The Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC Award
Honoring and Celebrating the Cowgirl Who Reaches Out into the Community
The NSBA Foundation recognizes women across the equine industry for their selfless contributions to the equestrian community with the Cowgirls ROC Award. Through a nomination process of their peers, 25 women will be celebrated annually for their generous gifts of their time, talent or treasure in support of the efforts of the industry, NSBA and the NSBA Foundation.
During the inaugural ceremony in 2022, the NSBA Foundation announced the award being names the Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC award in Dianne's honor. Dianne, of McHenry, Illinois, was an original member of NSBA when it began in 1983 and volunteered for the association from its infancy, but Brough her business sense to the NSBA office when she became the association's executive director in 2007. Dianne's service to the industry ranges from being a clinician at horse expos, to developing mentor programs at the AQHA Regional Championship Shows, to fundraising for NSBA and breed associations to serving on committees whenever asked.
The following three tenants are the core attributes of the Cowgirls ROC (Cowgirls - Reaching Out in the Community) recognition award:
- Celebrate the accomplishments of female NSBA members that serve and impact the show horse community most
- Celebrate the female donors that help bring the work of the Foundation to our members
- Celebrate the diversity, inclusion and contributions of all member voices to the NSBA membership
To nominate a woman for the 2023 Dianne Eppers Cowgirl ROC award,
please contact a member of the NSBA board of directors or the NSBA Foundation
board of directors to provide this worthy woman’s name and gifts of
time, talent or treasure provided in community service.
2022 Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC Award Recipient
Cindy Cosentino, of Omaha, Nebraska, was named the inaugural recipient of the Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC award. Cindy shares her husband Bill's passion for horses and serving the horse industry. Cindy first became involved in industry leadership roles as a youth advisor for the Nebraska Quarter Horse Association, and later shepherded NSBA's your association as its advisor, where she grew the program from scratch to recruit members from various breeds and parts of the industry.
The following women epitomize the Cowgirl Who Reach Out into the Community (ROC). Each will be recognized as nominees for the Cowgirls ROC award at a brunch to be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on August 13, 2022 during the NSBA World Championship Show. The winner will be announced at that time.
GiGi Bailey, of De Pere, Wisconsin, has been a trainer, coach and AQHA,
APHA and NSBA judge for more than 30 years. GiGi taught at the NSBA Foundation’s
Boot Camp event and has always been an advocate for better education
in the equine industry.
Karen Boxell, of Auburn, Illinois, is the long-time ranch manager and stallion
manager at Richland Ranch. Karen has consistently supported NSBA programs
through her involvement as a stallion manager, a sales agent for many
of Richland Ranch’s offspring and as a competitor herself. She has consistently
brought interest, enrollment and entries to NSBA’s programs.
Jennifer Burton, of Grayslake, Illinois, owner of Jennifer Burton Performance
Horses, is a hard-working, tough competitor whose expertise spans from
Halter to Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, Western Riding to Ranch Riding
and Reining. Jennifer engages everyone around her to be part of the equine
community at many levels. Jennifer is a proud supporter of regional weekend
horse shows, and engages with both customers and non-customers alike.
Ann Call (nominated posthumously), was an AQHA world champion in Amateur
Select Pleasure Driving and a National Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee, who
succumbed to the cruel disease of Type 1 diabetes. She was an avid fundraiser
for both diabetes and the NSBA Crisis Fund, and her amazing smile and positive
attitude inspired everyone she met, especially after she became a double leg
amputee and continued to compete. One of her favorites sayings was “I’m going
to live life to the fullest,” and she did.
Pat Clements, of Dallas, Texas, has been a pillar of the Texas Quarter Horse
community for many years, volunteering her time in positions such as treasurer
for the Texas Quarter Horse Association. She and her late husband Gill established
the Pat and Gill Clements Foundation in 2008, combining their loves of the outdoors, wildlife, preservation, education and
the equestrian world to provide grants for many needs
throughout Texas as well as for the NSBA Foundation.
