, Arizona. Saturday and Sunday’s judges are April and Casey Devitt of Waddy, Kentucky.

A complete roster of cattle classes, including heading, heeling, tie-down roping, breakaway roping and working cow horse, will be offered all four days, as well as halter, reining, western pleasure and speed events, plus hunter and over fences classes. The show is approved by AQHA, the Arizona Quarter Horse Association and Southern Arizona Quarter Horse Association.

A special highlight of the Sonoita show is the traditional Friday night dinner, featuring a steak fry and dance, a western auction and a Calcutta for the next day’s working cow horse class.

For more information, call show manager Larry Gimple of Track One Events at (714) 444-2918, or contact Larry at PO Box 2155, Costa Mesa, CA 92628.