The Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC Award

Lynne Puthoff

2023 Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC Award Recipient

Lynne Puthoff, of Milton, Ohio, was named the 2023 recipient of the Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC award. She went from competing as a non-professional to operating her own training business in Ohio and has long been a supporter of NSBA, the NSBA Foundation, and its programs. From coaching her riders to compete in NSBA Dual-Approved and standalone futurity classes to supporting her clients and other riders in Heroes on Horses classes to her work as a Youth Equestrian Development Association (YEDA) coach, Lynn has played an active role in the industry in several roles. She is also active as a local clinician and has organized donations to local shelters.

Nominees for the 2023 award included: Dawn Baker, Karen Boxell, Hannah Casper, Pat Clements, Sandy Curl, Chris Darnell, Phyllis Harris, Susan Knapp, Mary Meneely, Vickie Oakley, Heidi Piper, Andrea Simons, Angela Wade,  Carla Wennberg

Cindy Cosentino

2022 Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC Award Recipient

Cindy Cosentino, of Omaha, Nebraska, was named the inaugural recipient of the Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC award. Cindy shares her husband Bill's passion for horses and serving the horse industry. Cindy first became involved in industry leadership roles as a youth advisor for the Nebraska Quarter Horse Association, and later shepherded NSBA's your association as its advisor, where she grew the program from scratch to recruit members from various breeds and parts of the industry.

Nominees for the 2022 award included: GiGi Bailey, Karen Boxell, Jennifer Burton, Ann Call, Pat Clements, Chris Darnell, Nancy Ditty, Amy Gumz, Carol Harris, Deborah Hearst, Connie Hill, Chris Lagerblade, Lynn Leady, Marijo Meredith, Melanie Mincey, Carrie Oakley, Candy Parrish, Lynne Puthoff, Mary Roberts, Joan Shroeder, Andrea Simons, Debbi Trubee, and Angela Wade

2024 Nominees

The following women epitomize the Cowgirl Who Reach Out into the Community (ROC). Each will be recognized as nominees for the Cowgirls ROC award at a brunch to be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the NSBA World Championship Show. The winner will be announced at that time.

Alyse Roberts

Born and raised in Canada, Alyse moved to the United States at the age of 17. She was raised around horses, and continues that passion today. After living in various states and working for multiple professionals, she planted roots in Purcell, Oklahoma. Alyse finds passion in building up the next generation of horsemen and women. Notably, one of her favorite memories was when she sat down with a young boy who asked her for feedback following her HUS demonstration at Congress in 2018.

Diane Helgeland

Diane is the Executive Director and Founder of Partners for Progress NFP, a therapeutic riding center devoted to quality equine intervention and services. For a decade and a half, she has worked alongside therapists in the Chicagoland area developing quality programs that connect the attributes of the horse to the world of medicine and mental health. In 2008, Helgeland took one of the first competitive show teams to the NSBA World Show in the Equestrian with Disabilities division. Since, Helgeland has continued to devote her time and knowledge to develop and grow this division throughout the country.

Kathie Kennedy

Kathie grew up on a Farm in Dresden, Ontario and was very active with her grandfather and his Standardbreds. Growing up as a youth showman, she was fortunate to have guidance from a number of professional horsemen and women, allowing her to travel around the world – from Florida to Germany. Kathie is an inaugural member of the NSBA, stating that participating in shows starting in the early 1980s helped grow her business.

Kellie Hinely

Kellie is a wonderful example of professionalism, constantly elevating our industry with her positive and passionate attitude. Kellie has supported and participated in the Heroes on Horses for many years, sponsoring many riders and showcasing her care and love for all the riders she connects with. Kellie is a board member on PCQHA while simultaneously running a successful show barn and real estate business. As a trainer, Kellie is always willing to help anyone: big or small, successful or just starting out.

Kristin Martin

Kristin Martin has always found joy in serving others, especially in the equine industry, however, her focus completely changed in June 2021 when one of her children was diagnosed with an extremely rare mutation of leukemia. At that time, Kristin made the hard decision to close down her equine design company, Willow Grace Design Co., to focus on the care of her family. Kristin began to write as a way to bring healing to her wounded heart. Now, all of those writings have been published in her first book, "Through the battle: One family's journey of fighting for joy". They formed their nonprofit, Way to Battle, in October of 2021. You can connect with Kristin, or learn more about their mission, by going to

Lynn Leedy

Lynn impacted many lives, and those around her could see her perseverance in wanting to compete in the equine industry. She did not make a living in the industry; she participated solely because she loved it. Throughout various health struggles, she continued to pursue her passion for horses, showing at the NSBA World Show despite severe illness. Lynn was one of the first to serve on the NSBA Foundation, and always wanted to find a way to be involved and positively impact other’s lives.

