2020 National Championships


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 and Exceptional 8. 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.

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.

Please Note: The 2020 Summer National Championship rankings will not be offered due to the cancellation of many of the participating events. Rankings will be done one time, December  of  2020 to determine the 64 eligible exhibitors for the National Championships of Showmanship, Horsemanship and Equitation to be held at Sun Circuit February 27-March 7, 2021.

How Does Ranking Work?

Exhibitors who placed in the top 5 circuit standings at  Top 20 AQHA participating shows, NSBA World Show, AQHA World Shows, and Color Breed World Shows were listed for members of the Ranking Committee to rank.

The overall rankings were formulated by compiling individual rankings from each 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. Committee members could also choose to add any other exhibitor who they believed excelled in the event.

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.


Tournament Format

All qualified individuals who are on the Final Ranking List are eligible to compete in that class and division of the Tournament held at Sun Circuit. Exhibitors who aged out of a division are automatically eligible for their new division: Youth qualifiers may enter as Amateurs, and Amateurs can show in the Select division. Exhibitors will show concurrently with the corresponding regularly scheduled Sun Circuit classes to the first set of judges.  Eligible Paints and colored horses will run in a separate draw immediately following the AQHA class.  AQHA, APHA and NSBA ownership rules must be followed to exhibit in the classes. After the class, the high scoring 16 will be  recognized and promoted via media as having achieved the Sensational 16  Award.

For the second round of the tournament,The Sensational 16 as well as all  other exhibitors will show to the second set of Judges as a part of the regular draw at Sun Circuit.  After the class, the high scoring Exceptional 8 will be specially recognized and promoted both in the arena and via Sun Circuit’s media channels and partners.

Round three of the tournament welcomes The Exceptional 8 back to the arena along with all the regular class entries showing to the third set of Judges at Sun Circuit.

The conclusion of those classes will recognize the highest scoring exhibitors as The Four and they will be awarded embroidered bomber jackets at center arena and promoted through all of Sun Circuit’s media channels.

Youth show only twice to 4 judges in the classes at Sun Circuit The first time they show we will name the Sensational 16. The Second time they show we will recognize the Exceptional 8. Immediately following that presentation, The Four Youth in each class will be announced.

All eyes will be on the National Championship rounds where The Four in each class and division will compete in a head to head format with the highest ranked remaining exhibitor competing against the lowest ranked remaining exhibitor and the second highest ranked remaining exhibitor against the third highest ranked remaining exhibitor. Then the winner of those two battles will come back to compete against each other to be named National Champion.

Tie breakers. First Tie Breaker- Highest score dropping one judges score. The judges who’s score count should be announced prior to the start of the class.
Second Tie Breaker- Highest score dropping 2 judges scores.

The Tournament will be an event that no serious exhibitor will want to miss. With the building excitement of each round, the abundant recognition, and the ultimate goal of claiming the Championship, the Tournament injects a good deal of fun and fame to the horse show experience.


National Championship qualified exhibitors who aged out of their division in 2020 are automatically eligible for for their new division.

Good luck to all exhibitors.