Chris Cecil Danell
Chris Cecil Darnell, of Wadsworth, Ohio, has
served the equine industry in a number of roles including
as president of the Ohio Quarter Horse Association,
Northern Ohio Quarter Horse Association and
the National Snaffle Bit Association. She has served on
the AQHA Show Committee and Professional Horsemen
Committee, and has also processed entries for
the World Championship Shows for both AQHA and
NSBA. Her show management company, Simply Show
Services LLC, has managed such shows as NSBA’s
Show Your Colors, the Southern Belle Invitation and
the Reichert Celebration as well as many other local
and regional shows.
Nancy Ditty, of Ocala, Florida, in addition to being
an accomplished equestrian and a member of NSBA’s
prestigious Quarter Million Dollar Club, is actively engaged
in her local community not only as a baseball
mom, but has served on various charitable boards representing
her family farm and businesses. Since her
mother Susan’s death, Nancy has worked to honor her
mother’s legacy through the establishment of the Susan
Scott Memorial Scholarship Fund and joined the
NSBA Foundation board of directors in 2021.
Amy Gumz, of Morganfield, Kentucky, operates Gumz Farms, where she and her family have been raising exceptional show prospects and standing world class stallions for more than 25 years. Amy has consistently promoted the horse industry by promoting stallions and their offspring in NSBA’s programs. Amy has been involved in state horse associations as an Amateur competitor.
Carol Harris (nominated posthumously), was one
of the first women to hold her own in the equine industry.
She was one of the first women to be named
an AQHA judge and judged for 25 years. In 1981, Carol
was the first woman to judge at the AQHA World
Championship Show. Her strong convictions have earned her the respect of the industry as a whole,
and her position as an advocate of the horse influenced
governing animal welfare. Carol paved the way for other women to
flourish in many areas of the horse business.
Deborah Hearst, of Wellington, Florida, has been
a long-time supporter of military programs through
philanthropic interests across the country. Learning
about the Heroes on Horses program and events at
the NSBA World Championship Show and potential to
duplicate the effort at the All American Quarter Horse Congress was an easy interest area for her support. She specifically positioned
the effort to build collaboration and strengthen partnerships for the collective good
of the cause, including honoring veterans and their families through a Heroes On
Horses event at the Arizona Sun Circuit in Scottsdale, Arizona. Deborah is also
involved with Lockwood Animal Rescue Center and several other rescue centers
that offer a therapeutic environment for veterans working with animals, especially
with canine companions.
Connie Hill, of Jonesboro, Arkansas, is a past NSBA president and board member
who was a driving force behind the formation of the NSBA Foundation. Despite
a very demanding career in the healthcare industry, Connie volunteered her time
generously to NSBA to champion the efforts to bring charitable causes to the forefront
in the work done within NSBA.
Chris Lagerblade, of Scottsdale, Arizona, has a generous soul and is always
willing to help her fellow man, woman or child. Her commitment to the welfare of the
horse has been at the forefront of her giving at a local, regional and national level.
Chris has a knack for quick responses to active needs while also planning outreach
events, engaging her company staff to support a variety of charitable efforts. She is
an active fundraiser for many causes including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
as well as many pet and equine rescue and food organizations. She has been a consistent supporter of the NSBA Foundation and
most recently helped support the Heroes on Horses
effort last winter at the Arizona Sunday Circuit.
Lynn Leady (nominate posthumously), was involved
in many aspects of the horse industry from
Western Pleasure to Cutting to Trail and Ranch
Riding. As a supporter of the NSBA Foundation
giving her time, talent and treasure, she served as
a board member in 2014 and was an active donor
for various Foundation programs. Her family’s Silver
Oak Winery donated wine for the auction and
wine pull fundraisers, and Lynn was also an active
bidder during the silent auction events during the
NSBA World Championship Show. She had the
winning bid on a trip to the National Finals Rodeo
which was auctioned in 2016, and took her family to
the finals that December.
Marijo Meredith, of Granbury, Texas, was
drawn to the horse industry through the involvement
of her daughter Joetta (Bell). After 30 plus
years of being involved in the industry, Marijo has
always supported youth efforts and education of
young people in the industry, Today, Marijo along
with her husband Rick, operate Sweetwater Farm.
Having such a strong commitment to the show
horse community, it was a natural fit for Marijo to
offer support to further the education of young professionals
and brought the Tomorrows Horsemen
program to fruition.
