Exhibitors have traveled all the way from Australia, Florida, Canada and the East Coast to compete in Las Vegas. Photo © GoHorseShow

From Near and Far: Exhibitors Travel from Around the World to Attend the Silver Dollar Circuit

By the level of competition and the quality of horses, the 2018 Silver Dollar Circuit at South Point Casino and Resort could be referred to as the Spring Congress of the West.

No city in the world is more appropriate for the glitz and glamour demonstrated at top AQHA shows, and Las Vegas proves a magnetic draw for competitors from all over the United States and other countries.

Leading show barns such as Sea Ridge Farms traveled all the way from Wellington, Florida and Powder Brook Farms from Harwinton, Connecticut.

Down Under Rises to the Top

Perhaps the farthest exhibitor is Abbey Rawlings from Brisbane, Australia who traveled with her father, Gavin Rawlings, to compete in the 14-18 Youth Western Pleasure. And what a trip it was and well worth it. Abbey ended up Circuit Champion in her class for her first time out showing in over a year. Also, it was her first time showing her horse, Classically Lazy, who was third at the 2017 All American Quarter Horse Congress Masters Class with Jay Starnes.

“I’m thrilled,” Abbey said, “It was my first time here at this show and I didn’t know what to think or what to compare it to. I love it here. The facilities are so nice. It makes showing enjoyable.”

Last year, Abbey didn’t show due to a water skiing injury that sidelined her from competing.

“We are excited,” piped in her father in his charming Aussie accent. “She took last year off completely. In fact, she had not ridden in 16 months, so it was great to get here and get her back in the saddle. Then, she ends up circuit champion. We are pleased. We love the facilities,” raved Rawlings, who will also be traveling on to the Sun Circuit in Arizona with their Trainers Jay and Kristy Starnes.

Road Trippin

Trainers Garry and Tami McAllister made the long drive from Southbury, Connecticut, a town known for its fantastic local restaurants. “We don’t mind the drive,” Tami states. “This is a big show, and our customers wanted to come to Vegas. It’s Las Vegas, baby, after all,” McAllister joked, “This is a great horse show. It is impeccably run and at the best facility.”

Their customer, Heather Lange, who hails from Norwalk, Connecticut raved about the show, “This is such a great horse show with so many fun things to do outside the show. The weather is great,” she laughed, considering it had been snowing heavily minutes earlier which is rare for Las Vegas. “I love the schedule. It is very well thought out by show management. I am a lawyer, and I only have to take one day off work, but because I enjoy it, I added in a few holidays.”

Lange, who shows Tell A Rosey Story, a 2010 mare, in the western all-around events, loves the camaraderie that Vegas allows. “We always go out and do something fun. One year, our whole group went zip-lining so every year we try and top it. Vegas always has excitement.”

Oh Canada

Bill and Cathy Cox from Paris, Ontario, Canada (known as the prettiest little town in Canada) were slightly worried about their hometown as it had been under some evacuations due to a flooding river. However, they managed to have a great horse show.

Bill, who shows under the guidance of Gil Galyean, won the Reserve Circuit Champion in Level 3 Select Western Pleasure with his adorable mare, The Sleep Machine. Bill says he believes it is always well worth the trip to Vegas. He explained, “The level of competition and the people we show with and the people we have met along the way make traveling worth it. It is just a great environment, and the facilities are second to none.”

All for the Customers

Not only do exhibitors travel across the country to enjoy the typically (although not this year) warm weather and never-ending fun that Las Vegas has to offer, but Hassinger Equine Sports Medicine Practice trailers all the way from Greensboro, North Carolina.

Dr. Alison Roth, from Aberdeen, NC explained, “We come to make sure our patients are cared for throughout the year at their best competition. Because we go to the biggest and toughest shows, our clients come from all over the country. This horse show in the West allows us to make sure they can see us a few times a year. Their welfare is most important to us. Plus, it is fun. All of our friends are here, and it’s Vegas!”



About the Author: An AQHA Professional Horseman, Mo West, currently lives in Danville, California. Formerly a high school English teacher for over 15 years, she now pursues her passion. As an assistant trainer at Busick Quarter Horses, she enjoys training and coaching for all around events. She is an avid world traveler and loves boats and the water. Fishing is her second favorite activity, and she always has her beloved dog, Crash at her side whenever possible.