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What is LEAP?

LEAP (Levels of Excellence Award Program) is a "levels" program created in 1994 that allows youth members to accumulate LEAP points throughout their Youth career, earning awards and recognition as they climb the ladder of success. LEAP points are earned through participation in NYCHA, writing an article, giving a speech, or helping with fundraisers. Youth also earn points based on their performance in the cutting arena. The program was designed as a reference for youth participation overall in the NYCHA and to also recognize youth in the cutting horse family for participation in youth activities and even if they were not showing cutting horses.

LEAP Awards:

LEAP awards are given for:

  • Initial (1,000 points)
  • Bronze (2,500 points)
  • Silver (5,000 points)
  • Gold (7,500 points)
  • Platinum (10,000 points)
  • Diamond (15,000 points)

These awards are presented individually to the youth during their NYCHA Awards Banquet held at the Summer Spectacular Cutting in Fort Worth, Texas, usually in July. A six-year-old member could potentially reach the first level of accomplishment (1,000 points) and accept a LEAP award without ever competing in the cutting arena.

Why Join?

It is mandatory for youth to participate in LEAP to reach the NYCHA Hall of Fame; in addition, LEAP gives all youth members a way to be recognized for their participation in the NCHA's youth organization. It gives youth from all levels of experience and ability a chance to reach the NYCHA Hall of Fame by participating in many activities. LEAP points also play an important role in selecting recipients of the NYCHA Scholarships.

How to Participate?

To participate in LEAP a youth must first become a member of NYCHA. Dues for the NYCHA are currently $25 a year per member. Youth may join NYCHA at any time during the year by filling out the Membership Form found in the Chatter Magazine or on the NCHA website. To participate in LEAP the youth member simply needs to fill out and submit a LEAP form each year. Youth may participate starting at any age once they become a member and start participating in educational clinics and fun events like horse anatomy clinics, belt-making clinics, contests, and other youth activities, such as the Easter Egg Hunt at the Super Stakes.

LEAP Forms

LEAP forms are mailed to all current NYCHA members during the second quarter of each year, so it is important to pay your dues early!

* Must be postmarked NO LATER than June 1st of each year. LEAP forms will NOT be accepted after this date.

2019-2020 LEAP Form (Fillable Form) 


NYCHA Hall of Fame

In an effort to make this year's Youth Hall of Fame inductions as seamless as possible, the NYCHA, in conjunction with the Youth Committee has created a Hall of Fame application form.

Hall of Fame applications must be completed and postmarked no later than April 1st.

Standards adopted by the Youth Board of Directors / Youth Committee at the Youth Workshop 12/98 - to be considered for the Youth Hall of Fame, a youth must:

  • Be our of youth (20 years of age or more on Jan 1 – youth are still eligible to compete at National Championships in the 19th year)
  • Have accumulated 100 Riding/ Show points in cutting accomplishments (August 2018 minutes) (see point system on the form)
  • Have been in Top Ten Youth World Standings or Finalist at Eastern, Western or Summer Spectacular at least once.
  • Served as NYCHA Officer/ Director at least one term (August 2018 minutes)
  • Allow double points for World Standings (20 Points vs. 10 for Champion)
  • Must be enrolled in LEAP to be eligible
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent (June 2001 minutes)
  • Must have achieved at least the Gold LEAP Level (7,500 points) to be eligible (effective 2004)

Point System:

Youth World Top Fifteen

  • Champion - 20 points
  • Reserve Champion - 18 points
  • Placing 3-15 - 10 points

Area Top Ten

  • Champion - 10 points
  • Reserve Champion - 9 points
  • Placing 3-15 - 5 points

Eastern or Denver National Championships

  • Champion - 10 points
  • Reserve Champion - 9 points
  • Placing 3-15 -  5 points

Summer Spectacular

  • Champion - 10 points
  • Reserve Champion - 9 points
  • Placing 3-15 - 5 point



Outstanding Area Director Award 

"Among the Best" Awards Program


O.A.D. stands for Outstanding Area Director. The O.A.D. The program was designed by past President Matthew Blewitt in order to increase motivation amongst directors to accomplish their duties as an NYCHA Area Director. Year after year the requirements of the NYCHA Director are taken lightly, and out of 50 area directors, only a few fulfill their duties. Since the program is designed to increase motivation at the area director level, NYCHA Officers are ineligible.

An O.A.D. Program Checklist will be mailed out in January of each year to all NYCHA Area Directors. For points to be considered, it is the responsibility of the area director to mail in the O.A.D. Program Checklist for the prior year term of service, January - December. The program checklist should be mailed to the NCHA Youth Department and postmarked no later than May 15th. Award recipients will be recognized at the NYCHA Awards banquet in July of that year.


