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Chasing a dream

Rider captures world championship

In many ways, 14-year-old Jason Kvols is like any other teenager in Steamboat Springs.

He enjoys hanging out with his friends in the High Point 4-H Club, has posters of his favorite sport covering the walls of his bedroom and dreams of going to the Olympics someday.

However, instead of a poster of Tommy Moe ripping down a ski slope or Derek Jeter snagging a hot grounder, he prefers to tack up images of paint horses.

You see Jason isn’t interested in pocketing a coveted Little League baseball trophy or wowing his friends at basketball camp.

Jason prefers to ride horses and already has captured the belt buckle that is awarded to the top 13-and-under rider in the Youth Reigning division at the American Paint Horse Association’s World Championships.

“I love to ride,” Jason said.

In reigning, the horses are judged on their ability to perform a prescribed pattern at varying speeds. Riders need to guide their horses using a number of maneuvers such as sliding stops and spins to complete the program and earn points from the judges.

Jason, and his horse Cheyenne (registered name Mark It Crunch), qualified and then beat out 14 of the top 13-and-under riders in the world at the American Paint Horse Association’s premier event June 23 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Jason turned 14 earlier this year, but he is still eligible to ride in the 13-and-under division because his birthday falls after the Jan.1 cutoff.

“This is my first year showing Cheyenne,” Jason said. “I never dreamed that I would win this event.”

After winning the title, Jason thanked God, his parents and his trainer for his success.

Jason travels to Franktown, south of Denver, three times a month to train at the Warren Performance Horses and admires the company’s owner, Devin Warren.

“He’s the guy I look up to when it comes to sports,” Jason said. “I admire him a lot, and if I can, I would like to be just like him someday.”

Jason’s mom, Ann, said her son has always been a natural around horses. He started riding in Colorado Springs at age 7 at the Pikes Peak Riding Academy. He got his first horse at age 10, and still shows that horse in 4-H events and at the Routt County Fair.

The family moved to Steamboat Springs a couple of years ago and owns a ranch where Jason spends his time riding and working for his father, Kevin.

But several times each year, Jason competes at higher level events on Cheyenne, a horse his family bought last year so that he could show at national and world level events.

His points in regional events earned him an invitation to the World Championship Paint Horse Show, which is the richest Paint Horse event in the world. About 2,000 horses competed in this year’s show, with more than 4,800 entries including about 1,300 youth entries, 1,500 amateur/novice entries and 1,700 open entries.

Riders younger than 18 are classified as competitors who earn points by riding their horses or horses owned by family members.

This year’s show attracted competitors from the United States, Canada, Germany and Australia, who demonstrated their skills in 166 classes including halter, western, English, cattle driving and speed events. The show came to a close July 3.

Jason is the treasurer of the High Point 4-H club and enjoys shooting, camping and fishing when he’s not riding.

He has taken some time off since the World Championships but plans to compete again at an event in Longmont on July 31.

–To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com


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