Sun Circuit’s Jubilee Celebrates with Fantastic Awards and Cash

When the 50th Anniversary Scottsdale Arizona Sun Circuit takes over West World in Scottsdale March 4 through 12, exhibitors will have a lot to celebrate with an unprecedented line up of added money classes and awards. Twelve Sun Circuit Anniversary logo’d golf carts, 36 saddles and over $100,000 in added money will be distributed across disciplines including Trail, Ranch, Western Riding, Cow Horse, Roping and more.
One of the highlights will be $10,000 added to the Snippity Snap 4 & 5 Year Old NSBA Open Trail Futurity sponsored by Kent Ray Taylor. The champion exhibitor of the Futurity will also win a Sun Circuit Golf Cart. Machine Made is sponsoring a Limited Rider 4 & 5 Year Old NSBA Trail Futurity as well, with $2,000 added. Plus, the champion of that event will take home a Blue Ribbon Saddle.
Western Riding competition for young horses will surely heat up with $7,500 added to the Nothing But Nett 5 & Under Western Riding Maiden Stakes. Horses must not have shown in Western Riding prior to the 2023 Sun Circuit and the class will run concurrently with L1 Jr. Western Riding.
Ranch exhibitors know Sun Circuit is the place to be for fun, great competition and plenty of added money. In 2023, their expectations will be exceeded. Farnam is once again sponsoring the L1 Open Ranch Horse Stakes with $5,000 added, combining scores from L1 Ranch Trail, L1 Ranch Riding, L1 Ranch on Rail plus halter. The Champion will receive $2,500 and a buckle, reserve wins $1,500 along with a saddle pad and 3rd place receives $1,000 and bronc halter.  Ranch exhibitors also have a shot at one of two Golf Cart Awards for their division. There is a Non Pro High Point cart and a Ranch Exhibitor cart. Sweet awards keep coming in Ranch with Two High Point exhibitors set to win a prize package that includes a pair of Woods’ chinks, a CR Ranchwear Shirt and a pair of Rod Patrick Tall Top Boots worth a total value of $2,500. More money can be won in the Ranch Riding 2D jackpots with $1,000 added. The jackpot classes will run concurrent with the regular AQHA Junior and Senior Ranch Riding classes on Wednesday and the L1 Amateur Ranch Riding, Select Ranch Riding and Amateur Ranch Riding on Thursday. Exhibitors are reminded you must enter these to be eligible to win the cash.
Cattle Classes are a huge part of the Sun Circuit scene and offer even more lucrative award opportunities. Ropers can battle it out in the ARHFA Sun Circuit Futurity classes with  a total of $35,000 added. There are two golf cart awards specifically for Cow Horse exhibitors. One will be awarded to the Non Pro High Point Reined Cow Horse, Cutting and Cow Horse Exhibitor. Youth and Amateur exhibitors are eligible for that award. The Working Cow Horse Exhibitor Golf Cart Award will go to the individual who accumulates the most points in Jr, Sr, Amateur and/or Youth Working Cow Horse. The Arizona Golden Cowboy is back, challenging all cowboys and cowgirls to test their skills in herd work, Muley steer stopping and Cow Horse. Cushing Performance Horses is sponsoring the popular event with $2,500 added. In addition to cash, the champion will receive a buckle, Reserve wins a saddle pad and third gets a bronc halter.
Scores from cutting and cow horse are combined in a quartet of jackpotted Spectaculars. Rogers Heaven Sent Ranch is adding $2,500 to both the Junior and the Senior Spectaculars in 2023. Bob and Becky Grant of Anchor Cross Ranch are throwing $1,000 into the pot for the Amateur Boxing Spectacular and Shadd Parkinson is sponsoring the Amateur with $1,000 added. Champions in both Amateur classes also win a buckle, while reserve takes home a pair of Sun Circuit Spurs.
As if that was not enough incentive for Cow Horse enthusiasts to play at Sun Circuit, saddle awards are on the line for Circuit Champions.
Bob’s Custom Saddles will be awarded in Junior, Senior and Amateur. Jim Taylor Saddles will be awarded in Youth Cow Horse and Amateur Boxing.
There are multiple NSBA Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle futurities too. Gil Galyean Quarter Horses is sponsoring a suite of Western Pleasure futurities. The $2,500 Novice Horse 3 Year Old Pleasure has $1,000 added and the 3 Year Old Western Pleasure also has $1,000 added. There will be a 3 and 4 Year Old Non Pro Pleasure with $500 added as well as a 3 and 4 Year Old Int. Non Pro Western Pleasure with $500 added.
Change gears and check out the 3 and 4 Year Old Open Hunter Under Saddle with $1,000 added along with a 3 and 4 Year Old Non Pro Hunter Under Saddle, also with $1000 added. Both are sponsored by Good Better Best and Nancy-Sue Ryan – Show Stop Farm.
Super Sires is back in Scottsdale with a slate of $2,500 added futurities. Horses must be by an eligible Super Sires Stallion and nominated to the Super Sires program. Their offerings include
L1 Jr Western Riding, L1 Sr Western Riding, L1 Jr Trail, L1 Sr Trail and L1 Open Western Pleasure. Super Sires Futurities run concurrent with the respective L1 AQHA class.
The fun and cash is spread around all the arenas. There is $2,000 added to 2D reining jackpots for Junior, Senior and Amateur, along with $1,000 in the Select.The jackpot classes run concurrent with the AQHA classes. Trail Stakes add $2,000 each to 2D jackpots in Junior and Senior and $1,000 to Amateur and Select. Plus there are more golf cart awards in Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, Reining and Trail, with a total of 6 carts specifically for Non Pro exhibitors.
Visit SunCircuit.com for all the awards, added money and criteria. You can also find complete class schedules, links to hotel deals and all the latest information.

 

Sun Circuit Beats It’s Record Entries Again

In every one of the Scottsdale Arizona Sun Circuit’s 11 show arenas, it was evident that there were more horses, more exhibitors, more friends, family and cheer leaders. The final numbers showed 2,500 stalls reserved, 300 more than last year’s record breaker. Held March 4 through March 13 at WestWorld in Scottsdale, the show delivered on its promises of fun, competitive, exciting and lucrative classes. While the biggest names in the industry were represented in everything from Cutting to Trail, there were also many exhibitors who had never shown at Sun Circuit before. There were even quite a few who chose this whopper of a show as their very first AQHA show. As one dazzled VRH exhibitor commented, “I’ve been to a couple all breed shows, but this is absolutely incredible! Everywhere you look there’s incredible horses. And even though it’s huge, everyone has been so welcoming.” That is the spirit for which Sun Circuit always strives.

