Vital Horse Show Staff Award

The USHJA Vital Horse Show Staff Award honors the support staff of our sport who generally work behind the scenes, and whose roles are essential to the operations of horse shows. These announcers, starters, secretaries, technical coordinators, facility-related staff, ring crews, and more help keep our shows operating smoothly and efficiently. They are often like ducks on a lake. Exhibitors see a serene lake with ducks swimming about, and they don’t see the paddling occurring below the water.

Many individuals have worked in our industry for decades, and this award recognizes their contributions.

As you consider likely nominations, think of those individuals who make your showing experience a little easier and more enjoyable. Perhaps it is the person who answers your question with grace and sincerity, despite the fact they have answered that same question 999 times before. Maybe it is the person who remains calm no matter how much someone is yelling. Or you could nominate the person who takes the time to educate someone beyond just answering a question. Maybe it is the water truck driver or manure removal person who is up before dawn and often works out of sight and out of mind.

Nominees do not need to be active members of the USHJA. They must have a minimum of 20 years of active work in the horse show aspect of the hunter/jumper sport. A nominee may not participate as a rider, trainer, or owner. Competition licensees and managers are not eligible for this award. A nominee may be a USEF licensed official, however the nomination must be based on that person’s activities as a horse show staff member and not as a licensed official.

This award is not given posthumously, and a recipient may only receive it once.

Nominations are open to all USHJA competing members, and nominations will also be solicited from the USHJA Competition Management, and Officials & Stewards committees. Please use the nomination form provided by the USHJA, and nominations close August 15. Provide as much information as possible. Additionally, geographic diversity will be considered as a factor when reviewing the nominees.

Each year at the USHJA Annual Meeting, the USHJA will honor two recipients with this award.

Vital Horse Show Staff Nomination Form

Past Winners

2023: Benjamin Martinez & Jennifer Gamboa ​​​​​​​
2022: George Chatigny & Jennifer Glass 
2021: Daniel McCarthy and Chris King
2020: Michele Markward and Janice “Jan” Murphy
2019: Julie O’Connor, West Coast, and Troy Powell, East Coast
2018: Anderson "Andy" Burney, West Coast, and Liz Soroka, East Coast
2017: Nancee Tepley, West Coast, and Kristen Vale-Mosack, East Coast
2016: Denise Wiemers, West Coast, and Mike Puffer, East Coast
2015: Maureen "Mo" Moffett, West Coast, and Francisco "Lefty" Gomez, East Coast
2014: Ricky Rollins and Barbara Baierle
2013: JP Bordeleau and Adrienne Karazissis
2012:  Julie Agar and Janet Fall
2011: George Heston and Brenda Outwater