AQHA Convention Recognizes Members & Horses
Last week, the American Quarter Horse Association hosted its annual Convention. Many NSBA members and horses were recognized as Hall of Fame recipients, Professional Horseman and Executive Committee members.
AQHA Executive Committee
Norm Luba was elected as AQHA’s newest Executive Committee member
Norm Luba of Louisville, Kentucky, has been an AQHA life member since 1995 and an AQHA director since 2011. He has served on the AQHA Stud Book and Registration Committee for the past three years. Norm has also served on the AQHA Public Policy Committee and the affiliate council.
Norm graduated with his master’s degree in reproductive physiology from the University of Maryland. The former executive director of the Kentucky Horse Council is currently the executive director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council, president of the Equine Breeding Research and Development Council, and the treasurer of the Animal Welfare Council Inc. He is the recipient of the Don Henneke Education Impact Award and the American Youth Horse Council Distinguished Service Award.
Norm is an avid competitor with numerous qualifications in Trail for the AQHA Select World Championship Show, presented by Adequan® (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan), and the Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show, as well as earned a Superior Trail horse achievement.
He is a member of the National Snaffle Bit Association, Equine Science Society, Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club and the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association, where he also served as president.
Norm and his wife, Dr. Lorraine Luba, a veterinarian, have two sons – Christopher and Colin, a former AQHYA president who is married to Catherine.
AQHA Professional Horseman and Horsewoman
The Don Burt Professional Horseman of the Year, Professional Horsewoman of the Year and Most Valuable Professional awards were presented by Professional’s Choice during the Association’s Awards Banquet.
The 2016 Don Burt Professional’s Choice Professional Horseman of the Year is Casey Devitt of Frankfort, Kentucky. Casey sets an example for what an active AQHA Professional Horseman and AQHA member should look like. He has been involved in every aspect of the industry – from racing to showing.
Casey has served as a judge, show steward, show manager, show monitor, mentor and trainer to other riders. He has ridden as a jockey; judged large AQHA events, such as the Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show and the All American Quarter Horse Congress; and has also served as a show steward and as a mentor to other AQHA show stewards.
Over the years, he has been able to share his experience with AQHA from a different point of view because of his varied background. He has shown in ranch events, cattle classes, competed in rodeo, ridden as an exposition rider and has a background in veterinary medicine. Devitt has trained amateur and youth riders to be successful and knowledgeable AQHA members.
The 2016 Professional’s Choice Professional Horsewoman of the Year is Christa Baldwin of Stanton, Michigan. With more than 25 years of service, she has served as an AQHA director, held an AQHA judges card since 1997 and has served on the international, shows, professional horsemen and judges committees.
During her time as a judge, she has judged top events, such as the Lucas Oil World; Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show; AQHA Select World Championship Show, presented by Adequan® (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) and Congress.
At the collegiate level, she won the Congress judging competition as a student at Michigan State University. She is a long-time breeder, trainer and volunteer clinician to AQHA members.
The amateur and youth competitors she has coached through the years have gone on to earn high-point and all-around titles on the national level, in addition to Congress and world championship titles.
Christa is also responsible for facilitating international clinics in Europe and Australia to share her knowledge and passion for the American Quarter Horse with AQHA members across the globe. She has also been able to share her knowledge through published articles in The American Quarter Horse Journal.
The 2016 Most Valuable Professional is Bennie Sargent of Paris, Kentucky. Bennie is the epitome of an AQHA Professional Horseman. He was named the AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year in 2006 and has continued to volunteer to further enhance AQHA, along with the people and horses he is passionate about.
Bennie has dedicated his time to promote AQHA, the American Quarter Horse and AQHA educational programs in China. He has visited the country numerous times, hosted delegations from China in Kentucky and also arranged for the first Chinese competitor to attend the Lucas Oil World.
In his local community, he has served as chairman of the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association Horse Show Committee, Quarter Horse representative on the Kentucky Equine Education Project, a board member of the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as serving as one of four volunteer committee members working to establish an American Quarter Horse-dedicated racetrack by Keeneland. Sargent has also served as a previous KyQHA president and volunteers as the western team coach for the University of Kentucky’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team.
AQHA Hall of Fame
Majestic Scotch was born to lope in a show ring. The 1994 sorrel gelding won 10 world championships in Western Riding and Western Pleasure and seven reserve world championships in those classes plus Showmanship. Majestic Scotch was bred by Donald and Jean Bangasser of Ackley, Iowa, and was owned by Sharnai Thompson of Pilot Point, Texas. He was shown in classes from halter to Hunt Seat Equitation to Trail. He earned a youth AQHA Supreme Champion award and 13 Superiors. He retired from competition in 2012. He was euthanized in 2013, the same year he was inducted into the National Snaffle Bit Association Hall of Fame.
Zips Chocolate Chip
Zips Chocolate Chip was a leading sire of award-winning Western Pleasure horses. The 1985 bay stallion was by Zippo Pine Bar and out of the Custus Jaguar mare Fancy Blue Chip. After a short career in the show ring, earning $18,000 in Western Pleasure futurities, Zips Chocolate Chip moved to the breeding barn. He was a sire of AQHA and National Snaffle Bit Association champions. He was a model for a Breyer horse. After his breeding career was over, he retired to owner-breeder Ann Myers’ farm. He was euthanized in 2015 due to complications of old age.
Peter J. Cofrancesco III
Peter J. Cofrancesco III of Sparta, New Jersey, was the first president of the American Quarter Horse Youth Association to become president of AQHA. Cofrancesco grew up showing horses with his family in many aspects of AQHA competition, later specializing in halter. He was elected to the AQHA Executive Committee in 2008 and served as president in 2011-12, focusing on youth involvement.
Judge, breeder and AQHA Professional Horsewoman Sandra Vaughn of Hernando, Florida, became a professional trainer at age 19. She has trained horses to multiple champion titles and has ridden horses to seven world championships and 11 reserve world championships. In 2003, she was part of the team that helped Movin Artfully become the Farnam Superhorse. In 1995, the first year the award was given, Vaughn was named the Professional Horsewoman of the Year. She served as an AQHA director from 2006 to 2013.
Learn more about this year’s AQHA Convention at www.aqha.com.