Once an Area Director has fulfilled all of their regular director duties, they can go about earning points towards the O.A.D. Program Award. It is up to each area director to keep up with any additional points collected for such things as recruiting members, collecting stallion services for the NYCHA Stallion Service Program, selling raffle tickets, attending NYCHA meetings, and submitting articles to the Chatter Magazine or Youth Cut & Chat Newsletter to the NYCHA Youth Department.

The O.A.D. point system is as follows:

  • Each Stallion Donation Obtained - 10 points
  • Each Raffle Ticket Sold - 10 points
  • Each New Youth Member Recruited - 10 points
  • Each NYCHA Meeting Attended - 10 points
  • Each Article Submitted to Chatter - 10 points

The Top 15 Outstanding Area Directors are recognized each year at the NYCHA Convention and Summer Spectacular Scholarship Cutting.

Awards for O.A.D. are as follows:

  • O.A.D.
  • Outstanding Area Director - Among the Best



Athlete of the Quarter

NYCHA Student Athlete of the Quarter

Member, NCHA announces a new NYCHA program starting June 2021, for the 2021/2022 youth year, featuring an exciting program called the NYCHA Student Athlete of the Quarter, sponsored by American Hat Company. This award is designed to recognize the exemplary NYCHA members who are well-rounded students and are active in their communities. 

A quality American Hat certificate will be awarded quarterly to one NYCHA youth boy and one NYCHA youth girl. Winners will be selected based on their involvement in extra-curricular activities, leadership, education, community involvement, as well as other related accomplishments. In addition, each applicant will be required to compose a short 150 word or fewer essay on the question:


Student Athlete of the Quarter Form

NYCHA Equine Athlete of the Quarter

Member, NCHA announces a new NYCHA program starting June 2021, for the 2021/2022 youth year, featuring an exciting program called the NYCHA Equine Athlete of the Quarter, sponsored by Dennis Moreland Tack. This award is designed to recognize the exemplary equine athletes of the NYCHA who are champions both in and out of the arena. 

A Dennis Moreland NYCHA silver cutting headstall will be awarded quarterly to one NYCHA youth boy’s horse and one NYCHA youth girl’s horse. Winners will be selected based on performance, awards, and other general related characteristics. In addition, each applicant will be required to write a short 150 word or fewer essay on the question:


Equine Athlete of the Quarter Form



A Friend of the NYCHA Award

"Some people want it to happen, some wish it to happen, and others make it happen." - Unknown

The Friend of the NYCHA Award is a recognition program for donors and supporters of the NYCHA who have made a significant financial or personal contribution to NYCHA.

There have been many people who have played an important role in the continued growth and success of the youth association; the creation of the Friend of the NYCHA Award will provide much-deserved recognition to those individuals and NCHA corporate sponsors who have "made it happen" year after year. The award will be given annually during the NYCHA awards banquet to youth supporters who have exhibited a long-term commitment to the success of the youth program. If you would like to nominate someone who has made a significant contribution at the national level - either financially or through personal effort - please send a written nomination (a brief summary of the nominee's contributions) to NCHA no later than June 1st each year. For more information, please contact the NCHA Youth Department.

The honoree must contribute to NYCHA at a national level that potentially benefits all youth members.

Examples of potential honorees:
  • Scholarship Donor
  • Long-time stallion donor
  • NCHA Corporate Sponsor
  • Youth Committee members
  • Trainers who works with a large number of youth members
  • Show secretaries that make a significant contribution to the youth activities
  • NCHA Executive Committee Members
Nominations must be made in writing and received in the NCHA office by June 1st each year. The nomination should include a brief summary of the nominee's contribution, changes implemented, and/or results achieved.

Todd Drummond Memorial Award

The Todd Drummond Memorial Award is presented annually to an outstanding youth member nominated by an NCHA Affiliate. The youth member will be recognized for:

  • Scholastic Achievement
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Cutting Horse Involvement

The recipient of the Todd Drummond Memorial Award receives a trophy buckle, presented during the NCHA World Championship Futurity each December in Fort Worth, Texas.

We encourage everyone to participate in the nomination process. 
*** Affiliates must send their nomination and information to the NCHA office.

If you know a youth member that you think deserves this award, please contact your Affiliate President or Secretary right away. Todd Drummond Memorial Award applications must be completed and postmarked no later than October 1st. If you have any questions about the award, please contact Cathy Marie Aleff at the NCHA office at (817) 244-6188 ext 121.

