The Shel Gafford Memorial Award
for Excellence in Sportsmanship

Nomination deadline for the 2018 award: November 30, 2018


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 form is available here. Additional information is available in the 2018 Purplebook or on the website at

Nominations must be received by November 30th. The slate of nominations will be sent to the President of each Chapter, who shall, using the method they determine, poll the members of their Chapter and select their Chapter's choice for the award. In the event of a tie, the VADA Board of Directors shall select the winning nominee from the two candidates. Chapters MUST report their selections to Bettina no later than January 10. The recipient will be notified that he/she will receive an award at the VADA banquet in February and will be encouraged to attend. The recipient will receive a special award and a check for $250.00.

Previous Winners:

1995—Debbie Bowman & Tina Longaker (CH) 2007—Janice Mumford (SVDA)
1996—Ann Edwards (SVDA) 2008—Robin Dannels (Nova)
1997—Nancy Lowey (CH) 2009— No nominations
1998—Catherine Sutton (CH) 2010—Sharon Ackley (FR) & Gardy Bloemers (CH)
1999—Molly Layfield (Cent) 2011—Candy Allen (Nova)
2000—Marilyn Leonard (SVDA) 2012—Debbie Marriott (Nova)
2001—Alison Head (Nova) 2013—Nicky Vogel (FR)
2002—No nominations 2014—Alison Douglas (Cent)
2003—No nominations 2015—Barbara Wiefelstede (Cent)
2004—Barbara Ellis (FR) 2016—Robyn Nunnally (SVDA)
2005—Jessie Ginsburg (Nova) 2017—Sherri Booye (CH) & Beth Rippel (SVDA)
2006—Peggy Minnich (FR)