A trio of young and talented equestrians have ridden their way to first-place finishes in the Horne Motor Company Gymkhana Series held over the course of the past six months in Globe.
For their final victories on June 1 at the Gila County Fairgrounds, Amber Marshall, Daylen Brown and Newt Haught all received hand-tooled custom saddles.
Brown is from Tonto Basin, Haught hails from Young and Marshall is a former Payson High School student who lives with her family near Jake's Corner.
Brown competed in the 5-years-and-under division, Haught in the 6- to 12-years division and Marshall in the 16 to 18 group.
"We had five events and two of them were always barrels and poles," Marshall said. "The other three changed each time."
While Brown and Haught, are relatively new to the competition scene, Marshall has been a fixture on the barrel racing, pole bending and gymkhana circuit for about a decade.
In the fall of 2006, the teen enjoyed a flurry of successes riding her way to five firstplace buckles in the course of one week.
Two buckles were won at the Turn 'n Burn Series held at the Payson Event Center and three more were earned at the Gila County Fairgrounds in Globe.
Three years ago, she rode her horse 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, she 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 year-long series of gymkhanas, sponsored by the Chandler Vaqueros Saddle Club.
Marshall's victories have earned the 17-year-old a reputation as one of the most talented equestrians in the state.
With the victory in Globe now in the rear view mirror, Marshall will turn her attention to the town-sponsored Turn 'n Burn series held each Wednesday at the Payson Event Center.
She is sponsored by Shelly Hale of Hale Accounting and Ed Friend at SunSet Solar.