By Tony Farkas
Martha Mericle’s passion for photography led to her second passion, and that paid off last week with an award from the American Cutting Horse Competition.
Mericle received the Ben Todd Award from The American Cutting Horse Association at its annual championship show held Jan. 11-13 in Belton. The Ben Todd Award is presented each year to an ACHA member who has gone above and beyond in supporting fellow members.
Additionally, she was overall fifth place in the senior non-pro standings, and 16th in the $2,000 limit rider standings for 2023.
All this after only cutting since January of 2022.
“I started after meeting Michael and Jeanette Blewitt of MB Cutting Horses,” Mericle said. “I asked her if I could come out to their facility and take pictures of him working his horses. She asked if I could ride, and when I said yes, she invited me out to help by turning back while I took photos.”
Since she’s rather new to the sport, Mericle said she hasn’t made a favorite memory yet, but did say that the first time she won a check was thrilling.
“Receiving the Ben Todd Award from The American Cutting Horse Association was a true honor,” she said. “I won my first cutting buckle last weekend and hopefully, not my last. I have enjoyed every day in the saddle.”
MB Cutting Horses was well-represented during the 2023 ACHA Annual Banquet in Belton at Bell Co Expo.
•Michael Blewitt, riding High Steppin’ Rey owned by Justin Nelson, was named ACHA 2023 Aged Event Year End Champion: 4 Year Old Open.
•David Neyland riding Just Let Me Hold You owned by Brittinee McWilliams, received a Top Five buckle in the ACHA 2023 Aged Event Year End Championship: 5/6 Year Old Non Pro.
•Presley McWilliams, riding Tough Crowd owned by Brittinee McWilliams, won the ACHA World Championship Saddle and a buckle in the Senior Youth.
•Clara Keath, owner and rider of Mamas Royal Smoothie, placed in the Top Five and received a buckle in the Senior Youth.
•Sawyer McWilliams rode Little Exotic Cat, Just Let Me Hold You, and Tough Crowd, all owned by Brittinee McWilliams; Mamas Royal Smoothie owned by Clara Keath; and Chet Smooth owned by Martha Mericle, and placed in the Top Five and received a buckle in the Junior Youth.
Also qualifying were Landyn and Justin Nelson.