PQHA Classic Ends Another Successful Show Season

The Pennsylvania Quarter Horse Association crowns its series champions September 3-4 in Centre Hall.

For the Pennsylvania Quarter Horse Association

Scroll down to view more photos from the PQHA Classic. (Credit: AE Photography)

September 3-4 marked another successful edition of the Pennsylvania Quarter Horse Association Classic and Futurity Show and ended the 2016 show season for PQHA. With more than 300 stalls sold, which also included futurity horses, PQHA President Carla Weaver said, “We are happy with our turnout of exhibitors and futurity entries. This time of year is always tough to have a successful show; PQHA competes with our youth being back in school, exhibitors who are in attendance at the world shows and All American Quarter Horse Congress in another month, so we are very pleased with the size of our show and continuing our futurity show and offering reasonable payouts.”  

The ranch horse classes continued to draw huge numbers with more than 55 entries in five divisions. This discipline’s growth at the PQHA shows are partly due to the Series Championships offered to exhibitors who show to all judges at the three PQHA circuits from May through September. A bronze trophy and cash award was presented at the Classic show to the winners of each division, thanks to the generosity of the following sponsors:

  • Joe and Julie Tylka – sponsors of the open, amateur and youth ranch riding divisions
  • Mold Base Industries – sponsor of the Level 1 youth and Level 1 amateur ranch riding divisions.

Sweeping three of the five Ranch Riding Series Championships was Deborah Gastelu and Chex Palogun. Deborah and “Momma Chex” won the Level 1 amateur, amateur and open ranch riding divisions. She also won the PQHA circuit awards in the Level 1 amateur and open ranch riding classes. Deborah, who hails from Middleburg, Pennsylvania, attended all three PQHA circuits as a first-year ranch riding exhibitor with her 17-year-old mare. Deborah has shown reined cow horse and rodeo events over the past several years, but she is proud of the fact that she shows on her own.She took advantage of the PQHA clinic in July given by Mike Jennings, who offered great suggestions that she has used.She is working on her Superior with her mare and would like to qualify for the 2017 AQHA World Championship Show and attend the 2017 Congress. 

From left: sponsor Joe Tylka, sponsor Rick Shiffler of Mold Base Industries, Chex Palogun, owner-exhibitor Deborah Gastelu and PQHA Congress Queen Aubrey Braham. (Credit: AE Photography)

Winning the other two  Ranch Riding Series Championships – Level 1 youth and youth – was Isabelle Edwards and Flash Whiz Bang. Isabelle, 15, lives in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, and trains with Tammy Braham. She has been riding for seven years and this is her first year in ranch riding, and it is her favorite. 

“My horse, 'Bella,' has done showmanship, trail, western pleasure, hunter under saddle, and even jumping, but this is where she does best," Isabelle said of their ranch riding success. 

In August, Isabelle showed at her first Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City; she and Bella competed in ranch riding and had a good ride. Isabelle was hooked on the experience and plans to qualify to return in 2017.She was circuit champion in youth ranch riding at most of her shows this year. She also shows the Interscholastic Equestrian Association horsemanship and reining events and has aspirations to do collegiate equestrian, as well. 

From left: Isabelle Edwards and Flash Whiz Bang, youth and Level 1 youth champions; sponsor Rick Shiffler of Mold Base Industries; and sponsor Joe Tylka. (Credit: AE Photography)

Another PQHA exhibitor who was recognized was Janet Chitwood. Janet is from Ottsville, Pennsylvania, and shows her gelding My Version of Smoke in ranch riding with the assistance of her trainer, Jonathan Meilleur. This show was Janet’s final show. Janet has decided to retire from the show pen at age 77.Janet has been showing for more than 50 years, and she has shown everything, most recently in ranch riding. She also considers trail to be one of her favorite events, next to ranch riding. Janet has been active with PQHA for many years, serving a board member for eight years and she was involved when PQHA signed the first contract to show at Centre County Grange Park.

“I have enjoyed seeing PQHA and the Centre County Grange Park continue to grow and expand the equine events here in Pennsylvania,” Janet said.“My biggest accomplishment was winning the regional ranch riding event and the buckle at the Merial AQHA Region Five Championships in Sussex, New Jersey, a few years ago when the discipline was first added.”

Janet plans to continue casual riding and will attend the PQHA shows as a spectator. 

Janet Chitwood and My Version Of Smoke; the PQHA Classic marked their final amateur ranch riding performance. (Credit: Rita McMullen)

Additional series championship were offered, with winners including:

  • Junior hunter under saddle, sponsored by Chris Gray – Dynamic Detail, owned by Sally Knarr and shown by Melissa Shetler
  • Junior western pleasure, sponsored by Ralph Thomas – Hot Jamaican Cowboy, owned by Tammy Conroy and shown by Dan Rawlings

Each series championship winner received a bronze trophy and a cash award.

“It was an honor to be the PQHA 2016 Futurity chairman, and PQHA and I would like to thank all of the exhibitors, judges and show staff for helping us to achieve another successful futurity show,” said Cayce Miller, PQHA board member. “We were excited to have 62 entries and PQHA will pay out more than $7,000. We look forward to the 2017 show season and are planning to add bigger and better awards and paybacks to our futurities."

Complete futurity results can be found on the PQHA website, www.pqha.org.   

Show manager, Ed Campbell said, “It has been another great show season for PQHA at Centre Hall. The assistance from the show staff and PQHA volunteers and board members, as well as the great exhibitors, has made these shows one of the best shows in PA.” 

Campbell added, “Together with a fantastic show facility here at the Centre County Grange Equine Park and the improvements that are planned, we anticipate growth of the PQHA shows in 2017. I would encourage exhibitors to include the PQHA show dates on your show schedules for next year and see the quality shows at PQHA."  

The entire PQHA board would like to thank all of the exhibitors, sponsors, volunteers, judges and show staff that helped to make 2016 a success. See all of the show results, year-end award standings and 2017 show dates at the website, www.pqha.org.