Vacation of a Lifetime

AQHA congratulates horseback riding member Bonnie Earnhardt, winner of the Dude Ranch Vacation Sweepstakes.

The American Quarter Horse Association

AQHA member and Horseback Riding Program member Bonnie Earnhardt and her American Quarter Horse Diamonds Tiger Step.

AQHA and the Dude Ranchers’ Association have awarded the trip of a lifetime to one lucky AQHA member and Horseback Riding Program member: Bonnie Earnhardt of Mebane, North Carolina.

Chosen by random draw during a sweepstakes hosted on the AQHA Facebook page in December, Bonnie and a guest will enjoy a week stay at Colorado Cattle Co. & Guest Ranch in New Raymer, Colorado. Her prize package includes lodging, meals, horseback riding and other ranch activities.

The sweepstakes was open only to AQHA Horseback Riding Program participants.

“We still can hardly believe our good fortune!” Bonnie said. “I keep pinching myself. This is a lifelong dream for both of us, and something we never thought we would be able to do. I signed up for the Horseback Riding Program because I think it's a great motivator to get out and ride.”

Bonnie will take her fiancé, Wayne Dodson, with her on the dude ranch vacation. They’re scheduled to take their trip this summer.

“We are most excited at the opportunity to ride in the wide-open spaces and work with the cattle on a real ranch,” she said. “I'm also looking forward to the Cowboy School and getting a chance to ride a cutting horse and learn to rope. Wayne is interested in all aspects of cattle work. He has worked around cattle a good part of his life, but hasn't had the chance to work them on horseback. He's a real cowboy at heart, and I am so happy to have this chance for him to have the experience he's always dreamed about. I'd be willing to bet he'll be the first one out the door and with the horses every morning during our trip!”

Bonnie is a writer/editor for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and has been an AQHA member since 1974. She owns 11 registered American Quarter Horses.

“We love the old Foundation Quarter Horses,” she said. “I’ve always been partial to old bloodlines, so they appear frequently in our horses’ pedigrees.”

She trail rides her American Quarter Horses throughout the eastern United States and particularly enjoys riding in the mountains and camping with the horses. She said she appreciates that the Horseback Riding Program allows her to earn rewards for the time she spends doing what she loves.

“We are proud to partner with the Dude Ranchers’ Association on giving away this incredible dude ranch vacation to a lucky Horseback Riding Program participant,” said Leman Wall, AQHA director of corporate partnerships, recreational activities and ranching programs. “We can’t imagine a better place to earn Horseback Riding Program hours than on a working dude ranch in a scenic part of the country. Plus, it is a special way for us to say ‘thanks’ for supporting AQHA.”

AQHA Horseback Riding Program

The AQHA Horseback Riding Program was designed to reward AQHA members for time spent in the saddle. Sponsored by AQHA Corporate Partner Professional’s Choice, the Horseback Riding Program is easy to enter – simply submit a small, one-time enrollment fee, then start logging your hours spent in the saddle. Then, throughout the year, you can return the log sheets to AQHA via fax, mail, or online submission forms.

More To Come

AQHA will follow along on Bonnie’s dude ranch adventure this summer. Stay tuned for updates.

Visit AQHA on Facebook for more contests and sweepstakes.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHAnews on Twitter, watch the AQHA Newscast and visit