The Buckeye Classic (Sunbury, Ohio)

It has now been 274 days since I was crowned the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. Although the Buckeye Classic does not officially start until the 22nd, the Ohio Amateurs kept all the exhibitors busy. On the 20th, money was raised for the Ohio youth scholarship at the annual golf outing. We kicked off the morning of the 21st with the inaugural Buckeye Blitz 5k! As a collegiate cross country runner, life really does not get any better than the combination of a horse show and a 5k! The sun and heat were intense, but everyone survived to make it to the pancake breakfast that followed. J All the money through the 5k went toward the first ever Buckeye Classic Scholarship! The start of the Buckeye Classic was busy with a lot of NSBA trophies and big checks! Luckily, I had the Michigan Quarter Horse Princess there to help me with the presentations.

Friday was the big leadline class at the Buckeye where each exhibitor received a huge stuffed zebra. All of their names were announced as they entered down the center of the arena. The kids had a blast and loved the zebras. I also presented the small fry exhibitors with the zebras! On Sunday, I again had the privilege to present some great prizes to the leadline and small fry classes. Between all of this I spent time at the hospitality tent keeping everyone in attendance at the show hydrated. Thank you to the Equine Chronicle, sponsor of the amazing hospitality tent that exhibitors and spectators enjoyed for the entire show! I had a great time seeing a lot of familiar faces and welcoming some new faces to my home state! During the show, exhibitors also enjoyed a barbeque dinner. It was delicious even though I did burn my mouth while trying out the HOT barbeque sauce! Each day a few “randow acts of kindness” winners were awarded a free pair of Durango boots. It was so refreshing to hear all of the nice acts people do for each other at the horse shows! I had a wonderful time at both the Little Buckeye and Buckeye Classic and it is even more special that this Top Ten Show takes place in my home state with my fellow Ohio Amateurs! Again, a huge thank you to the Ohio Amateurs for having me be part of your show and for your most generous hospitality!

Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids “Heart of Gold” Fashion Show (Columbus, Ohio)

Day 272 of my reign as the All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen proved to be very special. Aside from celebrating my birthday at the Little Buckeye in the morning, I got to attend the largest fundraiser for Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids (NC4K), a nonprofit that helps make life a little easier for kids and teens with cancer. Back in December at the NC4K Christmas Party, I met 8-year-old Faith Amato, who at the time was still receiving cancer treatment. She told me about her love for horses, but that she was not allowed to be around them because of her treatment. What an honor it was when a few months later, Faith asked me to walk the runway with her at the NC4K Fashion Show. I could not have asked for a better birthday gift. Each person in the NC4K Fashion Show raises money to help pediatric cancer patients. Prior to the show, Faith and I had some fun being silly in the photo booth and then we put on our cowboy boots and gold apparel to prepare for the runway! We practiced our modeling routine and then it was time. The crowd was going crazy. It was a blessing to get to walk with Faith and it was definitely a moment I will never forget! Thank you to everyone who was there to help support the cause! A special thank you to Faith for allowing me to be part of your moment!


Little Buckeye (Sunbury, Ohio)


I am now 271 days into my reign as the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen and today I head to Sunbury, Ohio where there is a special town hall meeting to discuss leveling with the one and only, Patti Carter! Despite the pouring down rain, everyone enjoyed “Pizza with Patti” along with getting questions answered regarding leveling. The Little Buckeye officially kicked off later in the afternoon with trail and it proved to be a late night, but a great start to this ten day extravaganza organized and run by the Ohio Amateurs! It was a hot and humid start to the Little Buckeye, so I spent the evening at the hospitality tent providing snacks and most importantly, bottled water to all the exhibitors and spectators.

The next morning, July 18th, I spent just the morning in Sunbury, as I went to Columbus in the afternoon to get ready for Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids Fashion Show. July 18th also happens to be my birthday and I really could not have picked better places to celebrate. Before leaving Sunbury, I was surprised with two huge beautiful birthday cakes! Several of the small fry exhibitors sang “Happy Birthday” to me! It was perfect and another moment that reiterated that I represent THE greatest association! Words cannot express my thanks to the Ohio Amateurs and everyone involved in celebrating my birthday at the Little Buckeye!

The final day of the Little Buckeye included my all-time favorite classes, leadline and small fry! Every exhibitor in both classes received a wooden play barn. It was so fun presenting such nice gifts to the young exhibitors in the industry. A huge thank you goes to the Ohio Amateurs for thinking about our future and making them a priority! I will spend the next week in Sunbury at the Buckeye Classic!


