Longest-Running AQHA Show in California Celebrates 50 Years
Check out results and candids from the Mother’s Day Circuit May 4-8 in Paso Robles.
By Kayla Ghidnelli | May 22, 2016
From Total Equine Event Management
2016 was a special year for the San Luis Obispo County Quarter Horse Association Mother’s Day Circuit Quarter Horse Show: It marked the 50th running of the AQHA circuit. How many AQHA shows do you know that can say they’ve been operating for this long? Not too many!
The May 4-8 show in Paso Robles, California, featured two arenas, with two shows going from cutting and working cow horse events to western pleasure, pattern and trail bringing both realms of the Quarter Horse show world together. The Mother’s Day Circuit is also one of the largest Quarter Horse shows in the state of California.
AQHA Professional Horseman David Busick, who has been coming to this show for the past 25 years, said the show is “known for the down-home, country feel. There’s always a nice barbeque, and the people enjoy the wine country town of Paso Robles.” David was also sure to add, “The Total Equine Event Management staff and management are always pleasant and nice to deal with.”
Exhibitors and spectators had the opportunity to enjoy wine country in Paso Robles. Photo by Shelly Alvord
Tucker and Tina Robinson enjoying their time at the 2016 Mother's Day Circuit. Photo by Shelly Alvord
Drawing Exhibitors from Outside the Golden State
Not all exhibitors at this show are from California. The show draws exhibitors from a vast range of states. Kelsey Nichols traveled all the way from Loma, Colorado, to compete in the reining. This show is worth the drive for Kelsey because it offers more competition and a good number of exhibitors competing in amateur reining.
Kelsey Nichols, a reining exhibitor from Colorado. Photo by Shelly Alvord
Honored by a Special Visit from AQHA President Sandy Arledge
AQHA President Sandy Arledge came out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mother’s Day Circuit Quarter Horse Show. All of us attending the show were certainly honored to have her join us Wednesday. She has been to this show many times and has even previously exhibited as a competitor. Sandy did not have an exact number of how many times she’s attended the show, and when asked, she said with a laugh, “Too many times to count.”
Since we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this show, we asked Sandy how many other AQHA shows have been around 50 years. Sandy said, “I believe, and I said this in one of my posts yesterday, that this is the longest continuously running, AQHA show in the state of California. I believe that’s accurate, which is extremely impressive and definitely a great goal to accomplish!”
As an ending note, we wanted to learn Sandy’s goals for AQHA as president.
“Oh I have a number of goals,” she said. “If you have an opportunity, you can go to AQHA’s website and read the speech I gave at the AQHA Convention when I accepted the presidency or check out my new blog! One of my big things is to re-engage the affiliate program and to get our affiliate members on board with reaching our grassroots people. … We would like to reinvigorate that program.
“I also want to work tremendously hard on education, communication and on our international program.”
AQHA Professional Horsewoman Cynthia Cantleberry and AQHA President Sandy Arledge at the Mother's Day Circuit Horse Show. Photo courtesy of the TEEM Facebook page
New Youth Paving the Trail for the Future
As we all know, without our youth, there is no future. We are so pleased with the involvement we’ve had from our youth at the Mother’s Day Circuit Quarter Horse Show. The numbers of entries in our youth classes is higher than we’ve seen in many, many years.
Exhibitors in the 11 & under Western Horsemanship class. Photo by Kathy Stegman
Zanetti Performance Horses competitors hanging out at the barn. Photo by Shelly Alvord
Celebrating Show Moms in a Horse Show World
As the name of the show states, this show is held during Mother’s Day week and weekend. We all know how hard show moms work in the background to make sure their kids are dressed, clean, on their horses and ready for the show. In honor of the moms, and in memory of the late Kathy Hunt, every year a free Mother’s Day All-Breed Pleasure Class is offered. An incentive for moms to enter the class is the gift of a bottle of wine from the local wineries, and it’s certainly a fun way for moms to step into the show pen.
Show moms competing in the free Mother’s Day All-Breed Pleasure Class. Photo by Kathy Stegman
Horse Community Comes Together for Fundraiser for a Judge in Need
An admirable aspect of this show and the people who attend is their ability to come together and help someone who is in a difficult time. One of our four judges, Chele McGauly, recently went through a flood at her place right outside of Shreveport, Louisiana. They were hit with 26 inches of rain in just a few short hours. On top of the rain, the levy also broke. Chele’s whole property was flooded, resulting in severe damage to her home and the loss of a whole barn full of feed, the horse barn, the office, the lab, fencing, etc. With the help of many people during the flood, she was fortunate enough to save the horses, cattle, dogs and cats on the ranch.
Don Crow, president of the amazing San Luis Obispo County Quarter Horse Association decided to hold a raffle at their celebration barbeque for the 50th Mother’s Day Circuit, and the raffle served as a surprise fundraiser for Chele.
