Arizona Hosts The Nutrena AQHA West Level 1 Championships

A cheering crowd, a red white and blue neck ribbon fluttering through the victory lap, a hoisted gold trophy, the crowd of cameras, being mobbed by friends and family. That was the scene played out 85 times during the Nutrena AQHA West Level 1 Championships at WestWorld in Scottsdale, Arizona May 16 – 21.

A true Championship Show experience awaited exhibitors with custom trophies through 3rd place, champion belt buckles, along with recognition and award presentations in the arena for the top 15. Smiles and celebrations proliferated throughout the grounds and a sense of camaraderie filled the air. Exhibitors also enjoyed the extensive media coverage that shared their triumphs to an audience far beyond the confines of the arena.

These levels of AQHA competition are designed for the minimally accomplished to beginner AQHA competitors.Youth, amateur and select Level 1 classes included halter, showmanship, horsemanship, western riding, western pleasure, hunter under saddle, equitation, over fences, speed events, trail, ranch riding and reining. There were also Rookie and Walk/Trot divisions so that all Level 1 exhibitors could find their niche. A frequent sentiment among the Walk/Trot exhibitors was that those classes are a great confidence builder for people who have never shown before and that they foster the drive to pursue higher goals.

Arizona Quarter Horse Association partnered with AQHA to produce the show for a second year. AzQHA CEO Doug Huls was very pleased with the flow and atmospere of the show. His goal in hosting the Level 1 West Championship was to make it very exhibitor friendly, a hallmark of AzQHA’s productions. The schedule allowed for early completion each day, giving exhibitors time to enjoy socializing and Scottsdale’s extensive dining options. Huls adds, “We had great weather, it didn’t get too hot. We have fantastic facilities at WestWorld and all our Level 1 classes and warm up areas were held in the climate controlled indoor arenas.” AzQHA kept the fun going out side of the arenas with its infamous Prize Patrol roaming the barn areas. Thousands of dollars worth of gift certificates, products and electronics were given away through fun and unique challenge games.

Huls is excited to be part of AQHA’s efforts to provide a pathway for new show exhibitors. He adds, “It was great to see so many first timers here. They get that prestigious show experience and they are excited to do more.” Level 1 East and West finalist have an automatic opportunity to move forward with their showing career. Those who placed in the top 15 are invited to compete for overall Nutrena Level 1 Champion of Champions titles at their respective Youth, Amateur or Select World Championship show.

To support and encourage the learning trajectory of exhibitors, AQHA presented free Ride the Pattern clinics in Trail, Ranch Riding, Horsemanship, Showmanship, Equitation and Ranch Riding. AQHA Professional Horsemen broke down each element of the class pattern, pointing out common pitfalls and opportunities to gain points. The clinics were videoed and are available for everyone on AQHA’s website.

While AzQHA’s focus was to ensure a buzz worthy Championship show experience, it made sure the Pinnacle Circuit had plenty to offer. All Around champions were rewarded with $500 in prize money and Professionals Choice gift certificates to Rerserve Champions. Circuit Champions received custom spurs.

Reflecting on the busy week, Huls comments, “We are already looking forward to offering another great experience next year.”

Level 1 West All Around and Special Awards

Level 1 Amateur All Around

1 – No Question Im Lazy & Morgan Miller

2 – Shelovesarainynight & Alyssa Tjosaas

3 – Titos On The Rocks & Amanda Kemling

Level 1 Select All Around

1 – HP Remember Me & Alan Ritcheson

2 – My Signature Line & Kristen Wiese

3 – Holidayz R Lazy & Amber Thompson

Level 1 Youth 13 & Under All Around

1 – The Company You Keep & Chesney Jay Watkins

2 – Pawn Star & Rose Amala

3 – Justa Machine & Emme Grace Graves

Level 1 Youth 14-18 All Around

1 – Only One At The Bar & Ayana McKnight

2 – Dont Doubt Im Hot & Mylie Parker

3 – Betcha Want This & Delaney Lee

Rookie Amateur High Point

Too Lazy To Be Wild & Faith Dantona

Rookie Youth High Point

Dont Doubt Im Hot & Mylie Parker

Level 1 Walk Trot Amateur High Point

This Chocolates Hot & Christina Kendrick Miller

Level 1 Walk Trot Youth High Point

Capital TLR & Violet Strayer

NSBA Level 1 Amateur All Around

No Question Im Lazy & Morgan Miller

NSBA Level 1 Youth All Around

Dont Doubt Im Hot & Mylie Parker

NSBA Rookie Amateur High Point

Made Me A Cowboy & Jennifer Chan

NSBA Rookie Youth High Point

Dont Doubt Im Hot & Mylie Parker

NSBA Walk Trot Amateur High Point

This Chocolates Hot & Christina Kendrick Miller

NSBA Walk Trot Youth High Point

Capital TLR & Violet Strayer

Top RHB Horse – Amateur

Pursuing The Dream & Virginia Barnes

Top RHB Horse – Youth 

Wouda Coulda Shoulda & Piper Anderson