ArQHA Memorial Day Circuit

Look through photos and results from Arkansas Quarter Horse Association's May 22-25 circuit in Tunica, Mississippi.

Special to The American Quarter Horse Journal

Scroll down to view a slideshow with more photos from the 2015 ArQHA Memorial Day Circuit. (Credit: Shelby Layne Photography)

The Arkansas Quarter Horse Association’s Memorial Day Circuit and 13th Stanford Happening in Tunica, Mississippi, was a great success May 22-25 with the event seeing an increase in entries from 2014. Spring storms did not stop this year’s show but they did manage to delay it a little Sunday night. Wind and rain blew through the facility watering the arenas, causing some flooding, and putting the show in the dark for a few minutes during the speed classes. 

The ArQHA Memorial Day Circuit started off right with a potluck Friday night. Meat was provided, and exhibitors brought sides and desserts. Afterward, a karaoke machine was going for those who wanted to sing and a blackjack table was set up with benefits given to Doug Smith and his family. Everyone was ecstatic to have Doug back at the show with us.

In honor of Memorial Day, the show conducted a flag presentation, where Jeff Honey and Suddenlyoutoftheblue carried the flag around the arena as the late Johnny Cash crooned "The Ragged Old Flag" over the loudspeakers. Afterward, they settled in the center of the arena while the national anthem was sung.

Open ranch riding champions Tim Laws and FS Blazen Chick won $440 and a buckle.

With the aid of many great sponsors, numerous prizes were offered throughout the weekend. There was $500 added each to the non-pro all-age western pleasure and open ranch riding classes, and buckles were awarded to the champion and reserve champion in each class. The highest-placing non-pro in the open ranch riding received $100. Equine Omega Complete donated Stanford Happening buckles for the Level 1 youth, youth, Level 1 amateur, amateur, Select amateur, non-pro western pleasure, open ranch riding and 11-&-over walk-trot classes. The Stanford Happening 11-&-under walk-trot champion was awarded a work saddle donated by Ferguson Tack. Circuit champions were awarded 8-by-10 photos taken by Pearson Photography. Every speed entry was entered into a drawing for a speed saddle, and Maggie Smith was the lucky exhibitor who went home with the saddle. Quillin leather halters were awarded to the high-point trail horse, Rageous Blaze, shown by Lacee Keller, and high-point English horse Zips RV Radical, shown by Allison Board; the halters were donated by Despino Performance Horses and Kyle Simmons Performance Horses.

Fifteen raffle-drawing winners were split into teams and pitted against each other in an alfalfa-cube toss Monday morning.

A long-time sponsor, Trailer Country, donated a 10-foot utility trailer for the youth to raffle off. Trailer Country also donated $700 in cash and $1,300 in gift certificates as prizes in a raffle drawing. Ten names were drawn each day during the four-day show, and 15 names were drawn from the 40. The 15 finalists were split into three teams and pitted against each other in an alfalfa-cube toss Monday morning. The person from each team with the most alfalfa cubes thrown into the bucket after 30 seconds was put into the finals. The top three then battled it out. Eddie Gurley placed first, receiving $500 cash; Matt Sumler placed second, receiving $200 cash; and Keith Mathis placed third, receiving a $100 gift certificate to Trailer Country along with the other 12 finalists.

Many exhibitors took advantage of the $200 all-inclusive fee and entered multiple classes. The largest classes were open ranch riding with 20 entries and open trail with 20 entries. Judges for the show were Steve Heckaman, Don McDuffee, Beckey Schooler and Brent Maxwell. Countless exhibitors plan to attend again next year; the show staff expects continuous growth from the show.

Stanford Happening winners included:

  • Open Ranch RidingChampion Tim Laws and FS Blazen Chick ($440 and buckle), reserve Kyle Sanders and Heza MG Kinda Guy ($330, $100 for Non-Pro, and buckle), third Clay Cavinder and TAMU Moonlight Acre ($220), and fourth Quincee Clark and Little Miss Einstein ($110)
  • 11-&-Over Walk-TrotChampion Vicki Strickland and Impulse Of Hope ($180 and saddle), reserve Claudia Peeler and KM Bos Country Girl ($135 and buckle), third Jerry Bunn and Best Tobe Alazyloper ($90), and fourth Nicole Lewis and Too Shy To Chip ($45)
  • Non-Pro All-Age Western PleasureChampion Chance Keith and Tony Hock ($390 and buckle) and reserve Alicia Kappelman and Vested In Sweet Talk ($260 and buckle).

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