OSU Horse Judging Team wins world championship
Oklahoma State University's Horse Judging Team galloped off with top honors at the 2012 AQHA World Championship in Oklahoma City on Nov. 16.
It was the third time in eight years the OSU team has earned the world champion title, with previous championships coming in 2004 and 2008. The first AQHA World Show Intercollegiate Judging Contest took place in 1979. In that time, OSU has accumulated six championship titles.
Steve Cooper, coach and associate professor of equine studies with the university's department of animal science, lauded the team members for putting in countless hours after class and making numerous personal sacrifices to compete as part of the team.
"I told them the night before the competition that this contest will not define who we are, it will only be an extension of what we have become throughout the course of the season, a champion," he said.
The team placed second in the performance competition, third in the reasons category and fourth in the halter contest on their way to a first-place overall finish.
Brooke Devore of Conifer, Colo., a 2009 graduate of Keystone High School, paced the OSU team, finishing as the third high individual overall while taking third in halter, fifth in performance and second in reasons.
Lauren Wells of Wyoming, Ill., a 2012 graduate of Herscher High School, finished as the fourth high individual overall while taking second in halter, eighth in performance and fourth in reasons.
Rhianna Stockton of Jay, Okla., a 2010 graduate of Jay High School, finished as the fifth high individual overall while taking third in performance and 10th in reasons.
Additional team members include Haley Collins of Dallas, Texas, a 2010 graduate of Bending Oaks High School; Emily Handke of Lenapah, Okla., a 2010 graduate of Oklahoma Union High School; Esteban Minero of Santa Paula, Calif., a 2008 graduate of Santa Paula Union High School; and Bryce Williams of Colcord, Okla., a 2010 graduate of East Buchanan High School in Gower, Mo.
"It has truly been an honor and a privilege to work with these young people throughout the year and watch their faces as they were announced as world champions," Cooper said.
Cooper said much of the credit must go to assistant coach Natalie Baker, an OSU animal science graduate student from Austin, Texas, who spent many hours after practice and on the weekends working with team members to help them achieve the goals they set at the start of the year.
Additional information about the OSU Department of Animal Science and its academic programs, clubs and renowned competitive judging teams is available at www.ansi.okstate.edu.
CHAMPS--Pictured from left to right (back row): Steve Damron, interim assistant dean, OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; Mike Woods, interim vice president, dean and director of OSU's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; Esteban Minero; Clint Rusk, head of the OSU Department of Animal Science; and Steve Cooper; (front row) Brooke Devore; Haley Collins; Emily Handke; Rhianna Stockton; Lauren Wells; Bryce Williams; and Natalie Baker. (Photo courtesy of OSU Department of Animal Science.)