South Dakota Quarter Horse Association presents awards at annual convention

Larry Larson
South Dakota Quarter Horse Association

PIERRE, S.D. –Through it’s dedication to the promotion of the American Quarter Horse, the South Dakota Quarter Horse Association has now entered into it’s 70th year. SDQHA boasts approximately 3,600 members, and the state has a population of approximately 80,000 registered Quarter Horses.

The 2018 SDQHA Annual Convention was once again presented at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center on the east bank of the Missouri River in Pierre on Jan. 12. An Executive Committee meeting in the morning was followed by the annual general membership meeting in the afternoon. Special guest, incoming AQHA President Stan Weaver from Big Sandy, Mont., spoke at the conclusion of the meeting offering a question and answer session. The evening was capped off with a social, SDQHA and SDQHYA Year-End Awards and a banquet. Following dinner, special award presentations were made honoring the 2018 SDQHA Producer Of The Year, 2018 PRCA Hall Of Fame Inductee, AQHA 50-Year Cumulative Award Winner and 7 new SDQHA Legacy Honorees. The evening events were dedicated to the memory of long time SDQHA member and supporter Kathryn Hootman from Harrisburg who passed away in September.

Now into it’s second year, the ‘SDQHA Legacy Celebration’ started off with a social on Friday evening across the river in Fort Pierre at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center for the honorees, their families and friends and dignitaries.

Capping off the weekend, a Cowboy Church Fellowship was held on Sunday morning at the Ramkota. Tracy Buer, Bison, S.D., sang the National Anthem at the banquet and provided vocal entertainment at both the dinner and church service.

Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden led the prayer and read an Executive Proclamation from the office of newly sworn in Gov. Kristi Noem. Jan. 12, 2019, was officially proclaimed ‘South Dakota Quarter Horse Association Legacy Honorees Day’.

Elected to lead the SDQHA again in 2019 is President Kristen Gonsoir from Groton. She will be assisted by Vice President Jodie Svennes, Brandt, along with the re-appointments of Victoria Cuka from Vale as the 2019 secretary/treasurer and Janet Hansen, Fort Pierre, as the association point secretary.

Board of Directors from the East are Amy Krueger, Ferney; Dede Cuka, Wagner; and Jodie Svennes from Brandt. Representing the Central Region are Penny Petersen, Mitchell; Kristen Gonsoir, Groton; and Sheila Prins from Sisseton. SDQHA directors from the West are Shirley Wetz, Vale; Hope Hall, Box Elder and Bob Quickstad from Sturgis. Joellen Miller, Groton; Joni Hunt, Faith; and Heather Sutton from Gettysburg will represent the at-large directorships. Becky Johnson, Mud Butte, remains on the board for 2019 as the SDQHYA youth advisor.

AQHA directors representing SDQHA on the national level are Janet Hansen, Fort Pierre; Debbi Holmes Stockstill, Virgil; Jim Hunt, Faith; and Dean Johnson from Mud Butte. AQHA Directors-At-Large are Larry Larson, Rapid City; Dr. R.M. Christensen, Harrisburg; and James Sutton from Onida along with Directors Emeritus Jim Hootman, Harrisburg, and Mike Clites from Brookings.

2018 SDQHA Year-End All-Arounds were recognized during the Awards Presentation on Saturday Evening. Wanda Carr and One Powerful Krymsun captured both the Amateur and Level 1 Amateur All-Arounds; Jodie Svennes and Zipped With Pleasure were the Amateur Select All-Around and Reserve Amateur All-Around in the Level 1 Division; and Andrea Butler and My Details Are Blazing were the Amateur Select Reserve All-Around for 2018.

