The Shel Gafford Memorial Award
for Excellence in Sportsmanship

For anyone not fortunate enough to have known Shel, he was not only a gifted horseman and successful competitor, but also a truly good sport and dedicated advocate to VADA. Shel was a seasoned competitor, having won the Gold and Silver Individual Medals in his last two years as a Young Rider at the NAYRC. He always rode to win, but never at the expense of his horse or another rider. Rather than “psyching” his fellow competitors, Shel was more likely to offer a helping hand or wish them luck. Furthermore, Shel was a tireless supporter of VADA. He served as President during some of our Association’s most difficult and trying times. It is largely due to his diplomacy and tenacity that VADA exists as it does today.

It is this spirit of unselfish good sportsmanship and generous volunteerism, which were so much a part of Shel’s nature, that VADA wishes to encourage and reward. If you are aware of a VADA members who is:

  1. Actively involved in any aspect of competition and/or VADA activities (eg. Rider, owner, trainer, coach, show mom/dad, spouse, offspring, VADA Board Member, VADA volunteer), and
  2. who consistently exhibits the characteristics of good sportsmanship and unselfish support of VADA,

please nominate that person for the Shel Gafford Award. Include in your nomination the person’s name, chapter affiliation, and a brief statement (200 words or less) explaining why you feel your nominee is deserving of this award.

Nomination forms and information available in the 2017 Purplebook or on the website at