Melanie Mincey, of Bonham, Texas, is a retired
nurse and current program director for Broken
Wheel Ranch Project. She has a passion for veterans,
and recognized the importance of horses as
a healing aid to veterans suffering from post-traumatic
stress syndrome. Broken Wheel currently
serves more than 20 veterans, free of charge, on a
regular basis through their therapeutic riding program.
After learning about the Heroes On Horses
classes held at the NSBA World Championship
Show, Melanie and her team have raised funds by
volunteering throughout the North Texas community.
The dollars they raised for their work allowed
them offset some of the travel expenses for the
veterans from Broken Wheel to attend the show in
Tulsa, bringing their program’s horses with them.
Carrie Oakley, of Pilot Point, Texas, has been a
member of NSBA since its inception, and has been
an owner, breeder and active exhibitor for many
years. Carrie supports many causes from United
Way to missionary work through her church. However,
the NSBA Foundation is particularly close
to her heart, where she has served as chair and board member and donated countless hours to the Foundation
and its programs.
Candy Parrish, of Pavo, Georgia, grew up in the horse
industry and after marrying Bret Parrish, brought up the
next generation through their sons, Cody and Chase. Candy’s
nominator noted that Candy “is a prime example of a
gracious businesswoman, who keeps all the balls in the air
with her family’s horse operation. Candy shows, promotes
the industry and breeds great horses.”
Lynne Puthoff, of Milton, Ohio, went from competing
as an Amateur to operating her own training business in
Western Ohio, and has long been a supporter of NSBA,
the NSBA Foundation and its programs. From coaching
her riders to compete in NSBA Dual-Approved and standalone
futurity classes to supporting her clients and other
riders in Heroes on Horses classes to her work as a Youth
Equestrian Development Association (YEDA) coach, Lynn
has played an active role in the industry in several roles.
She is also active as a local clinician and has organized
donations to local shelters.
Mary Roberts, of Ocala, Florida, has supported NSBA
from the association’s early days when she offered her facility
to host NSBA’s award banquet during her futurity
show, the Whistle Stop Futurity. Since then, Mary has continued
to support and guide the equine industry through
her family’s development of the World Equestrian Center
with locations in Wilmington, Ohio and Ocala, Florida.
Joan Schroeder, of Gainesville, Texas, grew up in
the country where she learned a strong work ethic. She
notes that she was born with a life-long love of the Quarter
Horse, no matter the discipline. She turned that passion
into a career managing and promoting world class stallions
and focused on breed quality improvement. Joan along
with several other industry professionals established the
Super Sires futurity program, which has grown to include
a number of disciplines and enrolled stallions.
Andrea Simons, of Aubrey, Texas, grew up in the horse
industry, and with her late husband Lynn established Simons
Show Horses, where they created a legacy that has
influenced not only the Paint Horse industry, but the horse
industry as a whole. Throughout the family’s history, Andrea
has been a cheerleader and huge supporter of NSBA’s
programs and the NSBA World Championship Show.
Debbi Trubee, of North Lawrence, Ohio, has been
synonymous with successful horses. Debbi has always
been a giver of time and promotion of everything related to
the pleasure horses and young prospects. Additionally, her
dedication to recognize and promote mare owners, breeding
customers and the showmen and women from around
the world involved with her breeding program, brings diversity
and inclusion to the pleasure horse industry.
Angela Wade, of Wellington, Florida, has been a long-time supporter
of veterans programs through her initial financial support, along with her
mother, Deborah Hearst, of the Heroes On Horses event at the NSBA World
Championship Show. The “planted seed” of “what it could be” led to the
joint effort with the Quarter Horse Congress. That one initial event has allowed
the NSBA Foundation to continue to recognize and honor the service
of veterans and their families through the Heroes on Horses recognition
which now includes the Arizona Sun Circuit and plans are underway for
additional events across the country.
Celebration of Cowgirls ROC - Saturday August 13, 2022 at 11:00 am in the Bronco Grill & Patio
Each nominee, plus one guest, will receive an invitation by mail for the luncheon. A limited number of additional tickets are available for purchase to the general membership beginning August 1, 2022.
Special Thanks to Rodger Call and Family for support of this inaugural event as a special project of the NSBA Foundation.
To give without reward, without being noticed, is a sign of greatness.