The South Dakota Quarter Horse Youth Association (SDQHYA) was represented at the convention by their President Shelby Holmes, Sioux Falls, and Kim Johnson from Mud Butte. Their annual meeting and election of 2019 officers will be held later this spring when more of their members can attend. Their 2018 Award Winners announced on Saturday evening include Emily Johnson and RPM Machine — 14-18 All-Around Youth, Overall High-Point Youth and High-Point Senior Girl; Rachel Retterrath and Butterscotch Blend – Reserve Level 1 All-Around Youth; Jazmine Hart-Crissman and One Hot Molly — 13 & Under All-Around Youth and High-Point Junior Girl; and Colin Sprinkel with This Tigers Hot — Reserve 14-18 All-Around Youth, Level 1 All-Around and High-Point Senior Boy.

Special awards announced during the evening include the 2018 SDQHA Sportsmanship Award being presented to Phil Svennes from Brandt and the Most Valuable Professional Horseman was awarded to Kristen Gonsoir from Groton. For the first time in many years, SDQHA presented Life Memberships to Jim Hootman, Harrisburg, and Mike and Vicky Clites from Brookings for their unending dedication to the association.

2018 SDQHA Producer Of The Year — Bob and Karen Meyer, Glad Valley, S.D. Both growing up with horses in their lives, they started in the production end of the Quarter Horse business by first pasturing a band of mares and a stallion for close friend, Lee Lopez. Partnering on those first foals, they gradually started putting their own band of broodmares mares together and eventually joined with Lopez and Geno and Effie Hunt to produce an annual Quarter Horse Production sale. Liking the performance, ‘cow bred’ bloodlines, the Meyers sold out their 2018 foals, band of broodmares and several stallions in September 2018 after offering an annual sale for the past 43 years.

AQHA 50-Year Cumulative Breeder — Jim Taylor, Huron, S.D. Founding his American Quarter Horse breeding operation in 1965, he purchased Vanzi Joe, a 1965 stallion sired by Vanzi Bar out of Rosa Jo by Chihuahua Joe. He currently runs a band of 20 broodmares and 2 stallions and to date, has produce 97 foals with several horses competing successfully in roping events and ranch rodeos.

2018 PRCA Hall Of Fame Inductee — French Flash Hawk ‘Bozo’. Bred by John and Lis Hollmann from Hot Springs, S.D., Bozo touched off a revolution in the barrel racing industry. Chuck and Kristie Peterson from Elbert, Colo., purchased him as a two-year-old and the rest is history. He won his first of 4 WPRA Barrel Racing World Championship titles in 1994. They went on to win 3 more World titles (1996-1998), 3 reserve World titles, 5 consecutive NFR Average titles and 4 DNCFR titles. He was also voted as the AQHA/PRCA Horse of the Year 5 times.

2018 SDQHA Legacy Honorees include: Trainer – Darrel & Marlene Griffith; Rodeo – John & Cindy Baltezore; Show – Lew & Kerry Papendick; Race – Bob & Shilo Johnson; Promotion – Lynn & Connie Weishaar; Ranch – Art & Mary Cowan; Influential Horse – As Good As It Gets, Neil Sebring Family.

Thank you for your support and generous donations to the SDQHA at our Silent and Live Auctions on Saturday Evening. The monetary support is much needed and greatly appreciated so we can continue to celebrate the American Quarter Horse and the South Dakota families that have dedicated their lives to the promotion of the World’s Number One Breed!

The 2019 SDQHA Convention will again be at the Ramkota Hotel in Pierre, South Dakota on January 3-5, 2020. Mark your calendars now to help us celebrate the next round of SDQHA honorees. Find full coverage of SDQHA/SDQHYA Year-End award winners and the details on our 2018 Legacy Honorees at

A Night To Remember! 2018 SDQHA Legacy Celebration

New in 2018, SDQHA LEGACY HONOREES include families and horses that have be influential in South Dakota’s history in the promotion of the American Quarter Horse.