Don said, “When the originally scheduled judge, Buddy Fisher, was not able to make it due to back surgery, we immediately thought of Chele, and we knew with her situation, anything we could do to help her out fund-wise was great and to hire her as a judge was first on our list. We also came up with a plan to do 50/50 fundraiser, where people buy raffle tickets. We also had some other raffle items to give away. You put a ticket in, your ticket’s drawn, you split the pot and then the person that won, Bob Miller, a local man here, gave back half his winnings so she was presented with more than $900! After the flood, her ranch is in dire need of rebuilding, mold removal and repairs, most of which is not covered by insurance. The San Luis Obispo County Quarter Horse Association matched the proceeds raised in the fundraiser with a donation to Judge McGauly’s Go Fund Me account, which was set up by other judges after the flood.”
Chele was beyond surprised and grateful for the love and support of the horse community.
Barbeque masters at the celebration barbeque, which featured a raffle fundraiser for Chele McGauly. Photo by Shelly Alvord
Don Crow and Judge Chele McGauly. Photo by Shelly Alvord
Role Models for Kindness
During this show, TEEM has been encouraging people to pay it forward. Nominations were held every day for people who exhibited random acts of kindess. People were asked to post their nominations on the TEEM Facebook page and winners were randomly selected. Prizes consisted of sterling silver earrings from Carlos Silver and gift certificates from Flanigan’s, two of the vendors at the show.
Competitors were encouraged to share kindness during the five days. Photo by Shelly Alvord
The TEEM Random Acts of Kindness offered prizes to nominated exhibitors. Photo courtesy of the TEEM Facebook page
Random Acts of Kindness certificate awarded to Ella Hanchett. Photo courtesy of the TEEM Facebook page
Awards to Last 50 Years and Beyond
Various prizes are offered for high-point, circuit awards, plus first and second place prizes for the Mother’s Day Quarter Horse Show. More than $15,000 in awards and cash prizes are awarded to the winners. This year, a new trophy has been introduced to the show: the Hy Dimensions Trail Award. The trophy was donated by Lisa Lazarus in memory of her horse, Hy Dimensions, and to honor AQHA Professional Horsewoman Cynthia Cantleberry, the “Queen of the Trail.”
As the story goes, Hy Dimensions suffered from lameness in his hind-end, likely from a possible accident that damaged his spine. When he went to trainer Cynthia Cantelberry, she alerted Lisa of his lameness and they had the horse in the hospital for two months. A year later, he was competing in the AQHA Select World Championship Show in Amarillo! Despite being told the horse should be put down, Hy Dimensions went on to compete and win in many shows. Unfortunately, while Lisa was fighting illness, Hy Dimensions ate a poisonous plant and died at 11 years old. This trail award is to honor Hy Dimensions’ love for trail. The winner of the trophy was trainer Carolyn Rice showing Hez Pretty Extreme.
The new Hy Dimensions Memorial Trail Award donated by Lisa Lazarus. Photo by Shelly Alvord
Hez Pretty Extreme and Carolyn Rice, winners of the Hy Dimensions Memorial Trail Award. Photo by Kathy Stegman
Congratulations to the following all-around champions, receiving custom SLOCQHA jackets:
- Amateur – Taylor Brown showing Absolute Best Asset
- Select Amateur – CeCe Campbell showing Skys Lady In Blue
- Youth – Bobbie Piddock showing Radical N Style
A special bronze trophy is awarded each year to the Reserve Select Amateur All-Around rider in memory of Larry Mitchell, and the 2016 winner was Gay Versteeg.
All-around champions receiving custom Gist silver buckles:
- Level 1 Youth Walk/Jog – Sydney Sisil showing Simply Blazing Hot
- Level 1 Youth – Alexa Bell showing Demented Lover
- Level 1 Amateur – Cassidy Miller showing Don’t Skip My Dance
- 11 & Under All-Breed Walk/Jog – Avalon Goldstein showing Classy Reprint
Custom Gist buckles awarded to all-around champions. Photo by Shelly Alvord
Taking home the Level 1 amateur walk/jog all-around honors was Claire Post showing Good Times N Roses.
Marie Miller, a past SLOCQHA president, also donates a special bronze trophy each year that is presented to the circuit champion in Level 1 amateur trail. The winner this year was Cassidy Miller. Marie also generously donated a bronze trophy for the Circuit Champion in Walk/Jog Youth Level 1 Trail.
Santa Cruz Animal Health and Finishline provided some special awards in a variety of classes.
The SLOCQHA Mother’s Day Circuit also offers $250 circuit championship awards in 25 particular classes that cover the broad spectrum of AQHA show events, stretching from Level 1 amateur cutting to amateur hunt seat equitation to junior western pleasure.
Wood’s Western sponsored $250 gift certificates as circuit awards in four events.
Shorty’s Caboy Hattery sponsored $250 gift certificates circuit awards in four events.
The great location of the show adds to an amazing trip for the whole family on Mother’s Day Weekend. It’s only a short jaunt to the beach or it can be a weekend full of wine tasting in the vineyards of Paso Robles. Exhibitors always look forward to a great week at the Mother’s Day Circuit Quarter Horse Show.
Would you like to see your show featured on AQHA’s website? Send write-ups and photos to AQHA Internet Editor Tara Matsler at firstname.lastname@example.org.