Camp Quality (Akron, Ohio)

It is hard to believe it was 269 days ago that I was crowned the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. It was a true honor to spend my day at Camp Quality in Akron, Ohio. Camp Quality is a week-long camp with the mission of “letting kids with cancer be kids again.” Today was such a special day as I am a long-time supporter of pediatric cancer which includes my volunteer work for Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, as well as serving as a St. Jude Pal. This camp is truly an extraordinary place that definitely lives up to their mission. While I was in Georgia, I received a message about spending the day at Camp Quality. July is a very busy month for me, but I am so excited that the three days I am home allowed me to visit the camp. My queen apparel fit in perfectly at the camp as their theme this year was County Fair. The kids loved all the sparkle and detail on my Berry Fit jacket. I spent the day hanging out with the kids, talking with them, and taking pictures. Everyone had an absolute blast! This was a special day at the camp as all the kids were getting ready for prom. A salon came to the camp to do everyone’s hair and nails. They got glitter tattoos, put on gowns and suits, and even got to ride in a limo to a restaurant for dinner. True joy filled the air in Akron, Ohio, and I was blessed to be part of it. Thank you to everyone at Camp Quality for inviting me to be part of such an incredible day!

Kentucky State 4-H Show (Louisville, Kentucky)

On day 264 of my reign as the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen, I make the drive from The Big A in Georgia to Louisville, Kentucky. I was asked to make this appearance all the way back in February at the Dixie Nationals, so I was excited that it fit so perfectly into my schedule. I arrived in Louisville at about midnight and I was up bright and early the next morning to head to the show. Upon arriving at the show, I met the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association Queen, Miss Miranda Richardson. I had a great time answering her questions about the Congress Queen Contest and presenting awards.  I also had the pleasure of meeting the Kentucky Quarter Horse Queen Committee. Upon the conclusion of the classes on Friday, many of the youth got ready for the drill team competition. Friday evening was full of excitement! All of the teams had truly outstanding costumes and performances. It was easy to tell how much time and energy the 4-H members put into the performances and I was fortunate to see the excitement on their faces as they entered the show arena.  By the end of the evening, the arena floor was covered in glitter! It was a privilege to present the awards for this competition. Saturday was the conclusion of the week long show as many of the english classes took place. I always embrace the moments I spend at 4-H events, as the youth are the future of our industry. I met so many great people during this short trip. Thank you Stephanie and Jenna Meredith for making this appearance possible for me and to the Kentucky 4-H show staff for the warm welcome and great hospitality during my stay!

Stars & Stripes and The Big A (Conyers, GA)

After a few days home from the Tom Powers, I am on the road again on July 4th heading to Conyers, GA. I am 258 days into my reign as the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. It is about a 12 hour drive to Conyers from my home, so I got on the road early in the morning. I had thought I would not get to see any fireworks on July 4th, but as it turned out my timing was perfect. As I was driving into Atlanta, beautiful fireworks went off directly in front of me!

July 5th was an exciting last day of the Stars & Stripes Circuit! Appropriately, I wore my beautiful red Berry Fit queen outfit. I presented many circuit awards for the Stars & Stripes as well as awards to the Halter Grand and Reserve Grand Champions. In the evening, the impressive non pro trail derby took place. I assisted Tammy of All That Show Clothing, set up her delicious candy bar. It consisted of every kind of candy you could think of and it was just what everyone needed- sugar! It was a pleasure watching the non pro trail derby with a fantastic group of horses and exhibitors. Assisting me with the award presentations for the class was the 2015 Georgia Quarter Horse Queen, Miss Brittany Pritchett!

The Big A began on July 6th and I started the day presenting awards to my favorite class, leadline! The riders were thrilled to receive a voucher to get an ice cream cone.  I spent much of the rest of the day presenting awards for the various jumping classes. With several arenas going at once, I was back and forth between all of them. I also presented to the NSBA 3 year old non pro western pleasure. July 7th was a great day of trail as well as working hunter and jumping at the Big A! My time in Georgia flew by and I met so many wonderful people. I am so blessed to represent such a special industry and group of people.