Todd Drummond Nomination Form

Past Recipients Include:


2020 Tia Collins, Monroe, GA

2019 Cash Carpenter, Silverton, TX

2018 Colton Cogdell, Tulia, TX

2017 Nicole Pietrafeso, Elbert, CO

2016 Maddison Murray, Lindale, TX

2015 Morgan Griggs, Watkinsville, GA

2014 Kolby Moore, Williston, FL

2013 Ryan Howell, Preston, GA

2012 Cheyenne Johnson, Pine Level, AL

2011 Katherine Hall, DeKalb, TX

2010 Kevin Murray, BECHA

2009 Justin Marcello, SECHA & SSCHA

2008 Kassi Pinion, Stanfield, NC

2007 Paige Kincaid, Peoria, AZ

2006 Grant Smith, Grand Island, NE

2005 Matthew Blewitt, Wingate, NC

2004 Courtney Sokol, Brenham, TX

2003 Joshua Hopkins, Batesville, AR

2002 Heather Raftery, Green Valley, AZ

2001 Kerri Fenimore, Bend, OR

1999 Josh Wells, Sulphur, OK

1998 Roianna Hawkins, Ruston, LA 

1997 Ian Welles, Buffalo, WY

1996 Michael Laxague, Gardnerville, NV

1995 Austin Manning, Las Vegas, NV

1994 Lyndy Montgomery, Montrose, CO

1993 Jason Burbage, St. George, SC

1992 Nancy Elizabeth Moses, Houston, TX

1991 Carie James, Daniel, WY

1990 Chad Bushaw, Deer Island, OR

1989 Melissa Lowry, Salt Lake City, UT

1987 Julie Hollar, Brenham, TX

1986 Denise Adams, Ogden, UT

1985 Chris Atkins, Augusta, GA

1984 Wendy Nelson, Scottsdale, AZ


Whitney & Greg Welch Memorial Sportsmanship Award

Established in 2000, this award is presented to a National Youth Cutting Horse Association member who exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, responsibility, and respect for fellow competitors.

The annual award was established in honor of NYCHA member, Whitney Welch, daughter of Greg and Pax Welch. The award is presented at the NYCHA Awards Banquet during the NCHA Derby each summer. Whitney and three of her friends were killed on December 19, 1998, the result of an encounter with a drunk driver. It was a devastating loss to all who knew and loved her. Whitney exemplified the true meaning of sportsmanship; she was a quiet girl, always friendly, courteous and respectful to others. Whitney was gracious in winning, as well as losing.

Whitney's father, former National Cutting Horse Association President, Greg Welch, passed away on July 4, 2004, after a brief illness. Greg was a much-loved supporter of young cutters and served as a positive force in the lives of many youth members. Prior to his death, he presented the Whitney Welch Memorial Sportsmanship Award during the NYCHA Awards Banquet each summer. After his passing, Greg's name was added to the sportsmanship award in honor of his dedication to children.

To be eligible for this award, the nominee must be:

  • A member of the NYCHA
  • Nominated by an NCHA Affiliate
  • Submitted by an NCHA Affiliate Secretary

Each Affiliate may determine its own process for selecting a nominee. Each Affiliate may nominate one youth member each year for this prestigious award.

Nomination forms must be submitted by July 1st each year to:

Whitney & Greg Welch Memorial Sportsmanship Award Committee
P.O. Box 94
Aubrey, TX 76227
Phone: (940) 782-9127

Questions regarding the award can be directed to Havey Manion 940-536-8572 or Kisten Jackson 940-782-9126

Click to download the Whitney & Greg Welch Scholarship Award Application


Whitney & Greg Welch Memorial Sportsmanship Award Recipients


2021 Dylan Sinclair

2020 Carson Ray

2019 Colton Cogdell

2018 Alyssa Dvorak

2017 Derek Waters

2016 Kolby Don Moore

2015 Samray Hooper

2014 Doris Lane Wood

2013 Amanda Morris, Burleson, TX

2012 Cheyenne Johnson, Pine Level, AL

2011 Marli Claytor, OK

2010 Justin Richardson, Reading, KS

2009 Jessica Bagley, SC

2008 Cooper Cogdell, Tulia, TX

2007 Elizabeth Brumbaugh, Weatherford, TX

2006 Lindsey Weander, Valentine, NE

2005 Samantha Biller, Tulare, CA

2004 Denver Jo Williamson, Archer City, TX

2003 Mica Motes, Weatherford, TX

2002 Keri Garrison, Ridgeland, MS

2001 Ty Chambers, Wichita Falls, TX

2000 Mandy Williams, Grantsville, UT

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