AQHA Racing Special Recognition

Learn more about the Mildred N. Vessels and Gordon Crone Special Achievement Awards.

Mildred N. Vessels Special Achievement
This award is given yearly to an outstanding woman within the American Quarter Horse racing industry to recognize her achievement within in the industry throughout the year. The award is voted on by the AQHA Racing Committee.

Mildred (Millie) N. Vessels was a longtime horsewomen whose heritage runs deep within the American Quarter Horse racing history books. Born in 1923 in Blythe, California, Millie grew up in Long Beach, the daughter of a Swedish ironworker. In 1948 she married Frank Vessels, Jr, whose father established Los Alamitos Race Course on his ranch near Cypress, California. In the early days of Los Alamitos, Millie and her husband aided Frank Sr. in the management of the racetrack, and upon the elder Vessels' death, Frank Jr. took over management of the track. In 1974, a year after the Vessels' stallion Timeto Thinkrich won the All American Futurity, Frank Jr. died, leaving Millie to manage Los Alamitos Race Course. During her leadership of the track, Los Alamitos became the nation's leading American Quarter Horse racetrack in terms of attendance and handle. In 1984, Millie sold Los Alamitos and the adjacent property and began concentrating on her own Vessels' Stallion Farm and the San Luis Rey Downs training center, both located in Bonsall, California. Millie passed away on January 20, 1992 at the age of 68. She is the mother of Frank "Scoop" Vessels, III, 2004-2005 AQHA President.

Past Winners:

  • 1994 -- Connie Hall 
  • 1995 -- Shirley Schvaneveldt 
  • 1996 -- Tami Ann Purcell 
  • 1997 -- Donna McArthur 
  • 1998 -- Vessels/Knorpp et al "The Girls" 
  • 1999 -- Mrs. Gwendolyn Eaves 
  • 2000 -- Amy L. Owens 
  • 2001 -- Debbie Schauf
  • 2002 -- Sandy Erwin and Janet VanBebber (tie)
  • 2003 -- Tomey Swan
  • 2004 -- Jean Dillard
  • 2005 -- Joan Dale Hubbard
  • 2006 -- Ginny Harding
  • 2007 -- Carol Cooper
  • 2008 -- Ann McGovern
  • 2009 -- Mary Kyler
  • 2010 -- Vel Evans
  • 2011 -- Dawn and Rhonda Rae List
  • 2012 -- Debbie Schauf 
  • 2013 -- Susan Hadley
  • 2014 -- Jamie Zamora
  • 2015 -- Val Clark
  • 2016 -- Loretta Brasher
  • 2017 -- Janis Spencer Murray DVM
  • 2018 -- Wendy Davis

Gordon Crone Special Achievement Award
This award is given yearly to an outstanding man within the American Quarter Horse racing industry to recognize his achievement within in the industry throughout the year. The award is voted on by the AQHA Racing Committee.

A longtime horseman from Kansas and an AQHA director from 1985-1992, Gordon Crone worked to promote American Quarter Horse racing both in his state and nationally. Gordon and his wife, Juanita, raced the champion gelding Vespero in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Vespero, a son of the Three Bars (TB) stallion St Bar, was named the 2-year-old champion gelding in 1978. When he won the Rainbow Futurity, trainer Marilyn Asmussen became the first female trainer to saddle a major stakes winner. Gordon passed away on February 12, 1994 at the age of 74.

Past Winners:

  • 1994 -- Spencer L. Childers 
  • 1995 -- Joe Kirk Fulton 
  • 1996 -- Edward C. Allred 
  • 1997 -- Blane Schvaneveldt 
  • 1998 -- Jack W. Brooks 
  • 1999 -- John H. Bassett 
  • 2000 -- Frank Vessels III 
  • 2001 -- Joe B. Turner, Jr. (awarded posthumously) 
  • 2002 -- Edward C. Allred, Jim Helzer and Ben Hudson (tie)
  • 2003 -- R.D. Hubbard
  • 2004 -- Duayne Didericksen
  • 2005 -- Jerry Windham
  • 2006 -- Russell Harris
  • 2007 -- Dee Raper
  • 2008 -- John Andreini
  • 2009 -- Paul Jones
  • 2010 -- Dr. Steve Fisch
  • 2011 -- Leverne Perry
  • 2012 -- Tom Lepic 
  • 2013 -- Matt Witman
  • 2014 -- Will Fisch
  • 2015 -- Johnny Trotter
  • 2016 -- Steve D. Burns DVM
  • 2017 -- Paul Blanchard and Scott Wells
  • 2018 -- C. Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath

John Andreini Special Recognition Award
In 1989, the AQHA Racing Council established the AQHA Racing Council Special Recognition Award to honor "a lifetime of outstanding service and dedication" to the development, promotion and enhancement of American Quarter Horse Racing.

Past Winners:

  • 1989 -- R. D. Hubbard 
  • 1990 -- Ralph W. Shebester 
  • 1991 -- Edward C. Allred 
  • 1992 -- Vessels Stallion Farm, LLC 
  • 1993 -- Clarence Scharbauer, Jr. 
  • 1994 -- Lloyd Shelhamer 
  • 1995 -- James E. Helzer 
  • 1996 -- Taylor Powell 
  • 1997 -- James Barton 
  • 1998 -- Blane Schvaneveldt 
  • 1999 -- Henry E. Brown 
  • 2000 -- Walter Merrick 
  • 2001 -- Mrs. Anne B. Windfohr Marion
  • 2002 -- Jay Pumphrey 
  • 2003 -- Robert Gentry
  • 2004 -- John T.L. Jones
  • 2005 -- Frank "Scoop" Vessels
  • 2006 -- Dutch Masters III
  • 2007 -- Floyd E "Butch" Wise
  • 2008 -- Jerry Windham
  • 2009 -- Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association
  • 2010 -- Spencer Childers
  • 2011 -- Dr. Glen Blodgett
  • 2012 -- Ben Hudson 
  • 2013 -- JoAnn Adams
  • 2014 -- Keith Babb
  • 2015 -- (not awarded)
  • 2016 -- Dennis Ekins and Russell Harris
  • 2017 -- Laura Joiner and Mindy McArthur
  • 2018 -- Mauro Zaborowsky