This summer, five local equestrians traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the “Appaloosa Youth World Championships, representing the state of Maryland. “The Maryland Mob Squad” was formed by two bars from the state. “Wye River Winds Performance Horses, from Queenstown and “Birchmill Farm” from Jarrettsville, MD. The five local youth were, Mason Collins, Willow Podraza, Mattie Conner, Allison Thierry and Grace Park. Before heading to Tulsa, there are competitions that the youth can enter. Mason Collins of Easton entered the Essay competition and earned the National Championship. There is also a photo competition in which Mattie Conner of Stevensville, won the National Championship and Allison Thierry of Stevensville earned a Reserve National Championship. Before the start of the show there is also a public speaking contest in which Grace Park of Stevensville earned Reserve National Champion.
During the week of the show there are 72 classes, from western, Engligh, Jumping, Roping and even speed events. There were over 1600 entries during the week long show. Mattie Conner of Stevensville earned a Top Ten placing in Youth Hunter in Hand Mares and 13th overall in the Hunter under Saddle, 12 & under division. Willow Podraza of Queen Anne, earned a top five in Youth Hunter Hack 13 & under, and also made the top 15 in Novice Youth Hunt Seat Equitation 18 & under. Allison Thierry earned an 11th overall in the English Showmanship 13 & Under and Mason Collins earned 12th overall in the Hunter Hack 14-18 category. Another contest held during the week is the stall decorating competition. The Maryland Mob Squad decorated their stalls with Maryland state flags with black curtains, bushel basket tops with their horse’s names, black eyed susans and of course, crabs. There is also the Appaloosa Youth Association Avenue, an alley way leading to the main show arena, where the youth have to set up a display representing their area. The Maryland Mob Squad had a hand painted portrait of the eastern shore looking at the Chesapeak Bay Bridge. They brought Old Bay Potato Chips and set them out for exhibitors and friends, which turned out to be a huge hit. They also displayed a scrap book of each individuals journey to the World Show.
At the end of the week there is a Team Tournament Parade where each team is to enter the ring and do a cheer to get the crowd on their feet. These youth did something very different. The team dressed all alike in Maryland Flag shirts and performed a 45 second flag routine, which earned a standing ovation from the crowd. At the end of the celebration, “The Maryland Mob Squad” won the Stall Decorating Competition, the Appaloosa Youth Avenue and then were named the Team Spirit Champions. Overall, there were 11 teams from across the country. Each team earns points throughout the week for an overall team winner. “The Maryland Mob Squad” finished a highly respected 8th in their first year in competition.
Pictured from Left To Right:
Coach David Walbert, Mattie Conner, Amber Mason, Willow Podraza, Hailey Ensor, Lyndsey Miller, Team Captian Mason Collins, Allison Birchfield, Allison Thierry, Grace Park and Emily Birchfield.