2011 Congress Mid-Show Highlights

Among all the big wins and big prizes at the world’s largest AQHA show, it’s important to remember the firsts that got everyone started in showing American Quarter Horses.

It’s Katelyn Schultz’s first All American Quarter Horse Congress!

An AQHA exhibitor and her American Quarter Horse examine the lunch choices at the 2011 All American Quarter Horse Congress.
Choices! Choices! for lunch at the 2011 All American Quarter Horse Congress. (Scroll down for more Journal photos.)

The Journal spoke with Katelyn’s mom, Nikki, watching her 11-year-old daughter ride in the covered riding area between Congress Hall and the Coliseum. She had just gone to pick up breakfast biscuits for her son, Jared, Katelyn, and Katelyn’s trainer, Rhonda Spratto.

“We came to watch last year, just to see the environment,” Nikki says. “We’ve always shown; we did the AQHA Region Three Championship to get started, and thought she was ready to take the next step up.”

From West Bend, Wisconsin, Katelyn trains with Larry and Rhonda Spratto of Pickett, Wisconsin. Rhonda had her sign up to show A Sweet Addiction for the Congress judging contest to practice for her upcoming performance in novice youth hunt seat equitation. Jared will be showing in the small fry classes.

“She rode her patterns all last weekend before coming,” Nikki says proudly. “My husband (Mike) says (the kids) got the horse bug in utero, from me!”

Among all the big wins and big prizes at the world’s largest AQHA show, it’s important to remember the firsts that got everyone started in showing American Quarter Horses.

Here are Congress highlights from last week:

  • Jason Martin of Highpoint Performance Horses won the senior western riding aboard the legendary Harley D Zip. The two have won their share of Congress honors, but this will be the last in the open division, according to the gelding’s connections. After the 2011 AQHA World Championship Show, “Harley” will be retired from open competition and will be shown by the Papendick family, daughter Kristina in the amateur and mom Kerry in the Select.
  • Grands! The Congress halter grands are all but wrapped up (open geldings show October 26). Winners so far include Josh Weakly of Shelbyville, Illinois, topping amateur mares with Sacreds Supreme and amateur geldings with the legendary RPL My Te Cheerful. Jeffrey Pait led his daughter, Abigail’s, mare Virtues to the open mares title, and Terry Tippen of High Springs, Florida, led A Zhivago to the amateur stallions grand. Dewey Smith led Chester Prince’s homebred PF Credibly Supreme to the open stallions grand – an unusual win for a yearling.
  • AQHA President Peter Cofrancesco III is back in the show scene after battling illness all summer long. He was able to watch daughter, Ireland, win youth aged mares with Senara, a 2005 Cofrancesco homebred by Statutory and out of MBJ Mini Obvious by Obvious Conclusion.
  • Mature Wins! AQHA Professional Horseman Stacy Huls won the open Congress Hunter Under Saddle Maturity riding Blended Choclate for owner Karen Lobb of Edmonton, Alberta. And AQHA Professional Horseman Lanie DeBoer of DePere, Wisconsin, rode Kelsea Hull’s Larks Big Leaguer to the Congress Working Hunter Classic Stakes win.
  • Colorado Western Riders – The novice youth 14-18 western riding class was a big one with more than 65 entered. Riders from Colorado dominated the top-10: Rachel Nankervis of Golden, Colorado, first; Bailey Cook of Fort Collins, second, and Keaton Crawford of Golden, fourth; and Kili Crawford of Golden, seventh.
  • More than 475 youth on 76 teams competed in the NYATT competition with the overall win going to the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Youth Association team – riders competed in showmanship, horsemanship, western pleasure, reining, hunter under saddle and barrels.
  • The 2011 Congress Queen has been crowned – top honors went to Courtney Sturgill of the Virginia Quarter Horse Association, with Alyssa Freeman of the Illinois Quarter Horse Association the first runner-up. Watch for an exclusive Journal interview in the November Journal Plus, the digital edition of the Journal.
  • The 2011 Congress Super Sale averaged $5,865 for 163 head sold, for an 87 percent sold rate. The high-seller was Hez Plum Poison, a 2010 stallion by Diesel Only and out of Quiet Impulse by Impulsions consigned by breeder Pete Mead of Washington, Indiana, bringing a price of $49,500.

Among the highlights coming up this weekend are the Congress Masters Two-Year-Old Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle classes and the Wenger Barrel Racing Sweepstakes.

Look for you and your horse in the coverage slide show presented by The American Quarter Horse Journal (click on the image to see the caption):

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If you have a special AQHA at Congress story to share, send a note to chamilton@aqha.org.

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