Professionals of the Year

THE AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE ASSOCIATION — MAR. 10, 2013 — The Don Burt Professional Horseman of the Year, Professional’s Choice Professional Horsewoman of the Year and Most Valuable Professional awards were presented Saturday night during the 2013 American Quarter Horse Association Convention. The awards were presented by AQHA Corporate Partner Professional’s Choice.

Charlie Cole

The 2012 Don Burt Professional’s Choice Professional Horseman of the Year, Charlie Cole of Pilot Point, Texas, has been dedicated to the American Quarter Horse industry for more than 35 years. He is an AQHA and National Snaffle Bit Association judge and has been part of the AQHA Professional Horsemen program virtually since it was established.

As an equine professional, he has trained and coached many world champions and superhorses. The unprecedented roster of horses that have been under his care includes Acadamosby Award, Vital Signs Are Good, Harley D Zip, Zippo LTD, Must Be A Detail, Hot Ones Only and many more.

Cole is always willing to give back to the industry, whether it is part of the AQHA Professional Horsemen’s Ride the Rail/Ride the Pattern clinics, helping with judges’ seminars or providing guidance to young people.

He makes a point to be active and involved with AQHA. He believes in and promotes the versatility of the American Quarter Horse. Many have described him as one of the most remarkable talents of our time.

Deanna Searles

The 2012 Professional’s Choice Professional Horsewoman of the Year, Deanna Searles of Scottsdale, Arizona, is a true role model for the industry’s youth and professional horsewomen. She brings her passion and professionalism to the Arizona and NSBA youth programs. A dedicated member of the AQHA Professional Horsemen program, she is also a presenter at the Association’s Ride the Rail/Ride the Pattern clinics at shows across the country.

Searles has trained horses for 25 years, helping many clients to achieve the highest honors at AQHA world championship shows. Her positive and patient teaching style brings out the best in both horses and riders.

She placed in the top 10 at her very first AQHA youth world show at age 11. She is now known for training AQHA world champions and high-point winners, including: 2012 Equistat Leading Hunter Under Saddle Sire Allocate Your Assets; 2011 Congress Masters Winner Lastcallfour Alcohol; Heza Radical Zip; Majestic Scotch; and Just Burning Money.

Besides training and showing, Searles is dedicated to her family. The wife of an AQHA Professional Horseman and judge, Jim Searles, and the mother of two, Trent and Taylor, she carefully balances her time between horses and her family.

Wayne Halvorson

The Professional’s Choice Most Valuable Professional or “MVP” of 2012 is Wayne Halvorson of Guthrie, Oklahoma. He has been a director for the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association and served as its president.

Halvorson helped establish the Redbud Quarter Horse Show, was an NSBA founding member and director, and was a World Conformation Horse Association founding member. He is an AQHA, NSBA and WCHA judge.

Truly dedicated to the best interests of AQHA and its members, Halvorson currently raises and trains world-class halter horses. He has trained and shown numerous AQHA world champions, as well as helping his clients and three children earn their own world championship titles.

Congratulations to the 2012 professionals of the year. Look for more information on this year’s winners in the May issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.

AQHA news and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more information, follow @AQHAnews on Twitter, watch the AQHA Newscast and visit

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