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Arizona Sun Circuit Delivers Another Top-Notch Show for 2024

Filed under: Around The Ring Galleries,Show Results & Gallery,Sponsor News |     

All images courtesy of AzQHA

From AzQHA:


Still riding high on its record obliterating 50th Anniversary, the question on everyone’s mind at the start of the 2024 Arizona Sun Circuit was how could the show possibly top itself. It soon became clear that Sun Circuit continues to improve on success, delivering a top-notch showing experience for everyone. Huge entries, memorable events and great competition spanned the entire show running from March 1-10 at WestWorld in Scottsdale. The show had a dizzying array of awards this year. There were 37 champion saddles, Rod Patrick boots for Best of Show winners in 10 divisions, logo’d saddle pads, trophies, buckles, Sun Circuit spurs, custom champion rings from Sami Fine Jewelry and more in the Awards booth. Additionally, there was over $132,000 in added money.

NSBA’s Heroes on Horses, sponsored by Bob and Ingrid Miller, was once again a huge highlight of the show.

With 26,625 AQHA entries plus NRHA, NRCHA, NSBA and special event entries, Sun Circuit is a big show by anyone’s standards. The addition of another arena for cattle classes along with ample warm up arenas easily accommodated riders so that it rarely felt crowded. “WestWorld has fantastic facilities to handle a show of this size,” said Sun Circuit Producer and AzQHA CEO Doug Huls. “From the indoor, climate controlled arenas to all the outdoor pens, they keep everything in top shape and the footing is excellent no matter how big we get.” Huls also credits his experienced staff for keeping all the arenas running efficiently and helping exhibitors have a great show. Office staff, arena managers, announcers, the scribes, and gate people who keep everything straight in the Horse Show Tracker tablets, the awards booth crew, Prize Patrol crew and dedicated volunteers all work exceedingly hard to make Sun Circuit a premier event. Large classes, prolific awards and generous payouts have been the hallmarks of Sun Circuit, drawing veteran exhibitors as well as first timers. However it’s the fun, friendly atmosphere of a well run show that people remember most. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the weather was great.

One Heart Beat Away, owned by Catherine Finger, won the Snippity Snap NSBA Four & Five Year Old Trail Open Futurity with Jess Albion aboard.

NSBA Futurities enticed exhibitors with added money and coveted awards. A whooping $10,000 was added to the Snippity Snap NSBA Four & Five Year Old Trail Open Futurity with 24 chasing the money. When the scores were tallied, One Heart Beat Away owned by Catherine Finger and shown by Jess Albion was tied with Flat Out Frosted, owned by Lisa Stewart and shown by Ashley Dunbar-ClocGil marked the same total as Pleasure With Class owned by Dana Hokana and shown by Bree Hokana. They split the 1st and second money earning $1,210 each. Third Place went to VS Dress Code, bred, owned and shown by Michelle Coulter.

Gil Galyean Quarter Horses added $1,000 to the NSBA 3 Year Old Western Pleasure. Champion honors and a check for $839.40 went to Hart To Hart owned by Barbara Bouma and shown by Kyra Ley.

No Doubt IM Sleepn, owned by William Cox and shown by Dillon Vaughn, was Reserve Champion and earned $559.60

Third Place was Code Of Many Colors owned by Steve & Tanya Relander and shown by Andrew Sharp.

NSBA 3 & 4 Year Old Non Pro Western Pleasure with $500 added money saw Courtney Chown come out on top with Lopin Hottie Tottie. The pair won $459.60 for their efforts. The Way I Talk took Alicia Ritsema to second place for $306.40. No Doubt IM Sleepn was back in the pen with William Cox for a third place finish.

Eleven horses were in the ring for the 3 & 4 Year Old Limited Non Pro and had $500 added by Gil Galyean Quarter Horses.  Queen Ov Hearts owned and shown by Candice Hall took the top spot earning $441.32. Reserve Champion was Lady Marmalade shown by Samantha Foust. They picked up $350.46. Third Place and $259.60 went to The Glow Getter shown by Holly Phalen.

More NSBA futurities were held in Hunter Under Saddle. The 3 & 4 Year Old Open had $1,000 added by Ogden Ranch. Pretty Dang Good, owned by Myles Mclean-Foss, was the Champion earning $599.63. Easy Peazy was shown by Beth Case to claim Reserve Champion and a check for $466.38. Third Place and $266.50 went to All Fancy Like shown by Katie Cochran.

Ogden Ranch added another $1,000 to the pot for the Non Pros in the irons, Kara Flentje earned an additional $719.70 taking first on Easy Peazy and Brent Sanders placed second with All Fancy Like winning $479.80.

Super Sires held a slate of Stakes classes with a total of $15,000 added in cash plus prizes. Angela Fox rode Makin Me Happy to win the L1 Junior Western Riding and $1,260. The L1 Senior saw Wine After Whiskey and Anthony Montes at the top of the field of 19 to win $1,440. Moving on to the L1 Trail, Jesse Jones navigated the poles aboard No One Saw It Coming to win $1,360 for the Junior champion title. In the Senior, it was Brad Ost and VS Life Support taking home $1,440 for first.

Sun Circuit is known for more than large class numbers. The events that take place during the week are loved by all. NSBA presented Heroes on Horses for the third year at Sun Circuit. Everyone was invited to carry a flag in the very moving Parade of Heroes procession into the Equine Chronicle arena. They were joined by members of the Scottsdale Mounted Police, VFW flag bearers representing all the armed services, several veterans and the somber leading of the riderless horse honoring all those who lost their lives in service.

Bob and Ingrid Miller and family sponsor Heroes on Horses at Sun Circuit each year.

The Heroes on Horses Western Pleasure class followed with veterans from local therapeutic riding programs participating. Heroes on Horses is presented as a Special Project of the NSBA Foundation with the generous support of Bob and Ingrid Miller. A free luncheon was also provided ringside for all exhibitors and those who participated in the event.

Kimes Ranch continued the tradition of memorable parties with the inaugural King and Queen of Sun Circuit contest. The gala was a fun evening with food, entertainment and an over the top competition as couples demonstrated their worthiness of such a prestigious title through the costume, talent, interview and dance portions of the evening. Tim Kimura and Debbie Cooper, rocking a cave man theme and wrangling some dinosaurs, got the judge’s nod for top honors.The royal couple were bestowed with crowns, custom rings from Sami Fine Jewelry, Kimes Ranch gift certificates and a Jeep styled cart.

Winning extended beyond the classes with Prize Patrol spreading their infamous games and challenges across the grounds and barn areas. Tens of thousands of dollars in prizes, gift certificates, jewelry, hats, products and electronics were given away. Game Night became a regular event with 50-60 people showing up to play. One of the most fun in-the-ring challenges was the “wine” race after  Senior Working Western Rail for a 65” TV. Prize Patrol captain Tom Forehand had riders lope, long trot, back, spin and do it all over again to prove who had the most left in the glass and therefore the smoothest ride. It was amazing how close the final 8 participants were.

There were educational opportunities as well with the Adequan Free Clinic Series. Presented by top pros who all have multiple World Champion titles under their belts, they offered specific, actionable information to help improve performance. This year’s slate of clinicians included father and son roping duo J.D. and Trey Yates, Al Dunning broke down what it takes to score well in cutting and Deana Searles shared the secrets to a great Western Riding run.

Sun Circuit keeps growing and innovating, giving exhibitors not just a horse show, but an experience they remember for a lifetime.

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