PQHA Midsummer Madness Show

Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, saw nearly 6,800 entries July 16-19 as exhibitors gathered points for 2015 AQHA World Show qualifying.

Special to The American Quarter Horse Journal

For more photos from the PQHA Midsummer Madness, view the slideshow below. (Credit: Rita McMullen)

The show with a new name, Midsummer Madness – formerly known as the Pennsylvania Quarter Horse Association's “Youth” show – was a huge success for PQHA July 15-19 at the Centre County Grange Fair Equine Park in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. This show is one of the major fundraisers to support the PQHYA and PQHA continues to provide a share of the profits from this show, to support the youth association and their many projects.

"PQHA would like to thank everyone for attending our Mid-Summer Madness Show," said PQHA President Carla Weaver. "Our show was a huge success and I give credit to the great exhibitors and horses that attend our show.  High quality competition, great people and fun daily activities make it a wonderful show. Thank you so much to our great staff and group of dedicated volunteers that work so hard to make our show run smoothly.  We are proud of the fact that this show is so well attended and PQHA will strive to continue our success for the future."

The circuit kicked off on Wednesday with the annual Level 1 (Novice) Show, judged by Lisa Mathews of Jefferson, Ohio. A first for this show was the addition of Equestrian’s with Disabilities classes. EWD exhibitors took advantage of the five disciplines offered at the show. The show ended with more than 450 entries, an increase of 45 percent from the 2014 show. 

“Level 1 and Rookie classes continue to increase and we are very pleased with the growth of our show,” said Brenda Campbell, Level 1 show manager and PQHA board member.

The PQHA Midsummer Madness show sold more than 625 stalls, had total entries of almost 6,800 over the four-day/six-judge event (an increase of 15 percent from 2014) and boasted more than $30,000 in added money and exhibitor benefits. Exhibitors from more than 19 states and Canada were represented at the show. Exhibitors enjoyed added-money classes, vendor bucks, circuit awards, free coffee and donuts each day and cold water for exhibitors to name a few. 

View results, including high-point and circuit winners, from the PQHA Midsummer Madness show.

New for 2015 was the addition of random drawing classes, 5 o’clock somewhere drawings for a free bottle of local wine and a free treat was given each day of the show to exhibitors, which included ice cream, hotdogs and home-baked cookies, which also supported PQHA vendors. 

"All of this was made possible due to the support of our generous sponsors," said Rita McMullen, PQHA sponsorship chairman.  “Our goal is to create a friendly, enjoyable show experience for our exhibitors and to keep them coming back."

A Junior Western Pleasure Series Championship was also added for 2015, thanks to a generous sponsorship, which includes added money to exhibitors who show in this division at both the July and September PQHA show circuits. Complete details on this series and a complete list of sponsors and drawing winners can be found at www.pqha.org. Show results are also available on the website.

Many classes had more than 40 entries and many exhibitors shared “they were able to pick up points in a lot of classes.”

Ranch horse exhibitors were enticed with the 2015 PQHA Ranch Riding Series Championship, which provides added money in three divisions to exhibitors that show at all three PQHA circuits in 2015, thanks to a generous sponsor. Awards will be given at the September PQHA show. 

AQHA Professional Horseman Steve Meadows of Staunton, Virginia, brought three horses and exhibitors for these classes, as well as the reining classes, and Meadows also had an exhibitor who shows the all-around events. 

“We love coming to the PQHA shows," Meadows said. "The friendly atmosphere, points available and a beautiful facility all combine to make it worth our trip. The added money for some classes is also an added benefit, and we are happy to say we were able to be the recipient of a few of those classes."

Mathieu Cormier of Sorel, Quebec, in his last year of youth was a first-time exhibitor at PQHA. Mathieu shows the all-around youth events with My Version Of Smoke, owned by Janet Chitwood of Pennsylvania.

“I enjoy showing at PQHA; I got points in hunt seat equitation and it is worth my eight-hour trip” Cormier said.  He is looking forward to showing at the All American Quarter Horse Congress again this year. Horse owner Janet Chitwood plans to show at the Nutrena AQHA East Level 1 Championship in ranch riding and trail.

Fellow exhibitor, Marie Michelle Rioux a college student from Rimouski, Quebec, said, “I like the PQHA shows due to the large numbers and points available. And this is a great facility with lots of rings to ride in.”  Marie’s favorite event is showmanship and she is looking forward to showing at the Nutrena Level 1 Championship and Congress. Her trip home is 13 hours, but she spends her summers at AQHA Professional Horseman Jonathan Meilleur’s facility in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. 

Brian Craig, owner of Brian Craig Quarter Horses in Warsaw, Indiana, said, "We don’t mind making the eight-and-a-half-hour trip.”

Craig brought three exhibitors and their horses to the show.

“PQHA has great people who make it a fun atmosphere for showing. You can still have fun and show. A covered arena and lots of practice pens are an added benefit. I’m pleased to see that many horses that I have sold over the years are here and still showing.”

Level 1 youth exhibitors and sisters Grace and Frances Himes enjoyed their first PQHA show.  Francie was Rookie youth high-point winner on Wednesday and won her first trophy. She was also reserve Level 1 youth champion of the Midsummer Madness Circuit with her horse Blazing Hot Treasure.  Her sister Gracie showed Gota Lota Lace and was Level 1 youth high-point champion Wednesday and during the Midsummer Madness circuit and was also the 13-&-under all-around youth.  Gracie is currently leading the nation in AQHA Level 1 all-around points. 

Brian and Darla Lee, owners of Lee Quarter Horses from Plain City, Ohio, brought nine horses and exhibitors to the PQHA show.

“PQHA has a great facility and the 6 hour trip is worthwhile” said Brian Lee.  “Every one of our exhibitors has gotten points at this show.” 

Shane, Holt & Madison Pope from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, made their first trip to PQHA. 

“We got a few of our horses world show qualified and had some big wins,” said Holt Graham-Pope. “The temperatures have been wonderful in the 70s for most of the show and it is so beautiful here in this valley. We will plan to come to the PQHA shows again."

Word of the large show attracted attention from a local news station; Channel 6 reporter Erin Calandra was on hand for a live interview at the show. Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding was also on site for a tour of the newly constructed 150 stall enclosed barn, indoor arena and the show on Thursday. Equine is making a huge economic impact in Pennsylvania and especially here in Centre County. The Centre County Grange Equine Park continues to expand and improve their facility and has a full schedule of equine events in 2015.

PQHA’s next event will be the Nittany Classic and Futurity show September 5-6.  Stall reservations and show bills are available at www.pqha.org.

Results from the PQHA Midsummer Madness