Sun Circuit producer and Arizona Quarter Horse Association CEO Doug Huls added several classes to this year’s line up with the expressed intention of giving new exhibitors a place to start. Amateur Walk Trot classes in Pleasure, Horsemanship, Trail, Hunter Under Saddle, Hunt Seat Equitation, Ranch on Rail, Ranch Trail and Ranch Riding where available to entice very novice exhibitors. There was even an All Around buckle award for the Walk Trot division. Youth had Walk Trot classes as well with a buckle for the All Around Champion. Green horse pattern classes were also new, giving those horses a starting place to be shown against their peers.

In addition to added money classes, Sun Circuit is know for a dizzying array of awards. A total of 37 saddles were given as high points, circuit and VRH awards. Best of Show awards in Open, Amateur, Youth and Select for both the All Around and Reining & Cattle divisions included Rod Patrick Boots. Non Pro High Point saddles from Bobs Custom Saddles were awarded in L1, L2 and L3. New this year in the prize line up were Sun Circuit logo’ed EZ-Go electric golf carts to high point exhibitors in five categories. Katie Green won the cart in Western Pleasure, while Beth Case racked up the points for the Hunter Under Saddle cart. Shadd Parkinson showed an exceptional string in Cow Horse to win that cart. Bud Lyon dominated the standings in Ranch classes to win a cart and Andrea  Fappani took home the cart for reining.

 

Cattle classes are always a huge draw at Sun Circuit and this year saw even more entries across the board. The Arizona Golden Cowboy award had 9 cowboys and cowgirls chasing the title. Points were tallied from Golden Cowboy Herd work, Muley Steer Stopping and Junior or Senior Cow horse. Previous winner Corey Cushing sponsored this year’s event with $5,000 added along with a buckle to the champion. It was a tightly bunched field throughout the competition, but ultimately, Shadd Parkinson riding Whose Tuff for owner Christa Hampton took top honors, winning $2,465. Shadd also claimed the reserve spot and $1,957 riding Bronwyn McCormick’s Metal Storm. Corey Cushing was third with One Shiney Metallic.

 

 

Many cattle class exhibitors were chasing the money in Cow Horse Spectaculars which combine scores from cow horse and cutting. Heaven Sent Ranch sponsored both a Junior and Senior Spectacular with $2,500 added to each. The Junior was dominated by Brendon Clark riding CR Hes A Tuff One, winning $1,290. Shadd Parkinson and Metal Storm added to their overall show winnings placing at the top in the Senior Spectacular, earning $1,080. Shadd’s rides on Whose Tuff parked him in second also for another $900.

The Amateur Spectacular sponsored by Parkinson Performance Horses paid 6 places with Hickory Smoked Ham and Brittany Factor racking up the most point to win $780. The Cow Horse Boxing Spectacular sponsored by Anchor Cross Ranch had 22 amateurs competing for nearly $2,500 paid across 7 places. Lindsay Forman and Peppys On Time was way ahead of the pack to earn $896 in first place.

The ARHFA Sun Circuit Roping Futurity hosted its largest field to date in Scottsdale across open, intermediate, limited and non pro divisions. A total of $30,000 added and high numbers of entries ensured some hefty paychecks. Eighty eight horses started out in the open heading but after three rounds, it was Hankies Version with Rhen Richard aboard who had the combination of speed and style to win the $7,760. On the heeler’s side, Sara Hudson’s horse Dual Oak E ridden by Steve Orth was the finals winner earning $10,320. Sara Hudson had a good couple days in Scottsdale because her horse Vegas Smoke Screen, ridden by Bubba Hudson, won the Non Pro Heading for $3,030. BSF Short on Coke was ridden by Quealy Probst to win the Non Pro Heeling and a check for $2,940.

Ranch classes continue with explosive growth at Sun Circuit and plenty of great awards enticed exhibitors this year. There were Best of Show Bob’s Saddle awards in Amateur, Select and Open, plus Farnam sponsored the L1 Open Ranch Stakes with $5,000 added. Points were tallied from Ranch Riding, Ranch Trail, Ranch on the Rail and Halter. Lauren Blumer showed Charleston LK to win the championship buckle and $2,500. Lane Kail and Winn Like Flynn took second place receiving $1,500 and a saddle pad. Big and Busy with Debbie Cooper at the reins came in third receiving a bronc halter and $1,000

 

Added money classes were distributed across all disciplines. Thirty three horses entered the $7,500 Added Nothin But Nett 5 and Under Maiden Stakes Western Riding. It was a close race all week between Dirtie Money with Sara Simons aboard and Snippity Snap guided by Blake Weis. After 3 goes, Dirtie Money, owned by Mike and Michelle Preston, cleaned up winning $2,496. Snippity Snap won second for $2,112 For Kent Ray Taylor.

Sara had an exceptionally good show in Trail too. She rode Dirtie Money to the win in the 4 and 5 year old Machine Made Open Trail Futurity with $2,000 added. That class paid first place money of $1,257.10. On top of the cash, Arizona Quarter Horse awarded an additional golf cart to the winner. Sara rode the second place horse in the class as well. MS Extremelyhotchips, owned by Sid Karr, took home $918.65. Sara kept the paychecks flowing as she was also entered in the Super Sires 4 & 5 Year Old Open Trail with MS Extremelyhotchips, winning an additional $2,304 and prize line. I Gottem Talkin with Anthony Montes won second in the Super Sires Stakes winning $1,728 for owner Julia Oxendine. There was also a Super Sires Senior Trail class with $2,500 added. First place Champion Will Knabenshue received a check for $1,134.00 and the prize line on Party Favours owned by Kara Sisco. The 2nd place horse was VS Born To Be Good with Shannon Walker on board. Owner Laurie Rutledge received a check for $850.50.

