Meet Your 2017 Congress Queen, Sara Laughlin


Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about your hometown?

I am from Vermilion, Ohio, also known as "A Small Town on a Great Lake!" Driving down the streets of my quaint little town you will see lines of boats docked up along the river, cute shops around the center square, and our favorite ice cream stores. I grew up on our family farm with my parents where my mom and I practiced every night after school on the riding ring in our backyard.

Why did you choose to compete for the title of 2017 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen?

This question makes me think of my favorite quote: "While we cannot always give back to those who have helped us succeed, we can certainly pay it forward." The quarter horse industry has been the foundation of my growth as a woman, instilling in me the confidence, drive, discipline, and resiliency that have helped me become the person I am today. The industry has supported me inside the ring with learning opportunities, and outside of the ring, with mentorship and scholarship. I chose to run for Congress Queen so I can help foster in today's youth the same character-building experiences that I cherish. As Queen, I hope to plan values-based programs during my travels to help our riders think about how their involvement with horses can contribute to their own leadership development and citizenship. In addition, I hope to support the Ohio Quarter Horse Foundation and raise money for scholarships and educational opportunities for our college-bound youth.

Are you currently in school? Employed?

Currently I am a graduate student at The Ohio State University. I work for the Office of Student Life Student Philanthropy as the graduate advisor for BuckeyeThon, the school's largest student-run philanthropy. I also advise the Student Philanthropy Council where I teach educate students in finding causes they are passionate about and engage them in activities that will allow them to give back to areas of the community in need.

What is your favorite horse memory or accomplishment?

My favorite horse memory was showing at the Youth World Show out in Oklahoma City. Growing up, it was my favorite part of the summer to watch this event on my computer screen. It was a dream of mine to qualify and be able to ride down "The Gateway of Champions." When I turned 18 and competed in my final year of youth, my parents drove me to Oklahoma City for a once in a lifetime experience. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would make it into the top 20 in the youth western pleasure that year!

Share an interesting fact about yourself:

I eat ice cream at least once a day. During your stay at the Congress, make sure you stop at Graeters and Jeni's to get a taste of Columbus!