AQHA Special Recognition Awards

Mildred Vessels Special Achievement Nomination Form 

Gordon Crone Special Achievement Nomination Form


Mildred N. Vessels Special Achievement

This award is given yearly to an outstanding woman within the American Quarter Horse racing industry to recognize her achievement within in the industry throughout the year. The award is voted on by the AQHA Racing Committee.

Mildred (Millie) N. Vessels was a longtime horsewomen whose heritage runs deep within the American Quarter Horse racing history books. Born in 1923 in Blythe, California, Millie grew up in Long Beach, the daughter of a Swedish ironworker. In 1948 she married Frank Vessels, Jr, whose father established Los Alamitos Race Course on his ranch near Cypress, California. In the early days of Los Alamitos, Millie and her husband aided Frank Sr. in the management of the racetrack, and upon the elder Vessels' death, Frank Jr. took over management of the track. In 1974, a year after the Vessels' stallion Timeto Thinkrich won the All American Futurity, Frank Jr. died, leaving Millie to manage Los Alamitos Race Course. During her leadership of the track, Los Alamitos became the nation's leading American Quarter Horse racetrack in terms of attendance and handle. In 1984, Millie sold Los Alamitos and the adjacent property and began concentrating on her own Vessels' Stallion Farm and the San Luis Rey Downs training center, both located in Bonsall, California. Millie passed away on January 20, 1992 at the age of 68. She is the mother of Frank "Scoop" Vessels, III, 2004-2005 AQHA President.

Here are the winners since the award started:
1994 -- Connie Hall 
1995 -- Shirley Schvaneveldt 
1996 -- Tami Ann Purcell 
1997 -- Donna McArthur 
1998 -- Vessels/Knorpp et al "The Girls" 
1999 -- Mrs. Gwendolyn Eaves 
2000 -- Amy L. Owens 
2001 -- Debbie Schauf
2002 -- Sandy Erwin and Janet VanBebber (tie)
2003 -- Tomey Swan
2004 -- Jean Dillard
2005 -- Joan Dale Hubbard
2006 -- Ginny Harding
2007 -- Carol Cooper
2008 -- Ann McGovern
2009 -- Mary Kyler
2010 -- Vel Evans
2011 -- Dawn and Rhonda Rae List
2012 -- Debbie Schauf 
2013 -- Susan Hadley
2014 -- Jamie Zamora
2015 -- Val Clark
2016 -- Loretta Brasher

Gordon Crone Special Achievement Award

This award is given yearly to an outstanding man within the American Quarter Horse racing industry to recognize his achievement within in the industry throughout the year. The award is voted on by the AQHA Racing Committee.

A longtime horseman from Kansas and an AQHA director from 1985-1992, Gordon Crone worked to promote American Quarter Horse racing both in his state and nationally. Gordon and his wife, Juanita, raced the champion gelding Vespero in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Vespero, a son of the Three Bars (TB) stallion St Bar, was named the 2-year-old champion gelding in 1978. When he won the Rainbow Futurity, trainer Marilyn Asmussen became the first female trainer to saddle a major stakes winner. Gordon passed away on February 12, 1994 at the age of 74.

Here are the winners since the award started:
1994 -- Spencer L. Childers 
1995 -- Joe Kirk Fulton 
1996 -- Edward C. Allred 
1997 -- Blane Schvaneveldt 
1998 -- Jack W. Brooks 
1999 -- John H. Bassett 
2000 -- Frank Vessels III 
2001 -- Joe B. Turner, Jr. (awarded posthumously) 
2002 -- Edward C. Allred, Jim Helzer and Ben Hudson (tie)
2003 -- R.D. Hubbard
2004 -- Duayne Didericksen
2005 -- Jerry Windham
2006 -- Russell Harris
2007 -- Dee Raper
2008 -- John Andreini
2009 -- Paul Jones
2010 -- Dr. Steve Fisch
2011 -- Leverne Perry
2012 -- Tom Lepic 
2013 -- Matt Witman
2014 -- Will Fisch
2015 -- Johnny Trotter
2016 -- Steve D. Burns DVM

John Andreini Special Recognition Award

In 1989, the AQHA Racing Council established the AQHA Racing Council Special Recognition Award to honor "a lifetime of outstanding service and dedication" to the development, promotion and enhancement of American Quarter Horse Racing.

Here are the winners since the award's inception:
1989 -- R. D. Hubbard 
1990 -- Ralph W. Shebester 
1991 -- Edward C. Allred 
1992 -- Vessels Stallion Farm, LLC 
1993 -- Clarence Scharbauer, Jr. 
1994 -- Lloyd Shelhamer 
1995 -- James E. Helzer 
1996 -- Taylor Powell 
1997 -- James Barton 
1998 -- Blane Schvaneveldt 
1999 -- Henry E. Brown 
2000 -- Walter Merrick 
2001 -- Mrs. Anne B. Windfohr Marion
2002 -- Jay Pumphrey 
2003 -- Robert Gentry
2004 -- John T.L. Jones
2005 -- Frank "Scoop" Vessels
2006 -- Dutch Masters III
2007 -- Floyd E "Butch" Wise
2008 -- Jerry Windham
2009 -- Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association
2010 -- Spencer Childers
2011 -- Dr. Glen Blodgett
2012 -- Ben Hudson 
2013 -- JoAnn Adams
2014 -- Keith Babb
2015 -- (not awarded)
2016 -- Dennis Ekins