SDQHA Legacy Trainer – Darrel & Marlene Griffith, Spearfish, S.D. Starting with a handful of broodmares and the AQHA stallion Major Mike, their business eventually evolved into a performance horse training operation on their ranch near Faith. Concentrating on cutting, their accomplishments in the arena brought national acclaim to not only their own horses, but also those they had in training for the public. Success in the arena was shared with their children as well. Griffith Training Stables at one time was booked a year in advance with clients from Texas to Canada. It took all of their family to make things work.

SDQHA Legacy Rodeo – John & Cindy Baltezore, Beresford, S.D. With beginnings in the 1960’s in the show ring, to John being named the National Intercollegiate Rodeo President and Cindy serving as a girl’s team coach in the 1970’s, they have remained a vital part of the horse industry at many levels.

Starting a family and launching Lincoln Stables in the 1980’s, plus standing several accomplished stallions, kept them busy over the years. They campaigned horses to many SDQHA and rodeo arena wins along with AQHA World Show qualifications and they are still deeply involved in the Quarter Horse industry.

SDQHA Legacy Show – Lew & Kerry Papendick, Rapid City, S.D. Along with their daughters Kristina and Ali, they have won a combined 20 AQHA World Championships in Open, Amateur, Youth and Select Amateur. They began showing at the national level in 1999 and have shown, and won, at every major Quarter Horse event including the AQHA World Championship Show, Quarter Horse Congress, Sun Circuit, etc. Two of their past champions, Harley D Zip and Ima Triple Zip, are both 24 years old now and living the good life in the pastures at their home, Highview Ranch, south of Rapid City.

SDQHA Legacy Race – Bob & Shilo Johnson, Lemmon, S.D. Starting in the horse business at the early age of 9 years old, Bob won his first race in Lemmon, SD. Major awards have rolled in over the years including SDQHRA Leading Quarter Horse Trainer for 30 years; AQHA Challenge Champion Trainer 2017-2018; won his 1,000th race in 2007 and his 1,300th race in October of 2018.

His wife, Shilo, has been an active member of their team and comes from a Thoroughbred racing family – her late father Bill Parker and Mother Linda have won over 800 races and were leading trainers in New Mexico and Arizona.

SDQHA Legacy Promotion – Lynn & Connie Weishaar, Reva, S.D. Always knowing that his true passion was being an auctioneer, Lynn grew up near Lemmon, S.D., and while in college at NDSU, he attended auctioneer school in Billings, MT. While still at NDSU, he met his future wife, Connie, and they have been married 50 years. His career as a horse auctioneer started with a new sale being offered by Dr. Ron Ford. His year is scheduled tight with horse and cattle sales and Connie has kept the ranch running as well as continuing her community and regional involvement.

SDQHA Legacy Ranch – Art & Mary Cowan, Pierre, S.D. Married in 1935, they moved to the Highmore, SD area where they raised 6 children – Pat, Willie, Annie (Fulton), Lex (Werdel), Mike and Tim. Making their living buying and selling horses, Art contracted with the US Government in the 1940’s to furnish work horses with horses being shipped overseas. They went on to producing rodeos with saddle bronc and bareback taking front stage as there were few timed events at that time. In 1946 he was instrumental in bringing a band of broodmares and a stallion from Texas and it was the foundation of their registered Quarter Horse herd.

SDQHA Influential Horse – As Good As It Gets, Neil Sebring Family, Brookings, S.D. This 1993 stallion was sired by Zippos Mr Good Bar and out of the mare Invest A Lynx by the The Invester. His own impressive show record included 52.5 Open Western Pleasure points and 236.5 in the Amateur Western Pleasure (AQHA Superior Western Pleasure in both divisions) and he was a Finalist at the 1998 AQHA World Show. He sired 70 foals with 1,342 Open Performance Points, 1,818.5 Amateur Points and 1,302.5 Youth Points. The total of 5,168.5 points included AQHA Incentive Fund earnings of $66,931, World Show earnings $13,084 and NSBA earnings of $15,766.

Each of the 2018 SDQHA Honorees was presented with Star Quilts donated by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Nominations are now being taken for 2019 recipients of these awards.