Super Sires added money to the L1 Green Junior and Senior Western Riding with $2,500 going to each class. In addition to the cash, winners were presented with the Super Sires pries and NSBA trophy. In the Senior, a total of $3,300 was awarded. The judges’ combined scores showed it was Blaze O Rama and Shannon Walker loping through the pattern with commanding precision to win $1,188 for owner Erica Thorpe. On the Junior side, there was $3,700 in total payout. Snippity Snap shown by Blake Weis proved a great future awaits this mare after winning the top spot. The team received $1,332 for 1st place.

Sun Circuit expanded the number of classes that offered 2D jackpot money in Trail, Ranch Riding and Reining. The 2D format splits the class jackpot entries in half and money is paid to the top horses in the first D then to the top horses at the start of the mid point of the pack. At least 3 places are paid in each D. Therefore it essentially levels out two groups in one class who are competing for prize money. “I think as more people understand how 2D jackpots work in the show world, the more they will want to participate in them,” comments Doug Huls. “It’s fun. Even horses who don’t win the class can get in on the money with a modest investment.”

Dana Avila and Magnificent Dreamer picked up $662.50 in the 2D Amateur Reining as well as $675 in the 1D for Select Ranch Riding. The first horse in the second D of Amateur Reining was Mobsters Pea Eye with Abigal Anderson who also won $662.50

With 22 horses signed up to play in the Amateur Ranch Riding jackpot, there was a total of $2,100 in the pot split over 6 holes. Kimberly Colvin and Lecytic Chic Olena topped the class and won $525. While Jimmy Smith’s ride on Lil Bev At The Bar may have had him out of the points, it landed him in the first hole of the second D, likewise earning $525. It’s nice to be a L1 rider and still get to ride for money in a jackpot. Amanda Kimes on Diamonds N The Dust rode off with $537.5 in L1 Ranch Riding that had 23 horses entered in the jackpot. Always Gotyer Gun and Daralee Lindsay topped the second D.

Forty eight horses jumped on to the jackpot craze in the Senior Trail with $2,000 added for a total of $4,400 to be split. Tonya Brown guided Cool Cruzin lady through the poles to win $1,100 in the first D while Snap Chat Diva and Leslie Lange were the first hole in the second D and also picked up $1,100. Anthony Montes and Rageous Rodder won $600 in second and Leslie Lange got another $600 with Hez Kool. In the 2D Jr Trail Stakes, Suzy Johns’ Nothing But Nett with Deanna Searles in the saddle won the 1D and $712.50 and followed it with a second place finish in the 1D on Cowboy Sings The Blues for another $427.50. Made in Detroit with Charlie Cole and Couldn’t B Any Lazyer with and Michael Hoyt received their slice of the pot as the first and second place finishers in the 2 D. Amateurs enjoyed the fun too with their jackpot paying a total of $1,950 to 6 horses. Nothin Compares and Lauren Levy along with Mechanic Parkin Only and Charlotte Green each got checks for $487.50 for being the 1D and 2 D top finishers.

The Select Trail had a jackpot too with a total of $2,400 to distribute. Laina Banks won the class and a check for $600 with Eye On The Ball. With a tie for the top slots in the second D, Only One Request and Scott Reinartz and My Vital Valentine shown by June Liston split the combined first and second payouts for the second D and each got $480.

Sun Circuit was even the place for a celebratory salute to veterans. NSBA Foundation’s Heroes on Horses debuted in the west on Wednesday with military veteran riders from several therapeutic riding programs in the region participating. All the Heroes, their families and representatives from their programs were treated to a welcome dinner Tuesday night.

An emotional Parade of Heroes flag procession was followed by the western pleasure competition. As part of the NSBA Equestrians with Disabilities division (EWD), the Heroes on Horses program is a catalyst for recognition and thanks to our military service men and women who ride and compete. A 3-year commitment from the Bob and Ingrid Miller Family of Mesa, Arizona allows NSBA to bring this special tribute and competition to Sun Circuit through 2024.

Fun and winning extends beyond the arenas at every Sun Circuit. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of TVs, electronics, along with products and gift certificates from vendor sponsors were presented by Prize Patrol for winning…or just plain playing in the fun and down right whacky games. Everything from trivia to dance competitions, egg and spoon races, snail races, reining slide offs, ballon races and scavenger hunts were entertaining across the grounds and around the barns.

Complete awards and score sheets can be found at SunCircuit.com, and all results are available on the HorseShowTracker app.

Next year, Sun Circuit will be back in Scottsdale March 4-12, 2023 for its Golden Jubilee. Everyone can expect even more of what they love and quite a few grand celebration surprises.

Arizona Incentive

Congratulations to the eligible exhibitors for the Arizona Incentive. These exhibitors, if they win the same circuit again at Sun Circuit, will win a $5000 bonus.

L3 Jr. Trail-  Michael Hoyt

L3 Sr. Trail- Nancy Renfro

L3 Amateur Trail -Taylor Brown

L3 Select Trail- Danette Merritt 

Youth Trail 14-18-  Kaitlynn Bloom

L3 Youth Horsemanship -Kaitlyn Bloom

L3 Amateur Horsemanship -Dr Shelley Grissom

L3 Select Amateur Horsemanship- Kim Gutowski

L1 Ranch Riding Stakes- Kristin Brock

Sun Circuit Smashes Records 

The 2021 Scottsdale Arizona Sun Circuit exceeded all expectations while delivering the biggest horse show in its 47 year history. The 9 day equine extravaganza was held February 27 through March 7th at the expansive WestWorld facilities in Scottsdale, AZ. A perfect storm of pent up desire to show, a tremendously diverse slate of classes and a destination worthy location drew exhibitors from all corners. Returning exhibitors joined many who made it to their bucket-list show for the very first time. The prodigious increase was apparent before the first classes even started. Additional stalls were erected, more trailers filled the parking lots and more horses were acclimating to the mild Arizona weather as they casually exercised in a dozen arenas.

Sun Circuit is a premier event in the equine industry for youth, amateur, select and open exhibitors. There were 26,108 AQHA entries and 4,561 NSBA class entries, including Color Breed classes. NRHA and NRCHA classes also saw increased numbers. Once the numerous special events, added money classes and 2D jackpot classes are tallied, a whooping 38,841 entries were made. That is nearly a 20% increase over 2020’s total class numbers. The explosive growth pressed Sun Circuit management to creatively utilized every inch of the West World show grounds.  Several adjustments had to be made to the schedule and additional arenas were opened. Classes were held in a total of 11 arenas and additional areas and pens were available for warm up.

