National Championship Year End Rankings


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


2019 Exhibitor Parties

Sun Circuit is well know for keeping it fun and entertaining all week. We are excited to bring you 3 Exhibitor Parties where you have a chance to enjoy some great food and catch up with your friends.

March 4 Monday

Exhibitors lunch party hosted by AQHA stallions Indefinate, Definitely All That and Tigers by the Tail  – Free Lunch served ringside at the Equine Chronicle Arena. Many thanks to 7 Bar Ranch and their great stallions for sponsoring this event!

March 5 – Tuesday

NSBA Exhibitors Appetizer party hosted by Susie Johns and Family-   Following last  class ringside of the Equine Chronicle Arena. Many thanks to Susie Johns and Family for sponsoring this event!

March 7- Thursday

Exhibitors lunch party hosted by AQHA stallions Mechanic and The Mile High Club  – Free Lunch served ringside at the Equine Chronicle Arena. Many thanks to Sandra Morgan and her great stallions  for sponsoring this event!

National Championship Summer Rankings


The Arizona Quarter Horse Association is excited to announce the mid-year rankings for Showmanship, Horsemanship and Equitation exhibitors in the lead up to the National Championship Tournament being held at Sun Circuit 2019. Each division lists the individuals who were scored by the committee, as well as those currently leading the pack at this mid point of the show year. However, there are still plenty of shows to go before the final list is compiled and eligible exhibitors to the Tournament are announced.

View the Rankings Now:

Final Amateur Summer Rankings

Final Select Summer Rankings

Final Summer Youth Rankings


This brand new and exciting Championship Tournament format is creating a good deal of buzz around the show world. The hoopla of the Final Four competitions in each class will certainly be rewarding for exhibitors and entertaining for spectators. Additionally, the overall impact on showing in general could be enormous. The more an exhibitor shows throughout the entire year, the more exposure they have and the greater their opportunity is to be ranked.

The lists were formulated by compiling individual rankings from each National Championship Ranking Committee Member. This anonymous group is comprised of judges and trainers who are actively involved in these industries throughout the United States. They were regionally selected to give fair and balanced coverage across the country to rank Youth, Amateur and Select exhibitors in each of  the three classes.

Read More about the National Championship Tournament at the 2019 Sun Circuit

Smart Boons Fence Challenge

The Smart Boons Fence Challenge is always a crowd pleasing spectacle of equine athleticism. Smart Boons owners, Eric and Wendy Dunn added $20,000 to the pot and 100% of the entry fees were added back. Twenty of the top cow horses in the nation and their riders put on a fantastic show for the enthusiastic crowd.

The energy of the event was contagious as spectators whooped and hollered with each turn of the cow.  Scores were held to the end, so the excitement continued to build. Corey Cushing was EmCee for the evening, interviewing each breathless rider after their performance.  After several heart thumping runs, Phil Ralls loped in on the flashy roan stallion, Call Me Mitch, owned by Estelle Roitblatt. The pair dominated their cow, diving into the stops, and turning with ease. It was clear they were going to be tough to beat.

The crowd also cheered wildly for BJ Avila who was fast and fearless on Dera Cat owned by Rainlynn LLC. Cushing turned over his microphone and hopped aboard Sonita Lena Rey owned by Sheri Jamieson. They too turned in an exciting performance. All 20 exhibitors returns to the arena for scores and awards. Cushing’s run scored a 151, settling them into 3rd place. That earned a check for $3,825. Avila marked a 153 winning a check for $5,100. But it was Ralls and Mitch who edged out the pack with a 154, winning them a check for $6,375 and a beautiful custom Preston Williams Hardware trophy buckle. The pair combined that score with points earned in cutting, steer stopping and cow horse to claim the Golden Cowboy Award and an additional $2,250.

View Full Results and Payouts of the Smart Boons Fence Work Challenge


Photo Courtesy Jeff Kirkbride Photography

$75,000 Added To NSBA Riders Cup

Sun Circuit hosted the NSBA Riders Cup on March 6 & 7. A total purse of $75,000 was awarded, along with 29 beautiful silver cup trophies and NSBA medals. The annual event is awarded money in Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, Trail, Western Riding, Showmanship, Western Horsemanship, and Hunt Seat Equitation events. The large trophy cups were proudly displayed all over the barns at WestWorld after the event.

Brody Galyean rode Cool Poco Dot in the All Age Limited Non Pro Western Pleasure to score the top marks in a field of twelve. His giant smile reflected brilliantly in the large Rider’s Cup trophy as he rode out of the arena knowing he earned $1,826.15. Keeping it in the family, Kristin Galyean won the Non Pro Western Pleasure and a check for $1,007.06 riding VS Lady in Red. The pair also took the top spots in Non Pro Western Riding and Junior Western Riding, earning an additional $3,257.

Tina Volmer was delighted to find herself in the award presentations twice riding Beter Late Than Never. Tina won the All Ages Limited Non Pro Hunter Under Saddle and received $1,660.36. She followed up that win by claiming a $2,271 prize in the Non Pro Hun Seat Equitation. Thirteen showed in a tightly matched Senior Trail. When the scores were all tallied, it was Jason Martin’s ride on Heza Radical Zip, owned by Bonnie Sheren who topped the cards for $1,557. The pair switched gears and also won the trophy for Senior Western Riding, earning $1,794. Select Trail had 13 entries. Joanne Garnett received high marks for the day and added $1,217 to her earnings.

For those not familiar with the NSBA Riders Cup program, it hosts an annual event designed to award substantial and sustainable purses to NSBA non pro members and their professional trainers. The Riders Cup offers prize money in Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, Trail, Western Riding, Showmanship, Western Horsemanship, and Hunt Seat Equitation events. In 2016, the NSBA Riders Cup paid over $40,000 in total prize money to participating NSBA members.

“NSBA has seen continued growth and participation at horse shows across the country. The Sun Circuit is a terrific West coast venue for a major NSBA event. Holding these two events together is a win-win for trainers and exhibitors,” says NSBA President Bill Cosentino.

At the conclusion of the Rider’s Cup, an Exhibitor Party sponsored by Suzy Johns served up great food and libations to a large crowd. The evening’s entertainment switched gears dramatically as the NSBA brought Donkey Races to Sun Circuit. 10 teams rode in 5 heats. Hilarity ensued when some of the finest equestrians on the planet discovered their skills were no match for a bunch of recalcitrant donkeys who seemed to truly enjoy dumping their riders in the dirt.

To take advantage of the opportunity to compete in the NSBA Riders Cup, all professional riders must be sold through the NSBA Trainer Sale program. Additionally, each owner is required to pay a nomination fee. For more information on the NSBA Riders Cup and the Arizona Sun Circuit go to