My final day at the Big A was July 8th and although it was an off day of showing for the exhibitors, it was a busy day for me! The morning began with a fun dog show! The dog show consisted of a costume contest, dog trail, tricks, and races. The young kids had a blast dressing up with their dogs and getting their dogs to go through the trail obstacles. I had a great time presenting the trophies for each division. Next, the kids participated in the painted pony show. The painted pony show included a halter class, trail class, and barrels. By the looks on the kid’s faces, everyone could tell they were having an absolute blast. Prior to the class, they had spent the morning painting and decorating their stick horse pony. There was a lot of creativity and impressive looking ponies. One little girl was too shy to run the stick horse barrels by herself, so I ran them with her! She put my college cross country days to a test, as she was a fast runner. I will say this was the first time that I have run that fast in a queen skirt! I presented awards for each division and a brand new bike was presented to the overall winner in the three age divisions. I was thrilled that I got to be part of all of the great events that the Big A put on for the kids. The audience definitely had a great time watching!

The excitement of the day continued into the evening with the Huntfield Derby ‘Under the Lights.’ Everyone enjoyed a great dinner and silent auction while watching the derby. The stadium where the Huntfield Derby took place was built for the Olympics and it was absolutely beautiful. I ended the evening presenting awards along with the GQHA Queen, to the outstanding competition. A sincere thank you to the Big A show staff, as well as Dr. Robin Barrow, Big A Chair, and Lisa Lee, GQHA Executive Secretary, for your overwhelming hospitality. It was an honor to be part of the Stars & Stripes and The Big A!

The Tom Powers Triple Challenge Futurity (Berrien Springs, Michigan)

Here I am in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and it is hard to believe it was 249 days ago that I was crowned the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. The first day of the Tom Powers was filled with presenting to the top horses and exhibitors in the country. I had the pleasure of some great company, the 2014 Michigan Quarter Horse Queen, Miss Minae Zomer! I got to know Minae at the 2014 Congress and it was great getting to see her again. The first couple days of the futurity went pretty late into the evening, which is great news for the industry as numbers were up! As always I had to the chance to visit with many great vendors!

Of course, it would not be the Tom Powers without some rain which we were greeted with on Friday. However, the usual flooding did not occur, despite the fact that the show arena was under water! That did not stop the exhibitors or their horses from performing at their best. The horses were covered in mud and their tails were soaked, but everyone still had a smile on their face. I would lift the bottom of my skirt to make it out to the center of the arena to present awards and then upon returning from the arena I would find a puddle to attempt to rinse my boots off!!

Saturday is always an exciting day at the Tom Powers with the Super Sires classes, Sale Stakes Western Pleasure Class, as well as the yearling sale in the evening. As the afternoon approached, just in time for the stakes class, the sun began to shine! Prior to the start of the stakes class, we celebrated the 35th Anniversary of the Tom Power’s Futurity with Tom and Dominique Powers and all of the 2 year old stakes contenders in the center of the arena. Everyone in the crowd was wearing their red t-shirts in support of the NSBA Crisis Fund! It was such a special moment to be part of. The sale stakes class was completely filled with some incredible 2 year olds. I know we will see a lot of them in the winner’s circle in the future. Congratulations to Jay Starnes who rode Lazy Illusion to the win in the Maiden 2 year old Sale Stakes Western Pleasure Class for owner Kathy Tobin!

The yearling sale started shortly after the completion of the sale stakes class. It was an honor that Tom and Dom Powers asked me to help out at the sale. I bought a yearling at the Tom Power’s Sale in 2012 and in 2013 my gelding was reserve in the sales stakes class, so it was extra special to be part of this event! Everyone enjoyed watching so many great yearlings run through the sale and I was able to talk with some very elated buyers!

The final day of the futurity brought sun once again and many more talented horses and exhibitors were presented with the beautiful trophy and triple challenge belt buckle. A huge thank you to the entire show staff and especially Tom and Dom Powers for their great hospitality! It was a wonderful trip to Berrien Springs!

Ohio Quarter Horse Association Picnic (Columbus, Ohio)

Today I headed back to the Ohio Expo Center, where it all began 246 days ago when I was crowned the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. It was so wonderful to see my OQHA family and enjoy a great meal together. The OQHA scholarships were awarded during the picnic and I want to take this time to congratulate all of the recipients! OQHA is blessed with young ladies and gentlemen that not only excel in the show pen, but also in the classroom. Also, during the picnic I had the honor of meeting the newest member of the OQHA team and family, Danielle Stephenson. Today was literally her first day at OQHA, so I could not think of a better place for her to be than the OQHA picnic. Danielle will be serving as the OQHA Marketing/Communications Coordinator. Welcome, Danielle! For those who have not met Danielle, make sure to catch up with her in October during the Congress! The OQHA meetings followed the picnic and everyone enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful weather that Ohio is not always blessed with.