Innovation is always a hallmark of Sun Circuit and this year’s show was full of fun and lucrative opportunities. Leann Rhodes was the lucky winner of the fully customized Western Hauler Crew Cab Chevrolet LTZ in the Western Hauler Truck Bonanza Raffle. Sun Circuit also kicked in $4,500 to cover taxes and registration fees for the winner. The entire package was worth about $90,000. Only 500 tickets were sold. Each raffle participant drew a raffle ticket from a box with a number between $1 and $500. Whatever number they drew was the amount they paid for the ticket. Some people opted to buy several tickets, and the event was so popular, folks at home wanted in so drawings were taken by phone also. All proceeds after expenses went into the pot for the Western Hauler Western Pleasure Truck Bonanza class. There were 17 qualified horses and riders from L1 Open, Junior and Senior pleasure in the class. Each Open rider drew a horse’s name as their mount. If they drew their own, or a horse they’ve ridden in the past, they had to draw again. After a few minutes to get acquainted, these new teams competed for a slice of nearly $50,000. Payouts were made to all 17 and winnings were split equally between the rider and the horse’s owner.

Katie Green easily clicked with Susie Johns’ horse KM Flat Out The Best to rack up the most points across the 3 judges. Katie and Susie split the top payout of $9,132.34. In second place, Becky and Gil Galyean’s horse, Made Sleepy, gave Rusty Green a smooth ride and earned $5,580.88. Good Vybes, owned by Amy Lynch and shown  by Ty Elrod, finished in third place for a $4,566 check. At the end of the class, champion Katie Green had the honor of pulling the winning raffle ticket.

Fantastic awards are another reason people love Sun Circuit. Rod Patrick Boots were the Best of Show prizes that awaited youth, amateur and select exhibitors in both the all-around and ranch and cattle divisions. There were 43 saddle awards across disciplines, ages and levels. Non Pros in L1, L2 and L3 accumulated points to win Bobs Custom Saddles. They had their points tallied from showmanship, horsemanship pleasure and halter. Lydia Menossi with 128 points took top honors in the Level 1 Non Pro. Shez Flat Mystical was shown in Level 2 by Bailey Anderson earning 179 points to claim the saddle award. Laina Banks had 163 points to win the Level 3 saddle with Strawberri Wine. The Non-Pro English saddle was won by Brooke Jolstad riding Betta Believe It. The High Point Green Horse was Not Dun Loping owned by Jane Humes, taking home a Superior Saddle.

Thousands of dollars were added to a new series of 2D jackpots in Reining, Ranch Riding and Trail. They provided opportunities for a lot of people to win cash. Added money and entry fees were divided equally between the 1D and 2D Divisions and each D paid 3 places. Over $29,000 was paid out. “We are really excited about the 2D format and spreading it around to multiple classes,” commented Sun Circuit Director and AzQHA CEO Doug Huls. “The Divisions are another form of leveling. You don’t have to be the big class winner to win a prize. You can score in the average and earn some money. For a nominal investment in the jackpot, you can go home with a nice check. It’s new for us, but the exhibitors who jumped on this year were really thrilled with it. We are definitely going to be offering  2D classes again next year.” A few highlights from the 2D payouts include Gunna Sail Away and John Gilbert winning $1,320 in the Amateur Reining. The Senior Trail stakes had 21 entries jackpotted and a total purse of $4,100. Hes Blazin Trouble with Jason Martin earned $923 in the 1D and VS Highroller with Brad Jewett aboard won $923 for first in the 2D.

L1 Amateur Ranch Riding had a jackpot and Liz Wagstrom rode Pay Me In Chocolate to win $315 in cash rather than chocolate in the 1D. Another $315 went to first place Kist My Assasin and Chelsie McAllister in the 2D.

The biggest payouts were seen in the $5,000 added Junior Trail Stakes. Not Dun Lopin  and Jane Humes won $3,120 for first in the 1D and Metamorphic and Ashley Clock-Dunbar claimed the top spot in the 2D earning $2,080.

Several NSBA Futurities offered more opportunities to earn money too. Good To Be First, owned by Emily Miller and shown by Beth Case won the $5,000 added $2,500 Novice Horse Hunter Under Saddle Open with a payout of $3,480.

$2,500 Limited Horse, Limited Rider Open HUS was won by

Cprealsurehestheone owned by Kristie Perea. Nancy Alto-Renfro was in the saddle and the team won $1,300.

West Coast Breeders offered futurity classes as well, including the $2,500 Added 3 & 4 Year Old Non Pro HUS. Im Simply Southern was shown by Kara Flentje to earn a $2,650 paycheck.

On the Western side, the $2,500 Added West Coast Breeders 3 & 4 Year Old NP Western Pleasure saw Never Have I Ever and Dakota Andrie take top honors, the trophy and a check for $1,635. Kent Ray Taylor had a fine ride in the  NSBA 3 & 4 year old Non Pro Pleasure with SnippitySnap earning $662.  The Intermediate Non Pro saw The Candy Mann ridden by Macy Brandt claiming the trophy and $502

In the $2,000 added 3 Year Old Open Western Pleasure, Gil Galyean showed Made Sleepy, a horse he and Becky own, to claim first and $2,260.

Ima Gold Machine owned by Rusty and Katie Green was in the gold earning $1,733 with Katie at the reins in the $5,000 4 & Over Pleasure.

The 3 Year Old Novice Horse Western Pleasure sponsored by Gil Galyean Quarter Horses was won by LunaMoon and Angie Cannizzaro. The smooth moving mare earned owners Scott and Linda Berwick $1,468.

The Susan Johns Family & Nothin But Nett sponsored 2 trail futurities. The 4 and Over Maiden Trail was won by Martinis In The Dark owned by Katie Michell and shown by Jess Bergantzel. They earned $1,569.38 for their efforts. Brad Jewett navigated If U Say So, owned by Hanna Olaussen, through the course to win $1,309.10.

From flat to fences, the fun and money kept flowing. The Greenway Saddlery Open and Non Pro Hunter Derbies were back. Pam Stubbs cleaned up in both. Pam rode her horses DGS Dont Tell Tales and A Classic Iron in the Non Pro to take first and second. Gretchen Lof guided them through the course in the Open to place second and first respectively.

