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UCHS Junior Committee Returns for Its Sophomore Year

UCHS Junior Committee Returns for Its Sophomore Year

Written by Kaitlin Hill

This June marks the 171st running of the Upperville Colt & Horse Show at the Grafton and Salem Farm showground. The event attracts equestrians at the highest levels of the sport from all over the world to compete in a prestigious list of events, including four new awards for the 2024 season. With 2,000-plus competitors, 20,000 or more spectators, and close to 100 vendors — not to mention the horses — the show is an impressive logistical feat dependent on a multitude of talented organizers and tireless volunteers. 

Among those who help bring it all together and returning for their second year is the Upperville Colt & Horse Show Junior Committee, a group of young, local workers making their mark on the historic event. 

The idea to have a Junior Committee was conceptualized and enthusiastically backed by Upperville Colt & Horse Show President Joe Fargis and Executive Director Emily Day. 

“Our oldest is 18 and our youngest is 14,” says Hayley Alcock, executive assistant to Emily Day, of the group of 16 Junior Committee members. She continues, “During the horse show a few of them will assist Katie Carter with social media, interviewing riders, anything she needs from them. They help with the ribbons and awards, especially on Saturdays out at the polo field.” 

She adds, “They also help with the boxes. We have a vendor box, a grandstand box, a jumper box. They help manage those and make sure patrons are in the boxes reserved for them. They’ll also help in the office, renting out golf carts. They help with the FEI Jog. … And this year we hope they will be involved with Art Under the Oaks.” 

An equestrian herself, Alcock says, “Working on the other side of a horse show is a huge eye-opener. It’s really cool that these committee members are able to see a completely different side of the horse show. Some of them compete at the horse show, but it also gives those who aren’t able to compete at Upperville but love the horse show a way to be a part of it, which I think is also really exciting.” 

Irene Boehm is the 2024 Junior Committee president and a senior at Foxcroft. She echoes Alcock’s sentiments on the benefits of joining, adding, “There is a special atmosphere at Upperville that you can’t find at any other venue. Being part of the Junior Committee is a great way to give back to a show that’s created so many memories for me, and so many others as well.” 

Preservation of the horse show is a motivator for Boehm, too. She says, “The younger generation is the future of many aspects of the equestrian world, especially historic shows as we are tasked with keeping the traditions alive. Getting juniors involved to ensure the continued excellence of Upperville and other historic horse shows is truly important.”

Not only investing in the future of the show, Boehm believes that participating in the Junior Committee offers the opportunity to develop skills for members’ job prospects as well. She says, “There is an important aspect of leadership development and getting used to roles for [future] jobs, management roles, honestly in any field.” She finishes, “I am excited to be able to gain behind-the-scenes experience as a junior that will help shape my riding career in the future.”  

Looking ahead, Boehm says, “I’m excited because I know there are a lot of girls next year who will be seniors [and] juniors in high school who have a lot to offer the committee.” 

For those interested in joining, Boehm would strongly recommend it. “There are so many reasons why it’s a great thing to do. … Coming together with the connection of a passion for horses and helping out the community is really special. That commonality brings us all together.” She continues, “And you get to meet a lot of amazing people — Punkin Lee, who is an Upperville legend, Joe Fargis, Hayley Alcock, and Emily Day. You get to meet the brains of the whole operation and the people who have made the show and horse world what it is today.” She finishes, “I am truly honored to be president this year and I look forward to observing the future of this committee.” ML

Featured photo by Michael Butcher.

Published in the June 2024 issue of Middleburg Life.

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