Little Futurity and Tarheel Triple Classic (Raleigh, North Carolina)

I began my journey to Raleigh on day 238 of my reign as the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. I stayed in East Sparta, Ohio last night after the trail ride and began my drive to Raleigh this morning. It was a ten hour drive to Raleigh, so I was definitely ready to rest when I arrived! However, about halfway through my drive to Raleigh my broodmare went into labor and when I arrived at my hotel, I waited for the delivery! Thankfully due to technology I was able to watch the delivery of a buckskin colt at 1 AM on my IPhone!

Upon arriving at the Little Futurity I was welcomed with open arms. The weather was uncharacteristically hot for North Carolina with temperatures hitting 100+ degrees each day. The beautiful queen outfits are not ideal for this weather, especially since the Little Futurity is shown outside. Despite the hot weather I had a fabulous time presenting awards throughout the day at one of our industries most prestigious futurities. Everyone enjoyed watching some of the best horses in the country. The Little Family took such great care of the judges and me with a tent and fan to keep us as cool as possible and tons of water and Gatorade to stay hydrated. Between classes I visited with the great vendors at the show including many that sponsor the Congress Queen Contest such as All That Show Clothing, Kathy’s Custom Tails, Kendall’s, Show Diva Designs, and others. It is always a special treat to visit with all of the fabulous vendors.

On Monday and Tuesday evening, I also had the honor of presenting awards to several Little Futurity special event slot classes, which included both open and non-pro classes. Also, on Tuesday afternoon was the inaugural Heart of Stone Western Pleasure Class. This was a fun class and exhibitors were not required to wear show clothes. Due to the weather many took advantage of this option. The best part was that all money raised went to the Heart of Stone Foundation to help families that have a child with heart defects. It was really touching to be at this event and congratulations to winner Deanna Green! Throughout my time in Raleigh, I spent time with Madison Pope, who asked me where my castle is located! J For everyone else who is wondering, my castle is at the All American Quarter Horse Congress! On Tuesday evening, the horse MoonDawg was auctioned off to raise more funds for the Heart of Stone Foundation. Thank you to everyone involved, the Little Futurity presented a check for $17,000 to the Heart of Stone Foundation!!

I only had plans to stay in Raleigh for the Little Futurity, but I was excited to be asked to stay for an extended period to participate in the Tarheel Triple Classic. It was great to be able to stay to present to the small fry and leadline exhibitors and meet many other exhibitors. I was also thrilled to be involved with the crowning of the 2015 North Carolina Quarter Horse Queen, Miss Brianna Tamulewicz! Congratulations, Bree. I had a great time getting to know Bree throughout my week in Raleigh.

This post is not complete without sending a heartfelt thank you to Larry, Gale, Kathryn, and Josh Little for their over the top hospitality! I am forever grateful for their friendship. Also, thank you to the entire Tarheel show staff for having me at their show. Finally, thank you to Susan Ostrander and Bree and Allie Tamulewicz for making me feel at home during my time in Raleigh!

OQHA Trail Ride (East Sparta, Ohio)

It was 237 days ago today that I was crowned the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen! There was no better way to start off my day than with a 4am wakeup call to head down to East Sparta, Ohio for the annual OQHA/ Tri-County Trail Ride! Last year I attended the OQHA trail ride as Ohio Queen and I was honored that Todd Salome asked me to return again this year! I spent a majority of the two hour drive in the pouring down rain. I was so concerned that the weather would hurt the outcome of this trail ride, but it did not! Appropriately, Ohio not only holds the largest single breed horse show in the world (AAQHC), but it also puts on one of the largest trail rides in the country, ranking in the top three each year! It was an absolute blast to see many of the people that I had befriended last year on the trail ride. I want to thank Bear Creek KOA for allowing me to rent a horse for the day because the beautiful, rocky trails are definitely not suitable for my four year old western pleasure horse! Fittingly, my mount for the day was a buckskin mare named Blondie. As many know, buckskins hold a special place in my heart as I spent much of my youth career showing my all-around buckskin mare.