Enthusiasm for Ranch related classes continues to grow at Sun Circuit and the western backdrop of Scottsdale provides a fitting stage to showcase the Quarter Horses’ versatile working heritage. Shunning silver and bling, the ranch  horses shined with phenomenal  athleticism. Ranch Riding classes saw 40, 50 and more entries across the divisions. L1 Ranch Riding saw the biggest numbers with 63 in the L1 Open.

L1 Open horses filled the Ranch Trail classes as well and dozens more amateur and open riders navigated the naturalistic obstacles. More and more exhibitors are enjoying the fun and thrill of Ranch on the Rail aka Working Western Rail. There were 33 L1 Amateurs together in the ring showing off their best long trots and fast lopes. L1 Open classes saw 25, and the numbers in select and amateur were strong too. Youth exhibitors are gravitating to the class as well with 65 competing across L1, Youth 10 and under and 11 and under.

Many of those L1 Open exhibitors were chasing the top prize in the Farnam L1 Open Ranch Horse Stakes with $5,000 added. Points were tallied from L1 Ranch Trail, L1 Ranch Riding, L1 Ranch on Rail and halter. When all the points were counted, Gina Maekaw and Rug You Up won $2,500 and the champion buckle. Colette Ledlow aboard Metallic Shock Wave took home $1,500 as reserve along with a saddle pad.

Plenty of other Ranch High Point and Best of Show awards were being chased by talented and versatile exhibitors. Colette and Metallic Shock Wave also won the Open Best of Show Ranch and Cattle Division and a pair of Rod Patrick Boots. Sydney Sargent will be rocking Rod Patrick boots too after MWS Flashed N Chock carried her to the Best of Show win in the Youth Ranch and Cattle Division.

Cindy Sotello and Righteous Rascal picked up a Superior  Saddlery Saddle after winning the High Point Open Ranch Horse while on the Amateur side it was Katie Fox and Nitenshining Armor winning the Ranch High Point Superior Saddle.

The show also offered a full slate of VRH classes which drew more exhibitors than previous years. An all-breed VRH Open High Point Superior Saddlery saddle was the award many exhibitors were aiming for. When the points were tallied, it was Caymus Pepto and Cynthia Baker who came out on top. A Superior saddle was on the line for All Breed Amateur as well. JB Hananero Whiz and Tonya Brigance took the honors.

The $5,000 added Arizona Golden Cowboy award sponsored by Cushing Performance Horses was won by non other than Corey Cushing. The Golden Cowboy is an event in which one horse and rider have their scores combined from Golden Cowboy Herd Work, Muley Steer Stopping, and Wednesday’s Jr or Sr Cowhorse. Corey Cushing and Shining CD Light accumulated the most points and was able to repeat his 2020 win, earning $3,250. Jason Hershberger and Pepto Hot Sox were in second place winning $1,950.

Rogers Heaven Sent Ranch sponsored the Junior and Senior Bridle Spectaculars with $3,500 added to each. The event tabulates scores from 2 goes of cutting and 3 of cowhorse. Brandon Clark prevailed in the Senior Spectacular aboard Truckin Chics Rule, owned by Laura and Lexi Woods. They won $1,750. Brendon Clark also won the Benny Guitron perpetual trophy for Junior Cow Horse.

The Junior Spectacular saw SJR Talkin Shine and Jake Barry accumulate the most points for owner Kristin Bachetti who got a check for $1,050. Nickles Player and Brittany Factor rode to the top of the Parkinson Amateur Spectacular leader board while Chicaroos and Dorn Parkinson finished out with the most points in the Anchor Cross Ranch Amateur Boxing Spectacular.

The ARHFA Sun Circuit Rope Horse Futurity had an increase in entries as well. The Futurities showcase the horses’ ability to make a run that is set up and executed with the precision needed of an AQHA Show Horse combined with the speed of a team roping horse. The format uses two judged scores and one timed score for a combined total.

There was $15,000 added to the Open, plus a limited rider division and Non Pro each had $5,000 added to the pot. The open entries were littered with team roping legends. The Open Heading saw 91 entries and paid 10 places for a total of $42,275.00. ARHFA World Champion Andy Holcomb piloted Walking the Dog for Blake and Liz Hirdes. When the dust settled, their combined score of 926.5 put them in first place to earn $8,455. Relentless Big Shot and Trevor Brazile picked up second for $6,764 on a score of 921.26. Brazile also held the third place with a 918.35 on American Greed for another $5,918.5 and 4th on BoomBoom Firecracker winning $4,650.50. The Open Heading Limited was won by Cord Forzano on PLL Real Tiger for $1,680.

Paul Bogart earned himself $3,120 after marking 675.34 in the Non Pro Heading on Shesa Royal Cat. With a score of 671.98,  Kyle Kukla and Freckles Lil Boy came in 2nd place earning $2,600. Bogart double dipped in the Non Pro Heeling where his score of  673.03 settled him into second place earning another $2,675.00. Davis Grup won the NP Heeling on Brigasis Jay with a final score of 680.78 and a check for $3,210.00.

Cord Forzano was back in the Open Heeling aboard his horse Ima Trashy Romeo. They were up against 118 teams chasing a pot worth $54,175. The pair laid down one great run after another scoring 920.75 to take the championship check for $10,835. Second place went to WND Affair shown by Dakota Kirchenschlager for owner Darren Johnson. They scored 915.13 to win $8,668. Kirchenschlager also took the 3rd hole aboard Hat Six Fine Dinero owned by Walter Greeman. The pair had a score of 914.59 that paid $7,042.75. The Open Heeling Limited was won by  Dillon Graham riding Lyle Grantham’s KR Resolution earning $2,000.

Amateur roper Chantz Stewart had a hot hand all week and was rewarded with the High Point Roping Caliente Saddle. Gavin Hershberger, riding Expect a Big Boon, continued the family legacy by winning the High Point Youth Roping award of a Caliente Saddle Shop saddle. His brother Garrett claimed that title last year. A new award this year was the Mike Drennan Memorial Caliente Saddle for the high point all ages team roper. Les Oswald was the winner of this inaugural tradition.

The National Championships in Horsemanship, Equitation and Showmanship were decided at Sun Circuit after 3 rounds of tournament style competition reduced the field of nationally ranked amateur, select and youth exhibitors down to just four in each division. The Four showed in head-to-head matchups that were both fun and exciting. All of the finalists received embroidered leather bomber jackets, and each champion won a gorgeous silver buckle.

