Read more about the 2017-18 AQHYA Director and Officer Candidates in their biographies.

2017-18 AQHYA Director and Officer Candidates

Read more about the 2017-18 AQHYA Director and Officer Candidates in their biographies.

Region 1

Anwyn Deeks (pictured left), a high school senior from Snohomish, Washington, is running for her third year as Region 1 director. Anwyn hopes to build on her previous year as a director and gain more members for the Association. As a Snohomish County 4-H member, Anwyn has the opportunity to be a speaker, educator and advocate for AQHYA. Anwyn also looks to build educational programs about American Quarter Horses tailored to non-equine-based audiences so she can share information and build membership.

Isabella Laguna, an eighth grader from Snoqualmie, Washington, is running for Region 1 director. Isabella hopes to add ranch riding and Versatility Ranch Horse events to every show circuit in her region. As a member of her state affiliate, Isabella plans to work with other affiliates in the region to grow the AQHYA community and bring more youth to ranch riding and VRH competitions.

Elsie Naruszewicz, a high school sophomore from Monroe, Washington, is running for Region 1 director. As a director, Elsie would work to increase AQHYA membership through targeting youth ages 5 to 12 that are already involved with other organizations, such as Girl Scouts or the YMCA. Elsie would also work with other states in her region to create a uniform effort in reaching out to these youth to increase membership and participation.

Region 2

Delaney Dickens, a high school sophomore from Omaha, Nebraska, is running for Region 2 director. If elected, Delaney hopes to bridge the gap between disciplines within AQHYA, as well as provide resources and promote high scholarships as AQHYA members travel to shows and miss school for American Quarter Horse related activities.

Region 3

Shelby Cochran, a high school sophomore from Oxford, Iowa, is running for a director position in Region 3. Shelby’s goals as a director would be to gain more involvement in AQHYA and promote her love of the American Quarter Horse. Shelby also hopes to reach youth in her region who own other breeds of horses and provide opportunities for involvement for those who do not own a horse at all. Shelby intends to carry out her goals by speaking to local 4-H and FFA clubs, as well as hosting her own judging clinic.

Justin Eddy, an eighth grader from Rocheport, Missouri, is running for Region 3 director. One of Justin’s goals as director would be to increase membership and provide other youth with the same memorable experiences he has had with his American Quarter Horse and within AQHYA. As the president of the Missouri Quarter Horse Youth Association and a member of 4-H, Justin has the opportunity to get more youth involved in events such as the Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar and the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.

Gabrielle Marty, a high school junior from Solon, Iowa, is running for director of Region 3. Gabrielle hopes to improve the AQHYA show schedule to prevent youth members from missing such long periods of school and academic work in order to show their American Quarter Horse. Gabrielle realizes that young riders are key to the Association’s future and wants to work to make AQHYA and the show schedule accessible to more members.

Emma Schaefer, a high school sophomore from New Virginia, Iowa, is running for Region 3 director. Emma hopes to stop the decline in AQHYA membership by reaching out to youth who show in other organizations, such as color-breed shows, and encourage them to try AQHYA. Emma believes that implementing an all-around award for first-year youth would help drive new membership.

Region 4

Lily Atkinson, a freshman in college from Spring Lake, Michigan, is running for a director position in Region 4. If elected, Lily is excited to use the opportunity to reach out and bring youth together to attract new members to AQHYA. Lily plans to stick to the 2017 YES theme and “reach out” to riders of every discipline, as well as promote excitement around AQHYA events and resources by working hand in hand with other AQHYA leaders.

Brooke Bradley of Plain City, Ohio, is a high school senior and running for Region 4 director. As a director, Brooke would work to implement better time management at AQHYA shows. To do this, Brooke would establish a committee to review written procedures and monitor shows to ensure that they are not taking up unnecessary time that AQHYA members are missing from school work. Brooke has served on the Ohio Quarter Horse Youth Association board for three years.

Ellexxah Maxwell, a high school sophomore from West Mansfield, Ohio, is running for an officer position with AQHYA. Ellexxah served in 2015-2016 as a Region 4 director. If elected, Ellexxah plans to promote new membership by sharing what the organization is truly about, love for the American Quarter Horse. She also plans to get younger age groups actively involved with all things AQHYA and taking advantage of the resources available to them. Ellexxah believes that older AQHYA members lead by example and are a great recruiting tool that can help to shape the future of the organization.

Margaret Sever of Hebron, Indiana, is a high school freshman and is running for a director position in Region 4. If elected, Margaret would like to start a small-fry and new-member mentoring program. Margaret believes that if she can help bridge the gap in the new member process and provide young members with a role model, it will result in a membership increase. Margaret also hopes to use social media to engage members and keep them actively involved with what is going on in AQHYA.

