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World Championship Paint Horse Show makes another successful two-week run

FORT WORTH, Texas— The American Paint Horse Association’s (APHA) annual two-week World Championship Paint Horse Show run made its stop at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas, June 21 through July 5. Dubbed as “the largest Paint Horse show on earth,” the event lived up to its name as it saw 1,289 Paint Horses and 4,021 entries from across the world compete in a record 187 events—164 of which were World Championship classes.

While people from the state of Texas brought the highest number of Paints to the event, others traveled nearly 9,500 miles to attend. Paint Horses and exhibitors from 45 states, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Sweden and The Netherlands made the trek in hopes of returning home as a World Champion.

The addition of a second new world-class APHA event shifted some classes traditionally offered at the World Championship Show. APHA will be hosting its first annual Fall Championship Paint Horse Show Nov. 6-15 at Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Center. With this new competition, all classes specifically for Paint Horses under three years of age were moved to the fall. Moving some events to the Fall Show allowed APHA to add additional classes to the summer line-up. As a result, for the first time ever, APHA offered Novice Youth classes at the event and saw 226 entries in those classes alone.

Along with the Novice Youth entries, the non-qualifying show welcomed 1,178 Youth; 1,377 Amateur and Novice Amateur; 1,063 Open; 152 Futurity and 25 specialty class entries—all competing for more than $400,000 in cash and prizes.

Making it all possible

APHA knows hosting the world’s largest Paint Horse show would not be possible without the generous support, on all levels, from their various sponsors. Event sponsors—Big D Products, Blue Ribbon Custom Tack, Charlotte’s Saddlery, Coors Distributing Company of Fort Worth, Equine Sports Medicine, Hodges Badge Compnay, KC Montgomery Photographics, Kiser Products, Lucchese, Metro Golf Cars, National Reining Horse Association, National Snaffle Bit Association, Paint Horse Journal, Paint Racing, Platinum Performance, Purina Mills, SmartPak, S.R. Gold, Video Horse World and Western Horseman—along with Corporate Sponsors— Barnmaster, Chase Bank, Hart Trailers, Gist Silversmiths, Markel Insurance Company, New Holland and Pfizer Animal Health—provided prize money, buckles, saddles, trailers and various other awards, along with daily entertainment, a training seminar, live video feed and equine nutrition information as part of the show.

Youth events

In usual fashion, the event kicked-off with the youth show, beginning with the Youth Team Tournament on Saturday, June 21. The Team Tournament provides youth with an opportunity to compete as a team with other members of their state. Each team participates in a variety of events including performance classes, a hippology contest, knowledge relay and parade of teams. At the conclusion of the event, members of the Utah Junior Paint Horse Association were crowned the champions.

Another exciting part of the show was the return of the Youth World Games—sponsored by Purina Mills. Making an appearance every two years, the World Games competition allows young Paint enthusiasts from across the world to compete in Fort Worth. Youth traveling from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United States competed in four divisions including trail, showmanship, horsemanship and reining. Use of the Paint Horses is donated by local owners.

Team Germany rode away with the gold, followed by Team Canada and The Dutch Diamonds.

Humanitarian efforts

While the final night of World Show is reserved for and edge-of-your-seat action and honoring the world’s top Paint Horses, APHA took a few moments to recognize the humanitarian efforts of its members. Over the past two years, through generous contributions from APHA members at the annual “Saddle Up! for St. Jude’s” trail ride, our association has raised more than $30,000. In recognition of APHA’s accomplishment this year, APHA President Carl Thurow and Past-President Diane Paris presented an $18,000 check to St. Jude’s. Accepting on behalf of St. Jude’s were Fort Worth Star-Telegram Vice President Bob Ray Sanders, Wal-Mart Public Relations Director Anthony Drake and Auctioneer Matt Blevins, all of whom have been instrumental in the fundraising.

Following the St. Jude’s presentation, APHA member Ezra Cooley and his Paint Horse, affectionately known as “Big Red,” were presented with the APHA Humanitarian Award. Cooley was honored with the prestigious award because of his quest to raise $1 million for the Children’s Miracle Network. In order to do so, Cooley and Big Red are traveling the world horseback. The duo has already traveled from California to New York to Texas. Their future plans include stops in Europe, Australia, Asia and possibly Africa.

Records are meant to be broken

As if the world’s largest Paint Horse show didn’t have enough exciting action, Alisa Bernhard and Fleetstreet Max of Germantown, Wis., made sure they provided something to talk about. The 24-year-old rider and 11-year-old gelding soared into the record books this year. The home-bred, home-trained team ended the show with 21 lifetime World Championship titles—beating the previous record of 18 by a long shot. Bernhard and “Max” accumulated five World titles this year to combine with their several other awards earned in only seven World Championship Paint Horse shows.

More about APHA

Currently, American Paint Horses are being registered at APHA’s Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters at a rate of about 35,000 horses each year. APHA has registered nearly 928,000 horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded 46 years ago, and now serves approximately 93,000 active members around the world. Among its many activities, APHA works to preserve bloodlines and maintain the outstanding characteristics of the American Paint Horse breed.

For more information about APHA, contact the association at (817) 834-2742, or visit apha.com.


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