Farnam National Championship in Showmanship saw Griffin Holliday and Good N Plenty Gold prevail in the final round over Lauren Stanley and Extremely Good Stuff. Griffin took home the buckle. The final match in Select Showmanship had

Jaqueline Marlow and Mug Shot repeat the pattern against Carla Townsley and UF Certainly A Priss. The judges agreed that Jaqueline had the better run to claim the champion title.

The Equine Chronicle was the title sponsor of National Championship in Equitation. In the Select finals, Karen Lee Tegner-Manseth defended her 2020 Champion title, this time aboard Amarillo By Moonlight. The pair held a slight edge over Caroline French-Campbell riding Creepin In My Sleep.

In Amateur, 5th ranked Lauren Stanley’s presentation of Extremely Good Stuff had extra polish to get the judge’s nod over Shez Hot N Platinum and Christianna Schukman.

Adequan National Championship in Horsemanship saw #1 ranked Karen Zarda and Betcha Want This finish the week stronger than they started to ultimately win the Select championship. She had a tight match with finalist and 4th ranked Dan Yeager riding RL Suddenly Lopin.

Nicole Barnes arrived at Sun Circuit ranked 11th nationally. Riding Its All Good Man, the pair progressed through the rounds to The Four. Nicole was just happy to be at Sun Circuit and was a little surprised when she was announced as a finalist. She was overcome with joy upon receiving the champion buckle after the judges agreed she had the edge over Imma American Made and Andrea Kengis Foss’s final go.

Youth National Championships saw a number of nail-biting match ups. Brooke Jolstad was ranked #15 in Youth Equitation coming into Sun Circuit. Riding Betta Believe It, she showed with exquisite form in each round right up to the finals to win the championship buckle.

Meagan Braun and Showin My Ace were in sync through their final two rounds in Showmanship. She bested Ima Lazy Cowboy, Kaitlyn Bloom in the finals and received the champion buckle.

The final round in Youth Horsemanship matched 16th ranked Emma Cress riding Best Gift Yet and top ranked Hanna Olaussen riding Wearin Only Moonlite. While both had a good final pattern and earned shouts and whistles from the crowd, The judges deemed Emma’s ride the best.

Sun Circuit strives to make the show fun and rewarding for everyone. The Prize Patrol was busy roaming the grounds with fun give-aways. After 9 days of boot races, egg and spoon races, long trot and back up races races, trivia, word of the day and other games, over $60,000 worth of electronics, products and gift certificates were distributed thanks to generous sponsors.

More fun was had at the exhibitor parties hosted by Seven Bar Ranch and by Sandra Morgan and her fine  AQHA stallions Mechanic, The Mile High Club and Good I Will B. The parties provided great food, music and some out door social time for everyone. Attendees also enjoyed a bountiful trade show with over 80 vendors. Despite the busy schedule, many exhibitors, their friends and family got to head into Old Town Scottsdale for great dining and fun shopping.

A welcoming environment, copious points, fantastic awards, great give aways and the opportunity to enjoy Scottsdale’s coveted sunshine, Arizona Sun Circuit delivered on all expectations. The dust had barely settled on the 2021 Sun Circuit and show management was already planning for 2022 which will be held March 5 through March 13.

National Championship Year End Rankings

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Year end rankings for 2020 have been announced naming the 64 exhibitors eligible for the National Championships of Showmanship, Horsemanship and Equitation to be held at the Scottsdale Arizona Sun Circuit February 27-March 7, 2021. Due to the cancellation of many of the participating events, there were no summer rankings. Instead, the body of trainers and judges who make up the Ranking Committee considered the accomplishments of exhibitors in AQHA and APHA shows during the entire year as well their performances at the World Shows.

View 2020 Year End Rankings

The wildly popular tournament style competitions have become a highlight of Sun Circuit. There are 3 elimination rounds held concurrently with regular scheduled Sun Circuit classes. Those rounds ultimately lead to the head to head battles of The Four. Prizes are awarded to the Exceptional 8 and exhibitors who make it to The Four in each class and division will receive an embroidered leather bomber jacket. Winners of the final matches will be presented a National Championship trophy buckle. Sun Circuit is excited to have The Equine Chronicle sponsoring the National Championships for Equitation in 2021. Adequan is the sponsor of Horsemanship, while is Farnam sponsoring Showmanship.

Followers of the National Championships will notice some new names in the top 25 of each class and division. An unprecedented showing year saw a number of newcomers vault onto the scene and break into the top of the rankings lists. There are also some exhibitors who had remarkable consistency year over year. Tony Anderman returns to Scottsdale in the #1 position for Showmanship as he did last year. Scott Reinartz tops the rankings in Select Showmanship and has the opportunity to defend his 2020 National Championship title. JoJo Roberson, after a Youth 14-18 Showmanship World Champion title, leads the Youth rankings.

Maria Salazar ranks #1 for Amateur Equitation, holding on to her position for a second year. Last year, Laurel Champlin was ranked #2 in Select Equitation, and has now advanced to the #1 spot. Nya Kearns is another chart-topping repeater. She ranks #1 in Youth equitation.

Time will tell if #2 ranked Natalia Devencenty can repeat her Championship performance in Horsemanship. She is out ranked nationally only by Carey Nowacek, while Select Horsemanship sees Karen Zarda in the top spot. No stranger to big wins in Scottsdale, Youth World Champion Hanna Olaussen is the top ranked Youth Horsemanship contender. But she will have to pull out all the stops to beat, Giorgia Meadows who ranked #2 and is the defending title champ.

Last year’s Tournaments proved that ranking does not guarantee advancing to The Four. Many exhibitors rose up the ranks after spectacular Sun Circuit runs to find themselves in the head-to-head matchups. One thing is certain though. Everyone who has participated in the National Championships has a lot of fun with the format. All exhibitors who made the Final Rankings list are eligible and encouraged to participate. If an eligible Youth exhibitor has moved to the Amateur division, they will automatically be eligible for that class in the Amateur. Likewise, any ranked Amateur who has moved into Select will be eligible to compete in the Select division of that class. There are no additional fees for the National Championship. However, eligible exhibitors must enter the class in the Sun Circuit Show Office.