Caleb Sturgeon, a high school junior from Beloit, Ohio, is running for an AQHYA officer position. If elected, Caleb would like to set up monthly regional conference calls to allow more open communication among the regions. He believes this would improve shows, fundraising and membership promotion across the board. Caleb has served as the vice president of OQHYA and believes he can help improve communication in the youth Quarter Horse world and bring in new membership.

Olivia Tordoff, a high school sophomore from Powell, Ohio, is running for an officer position. If elected, Olivia hopes to continue to grow the Association through the use of technology. She feels a need to reach out to AQHYA members worldwide and expand the potential of individuals to create a strong future for the Association. Olivia is active in her community and serves her Association through AQHYA committees, as well as being the president of OQHYA.

Region 5

Kylie Marie Good of East Berlin, Pennsylvania, is a high school senior and is running for an officer position with AQHYA. Kylie believes in revitalizing current members, as well as engaging prospective members for AQHYA. Kylie wants to highlight the big picture of AQHYA and engage members by involving them and sharing her passion for AQHYA. Kylie looks to unite directors and build a strong leadership and encourage them all to lead with passion among their groups.

Austin Ralls, a senior from Catlett, Virginia, is running for an officer positon. Austin wants to continue his work and build on what he has done the past two years as a director in Region 5. He intends to unite members and increase membership involvement by bringing together competitors of different disciplines and showcasing the leadership opportunities AQHYA has to offer. Austin plans to partner with state and local clubs, such as 4-H and FFA. Austin hopes to focus on communication and views it as the key to boosting membership involvement and potentially attracting new members.

Region 7

Mackenzie Wachtel of Deeth, Nevada, is a high school freshman and is running for a director position in Region 7. Mackenzie has served as the president and treasurer of Nevada Quarter Horse Youth Association and has been involved in fundraising and event planning efforts. Mackenzie feels that her experience with NQHYA and her passion for AQHYA make her a great choice for Region 7 director.

Region 8

Alan Hinds, a high school junior from Lawrence, Kansas, is running for an officer position. Alan has served the past year as a director from Region 8 and would like to continue his work in growing AQHYA membership. Alan hopes to advocate different ways that AQHYA members can be involved in the Association through other programs and reach out to youth associations, such as 4-H, FFA, Pony Club, National Reining Horse Association and National Reined Cow Horse Association. Alan would like to reconnect with AQHYA members that have become inactive and encourage them to participate and take advantage of all of the resources and tools that AQHYA provides its members.

Charles Lee, a junior from McAllen, Texas, is running for a director position in Region 8. Charles hopes to increase AQHYA membership by increasing communication and finding new ways to reach youth and educate them about becoming a member of AQHYA. Charles suggests reaching out to potential members by writing letters and endorsing various AQHYA events and tools available to them. Charles believes that with better communication, AQHYA will have no problem seeing an increase in membership.

Sawyer Seago, a high school senior from Skiatook, Oklahoma, is running for director of Region 8. If elected, Sawyer plans to strengthen ties with FFA to reach more members and individuals about what AQHYA has to offer. Sawyer believes that if these two organizations could work together to host events and educate youth in both the equine, livestock and agriculture industry, they would both see an increase in membership and better prepare members for a successful future. Sawyer would like to see AQHYA and FFA work as a team rather than completely separate organizations.

Sierra Walter, a junior from Hydro, Oklahoma, is running for a director position in Region 8. As a director, Sierra would work to bring new members to the Association by organizing events within her region that not only appeal to AQHYA members, but also to members of other clubs and groups in the area. Sierra also believes that if a regional meeting was held at region championship shows, it would encourage involvement in the youth program. Sierra hopes to work hard to bring new members to AQHYA and show people that there are endless opportunities within the organization.

Region 9

Madison Alford, a senior from Philadelphia, Mississippi, is running for a director position in Region 9. If elected, Madison plans to showcase the unique opportunities that AQHYA offers and work hard to increase membership within her region.

Bailey Carwile of Kilmichael, Mississippi, is a high school junior running for a director position in Region 9. As a director, Bailey would work to reach out to youth who show American Quarter Horses in discipline specific shows, but perhaps don’t know that they can show AQHYA, as well. He also plans to bring in new members by promoting the benefits of AQHYA in and out of the saddle to potential members and their parents. Bailey believes that getting involved with AQHYA early in life allows you to grow within the organization.

Ty Cornelius is a college freshman from Mt. Pleasant, Arkansas, is running for an officer position. Ty has served as AQHYA second vice president and is the current president of the Arkansas Quarter Horse Association. Ty is a third-generation American Quarter Horse enthusiast and hopes to work to increase membership and share the experiences AQHYA can offer with new members. Ty also hopes to provide more incentive to show AQHYA and get more people involved in that aspect of the organization. Ty is ready to work hard to promote and protect the American Quarter Horse and the members of AQHYA.