By: Brittany Bevis
Karen Jorgenson has been showing horses off and on since she was in high school. Because her parents couldn’t afford a horse at the time, she practiced on a borrowed mount that belonged to a friend. Now, some 31 years later, Jorgenson has won her first Congress Championship title at her first major equine competition, the Quarter Horse Congress.
“In 1982, I dreamed of someday going to Congress and the World,” she says. “It just took me 31 years to do it.”
Jorgenson and her nine-year-old gelding “Kenny” were named the Congress Champions this morning in a tough Select Showmanship class. The grey gelding was a birthday present to herself nearly five years ago.
For most of her showing career, Jorgenson has competed at open events in North Dakota and Minnesota. She’d never been to a major breed event like the Congress or AQHA World Show. It was some encouragement from a late friend that helped prod this select competitor to step up her game.
“I had a friend named Chuck Elvrum, who passed away a couple of years ago,” she says. “Chuck was the one who pushed me to be better and start going to AQHA events. We decided that I wasn’t getting any younger, so I should try to find a new horse.”
“Allison and Brett Clark called me up and said, ‘We have a horse for sale.’ I said, ‘What color is he?’ My least favorite color is grey. They said, ‘He’s grey, but just go and look at him. It doesn’t hurt.’ I did, and I fell in love with him. He became my horse soulmate.”
The next step in her horse showing transformation was to find a horse trainer. Following her husband’s advice to “go big or go home,” Jorgenson picked John and Jill Briggs from Texas.
“I started with John and Jill in March,” she says. “My husband said, ‘Who do you want to be with?’ I said, ‘John and Jill Briggs.’ They said they would test me out for a couple of months to see if it was a good fit, and it was. They have really done a phenomenal job.”
The Briggs’ advice to Jorgenson before she entered the pen for the finals was to slow down, take a deep breath, and concentrate on each portion of the pattern.
“[Their advice to me] was to take a deep breath and not rush,” she says. “I did Novice Amateur Showmanship, and I went too fast. I needed to slow down the pattern and not run like my pants were on fire!”
Because Jorgenson has never attended such a large breed event, like the Congress, she was unsure about what to do when the individual judge’s cards were announced. A good-natured announcer helped out just a bit with some instruction over the PA system.
“I’ve never been to Congress, and I never thought my name would get called,” she says. “Nobody told me what to do. Do I stay here? Do I go forward? The gal next to me said, ‘You need to leave.’ “
Congratulation to John and Jill Briggs and Karen Jorgenson on this exciting win. We are sure that Chuck is very proud.
Amateur Select Showmanship-
1-All The Good Details/Karen Jorgenson
2-Spicy Hot Machine/Kellie Morris
3-Invy Of Me/Sherrie Gultz
4-Wee Chips Can Do/Michele Brickham
5-Visible Investment/Anne Wilson
6-Hez Purely Dynamic/Brister Shum
7-Remember Me Good/Shelley Scriver
8-Hot Jazzin Zippo/Farley Barbera
9-Cee Money/Dan Yeager
10-Corvette Coupe/Judith Perry