Region Two Championship: September 18

Kaycee Szymanski is shooting for the youth all-around title at the 2014 Merial AQHA Region Two Championship.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Kaycee Szymanski of Rapid City, South Dakota, and Chips Bandana

Kaycee Szymanski, 14, got to skip school today and tomorrow because she's making a run at the youth all-around title at the 2014 Merial AQHA Region Two Regional Championship in her hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota.

Riding 18-year-old Chips Bandana, Kaycee is competing in nearly every western class she can at the show. And the high school sophomore isn't one bit worried about the competition.

Kaycee isn't a newbie to horses. She's a participant in the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program, which places weanlings from AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders with youth who want to raise, train and show those weanlings. The youth will have the chance to showcase their skills and knowledge acquired at designated events where they can earn scholarships and prizes.

There are two ways AQHYA members can participate:

1. They have the chance to receive a free weanling from several generous AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders through an application process each year.

2. They can purchase a Ranching Heritage Challenge-nominated foal from a Ranching Heritage Breeder before September 30, 2014.

Kaycee had the honor of receiving not one, but two foals from the Hunts two years ago, then purchased the third. She has plans to show at least one of the now-2-year-olds in working cow horse.

Does Kaycee plan to become a full-time horsewoman after school?


While she loves her horses and enjoys showing them, she also has her sights set on furthering her career in shooting sports. Having participated in junior Olympic shooting sports camps and competitions, Kaycee would really like a shooting sports college scholarship.

Her favorite weapon?

"Either an air rifle or a small-bore rifle," she says with a giggle.

Whether it's with horses or guns, Kaycee seems to be on a successful path.