Iowa State Fair: Horse Show Wrap-Up

Exhibitors enjoy prize money and the "showcation" that is the Iowa State Fair Quarter Horse show.

Special to The American Quarter Horse Journal

AQHYA Region 3 Director Mallory Vroegh was named the 2015 Iowa State Fair Junior Cowgirl Queen. (Credit: TP. Creations Photography)

The western horse weekend at one of the country’s leading state fairs, the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, kicked off with opening ceremonies and AQHYA member Mateer Strong, the 2014 Iowa State Junior Cowgirl Queen, carrying the American flag on her horse, "Ghost." Almost 170 cowgirl queens from all over Iowa were vying for the prestigious honor of being named Iowa State Fair Cowgirl Junior Queen or Senior Queen.

Riding, running and sliding for a packed paid audience of more than 3,000 in the Jacobson Arena, AQHYA Region 3 Director Mallory Vroegh was named the 2015 Iowa State Fair Junior Cowgirl Queen and AQHYA Region 3 Director Clara Johnson earned a top five in the senior division. The Cowgirl Queen buckles were sponsored by the Iowa Show Circuit and embroidered chairs for the queen and her court in each division were sponsored by

“The Iowa State Fair pays out almost $10,000 in prize money to the western and Quarter Horse classes every year; it is one of the top-paying state fairs in the country for this division,” said Mary Moorman, ISF Western & Quarter Horse and Cowgirl Queen superintendent. “It was great to see so many new faces in the Quarter Horse classes and hopefully getting a taste of Quarter Horse shows at the fair will encourage them to continue showing in AQHA classes in the future.”

Western and Quarter Horse entries were more than 1,000 for the two-day double-judged show, bringing exhibitors from Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, South Dakota and Iowa. The Iowa State Fair draws more than one million visitors every year and the horse shows are a favorite for attendees with a dozen horse divisions, from 4-H and Future Farmers of America to Clydesdales and miniature horses, it is a great way to expose Quarter Horses to a broader audience in Iowa.

Some horse show exhibitors were also busy showing other livestock at the fair such as Colby Lillegard, who shows Quarter Horses with mom Amy, aunt Lisa and brother Tyson. Colby’s steer, Hollywood, was selected to be in the Iowa Governor’s Charity Steer Show, marking the 33rd year the beef industry has raised funds for families who utilize the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa.  

Exhibitors love coming to the Iowa State Fair. For many it is a “showcation” – showing horses, fun with family and friends and trying as many “food on a stick” items as they can!

2015 Iowa State Fair (Credit: TP. Creations Photography)