AQHA Professional Horsemen of the Year Announced
Three industry professionals were recognized by their peers March 9 at the 2019 AQHA Convention in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Don Burt Professional Horseman of the Year, AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year and Most Valuable Professional awards were presented during the Association’s General Membership Meeting. These individuals will also be recognized at the AQHA Awards Celebration November 17 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, coinciding with the 2019 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show.
The 2018 Don Burt Professional Horseman of the Year is Gil Galyean of Purcell, Oklahoma. Galyean has served AQHA in a number of capacities, being a member of numerous committees, including the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission, AQHA Professional Horseman’s Committee and the AQHA Show Violations Hearing Committee. While serving AQHA, Galyean also served as a past president of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association and National Snaffle Bit Association, and is currently a director-at-large for OkQHA.
Galyean has been involved in the equine industry his entire life. His parents were also avid horsemen. His father was an AQHA judge and is in the National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame, while his mother was heavily involved in the training business. Galyean adopted his parents’ passion and spent his life watching and learning from industry greats and has now been in the training business for more than 30 years. These years have brought him many successes of his own, including multiple AQHA world and reserve world champions, multiple All American Quarter Horse Congress champions, in addition to being a member of the NSBA Million Dollar Club and Hall of Fame.
The 2018 AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year is Chele McGauly of Elm Grove, Louisiana. With nearly 30 years of service as a professional horsewoman, McGauly has been involved as an active member of the Louisiana Quarter Horse Association, in addition to being an avid supporter and mentor of AQHA and AQHYA programs.
McGauly has conducted Ride the Pattern clinics to benefit the exhibitors and the Professional Horsemen’s Crisis Fund at several championship events and has provided horses for judging contests and for the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup. LQHA named McGauly its Most Valuable Professional in 2017. McGauly’s work ethic and perseverance also earned her multiple AQHA and AQHYA world show top-10 placings, whether it was her showing, training or coaching.
McGauly has been an approved AQHA judge since 1995. She has judged AQHA world championship shows, National Reining Horse Association Futurity and Derby, All American Quarter Horse Congress and European Championship of the American Quarter Horse.
The 2018 Most Valuable Professional is Steve Meadows of Staunton, Virginia. Meadows is an avid fourth-generation horseman and volunteer for AQHA, serving as an AQHA director, on numerous committees including the ranching committee, Animal Welfare Commission and as a past chairman of the AQHA Professional Horsemen’s Council. Meadows also served two terms as the Virginia Quarter Horse Association president and on the NSBA Board of Directors.
Regardless of his resume, Meadows has taken his passion for the horse industry and passed along his knowledge to future generations, having given countless talks to 4-H Clubs, judging teams, high school and college classes, and has been a Ride the Pattern clinician at the AQHA Level 1 Championships. Meadows and his wife, Becky, continue to train together in Staunton, where Meadows specializes in ranch riding horses, as well as reining and cow horses.
His hard work and passion for the industry has not only led to his involvement, but also multiple championship titles: two-time AQHA world champion; three time AQHA high-point champion; six-time Congress champion; multiple NSBA, Palomino Horse Breeders of America and American Ranch Horse Association world champions, on top of earning 650 points in the ranch riding. Meadows has also been an AQHA and NSBA judge since 2004.
About the Professional Horsemen of the Year Awards
Being named an AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year is one of the top awards of the equine industry. These individuals were nominated and voted on by their peers.
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