Modern Frontier

Making Dreams Come True

Pinto World Championship Show

By Lechelle Calderwood

Each summer, dreams come true at the Pinto World Championship Show. The details vary depending on the exhibitor’s age, experience and number of times having shown. The dreams range from completing a challenging class to having a good go to placing. Many goals include winning a buckle, saddle, harness or other award.

Cynthia Shipman, from Claremore, Oklahoma, had been to two Pinto World Championship Shows when she became focused on a single goal. “After merely placing in Trail and Western Pleasure, I told my friend that all I wanted to do was win a buckle,” Shipman said. “She suggested the new Ranch Riding class, which I entered and won Reserve Champion in 2015.” With practice and determination, Shipman finally got her buckle.

The thrill and excitement of the big win kept Shipman showing. Since then, Shipman’s ZIPONIC has won more titles, including 2017 Reserve World Champion Walk/Trot Amateur Hunter Under Saddle, 2018 World Champion Walk/Trot Amateur English Showmanship, 2018 World Champion English Equitation, 2018 World Champion Trail, 2018 Reserve High Point Amateur Walk/Trot Solid Horse, and 2019 Champion Amateur Walk/Trot Trail.

Shipman has passed her love of the PWC on to another generation. Her granddaughter Maisie Shipman won 2017 and 2018 Reserve World Champion Leadline and 2019 World Champion Leadline with ZIPONIC. Shipman’s enthusiasm remains stronger than ever as she looks forward to showing ZIPONIC in the future.

Last year, Madelynne Alden, from Columbia, Missouri, competed in her first ever Pinto World Championship Show with her horse READY TO LOVE and won the titles 2019 Champion Youth 10 & Under Walk/Trot English Showmanship and English Equitation. She also won Reserve World Champion in Youth 10 & Under Walk/Trot Trail and placed top 10 in all her classes. Alden’s dreams came true at this show. She further aspires to being a world champion in each age division as she gets older and moves into new age brackets.

The Pinto Horse Association of America has helped many dreams come true by putting on the show. Karen Craighead, who has been involved with PtHA for many years and was 2018-2019 president, remembers standing in the holding pen at PWC with a 9-year-old girl at her first big show. “She was so nervous, about to throw up. She was close to crying and leaving the pen. An older gentleman at the gate started talking to her, and I could see her visibly relax, walk up to the cone and show. That is Pinto. The girl is now 22 with 47 buckles,” Craighead said. With encouragement and support, the little girl made it through the show, and her dreams eventually became reality.

Charlie Hall has worked as a PWC assistant show manager for the past 15 years. He says he works hard to “help exhibitors and their horses be in two and sometimes three places at the same time, all while making sure they are smiling and having fun.” The staff is committed to helping exhibitors do their best.

While the dreams and dedication of exhibitors have remained the same, the show has gone through many changes since 1965. In 2000, the big summer show changed from a national show to a world show. “I remember that a few on the board of directors were not in favor of changing the show, but the majority were in favor of elevating the show to a World Championship level,” said Joe Grissom, who was PtHA executive vice president and chief operating officer at the time. “It was my belief that elevating to a world show status would improve the image of the Pinto Horse Association in the industry, and I feel that we accomplished that goal.”

Making the change to international has allowed exhibitors from all over the globe to attend the show. The number of classes, exhibitors and horses increased, and exhibitors from Canada, Australia and Europe have shown. “I remember the exhibitors’ excitement to be competing for a World Championship title and all of the new awards and other prizes,” said Grissom. “Once we became a world show, there were many more awards to be handled and handed out.”

Awards for 2019 topped $325,000 with ARC saddles and bridles, Gist Silversmiths belt buckles, rosette and neck ribbons, trophies, Kensington products, Herron’s Tack driving carts and harnesses, and Tioga Territory jackets and vests. “We enjoy awarding top quality prizes to talented equine and exhibitors each year,” said Darrell Bilke, current PtHA executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Our corporate partners step up to the plate each year with the awards we give out.” Payouts totaled $29,400 for the Charity Walk/Trot, Color World Series Futurity and National Snaffle Bit winners.

In 2019, the Pinto World Championship Show hosted 1,336 horses, ponies, miniatures, mules and donkeys. More than 2,345 exhibitors came from 43 states and three Canadian provinces. Disciplines included Youth, Novice, Amateur, Open and Walk/Trot with 39,200 judged class entries based on four judges for each class, plus the average card. 

In November, more dreams will come true as the Pinto family reunites for the PWC. Usually held in June, this year the Pinto World Championship Show has been rescheduled because of state and local regulations regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The PWC will run alongside Color Breed Congress Show, Nov. 7-22, 2020, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with almost 1,000 classes on the schedule.

Exhibitors at the 2020 Pinto World Championship Show will have the chance to multiply winnings with new options. The payouts this year include the WCHA Stakes Class, the Valley Vet Supply Yearling Versatility Challenge and the Color World Series by Appaloosa Pleasure Horse Association. In 2019, the Color World Series awarded over $85,000 in cash to top exhibitors.

For more information, visit or follow on Facebook @pintohorseassociation.


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