2023 Event Details
January 18-22, 2023
Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre
Queen Creek, Arizona
Please join us for Art of the Cowgirl January 18-22, 2023 in Queen Creek, Arizona, as we celebrate, gather, and connect Western women around horses and Western art.
Learn more about World’s Greatest Horsewoman, Breakaway Roping, Cowdog Trial, Ranch Roping, and All Women’s Ranch Rodeo.
Event Presenters and Presentations
This list is subject to change.
Arizona Versatility Ranch Horse Association
Versatility Ranch Horse events in Arizona were few and far between until 2008 when AZVRHA was conceived. That year we produced three small events, in 2009 there were four and so it began. Working with Arizona Quarter Horse Association and Southern Arizona Quarter Horse Association helps to bring AQHA VRH to the premier Quarter Horse Shows in Arizona, Arizona Sun Circuit and the Sonoita Southern Quarter Horse Show.
In the fall of 2014 Arizona Versatility Ranch Horse Association in conjunction with Golden State Versatility Ranch Horse Association established Western States Versatility Ranch Horse Association to be a “parent” association for both states, with an eye on expanding to others western states as interest dictated.
In February 2018 WSVRHA along with 5 other Associations founded National Ranch and Stock Horse Alliance. This Alliance consists of National Versatility Ranch Horse Association, Stock Horse of Texas, Oklahoma Stock Horse Association, East Coast Stock Horse Association and American Quarter Horse Association.
2020 was a big year for WSVRHA as we expanded to include NVQH Ranch Horse Division in our family of affiliates. As of 2023, our affiliate state organizations include Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah!
Beth’s passion is to empower brave-hearted actions and inspire positive changes in individuals, families and communities. She considers it an honor to partner people with horses to create space for developing the deep connection needed for growth and healing to occur. Beth has facilitated, collaborated, and established equine programs with many populations including Women in Ranching, Hospice, foster care agencies, inpatient substance recovery programs and CASA (court appointed special advocates).
Beth is the founder and director of the non-profit, Equine Empowerment and is a licensed mental health counselor, certified therapeutic recreation specialist and equine specialist in mental health and learning.
Beth and her husband, Ben, love raising their three wild kids, grass-fed beef and good ranch horses in Colorado.
Buster was born at the 6666 ranch and grew up cowboying in West Texas. He and Sheryl married in 1976 and they lived on various ranches for the next 25 years. Tiffany was born at the Triangle Ranch (a division of the 6666), and a few years later, Misty was born at the 6666. They grew up on horseback, beside their mom and dad.
Buster and Sheryl started doing clinics in 1997 as well as a colt starting business. Since then, they’ve traveled the US and abroad helping people with their horses.
Caitie Holtzman, along with her husband Elliot, own and operate Versatile Horsemanship, LLC. The pair is based out of their own facility in Nocona, Texas. Horses have taken Caitie all over the country and around the world. Caitie has competed in stock horse and ranch horse versatility events, Extreme Mustang Makeovers, Freestyle Reining, as well as in the Liberty horse discipline. Within the last year, she has been performing entertainment and specialty acts with horses at events such as Road to the Horse and is excited to be back at Art of the Cowgirl.
In 2020, Caitie founded the Southwest Liberty Horse Club as a local chapter of the International Liberty Horse Association and accepted the position as the Director of Clubs for the ILHA. The Liberty horse discipline has quickly become a staple in the foundation of Caitie’s program.
Caitie is originally from Georgia and grew up with a love of horses—particularly cow horses—that was enabled by her Grandfather and her Mother. Just after high school graduation in 2006, with intentions of being in the horse industry, Caitie moved to Texas.
In 2008, Caitie began college at North Central Texas College and found her way into their Equine Science program; in 2013 she transferred to Texas A&M University in Commerce and completed her Bachelors Degree in Broadfield Agriculture and in 2015 completed her Master of Science in Agriculture Education.
Lari Dee Guy
Lari Dee Guy currently resides in Abilene, Texas, and won her first world championship title at age 9 in the junior rodeo events and is now ranked Number 1 in the Team Roping Heading Standings and Number 5 in the Breakaway Standings in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. Over the past 15 years she has had numerous World Championship titles with the WPRA and some of the most prestigious rodeos in the country in Breakaway Roping and as a Header in the Team Roping events. She has used her years of horsemanship skills in the rodeo arena to host clinics across the world and is the founder of the Rope Like a Girl Campaign aimed at helping girls gain the confidence to ride and rope like a girl and to be proud of it. In 2020 she was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame and continues to dedicate time to helping women and their horses succeed inside the rodeo arena and out.
Lee Smith lives on a cattle ranch near Estancia, New Mexico. She and her husband, Mark, have a cow-calf operation and raise quality Quarter Horses at their Harmony Hills Ranch.
