After much anticipation, exhibitors were finally able to compete at the AQHA Level 1 Championships West!
Due to a deadly outbreak of EHV-1 earlier in the year, AQHA postponed the Level 1 Championships West in order to ensure the safety of the horses. AQHA was able to reschedule their show to September when the Poker Rodeo Association Finals and Ranch Sorting of America graciously agreed to reschedule their event. At the end of September, Level 1 exhibitors finally had the chance to compete for 93 Level 1, Rookie, and Walk-Trot championships at the rescheduled championship show. To clarify any exhibitor questions, the event featured daily exhibitor meetings and several Ride-the-Pattern Clinics. Over the course of the week, AQHA held five Ride-the-Pattern clinics during which competitors were able to see their pattern demonstrated receive tips on their patterns from AQHA Professional Horsemen. At the Ride the Patten Clinics, The Professional Horsemen also raised over 3,000 dollars for the Crisis Fund. Each Professional Horseman and rider who demonstrated the pattern donated their time to support the Crisis fund, and gave competitors the best chance at success.
A total over 1,300 entries competed over five days for coveted placings in numerous English, Western, Halter, Ranch Horse, and Reining championship classes. Exhibitors from the western United States and Canada eagerly prepared and anxiously awaited each of their classes for their chance at a trophy. Numerous Pacific Coast exhibitors received the top placings at the show. Toni Ward and Good Cowboy Casanova were crowned 2019 champions in Amateur Select Trail, Reserve Champion in Amateur Select Showmanship, and Bronze Champions in Amateur Select Equitation and Horsemanship. At the end of the week, this amazing duo were also awarded as the 2019 Amateur Select High Point Champions. In Amateur Select Horsemanship, Jim Stubbs earned the top placing with Eli Investing Wisely and received the High Point Select Amateur Western. Michelle Stewart and Glowin Smokin were named reserve champions in Amateur Select Trail. In addition to All-Around events, California Amateur Select exhibitors were awarded the Champion and Bronze Champion positions in the Amateur Select Ranch Riding. Starlight Pepto and Denise K Williamson were Champions in Amateur Select Ranch Riding; while A Step Closer and Tammy Velez took home the bronze placing in the same class.
In the Amateur division, California exhibitors also took home many awards. Chelsea McCall and One Good Penny were champions in Amateur Hunter Under Saddle. Caitlin Fike and Mas Caronas were named bronze champions in Amateur Ranch Riding. In the Amateur Reining, California exhibitors swept the trophy positions. Walla Walla Whizdom and Leannah Donaldson were named champions followed by Crome Wheels and Brian Block. Rounding out the top three were Twogunsarebetter and Dee Allen. Spark A Lil Fancy and Melanie Koby were Reserve Champions in Amateur Stake Race.
Legends Whiz and Charlene Morgan were Bronze Champions in Rookie Amateur Ranch Riding. Walla Walla Whizdom with Leannah Donaldson, A Step Closer and Tammy Velez, and Twogunsarebetter with Dee Allen took the top three positions in Rookie Amateur Reining respectively. Dynamicgracieisgood and Mary Ratz came home with the Bronze Championship in Rookie Amateur Showmanship. Reserve Champion Rookie Amateur Trail went to Hes Not An Illusion and Madison Robinson while Bronze Champion in that class went to My Time Only and Tammy Moniot. Reserve Champion in Rookie Western Pleasure went to Keeping Vitals Good and Debra Ferguson. In Rookie Amateur Western Riding, Jim Stubbs with Eli Investing Wisely did it again winning Reserve Champions and Break Records Redick with Melissa Moore received the Bronze Champion position.
Not to be outdone by the Amateurs, Pacific Coast Youth exhibitors had some impressive finishes at the Level 1 Championships. Pacific Coast Youth Board Members and Committee Members had a great Show. Board Member Natasha Replogle and Cash Included won Level 1 Hunter Under Saddle, Rookie Western Riding, Level 1 Western Riding, and Reserve Champion L1 and Rookie Horsemanship in addition to Level 1 14-18 High Point Champion. PCQHYA Youth President Cassandre Ehrle and Strut Ur Stuff won Rookie Hunter Saddle, Level 1 Aged Mares, and Reserve Grand Champion Youth Halter. Board Member Brooke Garcia and The Publication earned the Reserve Champion placing in 14-18 Hunter Under Saddle. Committee Member Sydney Sisil and Radical N Style won 13&Under Showmanship, Reserve Champion 13&U Trail, Bronze Champion 13&U Western Riding, Bronze Champion 13&U Horsemanship, and High Point 13&U Western. In addition to PCQHYA Board Members and Committee Members, many other California Youth exhibitors received top placings. This Coosas on Fire and Katie Rathburn were Reserve Champions Barrel Racing and Pole Bending, Champion Equitation Over Fences, Working Hunter, Hunter Hack, Rookie Equitation Over Fences, Rookie Hunter Hack, and Rookie Working Hunter. Mary Cachat with Custom Cody Whiz were Champion Ranch Riding and Rookie Ranch Riding and Reserve Champion Reining. Annabelle Osborne with Spooky Selection were Bronze Champions Ranch Riding. The Cookie Machine and Laura Holliday were Bronze Champions in 13&Under Trail. India Richardson with Zippos Tabatha and Callie Hog and RL Touch of Sudden were Champion and Bronze Champion respectively in the Trail 14-18. Callie Hogg and RL Touch of Sudden also won Reserve Champion 14-18 Western Pleasure, Champion in Rookie Trail, and Bronze Champion Rookie Western Pleasure. Maggie Lazo and My Irons R Black were Reserve Champions Rookie Hunter Hack.
In addition to showing, exhibitors at the AQHA Level 1 Championships West enjoyed the camaraderie and the relaxed atmosphere at the show. Competitors were able to see old friends, meet new friends, and support their teammates. Many people commented that this is their favorite show of the year because of its relaxed environment along with its competitive classes. Whether they were attending for their first time or they were competing for their last time at this event, everyone agreed that the AQHA Level 1 Championships is a unique event with unparalleled laid-back atmosphere.
As always, AQHA and their staff did an amazing job of coordinating this event. Thank you to AQHA, office staff, and everyone else who made this exciting show happen. A special thank you to AQHA for ensuring the wellness of the exhibitor’s horses by postponing the event and for coordinating a rescheduled show! Congratulations to all the exhibitors and Champions at the 2019 AQHA Level 1 Championships!!!!!!!