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4-H Youth Development

Horse Volunteer of the Year

The Kansas 4-H Horse Volunteer of the Year Award, sponsored by the Rodney Barrows Memorial Fund, recognizes a 4-H volunteer who has demonstrated exemplary service to 4-H and the 4-H Horse project. This outstanding 4-H volunteer understands that serving as a 4-H volunteer is both an opportunity and privilege to contribute toward educating youth and other volunteers.

See nomination procedures for more information.

Nominations must be sent to kansas4h@ksu.edu by November 30.




Awardees History

2020: Becky Dillon, DVM, McPherson County

Becky Dillon has been involved in the horse project for many years, serving as the county project leader for over 35 years.  Becky is an amazing volunteer, with former 4-H’ers describing her as kind, sportsmanlike, and making learning fun.  At the local level, she serves as the horse superintendent, organizes spring shows, and has been the county horse bowl and hippology coach, taking teams to national contests 6 years.  Becky is also involved as a volunteer at the district and state levels. She helps with the district horse show and has served for over 10 years as the State Fair Horse Show superintendent.  Additionally, Becky is the mastermind behind the Panorama hippology contest, having put together all the questions and stations for over 10 years.  She has also put on local hippology contests as well.  In addition to 4-H, Becky is an active member of the Kansas and National Appaloosa Horse Club and the Kansas Saddle Horse Association, serving on the boards of each.  She and her husband, Dwight, raised two daughters, who were both active in the 4-H horse project at multiple levels.  Becky’s volunteer work in the horse project has impacted 4-H’ers and other volunteers throughout the state.

2019: Dr. Melody Bearley, Rawlins County

Melody Bearley, was named Kansas 4-H Horse Volunteer of the Year award for her exemplary service to both then county 4-H program as well as the local horse project. “Melody transformed the county horse project over the past several years. Prior to her leadership, a number of youth were interested in participating in the project, but had no direction or leadership, says, JoEllyn Argabright, Rawlins County Extension Director. Her first attempt was re-vamping the local 4-H project after an embarrassing county fair show. The youth were discouraged and without leadership to move forward. Additionally, Melody Recruitment of regional “experts” to provide additional training to youth – including a Barrel Clinic, English Equitation Clinic and multiple guest instructors during practice times. She sparked everyone’s interest with the Creation of “Horse Fun Days” gymkhana and pleasure events that are open to the public as well as 4-H youth each fall. Horse Fun Days act as a project fundraiser as well as a chance for youth to compete in a low stress, fun environment. Through Melody’s efforts Rawlins County 4-H Youth were honored to nominate her for the 4-H award.

2018:  Jean Huntley, Edwards County

Jean Huntley is an active volunteer at all levels of the horse project.  She has been involved in the project for over 30 years.  Jean is passionate about horses and helping others learn and grow in the project.  Her past and present project members have learned a multitude of knowledge during her tenure as the local horse project leader.  Jean also spends time coaching horse kids for Panorama events, presentations, and skill testing.  She volunteers at the district and state 4-H shows as well as serving as a level test administrator and writer/editor for the Kids N’ Horses newsletter.  Jean has also served a number of years on the Horse Action Team.  She has been a positive role model for many families in Edwards County and throughout the state and is an inspiration to all.  Jean lives with her husband in Edwards County, where they farm and have a small cattle operation.  Jean’s daughter, Kelsey, was also a 4-H horse project member and her granddaughter, Rylee, continues the tradition.  

2017:  Kathy Huser, Ellis County

Kathy Huser has been a 4-H horse volunteer for over 20 years.  She is involved at all levels of the horse project, serving as club and county project leader, and has served on the state horse action team.  Kathy is active in coordinating local shows and various educational activities including tours, and team practices for hippology and quiz bowl.  She was also editor of the Kids N’ Horses newsletter for three years.  Kathy has helped with the state horse judging contest and the State Fair Horse Show in many capacities.  Kathy inspires her county horse project members to stay active in the project, have fun while learning, and to become all-around horsemen.  Kathy lives with her husband in Ellis County.

2016:  Judy Parsons, Stevens County

Judy Parsons started very early as a volunteer, serving as her local county’s horse project leader while she was a member.  She has continued serving as a volunteer at the local and district levels for over 40 years.  Judy strives to instill teamwork, honesty, sportsmanship, and hard work ethic in all the 4-H’ers she mentors.  She has served as a level evaluator, hippology and quiz bowl coach, and fair board member on top of being the county horse project leader.  Judy has also served in various roles on the horse action team and on the NC district show committee.  She listens to what the youth in her county want, whether it be showing or trail riding, and customizes the local program to fit all the needs of the 4-H’ers.  Judy lives with her husband in Stevens County.  She is an active member in numerous Paint, Pinto, and Quarter Horse Associations, as well as the SC Stock Horse Association, Eastern Kansas Horseman’s Association, and is active in the First Christian Church, Hugoton. 

2015:  Bev Seuser, Central Kansas District – Salina

Bev Seuser has volunteered at the county, district, and state for over 35 years.  She holds the title of Master 4-H Volunteer and greatly deserves that title.  Bev loves to see youth grow with the horse project and advance their knowledge and skills.  Through her leadership, the Central Kansas District horse project has grown and prospered.  Some of her volunteer accomplishments include serving as the local horse leader, teaching kids to become better horsemen in and out of the show ring, volunteering in multiple positions as the NC district horse show, serving as a resource for 4-H’ers and extension personnel, and helping at the state level with horse judging, Panorama, and the State Fair Horse Show.  Bev is always willing to lend a hand wherever she is needed.  Bev lives on a Saline County farm with her husband and enjoys showing her Appaloosa horses.  They also have a herd of Longhorn cattle.  Bev’s family includes her sons, Justin and Chad, and their families.  Both sons were 4-H members and competed in all levels of the horse project.