For more than 40 years, Lee has traveled the world sharing what she believes to be the “Essential Elements of Horsemanship” with people who wish to learn about quality horsemanship and stockmanship. She has conducted hundreds of clinics and demonstrations, as well as teaching ranch horse classes at the Diamond S.
Lee considers herself a student of the horse, and says she’s lucky to have shared her experience with thousands of horse enthusiasts from around the globe.
A gifted and eloquent teacher, Lee has extraordinary insight into both horses and people. She shares what she sees as if speaking for the horse, and provides her students with the opportunity to observe the communication exchange between horse and human — teaching people how to learn from the horse.
Lee leads people on a pathway of discovery to the essential elements of horsemanship. She helps them unlock their potential to understand the horse’s mind, body and spirit; and then shows them how to appreciate and build upon the incredible moments of harmony that are possible. Lee believes that through life's experiences (horse related or not), the answers lie within us.
Lisa Barnes has been in the horse industry for over 45 years. She currently works for Veterinarians full time as a Certified Equine Dental Technician for over 20 years. She also works her Border Collies at a golf course part time for Circle L Stock Dogs chasing ducks and geese off the greens.
Lisa lived in Alaska for over 30 years. During that time she worked as a farrier, an outfitter, and managed a Rodeo Grounds. For many years she packed hunters and tourist into remote camps and areas. Lisa packed their camps and supplies in, and then packed their hunted game out. She has driven to Alaska from Arizona over 50 times with horses. Through years of experience in the field she has learned the DO’S and DON’TS first hand. Lots of unpleasant incidences and disasters can be prevented while packing if some extra time can be spent educating yourself on the importance of correct knot tying, saddle and pad fitting and making sure your animal is trained before the first time you try to put hunted game on his back.
Lisa has had dogs her whole life and enjoyed training them tricks and some helpful tasks. While managing the Rodeo Grounds in Alaska she found the how important and efficient it was to have a good obedient stock dog to help move livestock during a rodeo, and team roping practices. Sometimes the audiences could witness the stock dogs moving livestock and was very impressed, so they became part of the show, demonstration the work of a stock dog.
After moving to Arizona Lisa met a man named Joe Escobar a quadriplegic that trained and showed stock dogs. He became her mentor and teacher and encouraged her to show her dogs. They trained some puppies together using some different techniques that proved to be helpful in starting and imprinting stock dogs to bring them quickly into working livestock.
Lisa enjoys Team Roping, working her Border Collies on livestock, leather crafting and camping and packing with her husband, mules, horses and dogs.
Liz Hughey is a seasoned mule advocate and horse enthusiast who spent the better part of her twenties, mule packing and horse guiding in the National Forests and Wilderness Areas of Northwest Colorado. She is currently a "mud puddle loving mom" to her 5 year old son, and the grazing manager of her family's Red Angus Beef ranch in Southeastern Indiana.
After a few years of reading books for an hour or more per day to her child, Liz found a voice as an author. Her books launched in 2017 and inspire children to think actively about environmental stewardship, livestock husbandry, and the full circle of life, seasons, and the importance of love in our health and life. “The Children's Mule Packing Series" contains 3 books, Barney the Lopsided Mule, Pack String Hang-up, and Trash Talk. Liz’s most recent book, Reach for the Stars, Girl!, is a picture book focused on girls/women's empowerment. Reach for the Stars, Girl! And “The Children’s Mule Packing Series are all Will Rogers Medallion Award Winners and Equus Film and Arts Fest Winnie Winners.
Melisa Pearce is the founder of Touched By A Horse and the creator of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method. Her passion and life's work as a healer, mentor, and teacher have encompassed Gestalt from the beginning. Melisa is a lifelong horsewoman, therapist, coach, and entrepreneur. Much of her professional success has come through her understanding and dedication to Gestalt practices and methodologies. Over the last three decades, she has coached and helped others through her private psychotherapy practice and partnership with horses. She developed her unique method of combining Gestalt with her horses in Gestalt sessions beginning in the 1980s.
Inspired by her relationship with horses and her profession in psychotherapy, Melisa founded her company, Touched by a Horse®, in 1998. Having bred, raised, and shown horses for over 30 years, Melisa has succeeded in developing Lil Bit North Ranch in both Arizona and Colorado since 1980.
Her degrees from Arizona State University led her to a career in private practice where she also developed a training institute with her partners to facilitate a 400-hour certification in Experiential Therapy. At the same time, she was co-creating with her horses her therapeutic approach with clients—beginning in 1982. This led Melisa to develop her Equine Gestalt Coaching Method® in 2008. Currently there are 250 graduates internationally of the EGCM Program. Melisa also offers an advanced Gestalt program for graduates of the EGC Program; and an Equine Facilitator Program, which offers students Equine Experiences to facilitate sessions with individuals or in workshops.
