Local youth finishes second in national Youth Racing Experience event
Each summer, the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) holds a local Youth Racing Experience program at Indiana Grand. The event attracts many area students interested in horses with a chance to win scholarship money.
Regional high school students enjoy a day at the track, shadowing a Quarter Horse trainer for some hands on experience followed by a written test. The top student receives $1,000 in scholarship money from QHRAI and a chance to advance to the national Youth Racing Experience event sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). This year, the local program sent the top two students with Garrett Conway of Muncie, Ind. and Hunter Duncan of Terre Haute, Ind. representing Indiana in the national competition held at Los Alamitos Race Course just outside of Los Angeles.
Conway won the local competition and Duncan finished second. Both students earned $1,000 in scholarship funds with the chance of adding more to their tally at the national competition. The competition travels with the annual Bank of America Championship Challenge races and the 2016 event was held at Los Alamitos in Southern California.
Conway and Duncan, accompanied by members of the QHRAI, attended the event Thursday, Oct. 27 through Sunday, Oct. 30. Duncan scored extremely well on the test to finish second overall and earn an additional $2,000 scholarship from AQHA.
Duncan comes from a family involved in performance horses. The 16-year-old has competed in barrel racing in the past but is currently showing in both western pleasure and hunter under saddle. Although she has never been involved in Quarter Horse racing, she seized the opportunity to learn about the business side of racing as well as employment opportunities in the horse industry.
Duncan follows in the footsteps of Holly Kiess of Fort Wayne, Ind., the 2015 representative for QHRAI at the national Youth Racing Experience held at Lone Star Park near Dallas, Texas. Kiess was the national winner, taking home the top prize of $3,000.
The 2016 racing season concluded Saturday, Oct. 29. The Indiana Horse Racing Commission will approve and announce racing dates soon for the 2017 racing season.