THE AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE JOURNAL — MARCH 10, 2012 — The Don Burt Professional Horseman of the Year, Professional Horsewoman of the Year and Most Valuable Professional awards were presented Saturday night during the 2012 AQHA Convention awards presentation. The awards were presented by AQHA Corporate Partner Professional’s Choice.
The 2011 Don Burt Professional’s Choice Professional Horseman of the Year, Gene Parker of Orrum, North Carolina, has served the American Quarter Horse industry for many years. In fact, he has been an AQHA judge since 1978. He is a World Conformation Horse Association and National Snaffle Bit Association judge, and a founding member of WCHA, serving on the judges and breeders committees.
As an equine professional, he has trained horses in numerous disciplines, ranging from halter to pleasure, cutting and team roping, in addition to offering stallion services. As a result of his hard work and dedication, he has won 17 AQHA and numerous All American Quarter Horse Congress championships in halter and western pleasure.
Parker is an AQHA director and director of the North Carolina Quarter Horse Association. He was also inducted into the North Carolina Agricultural Hall of Fame.
He has been committed to the Quarter Horse industry and continues to serve as a mentor to the future of tomorrow, our youth.
The 2011 Professional’s Choice Professional Horsewoman of the Year, Marilyn Randall of Billings, Montana, is a true horsewoman who educates youth and amateurs in the equine industry. She holds judges cards with the following groups: AQHA, APHA, NSBA, NRCHA, FEI, USEF and NRHA. She has judged in 16 countries, as well as shows across the United States. While judging internationally, she gives clinics to help exhibitors learn how to better enjoy the American Quarter Horse.
Randall has trained horses for more than 25 years. Several youth in her training program have received top-10 honors at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show and the All American Quarter Horse Congress. She has ridden many AQHA World Championship Show qualifiers, including Two Fox Angilee, who won the reserve world champion junior trail title in 1984.
Besides judging and training, Randall has taught college equine programs for the past 26 years with the goal of bringing her enthusiasm and love of horses into the classroom. This past year, she worked with AQHA to help 850 abused horses get their AQHA papers transferred. Through her diligence, many of the horses were able to have their registration papers transferred to their new owners.
She has served on the Montana Quarter Horse Association Board of Directors, as the MQHA youth adviser, as a member of the AQHA Youth Activities Committee and as the AQHA Youth Activities Committee chairwoman from 2008 to 2010. In addition to serving as an AQHA director since 1994 and director-at-large since 2011, she was instrumental in the development of the Junior Master Horseman program.
The Professional’s Choice Most Valuable Professional or “MVP” of 2011 is Larry Little of Mebane, North Carolina. Little has been an active member of the North Carolina Quarter Horse Association board since 1985 and is a past president of NCQHA.
Little was co-founder and currently serves as a trustee of the North Carolina Quarter Horse Association Futurity. In 2006, he was given the NCQHA’s highest honor and was inducted into the NCQHA Hall of Fame. In addition to being an active member and supporter of NCQHA, he is an AQHA-, NSBA- and NRHA-approved judge, AQHA steward, and a member of the AQHA Show Council and the AQHA Judges Committee.
When someone seeks advice, they turn to him for his experience and knowledge. Little has trained and shown American Quarter Horses for 42 years.
His showing resume includes AQHA championships, AQHA Superior awards, All American Quarter Horse Congress champion, and top-10 titles at the AQHA World Championship Show. The future of the American Quarter Horse and the industry is always on his mind and heart.
Congratulations to the 2011 Professionals of the Year. Look for more information on this year’s winners in the May issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.
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