Introducing the 2019 Michael Nyuis Scholarship Recipients
Written by CRM
Friday, 01 March 2019 23:52

The 2019 Michael Nyuis Scholarship Recipients are Grace Belmont, Ava Ehteshami, Amanda Gomez, and Trent McGee

Four Additional Opportunity Grants Also Awarded to Selected Children

In 2015, West Palms Events established the Michael Nyuis Scholarship Program to provide young riders with financial support to lessen the burden of entry and show fees. Applicants submit a brief application with a summary of their equestrian experience as well as two videos, one explaining why they should receive the scholarship, and the other showing their best riding skills. The program allows the recipients to compete under a grant that covers all of their class and show fees up to $6500 per athlete.


Michael Nyuis

The 2019 judging committee included Mandy Porter, Robin Serfass, and West Palms Events CEO Dale Harvey. West Palms Events received over fifty applications, and the pool was the strongest in the history of the program. All judges agreed that watching the videos in which these young people shared their ambitions and dreams was truly inspirational.

"The quality of the submissions by the applicants was outstanding and it was extremely difficult to select just three recipients," said Robin Serfass. "After reviewing the aspirations and objectives of these young equestrians, I feel the future of our sport looks bright.

Mandy Porter was similarly impressed with the applicants. "It was an honor reviewing the applications of so many great young riders who are passionate about the sport," said Porter. "We are confident that this year's winners will be riders to watch in the future, and we are excited to see them grow with additional showing opportunities this year!"

The scholarships are named in honor of Michael Nyuis. While he was not a participant in equestrian sports, Michael was a true sportsman, and as a young man worked on the ring crew at Thunderbird Showpark in British Columbia. "Michael was a giant in his community," said Dale Harvey. "He influenced and helped thousands of people in his life, many of them young people. He really lived his life giving back and helping others. We named this in his honor for that reason."

2019 Michael Nyuis Scholarship Winners

Grace Belmont

Grace Belmont

Grace Belmont is 15 years old and lives in Watsonville, California. She has been riding since she was very young with her mother and trainer Cassie Belmont. Grace competes in all three rings and has plans to compete in the 1.30-1.40 jumpers, 3'6 equitation, and international hunter derbies in 2019. "This scholarship will help get me closer to my goals of working professionally in the horse industry," said Grace. "I hope I can contribute and become a more helpful and knowledgeable part of the horse community through this terrific opportunity." Dale Harvey commented: "I've seen Grace compete at our Northern California events and I think she is a great rider. We were very impressed with her application."

Ava Ehteshami

Ava Ehteshami

Ava Ehteshami is 17 years old and lives in Palomar Park, California. She has shown all over California under trainers Jeff and Rachel Fields, and has also had the opportunity to train and show in Iran, where she did outreach to help introduce young girls to show jumping. She has ambitious academic and equestrian goals, including being accepted to a top tier university and eventually riding at the grand prix level. This year, she hopes to qualify for USHJA year-end jumper championships. "I am thrilled about all the benefits the Michael Nyuis scholarship will bring," said Ava. "It will give me the opportunity to participate in more shows which will allow me to accumulate the points needed to achieve my goals." Dale Harvey remarked: "Ava's application was very impressive. We were especially impressed with her work in Iran to try to introduce the sport to other girls."

Amanda Gomez

Amanda Gomez

Amanda Gomez is 15 years old and lives in Norco, California. She has been showing since she was five years old, and currently rides in the 1.35m jumper division under her mother and trainer Pamela Gomez. While she eventually would like to compete in the Olympics and become a professional, her 2019 goal is to ride in the 1.35m Zone Championships and West Palms grand prix events. "I may even surpass my goal because of West Palms Events giving me more chances to show," said Amanda. "I cannot describe how happy I am to have the extra help this year." Robin Serfass said: "I think Amanda really stood out from the pack. I think she represents what this program is meant to be about."

Trent McGee

Trent McGee

Trent McGee is 16 years old, lives in Granada Hills, California, and trains at Brookway Stables. He began showing at age 9 in the pony hunters and has worked his way up to the 1.25m. He plans to become a professional and is dedicated to furthering his equestrian education. In 2019, he hopes to move up to the 1.30-1.35m level and to ride the USHJA Zone Championships. "This scholarship will provide me with the opportunity to gain much needed "A" show experience for both me and my young horse, Garfield," said Trent. "The opportunity is truly special for me and the team of amazing people that help support my riding." Mandy Porter commented: "I think all three committee members had Trent in the top group. He rides really well and should get a lot from this program."

Opportunity Grants

In addition to the Michael Nyuis Scholarships, West Palms Events awarded opportunity grants to four young riders to help them gain show experience in 2019. The recipients of those grants are Eniko Barbar, Zoie Brogdon, Morganne Craig, and Adrina Player. These riders have come up through the Compton Junior Posse riding program in Compton, California and we are proud to continue to support these up and coming riders.

Eniko Barbar

Zoie Brogdon

Morganne Craig

Adrina Player