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Grand National Youth Events a Success

(SHELBURNE, VT) The 2008 Grand National Youth Events, a week filled with competition with youth from across the country, took place the 2008 Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show, held October 4-11 at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City. Throughout the week were the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Youth Judging Contest and the AMHA Youth of the Year Finals. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the AMHA Youth of the Year Contest Finals and 14 young women from across the country qualified at local and regional contests to compete for a month long trip. The trip is generously sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust. The Reserve Youth of the Year earns a seven-day trip, sponsored by Peeper Ranch, to a U.S. trainer or breeder of the winner's choice.

Competing this year were Spencer-Shelby Conklin of Clearwater, Florida; Victoria Doty of Bellevue, Nebraska; Erica and Katie Frazee, Muncie, Indiana; Maxi Gumprecht, Mercer Island, Washington; Dorothy Illson, Rocky River, Ohio; Rebecca Jones, Elfland, North Carolina; Emma Nobles, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire; Celia Salmon, Middleville, Michigan; Catherine O'Neal, Marshfield, Massachusetts; Victoria Valway, Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Taylor Widawski, Astoria, Oregon; Hillary Wiles-Lafayette, Litchfield, Connecticut; and Caitlin Wolfe, Cheshire, Connecticut.

The contestants participate in a rigorous four-part test throughout the course of two days. Included are a written exam, an oral presentation, a ridden or driven horsemanship pattern, and a judging division with a reasons portion.

"The 30th anniversary year was not to be disappointed by this class of contestants," said Amanda Ryan, AMHA's Membership Services and Promotions Coordinator. "Though there is only one champion, it was obvious throughout the contest that each participant had dedicated a tremendous amount of energy, time, and enthusiasm to her performances. I am very proud of our Youth of the Year contestants and of the continued growth of this program brought about by the hard work and dedication of so many volunteers, sponsors, and alumnae of the contest."

Another Youth of the Year sponsor, Corcel Inc., represented by David and Deborah Peteler and Mark Bodnar, donated $10,000 to be split equally between the 14 Youth of the Year contestants to help defray costs to travel and compete in the contest. Corcel offers a wide variety of products to help promote champion show horses. Elizabeth Hobby of The International Morgan Connection gave a gift of $2,000 for travel expenses to both the winner and reserve winner of the Youth of the Year Contest.

Founded in 1909, the American Morgan Horse Association is a non-profit organization serving more than 50,000 Morgan horse owners, breeders, exhibitors, and enthusiasts throughout the United States. AMHA serves as a parent organization to more than 125 recognized Morgan horse clubs and national service organizations. It also provides an important link to foreign Morgan horse registries and clubs. The headquarters, located in Shelburne, Vermont, also is home to the National Museum of the Morgan Horse and are maintained through the generosity of the American Morgan Horse Institute.

You can learn more about AMHA at http://www.morganhorse.com.


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