View 2020 Year End Rankings

 

Hershberger Performance Horse Sale

Sun Circuit is once again proud to host the annual Hershberger Performance Horse Sale. 100 head of Reiner, Ropers, Cutters, Cow Horses and Ranch horses will be consigned. There is a Thursday Jackpot and Friday has a preview with sale starting at 1:00 PM. Find your next prospect!

Horse Show Tracker App Announces New Features To Streamline Your Show Processes

In response to COVID-19, FunnWare Development fast-tracked a new Horse Show TrackerPassport™ .

For all previous users of the CINCH Horse Show Tracker app, a big change has happened. The app is officially moving away from the app store to a mobile-friendly website at www.HorseShowTracker.com .

Corey Cushing Takes Two Titles at the 2020 Sun Circuit

This year marked the 10th Annual Smart Boons Fence Challenge at Arizona Sun Circuit, and an impressive lineup of 20 cow horses were on hand to thrill the crowd on March 5th at Scottsdale’s WestWorld Arena. Corey Cushing was the last to go on One Fine Vintage, owned by Bradley and Mary Roberts. It had been a night of spectacular runs and Corey knew he had to pull out all the stops for the win. The pair dominated their cow with ease and marked a 149 to win $6,375, the buckle and an embroidered cooler.

The Knight Family started the Smart Boons Fence Challenge when they owned the talented stallion. When The Dunn Family became the proud owners of Smart Boons, they continued the legacy of this special event. With $20,000 added, the total payout was $26,000 along with other great prizes.

The Farnam Golden Cowboy Champion was announced at the conclusion of the Smart Boons Fence Challenge. The Golden Cowboy is an event in which one horse and rider have their scores combined from the Smart Boons, Herd Work, Muley Steer Stoping, and Wednesday’s Jr or Sr Cowhorse. Farnam donated $5,000 to the purse for the event along with a fabulous prize line that included a custom saddle from Superior Saddlery, a Preston Williams Hardware buckle, a cowhide chair, embroidered coolers, bronc halters and more. Corey Cushing and One Fine Vintage had a composite score of 370.5 to secure the title of 2020 Golden Cowboy.

Sun Circuit’s Diversity Draws Even Larger Numbers

It was apparent from any vantage point that the 2020 Arizona Sun Circuit was even bigger than last year: more trailers, more stalls, more horses in the arenas. The 9 day equine extravaganza was held February 29 through March 8th at the expansive WestWorld facilities in Scottsdale Arizona. The show’s reputation for providing a tremendous diversity of classes along with a superlative experience continues to draw exhibitors of every level from all over the country, and the world. Sun Circuit concluded just before a cascade of horse show cancellations due to the coronavirus sweeping the nation.

Increases in class entries were seen across the board. There were 22,609 AQHA entires and 4,647 NSBA class entries, including NSBA Color Breed classes. NRHA and NRCHA classes also saw increases. Sun Circuit utilized every inch of the WestWorld show grounds. Ten arenas held classes and additional arenas were available for warm up.

It seems fitting that the iconic western imagery of Arizona served as a backdrop for the burgeoning numbers of exhibitors in Ranch related classes. No silver draped saddles, no bling, no fancy clothes were to be found in the ranch pens, but there were plenty of versatile, athletic and phenomenal horses. The increases in Ranch entries required show management to distribute some classes to an additional arena. Ranch Riding classes saw 30, 40 and more entries across the divisions, including a staggering 57 horses in the Senior and 47 Select. Dozens of amateur and open Ranch Trail horses of all levels navigated naturalistic obstacles. There has been a noticeable surge of Select exhibitors in Ranch Trail with 23 dragging logs, opening gates and crossing bridges. Though Arizona Quarter Horse Association’s Ranch on the Rail classes are non AQHA, that did not dissuade exhibitors. This fan-favorite class saw 33 amateur entries and a sizable number of open and L1 riders as well.

Ranch exhibitors had their own prize line up with High Point awards, Best of Show and Circuit Awards. Carly Lueck and Smooth Cat Man won the Amateur Ranch High Point award of a Superior Saddlery Saddle. The Open Ranch High Point title and Superior Saddle went to Anne Macrea and Pretty Smart Guy while the L1 Open Ranch High Point was picked up by Oraz Holdings’ Lil BevAt Bar.

The show also offered a full slate of VRH classes which drew more exhibitors than previous years. An all-breed VRH Open High Point Superior saddle was the award many exhibitors were aiming for. When the points were tallied, it was Kalahari Moonshine and Kathy Torres who came out on top.

Cow Horse exhibitors came out in droves in AQHA, Versatility and NRCHA classes.  Some of the best in the nation were showcased in the 10th Annual Smart Boons Fence Challenge with $20,000 in added money. Corey Cushing was the last to go on One Fine Vintage, owned by Bradley and Mary Roberts. It had been a night of spectacular runs and Corey knew he had to pull out all the stops for the win. The pair dominated their cow with ease and marked a 149 to win $6,375, the buckle and an embroidered cooler. The total payout was $26,000 along with other great prizes.

The Farnam Golden Cowboy Champion was announced at the conclusion of the Smart Boons Challenge. The Golden Cowboy is an event in which one horse and rider have their scores combined from the Smart Boons, Herd Work, Muley Steer Stoping, and Wednesday’s Jr or Sr Cowhorse. Farnam donated $5,000 to the purse for the event along with a fabulous prize line that included a custom saddle from Superior Saddlery, a Preston Williams Hardware buckle, a cowhide chair, embroidered coolers, bronc halters and more. Corey Cushing and One Fine Vintage had a composite score of 370.5 to secure the title of 2020 Golden Cowboy.

The $25,000 added ARHFA Sun Circuit Rope Horse Futurity event had an increase in entries as well. A limited rider division, with an additional $5,000 added to the pot, was also offered in the Futurity. This was the first year that the Maturity was added to its class list, and a Non-Pro event was held as well.  The total payout was over $108,000 this year. Shesa Royal Cat with Casey Hicks won the Futurity heading and a check for $7,828. JD Yates rode Marlboro Cat for the heeling win and $8,750. JD was back in the Maturity heading on BB Cooper. The pair took the top spot and $2,520. Hermanito Cat got Andy Holcomb to the right place on each run so the pair could win the Maturity heeling and $3,160.