We were all blessed as the sun came out just in time for the start of the ride. Even though I have been in the show arena since age two, today was only my third ever trail ride! It turned out to be a gorgeous four hour ride with a nice lunch halfway through. Blondie was a champ for me and took me through all the mud and over the trees that had fallen from a recent storm. I enjoyed getting to chat with everyone on the trail ride including my parents, a few of the Ohio Amateurs, and the 2015 OQHA Queen, Miss Megan Perry! While a large group of us spent the morning out on the trails, many stayed back to compete in the Jim Wells Memorial Trail Challenge. The numbers were up this year for the trail challenge and I believe this may have been the largest trail challenge yet for OQHA!

Back at the campground, the evening started out with mingling and bidding on some great silent auction items. It was great meeting so many new people and talking with them about my role as Congress Queen. The crowd greeted me with applause and I had the honor of introducing Miss Megan Perry as the 2015 OQHA Queen. After a long day on the trails, everyone indulged in the home cooked meal and delicious desserts. The great announcer, Joe Coalter, was back at the trail ride this year and he did an awesome job auctioning off items including Congress packages and a Wenger work saddle. Thank you, Joe, for keeping the audience entertained for the entire evening even when it meant poking fun of me! After dinner, I drew tickets for the lucky winners of a variety of very nice donated items. I was privileged to end the night presenting awards to all of the trail challenge winners! A special thank you to Todd Salome, Cynthia Bauman and everyone at Tri-County trails for having me at their trail ride!

All American Youth Horse Show (Columbus, Ohio)

The start of the All American Youth Horse Show marks 207 days into my reign as the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. All the appearances I have made as Congress Queen are special for different reasons and the Youth Show is no exception. I showed at my first Youth Show in 1997, in fact, it was the first time I entered the show pen with my new partner, Pro Circuit. This year, Pro Circuit gets to stay at home and enjoy the retired life as I make the trip to Columbus to present the beautiful Youth Show ribbons. The Youth Show is always a very exciting show for all the youth in attendance and I was honored to be there to present awards. Over the course of the weekend, I met so many fabulous youth, from the walk-trot exhibitors to those embracing their last year of youth show eligibility.

Throughout the weekend, I got the chance to visit with some great vendors that sponsor the Congress Queen Contest. I also enjoyed visiting with Kay Tracy with the Tough Enough to Wear Pink Horse Show. Between visiting with vendors, I was making trips back to the Coliseum to present awards. I was even lucky enough to have some walk-trot exhibitors ask if they could help me in presenting awards. I was thrilled to have them help and they did a great job! It was a great chance to get to know them and hear about their horses! On Saturday, I was joined by the Northern Ohio Queen, Miss Tyler Weigel, and the OMI Queen, Miss Chelsea Bollenbacher. It was great to meet both of them!

 As always, the Youth Show consisted of a few late nights which ended with the championship classes. If an exhibitor is 1st or 2nd in their age group class, they have the option to compete in the all age championship class. This is always a very exciting class. The champion and reserve in the class receive neck ribbons and the youth love them. In one of the championship classes, a small pony won the class. I did not think I would be able to put the neck ribbon on, but luckily I looped the ribbon around the pony’s neck twice and it fit perfectly! Attending the Youth Show definitely brought back some great childhood memories. It was always exciting to me as a youth when a queen was at the Youth Show to present awards and I was thrilled to be there as the Congress Queen. A huge thank you to the entire Youth Show staff for making me feel at home!

Equine Affaire (Columbus, Ohio)

The start of this weekend marked the 173rd day since I was crowned the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. The day before arriving at the Equine Affaire I heard some very exciting news, Sweet Talking Mo, was making his official debut as a Peter Stone Model horse! I rode Sweet Talking Mo, affectionately known as King Mo, to a Congress Championship in Queen’s Horsemanship. Of course, as soon as I arrived in Columbus on Friday I went to The Ginger Horse booth, where Mo was being displayed front and center. Seeing him for the first time brought tears to my eyes. I spent the winter communicating back and forth with Ginger Patrick and the Peter Stone Model Horse Company designing the perfect Mo. He came out better than I could have ever imagined and his coat has just the right metallic shine to it. I spent some time admiring the model Mo and then autographed all the Mo models at the booth! Many of the kids visiting the booth also loved Mo and it was an honor to take pictures with them and tell them the story of Mo! A special thank you to Ginger of The Ginger Horse and Peter Stone for allowing Mo to live forever. I am also forever grateful to his owners Cindy and Shelbe Jarrett for giving me the opportunity to sit aboard such special horse.