Mandy Cleveland

Mandy started volunteering at a local therapeutic riding program in high school as a way of gaining hours for the National Honor Society. She quickly became connected to their mission and began volunteering weekly. After attending TWU an obtaining an education degree, Mandy founded Stable Strides as a way of helping special riders connect and compete with horses. This program has allowed her to watch many riders grow from childhood to adulthood. Mandy now mentors others so they can gain their teaching certification, with the goal of serving as many disabled riders as possible.

Marrita Black

Marrita is a Bronze sculptor with raw talent for capturing the essence of today's horses and riders. Having trained and shown horses professionally for over 25 years, she has an accurate appreciation for her subjects. Sculpting Quarter Horses are Marrita's specialty. Marrita's art career began in 1992 when she and a friend visited several galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She realized that the works she was admiring were great, but did not reflect what she saw in the modern-day Quarter Horses or showman. She utilizes her studio to host to intern artists and provides a hands-on experience before they start careers.

Marylyn Caliendo

Marylyn was born and raised in Phoenix, but currently calls Pilot Point, Texas home. Marylyn and her husband, Paul, have found purpose in supporting youth, animals, as well as military and first responders. They have continually volunteered time and finances from sponsoring show classes for youth to participate, to starting a rehab and release on animals such as coyotes, skunks, owls, and reptiles. Marylyn developed a passion for the American Paint Horse Association, and became involved in the foundation and assisted with the World Show auction to raise money for youth scholarships.

Nancy Sue Ryan

Nancy Sue Ryan is an NSBA Hall of Fame Inductee, AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year, Quarter Million Dollar club member, and the All-Time Leading Breeder of English Money earners. Her success as a trainer and expertise as an NSBA/AQHA judge has rolled over into her success as a breeder. The skills she developed while training and showing to her numerous titles has lent itself into how she breeds for the next generation of champion hunter under saddle horses. While nowadays Nancy Sue Ryan may focus more on breeding than training, the impact she has had on the industry is long standing.

Patricia Clements

For several years, Patricia was Tri Chm of the Texas Classic in Fort Worth, Texas. She was one of three amateurs who began the Texas Am Show with BCQHA over 40 years ago. Today, the show is known as The Texas Festival. She has been involved in breeding periodically throughout the years. One notable experience was when her first baby took her to the AQHA World Show, where they won the Amateur Trail (1992). Patricia has supported the NSBA Foundation through the Equestrian with Disabilities program at the World Show since the inception of the division. Today, she sits on a committee at Equest, a Dallas therapeutic riding center.

Sue Davis Thompson

Sue and her husband have been involved in horses most of their adult lives. They own and operate Masterpiece Farms where they focus on breeding, raising foals and showing. Sue has been an active member of her community since her early days in college. She has served on numerous committees and boards including Highland District Hospital, Highland County Board of Health, Hillsboro Renaissance Project, and is a member and past president of Highland County Bar Association. Sue was at one time a monthly columnist for the NSBA magazine donating legal articles on issues affecting the horse industry and owners.

Sydney Sargent

Sydney has impacted the show horse community by being a shining example of youth excellence. She is always the first to raise her hand for a project, or to create a project as soon as she sees a need. One example of Sydney expanding the reach of the horse community is the service project she ran for the Kentucky Youth Board, mobilizing her horse show connections to collect socks for victims of tornados in Western Kentucky. She expanded this to then involve even more youth, collecting socks for homeless individuals in Oklahoma City. Her spirit of the servant leader raises the bar for other youth in our community. Sydney is the current AQHA Youth President, as well as the NSBYA secretary.

Sydney Miller

Sydney is always promoting the NSBA, whether it is at the local or national level. She is always involved and wanting to impact the lives of others, a great example being the blood drive she has organized at Congress. Sydney continuously promotes herself and other powerful female individuals in the industry.

To give without reward, without being noticed, is a sign of greatness.  

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