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Released: January 10, 2008

Kansas State University Horse Judging Team Brings Home Top Honors at Major Shows

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State University Horse Judging Team took top honors at two national competitions and fared well at other contests during the fall semester.

The K-State team, which split into two teams at some competitions, traveled to Oklahoma City in November to compete in the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Championship Show collegiate team judging competition. One K-State team captured the top award and another K-State team placed eighth.

“This team worked so hard this year in efforts to become World Champions. I am so proud of each one of them and their accomplishments,” said Julie Voge, K-State Extension youth coordinator in Animal Sciences and the horse judging team coach.

Team members and their hometowns include: Leo Becker, Shawnee, Kan.; Billy Brown, Westmoreland, Kan.; Kaitlyn Crow, Winfield, Kan.; Heather Frisch, Wichita, Kan.; Kindra Gradert, Cambridge, Ill.; Kally Hood, Westmoreland, Kan.; Kayla Lee, Garden City, Kan.; Anna Pesta, Oakboro, N.C.; and Rachel Scherk, Abilene, Kan.

The team that won the AQHA World Show beat out 12 other collegiate horse judging teams from schools throughout the country. They did so with a margin of 92 points over their next closest competitors, sweeping all three divisions – halter, performance and reasons.

Gradert ranked first in performance and was named the world champion overall, with Lee placing second in halter, fourth in performance, second in reasons and third overall. Pesta was fifth in performance, fourth in reasons and fifth overall, and Crow seventh in halter and sixth place overall.

Rachel Scherk was first in halter, second in performance, first in reasons and was named reserve world champion.

The other K-State team of Leo Becker, Billy Brown, Heather Frisch, and Rachel Sherck placed 8th overall at the AQHA World Show. The team placed 4th in the halter division, ninth in performance and seventh in reasons.

“The team members have to rank four horses in twelve different classes and events. After they record their rankings, they then have to give oral reasons to a judge why they placed the class the way they did. It takes a lot of skill to score well in both areas,” Voge said.

The AQHA World Show competition came on the heels of a trip to Oklahoma City, Okla., where the two K-State teams won first and second place team honors at the Morgan Grand National Collegiate Judging Competition.

Individual results included Anna Pesta, first in halter, performance and reasons; Kayla Lee, third in reasons and overall; Kally Hood, fourth overall; Kindra Gradert, fifth overall; and Rachel Scherk, tenth overall.

Earlier in the fall, the K-State teams competed at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. One team placed first in reasons, second in performance and fourth overall, while the other team placed eighth overall.

The K-State students also competed in the National Reining Horse Association Horse Judging competition. That team, comprised of Billy Brown, Kindra Gradert, Kally Hood, Anna Pesta and Rachel Sherck, ranked sixth overall.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Mary Lou Peter-Blecha
K-State Research& Extension News

Additional Information:
Julie Voge is at 785-532-1264 or