After I autographed the Mo models, I headed to the Rod’s Western Palace booth. It was great to see the many familiar faces at Rod’s. I have had the honor of working with Rod’s the past couple of years as they are fantastic supporters of the OQHA Queen and the Congress Queen. It was great to see Trent Johnson of Greeley Hat Works! I was also very excited to meet Miss Rodeo America 2015, Lauren Heaton. Lauren and I spent the afternoon together meeting many young horse lovers and signing autographs at Rod’s.

On Saturday morning, Trent, Lauren, and I headed over to the Voinovich building where we did a clinic on becoming a queen with focuses on confidence, public speaking, interviewing, and horsemanship. Lauren and I introduced ourselves and then we had each of the young ladies in attendance come up to the microphone to introduce themselves and talk about their interests. It was a great clinic with a lot of interactions between Lauren and me and the young horse enthusiasts and aspiring queens. It was a great opportunity to help them feel more confident with public speaking whether in a pageant or a presentation at school. I know they all benefitted and Lauren and I enjoyed getting to know all the girls. Thank you to Trent Johnson for organizing the clinic and allowing it to happen. It is always an honor to have an impact on the upcoming generation of the equine industry!

Sunday was another thrilling day at the Equine Affaire. I had to opportunity to go around to the many vendors that support the Congress and the Congress Queen Contest. It was great to speak with all of them. I even snuck in a little shopping of my own! As always I met many fabulous people and talked about the Congress and my job as the Congress Queen. Before I knew it the 2015 Equine Affaire was in the books!

PQHA Winning Ways Clinic and Tack Sale (State College, Pennsylvania

Today is day 146 of my reign as the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. I was honored to be invited to Pennsylvania to the annual Winning Ways Clinic where Michael Colvin gave an outstanding clinic! The PQHA Youth worked hard all day hosting their tack sale. Yesterday, I assisted the youth in setting up for the tack sale and I could not believe all the hard work that the youth and their parents put into the sale! The sale was a huge success and I was proud to see the phenomenal youth that are the future of our industry. The clinic brought in big numbers and I could tell everyone was enjoying themselves. I spent the morning greeting guests at the door and giving each attendee a ticket for the numerous random drawings throughout the day. During the clinic breaks, I was invited to the arena floor to draw the lucky winners and present them with their gifts! Throughout the day I was also able to watch a few of the PQHA youth riders in the clinic. I was impressed with how much the youth and audience learned and I was honored to meet Michael Colvin. I also had the privilege of meeting a few 4-H groups and aspiring Congress Queens during the clinic! Thank you PQHA for allowing me to be a part of your event!

Dixie Nationals Quarter Horse Show (Jackson, Mississippi)

As I woke up at 4 am this morning to get to the airport to travel to Jackson, MS, I realized I am already 122 days into my reign as the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. I flew from Cleveland, OH to Charlotte, NC and then to Jackson. When I arrived in Charlotte to switch flights I ran into some great friends and supporters of the Congress Queen Contest, Eddie and Mary Gwyn Harris. It was great to see some familiar faces that I had not seen since Congress. Upon arriving in Jackson, I met several AQHA judges that were also arriving. Amy Russell picked us up from the airport and took us to the hotel and then out for a relaxing dinner after a long day of traveling. Amy was incredible for the entire week driving the judges and me back and forth and catering to our every need!

The entire show and the southern hospitality were nothing short of first class. This was a very special year for the Dixie Nationals as it was the 50th anniversary! The last time I was at the Dixie Nationals was in 1998, when I competed in the small fry events. It was a thrill to come back as the Congress Queen so many years later. It was a great show with tough competition! The show took place in two arenas so I was constantly running back and forth between the two to present awards. With being the 50th year for the Dixie Nationals, the awards were extra special. The trophies themselves were 50 years old and were generously donated by a family. All the exhibitors loved the special trophies!

On Friday evening, the arena stands filled up for the exciting freestyle reining. I was honored to be introduced as a special guest, as well as present the awards to the outstanding exhibitors. During the freestyle, I met a little girl in the stands fighting cancer. It was special to get to talk to her, as I am an avid supporter of pediatric cancer.

