Teenager Amber Marshall's winning ways continued aboard her quarter horses, A.J. and Smokie, in the barrel racing and pole bending competitions.
In all, Marshall rode her way to five first place buckles in the course of one week.
Two buckles were won at the Turn and Burn Series held at the Payson Multi-Event Center and three more were earned at the Gila County Fairgrounds in Globe.
Marshall, who lives with her parents at Jake's Corner, turned in an 18-second barrel run aboard Smokie and a 22-second estimated time in pole bending while riding A.J.
For Marshall, winning is nothing new. Last spring, she rode Smokie to a first-place finish at the National Barrel Horse Association Arizona State Championship at Apache Gold Arena near San Carlos. For the win, Marshall received prize money of $500 and a buckle.
In 2003, as an eighth-grader at Rim Country Middle School, the teen finished as the Reserve Champion in a yearlong series of gymkhanas, sponsored by the Chandler Vaqueros Saddle Club.
For almost a year, Marshall traveled each month to the Gilbert Park to showcase the equestrian skills she fine-tuned the previous summer in a Buckle Series that was sponsored by the Payson Parks and Recreation Department.
As part of each Vaqueros gymkhana, she was required to participate in both pole bending and barrel racing.
"Poles was probably my best event when I started," Marshall said, "but barrel racing is my favorite."
In addition to those two events, the gymkhanas required entrants to participate in two other competitions.
"Every gymkhana had different things we had to do," she said.
During the entire series, Marshall competed on A.J., then a 9-year-old gelding.
Marshall has been riding horses since she was 1-year-old and first began competing in gymkhanas at 10.
With a long history of success fueling her, Marshall says her eventual goal is to someday become a PWRCA champion.
Marshall is sponsored by Tanner Ralls of Strawberry Mountain Vinyl and Fence, the Lecters of Cherry Creek Ranch, the Franklins of Clear Creek Development, Ed Friend of Snowflake, SunSet Solar and Shelly Hale Accounting.
Marshall said she was extremely grateful for the support of her sponsors because they make it possible for her to compete.