Rail and pattern class exhibitors found a lot to love at Sun Circuit. Level 1 classes gave newer folks the opportunity to participate in a top tier show, while Level 3 saw the many titans of the Quarter Horse world at their finest. Given its own covered arena for the duration of the show, Trail kept busy with AQHA and NSBA riders. Western Pleasure, Western Riding and Horsemanship all had a great deal of participation in NSBA concurrent classes.

The NSBA held its Riders Cup at Sun Circuit again this year. The event awarded hefty checks and elegant silver trophy cups. A total payout of $80,000 was distributed. On Tuesday evening, the highly entertaining and rather whacky Cowboy Ninja Warrior games were held. Seven 4-person teams were auctioned off to raise $13,560 for the NSBA Crisis Fund.

The National Championships in Horsemanship, Equitation and Showmanship were decided at Sun Circuit after 3 goes of tournament style competition reduced the field of nationally ranked amateur, select and youth exhibitor down to just four in each division. The Four showed in head-to-head matchups that were both fun and exciting. All of the finalists received embroidered leather bomber jackets, and each champion won a gorgeous silver buckle.

Farnam Horsemanship National Championship saw Kent Ray Taylor and Dont Think Twice prevailing in his head to head match ups to become the Select champion. Giorgia Medows and Wimpys Show Stopper were the Youth champions and Natalia Devencenty riding Moonlite Madnez was the Amateur champion.

Adequan Showmanship National Championship saw Scott Reinartz and Investing a Good Bar progress through each round of the Select with one exceptional pattern after another and ultimately win the championship. Tony Anderman and Solo Invested arrived at Sun Circuit in the top position on the Amateur Showmanship Rankings list and made it all the way to the champion buckle. Grace Himes and Essentially Good ranked 3rd in the nation among youth and showed with exquisite form in each round right up to the finals to win the championship.

The Equine Chronicle was the title sponsor of the Equitation National Championship. Grace Himes and Essentially Good were back as one of The Four, and prevailed to collect her second Championship. Carey Nowacek and Lethals Hot Weapon’s final two patterns earned whistles and shouts for its grace and precision and won her the Amateur Champion buckle. In the Select, Karen Lee Tegner-Manseth and Definately A First were crowned champions.

Fantastic awards are another reason people love Sun Circuit. Rod Patrick Boots were the Best of Show prizes that awaited youth, amateur and select exhibitors in both the all-around and ranch and cattle divisions. There were 33 saddle awards across disciplines, ages and levels. Non Pros in L1, L2 and L3 accumulated points to win Bobs Custom Saddles. They had their points tallied from showmanship, horsemanship pleasure and halter. Megan Neugebauer riding DW Krymsun Advantage took top honors in the Level 1. Good N Plenty Gold was shown in Level 2 by Griffin Holliday to claim the saddle award. Youth rider Isabella Burkley won the Level 3 saddle with Roses Only. The Non-Pro English saddle was won by Laurel Champlin and Look N Hott. Amateur roper Paul Bogart  Riding Jacks Ichi Cat caught himself the High Point Roping Caliente Saddle. Garrett Hershberger showed mastery at heading and heeling to win the High Point Youth Roping award of a Caliente Saddle Shop saddle. A full list of award winners can be found at SunCircuit.com

Sun Circuit strives to make the show fun and rewarding for everyone. The Prize Patrol was busy roaming the grounds with fun give-aways. After 9 days of boot races, bouncy horse races, trot races, trivia, name that tune challenges and other games, over $60,000 worth of electronics, products and gift certificates were distributed thanks to generous sponsors. Exhibitor parties hosted by The Johns Family, AQHA stallions Mechanic and The Mile High Club and by D Designs Show Clothing and Hot Ones Only provided great food, entertainment and social time for everyone.

A welcoming environment, fantastic awards, great give aways and the opportunity to enjoy Scottsdale’s coveted sunshine, Arizona Sun Circuit was bursting at the seams with all the makings of a memorable horse show. Those memories will certainly be cherished as we all weather the challenges of taking care of our families and our horses in the coming months.

National Championship Rankings

Who Made the Cut?

View the Lists Here:

Sun Circuit will once again hold the wildly popular tournament style competitions in Horsemanship, Equitation and Showmanship. Prizes are awarded after each round to the Sensational 16, Exceptional 8 and ultimately the head to head battles of The Four. Exhibitors who make it to The Four in each class and division will receive an embroidered black leather bomber jacket. Champions will be presented a National Championship trophy buckle. Sun Circuit is excited to have The Equine Chronicle sponsoring the National Championships for Equitation in 2020. Farnam is the sponsor of Horsemanship, while Adequan is sponsoring Showmanship.

The Final Ranking List names the 64 exhibitors in each division who are eligible to participate in the Tournament at Sun Circuit. Final Rankings are compiled by aggregating the individual rankings of the Ranking Committee members. This body of trainers and judges has had all year to watch and note the accomplishments of exhibitors in AQHA and APHA shows around the country.

Followers of the National Championships will notice some new names in the top 25 equitation rankings. Notably, Maria Salazar holds the number one spot in Amateur Equitation. Her back-to-back Amateur Equitation championships at Congress and the World Show with her 6-year-old gelding, “Moonlightin” vaulted her to prominence among the Ranking Committee members. Angela Fox sits in the second spot for Amateur Equitation as she has the opportunity to come back and defend her 2019 Championship title.

Coming in at the top of the Select Amateur Equitation ranking is Gretchen Ingersoll. Gretchen had the honor of being named The Reserve Select all-around amateur at the AQHA Select World Show this past September. Exhibitors will have to see if she makes her way from New England to sunny Arizona to compete for yet another title. Laurel Champlin rode through the rounds making it to The Four in Select Equitation in 2019. Placing number 2 on the Final Rankings, she is likely to be a top contender again this year. 

Last year’s Tournaments proved that ranking does not guarantee advancing to The Four, however. Many exhibitors rose up the ranks after spectacular Sun Circuit runs to find themselves in the head-to-head matchups. One thing is certain though. Everyone who participated in the National Championships had a lot of fun with the format. All exhibitors who made the Final Rankings list are eligible and encouraged to participate. There are no additional fees for the National Championship. However, eligible exhibitors must enter the class in the Sun Circuit Show Office.