Saturday was filled with more excitement as I participated in a fashion show. Along with the horse show, there is a large trade show and on Saturday there was a fashion show to model some of the great designs from the various vendors. I spoke about my queen outfit, which was designed by the Berry Fit Company. All of the Congress Queen outfits are made by Berry Fit and it was great to have an opportunity to speak about their beautiful designs to the audience. I rushed from the fashion show stage back to the arena to present leadline awards and take part in the stick horse class. The little kids had a blast with the stick horses and I presented them all with a medallion.

I was introduced to a lot of southern food and slang during my time in Jackson. After the show was complete on Saturday, the show crew ordered tons of crawfish and shrimp. I have never eaten crawfish before and I had no idea how to eat it. They all taught me how to break it apart to get to the meat and after a while I got pretty good at it (for a northerner). It was a delicious dinner filled with lots of laughs.

My time in Jackson flew by. I met so many incredible people, exhibitors and lifelong friends. It was great to meet many young women and men from the 4-H Shadow Program. They assisted me in presenting awards throughout the week. I enjoyed getting to know them and talking with them about the Congress Queen Contest. This post is not complete without thanking the entire show staff, especially show manager, Tommy Andrus, and Amy Russell and Tonya Gelston for making me feel at home from the minute I arrived in Jackson. There was never a dull moment that’s for sure!

Ohio Quarter Horse Association Awards Banquet (Columbus, Ohio)

I am on day number 111 of my reign as the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. Today was an extremely special and bittersweet appearance because I came back to the OQHA banquet, not only as the reigning OQHA Queen, but also the Congress Queen! The banquet took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, which is the same hotel that hosted the Congress Queen Contest. As I spent the day getting ready, I reminisced on that week four months prior filled with nerves and excitement as I competed for the 2014 Congress Queen crown.

Prior to the banquet, I spent the afternoon at the OQHA meeting, where to my great delight and honor, Dr. Scott Myers recognized me and spoke many nice words. It was truly a moment I will never forget. Being involved with OQHA from such a young age, all of its members have become a part of my family and it has been a privilege to represent them as OQHA Queen and now as the 2014 Congress Queen.

Following the meeting, I put on my formal gown and got ready for an incredible evening. As always, the OQHA banquet was first class. I started the evening out with delivering the invocation and then enjoyed a delicious dinner and dessert. Upon completion of the dinner, I gave my speech as the outgoing OQHA Queen. I spoke about my year and took the time to thank the numerous people that helped me in achieving the Congress Queen crown. I still get goosebumps thinking about the applause that erupted when I said “I am humbled to have brought the Congress Queen crown back home to Ohio.” I am forever grateful for all of the support from the members of OQHA.

It was with great excitement that I crowned the 2015 OQHA Queen, Miss Megan Perry! Congratulations, Megan! I know she will do a fantastic job and I wish her the best of luck as she prepares for the Congress.

The rest of the evening was spent presenting awards and taking pictures with the outstanding Ohio exhibitors and owners! As always, the Ohio youth continue to impress. Special congratulations to Lauren Diaz and Ellexxah Maxwell on their Youth All-Around and Reserve All-Around titles in the nation. The enjoyable evening was complete with socializing and dancing!

Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids Christmas Party (Columbus, Ohio)

I have been the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen for 56 days today. I spent the entire weekend in Columbus, Ohio and it was truly a few days that I will never forget! On Saturday, I tossed my boots and hat aside and put on my hot pink running shoes for the Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids (NC4K) Reindeer 5K run. All the money raised from the race was used toward providing Christmas to the families battling pediatric cancer. The race was a blast and my mom won the costume contest dressed as Mrs. Claus!

NC4K is non-profit organization that helps better the lives of children with cancer and their families. This is a very special organization to me because not only have the Congress Queen Contestants raised money for NC4K for the past several years, but I also have volunteered at many NC4K events. As the Ohio Quarter Horse Queen, I walked the runway with a cancer survivor during the NC4K annual fashion show. I was blessed to be a part of Nellie’s Christmas Party held at Magic Mountain. There were 100 families at the party, all of which Nellie was providing Christmas for! I was fortunate enough to be able to adopt one of the families and upon returning home from Congress, I started shopping for my family! Earlier in the week I went to the NC4K office to drop off the gifts I had bought and spent many hours helping to box up the presents for all the families. After the Christmas party each family was able to pick up their Christmas box completely packed with presents for each family member.

