“I chose the quarter horse route because that's what my family raised me in,” he said. “I enjoy this more than rodeo anyway, because I like to make my horses look good instead of just run fast.”
The youth championship is about more than competitive riding and showing, said Landi Campbell, director of communications and special events for the American Quarter Horse Association.
Participants are taught work ethic and other life skills that extend beyond the show barn. Additional competitions were held in speech and judging, and experts hosted a variety of demonstrations.
“This is their Super Bowl,” she said. “All of these kids had to show all year long, earning points just to get an invitation. Just qualifying is a big accomplishment.”
The association has held its world championship in Oklahoma City for five years, Campbell said. A total of 2,407 entries were judged this year.