Courtesy of American Quarter Horse Association
Texas A&M University’s Avery Ellis took home gold at the 2018 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City.
Mounted on unfamiliar American Quarter Horses, 16 collegiate equestrian riders squared off in the AQHA Collegiate Horsemanship Championship during the 2018 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City.
Eight student-athletes from the National Collegiate Equestrian Association and eight from the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association were selected by their respective organizations to showcase their skills in the championship. Competition featured a mixture of NCEA and IHSA formats with the end goal being one rider crowned the best collegiate horsemanship rider in the country.
Winning the 2018 AQHA Collegiate Horsemanship Championship was Avery Ellis of Texas A&M University.
In the final round, Ellis rode Huntin For Faith to the championship title. The bay mare is trained by AQHA Professional Horsewoman Shannon Vroegh and owned by Matt and Mary Ann Carr of Harrison, Arkansas.
A longtime AQHA member, Ellis’s achievements include winning the Collegiate Horsemanship Championship at the 2016 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show, a fifth-place finish at the 2015 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show in horsemanship and finalist in trail, as well as being a finalist in horsemanship at the 2014 Ford Youth World. The Texas A&M student-athlete is a construction science major, hailing from College Station, Texas.
Taking the reserve championship honors was Kelsey Jung, representing Auburn University. In the final round, Jung rode Flashy Invite, a bay gelding trained by AQHA Professional Horseman Judd Paul and owned by Alyssa Dawn Paul of New Albany, Ohio. Graysen Stroud, representing the University of Georgia, finished in third place after a ride on Lethals Hot Weapon, a sorrel gelding trained by AQHA Professional Horseman Brett Clark and owned by Carey Nowacek of San Antonio, TX. Finishing in fourth was Bailey Anderson, representing the University of Georgia, riding Hes Forever Good, a gray gelding trained by AQHA Professional Horsewoman Becky Schooler and loaned to the competition by owner Janet Egolf of Rochester, Indiana.