There is no other way to describe today than magical! The kids had an absolute blast. The joy I saw on their faces was priceless. Magic Mountain was rented strictly for the NC4K party and the kids enjoyed the games, play area, arts and crafts, as well as getting their picture with Santa! I spent a lot of time in the arts and crafts area talking with many children as they painted and made Christmas ornaments. I also got to see Princess Maggie and her family, which always warms my heart. I initially met Princess Maggie at Congress 2013 when she walked in the Queen Fashion Show. I always love getting to talk to Maggie! She is such a sweetheart! I also had the pleasure of meeting a little girl named Faith and her mother. Faith and I share a love of horses. Faith is a member of 4-H, but unfortunately due to her cancer treatments she has not been allowed to ride a horse in quite some time. It was so special to get to talk to Faith about her horse and tell her about my horses. I also talked to several other horse loving children! All of the children and families I met and talked with were so grateful for all that Nellie is doing to help their family during this difficult time and it was magical to be a part of a day when all the kids and families were able to relax some and have fun. It was also a thrill to see Polly from the Berry Fit Company and meet her two kids! Of course, I was wearing one of the very beautiful queen outfits designed by Polly. All the children in attendance were drawn to all the sparkles on my outfit and even a couple of them asked me if I had made the outfit! It was perfect that Polly was there to meet the kids and hear all of their excitement about her design. 

My sincere gratitude to Nellie Krumlauf for inviting me to the party as Congress Queen! I look forward to being a part of other NC4K events in the coming year. 

Downtown Ashtabula Christmas Parade (Ashtabula, Ohio)

Today I am 33 days into my reign as the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. Since returning home from the Rough Rider’s 4-H banquet, I have been running around preparing for my Hometown Christmas Parade. I am so grateful that my local Sports N Sports was able to make me such a nice banner in a matter of a couple of days. The last time I was in my hometown Christmas Parade was in 2nd grade when I walked with my ballet class. It was so exciting to be a part of the Christmas Parade in my hometown, where I have lived my entire life. Even though the parade took place before Thanksgiving, everyone was already in the Christmas spirit! Appropriately for Northeast Ohio, there was already about a foot of snow on the ground and the temperature was 18 degrees at the start of the parade. This did not hurt the turn out for this great event. Even the youngest of children bundled up and stood on the streets to watch the parade! While I was waiting in the parade line up, I got to talk to many people about the Congress and my role as the Congress Queen. Despite the freezing temperatures, it was truly a thrill to be back home as the Congress Queen. The children were ecstatic as I went through the parade line up. The excitement kept my adrenaline going and I was able to stay warm, except for my hands. Luckily, I took a few pairs of gloves and I alternated them throughout the parade. My mom would keep the other pairs in front of the heater inside the truck. I cannot end this post without thanking my parents for helping me in building a structure for the back of the truck to display my banner and for assisting me in decorating! A special thank you to my dad for driving his brand new Coughlin Automotive truck in the parade and my mom for taking pictures and videoing the event!

Rough Rider’s 4H Club Banquet (Lancaster, Ohio)


It was 27 days ago today that I was crowned the 2014 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. Today was a very special day for me as I made my very first Congress Queen appearance since October 26th when I presented the last bronze of the 2014 Congress. And where better to make my first appearance than in my home state, as well as the host state of the Congress, OHIO! With great excitement I attended the Rough Rider’s 4-H banquet in Lancaster, Ohio. The night started out with a delicious dinner and a huge table of desserts. During dinner one of the Cloverbud members brought me a chocolate chip cookie to thank me for coming to their banquet. I cannot say enough great things about all of the members of the Rough Rider’s Club. They were an absolute joy to spend time with. After dinner I gave a speech to the group about my experiences as the Ohio Quarter Horse Queen and also spoke about the Congress and the Congress Queen Contest. I told them about how I became involved with horses and congratulated them for all they had accomplished in their year with 4-H. It was a thrill to speak to a room full of youth horse enthusiasts- the future of the Quarter Horse industry was sitting right in front of me! It was an honor to be a special guest at the banquet and to help in the awards presentation. I have to say my favorite part of the night was being able to talk to each member individually about their horse as I signed an autograph and took a picture. I had great conversations with many of the children and it was so nice to hear their excitement about horses and their dreams of showing at the Quarter Horse Congress! Thank you to Jaymie Drury for introducing me to Jane Fowler during the Congress. I express sincere gratitude to Jane and Sean Fowler for inviting me to this special event and to the entire Rough Rider’s 4-H Club for your hospitality!