Melisa has been a clinician at the Equine Affaire and the Equine Extravaganza. She was selected as one of the Top 50 Influential Horsewomen in the U.S. Her Spiritual Retreats were selected for the top honor of Best by 5280 Magazine (Denver). Her website includes articles on her work from APHA Magazine, Northwest Woman Magazine, Body & Soul Magazine, American Cowboy Magazine, Eagle Valley News, and Healing Path Magazine.
As an author, Melisa has written for several magazines, as well as, created the inspirational card deck, Whispers from a Horse’s Heart, and accompanying Touched by a Horse Inspirational Journal. She is also the creator of the personalized Wisdom Messages, which are delivered internationally daily to subscribers’ email. She has recorded her own Wisdom’s Journey CDs: Wisdom’s Journey to your Personal Future, Wisdom’s Journey to the Chakras, and Wisdom’s Journey to Abundance. Melisa is a contributing author for the book Horse as Teacher – the Path to Authenticity. Her book, Eponalisa: The Fall Ride, is a magical story that inspires the reader to wonder about the life purpose of humans and horses. She is an award winning co-author of Equusology, a book that helps horse owners access their horse’s unique temperament. Her book, What the Heck is Gestalt, released in 2019, is an accessible, practical look at Gestalt and its application to everyday life. Melisa also edits an anthology, featuring stories written by the coaches who have graduated from the Touched by a Horse Certification Program. The fourth volume was be published in September of 2022.
Melisa lives on her ranch near Elizabeth, Colorado, with her husband Dane Cheek, her herd of equine partners, and a veritable menagerie of animals.
Piper Yule, the young gun of the rodeo industry! This 12-year-old spitfire is known for her signature ponies, cowgirl heart, and true horsemanship. Piper has many accolades including being a 3x Canada Pro Rodeo Act of the Year, 3x PRCA Top 5 Dress Act Nominee, PRCA NFR 2019 Opening Act, 3x CPRA CFR Entertainment Act, and many more!
Born a 5th generation ranch kid, this young lady is as kind as she is tough and comes from the hard grass country in Southern Alberta! When not performing in roman riding, liberty horsemanship, and trick riding, Piper spends her time team roping, competing in cutting and working cowhorse, and helping on her family ranch and within her community.
Presented by Wrangler
Born and raised in Washington State, Robbie's family was very involved in training and showing all around horses. Married to Angie Boyce, they have two great kids, Shayla and Brodie. They reside in Marietta, Oklahoma, and manage the Cowan Select Horses Oklahoma division, where we raise, train and sell a wide variety of prospects.
Shayla grew up involved in a horse training program. She started rodeoing and showing cutting and cow horses at 7 years old and continued through high school. She enjoy starting colts, ranching, and showing, and is currently studying to obtain her degree in Criminal Sociology.
Sherry Cervi is a well-known icon in the rodeo industry. She is the highest earning cowgirl in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and the sport of barrel racing. She began rodeoing professionally at age 12 and by 19 she was competing at the National Finals Rodeo, for which she has now qualified 19 times. She now resides in Arizona and uses her immense talent and love for the sport to give back through her non-profit, Sherry Cervi Youth Championships, where she holds youth barrel races and has started an annual scholarship program.
Residing in Paducah, Texas, Tiffany makes her living starting colts and riding horses. She started her first colt at 12 and halter broke and started colts throughout high school.
Tiffany shows in the Stock Horse of Texas Association, the American Ranch Horse Association, the Ranch Horse Association of America, and the Panhandle Reined Cow Horse Association.
First Annual Artists Quick Draw
Sponsored by Cowgirl Artists of America
We are excited to bring this component to our event to showcase 6-8 artists. All attendees at the event will be able to interact and see the artists in action as they complete their work throughout the day.
The artist’s pieces will be completed during the VIP Reception January 19th and then will be available for purchase through a silent auction open to all attendees at the event that will close January 22nd at noon.
Awards ceremony for artists will be held at 7pm during the VIP Reception January 19th.
We will be taking applications for artists to apply to be in the Quick Draw Event. Applications open October 10th and close October 31st, 2022. Artists will be notified of acceptance by November 10th.
Second Annual Betty Kunesh Legacy Award
In honor of Grandma Betty, we have created the Betty Kunesh Legacy Award. This award is to be given to a woman who who embodies the cowgirl spirit. Our hope is to honor those special women who are not always in the lime light: the women who work hard their whole lives leading by example, embracing fellowship and community, and honoring the western lifestyle. Nominate someone through the link below. Nominations are now closed.
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