George "Joey" Gadd Wins the 2012 USEF Youth Sportsman's Award

RELEASE: November 30, 2012
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department

George "Joey" Gadd on his way to winning the Kentucky CVI3* Individual Male division (MacMillan Photography)
George "Joey" Gadd on his way to winning the Kentucky CVI3* Individual Male division (MacMillan Photography)
Lexington, KY
- The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce George "Joey" Gadd as the winner of the 2012 USEF Youth Sportsman's Award. Seventeen-year-old Gadd was selected from an outstanding group of youth representing their respective recognized breed and discipline affiliates from across the country. An avid vaulter from Saratoga, CA, he was nominated by the American Vaulting Association (AVA).

Gadd has demonstrated a commitment to the sport of vaulting as a nine-year member of the AVA and Mt. Eden Vaulting Club. He has attended numerous national competitions, competing for a second year at the Gold level, and earning wins at the Chilliwack and Kentucky CVI competitions. Gadd has attained the necessary scores to compete at the FEI 4* level and was honored to be named the Individual Male alternate for the 2012 FEI World Vaulting Championships this year in Le Mans, France. Gadd hopes to compete in the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France as an Individual Male and possibly also on the Team.

In addition to vaulting, Gadd is a 4-H member and competes at High School Rodeos in Cutting with his eight-year-old AQHA gelding Tapatime. The pair competed at State Finals twice, and Gadd has won the Rookie of the Year award. He is a member of the California State Horsemen's Association (CSHA) and has competed in their Royalty Program, a competition including a written test, riding test, interview, and speech. Having won at both the Regional and State levels, he has represented the CSHA at many community events and parades.

Gadd also has a passion for the United States Air Force (USAF). He is a member of the Civil Air Patrol, the Auxiliary of the USAF with a cadet program for youth ages 12 through 21. He has been a member for five years and earned the rank of Cadet Second Lieutenant. Gadd also participates in the John J. Montgomery Memorial Cadet Squadron 36, which focuses on aerospace education, emergency services, physical fitness, moral leadership, and character development. He was selected to attend the Cadet Officer's Basic School at Naval Station Lemoore, which requires high academic standards.

A kind individual, Gadd enjoys mentoring new and young vaulters and has made friends throughout the country as well as the world at national and international competitions. He also volunteers his time bringing vaulting horses to Via West Campus, a year-round and residential program for children and adults with physical and/or developmental disabilities, allowing the residents to experience the joy of being on horseback.

Gadd is a self-motivated student with a 3.95 GPA and an interest in history and science. He hopes to study meteorology at the University of Missouri and become a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force.      

Gadd will receive a commemorative trophy, a $1,000 grant to the educational program of his choice, and a lifetime membership to USEF, valued at $2,500.

The reserve overall winner of the USEF Youth Sportsman's Award is Victoria Oto of Maraga, CA.  She was nominated by the Arabian Horse Association and will receive a $500.00 grant.

The other national nominees are:
  • Mallory Capps, Cumming, GA (American Endurance Ride Conference)
  • Emily DeArmitt, Savona, NY (American Morgan Horse Association)         
  • Drew Taylor Hewitt, Bermuda Run, NC (American Saddlebred Horse Association)
  • Taylor Prince, Herscher, IL (American Shetland Pony Club)
  • Katie Berger, Naperville, IL (International Andalusian/Lusitano Horse Association)
  • Michelle Meyers, Genoa City, WI (International Friesian Show Horse Association)
  • Ayden Uhlir, Kirkland, WA (United States Dressage Federation)
  • Mary Dawson, Opelika, AL (United States Eventing Association)              
  • Henley Adkins, Moorpark, CA (United States Hunter Jumper Association)
  • Sydney Collier, Ann Harbor, MI (United States Para-Equestrian Association)

The USEF Youth Sportsman's Award is designed to identify potential future leaders in the equine industry and provides an opportunity for the USEF to recognize outstanding youth members for their achievements.

For more information on the USEF Youth Sportsman's Award, please contact Jennifer Mellenkamp, Director, National Breed/Discipline Affiliates, at or (859) 225-6955.