The Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC Award

Honoring and Celebrating the Cowgirl Who Reaches Out into the Community

The NSBA Foundation recognizes women across the equine industry for their selfless contributions to the equestrian community with the Cowgirls ROC Award. Through a nomination process of their peers, up to 25 women will be celebrated annually for their generous gifts of their time, talent, or treasure in support of the efforts of the industry, NSBA and the NSBA Foundation. 

The Namesake

During the inaugural ceremony in 2022, the NSBA Foundation announced the award being names the Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC award in Dianne's honor. Dianne, of McHenry, Illinois, was an original member of NSBA when it began in 1983 and volunteered for the association from its infancy, but Brough her business sense to the NSBA office when she became the association's executive director in 2007. Dianne's service to the industry ranges from being a clinician at horse expos, to developing mentor programs at the AQHA Regional Championship Shows, to fundraising for NSBA and breed associations to serving on committees whenever asked.


The following three tenants are the core attributes of the Cowgirls ROC (Cowgirls - Reaching Out in the Community) recognition award:

  • Celebrate the accomplishments of female NSBA members that serve and impact the show horse community most
  • Celebrate the female donors that help bring the work of the Foundation to our members
  • Celebrate the diversity, inclusion and contributions of all member voices to the NSBA membership

To nominate a woman for the 2024 Dianne Eppers Cowgirl ROC award, please contact a member of the NSBA board of directors or the NSBA Foundation board of directors to provide this worthy woman’s name and gifts of time, talent or treasure provided in community service.

Lynne Puthoff

2023 Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC Award Recipient

Lynne Puthoff, of Milton, Ohio, was named the 2023 recipient of the Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC award. She went from competing as a non-professional to operating her own training business in Ohio and has long been a supporter of NSBA, the NSBA Foundation, and its programs. From coaching her riders to compete in NSBA Dual-Approved and standalone futurity classes to supporting her clients and other riders in Heroes on Horses classes to her work as a Youth Equestrian Development Association (YEDA) coach, Lynn has played an active role in the industry in several roles. She is also active as a local clinician and has organized donations to local shelters.

Nominees for the 2023 award included: Dawn Baker, Karen Boxell, Hannah Casper, Pat Clements, Sandy Curl, Chris Darnell, Phyllis Harris, Susan Knapp, Mary Meneely, Vickie Oakley, Heidi Piper, Andrea Simons, Angela Wade,  Carla Wennberg

Cindy Cosentino

2022 Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC Award Recipient

Cindy Cosentino, of Omaha, Nebraska, was named the inaugural recipient of the Dianne Eppers Cowgirls ROC award. Cindy shares her husband Bill's passion for horses and serving the horse industry. Cindy first became involved in industry leadership roles as a youth advisor for the Nebraska Quarter Horse Association, and later shepherded NSBA's your association as its advisor, where she grew the program from scratch to recruit members from various breeds and parts of the industry.

Nominees for the 2022 award included: GiGi Bailey, Karen Boxell, Jennifer Burton, Ann Call, Pat Clements, Chris Darnell, Nancy Ditty, Amy Gumz, Carol Harris, Deborah Hearst, Connie Hill, Chris Lagerblade, Lynn Leady, Marijo Meredith, Melanie Mincey, Carrie Oakley, Candy Parrish, Lynne Puthoff, Mary Roberts, Joan Shroeder, Andrea Simons, Debbi Trubee, and Angela Wade

2023 Nominees

The following women epitomize the Cowgirl Who Reach Out into the Community (ROC). Each will be recognized as nominees for the Cowgirls ROC award at a brunch to be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on August 12, 2023 during the NSBA World Championship Show. The winner will be announced at that time.

Andrea Simons

Andrea Simons, of Aubrey, Texas, grew up in the horse industry, and with her late husband Lynn established Simons Show Horses, where they created a legacy that has influenced not only the Paint Horse industry, but the horse industry as a whole. Throughout the family’s history, Andrea has been a cheerleader and huge supporter of NSBA’s programs and the NSBA World Championship Show.

Angela Wade

Angela calls West Palm Beach, Florida home. She has worked closely with her mother, Deborah Hearst, to play an important role in supporting a variety of veteran organizations and sustainability initiatives across the United States. Angela has found her passion is finding ways to protect our environment and help those who serve our country. Working closely with Heroes on Horses, she has helped to expand the event from the NSBA World Show onto the American Quarter Horse Congress, and now the Arizona Sun Circuit.

Carla Wennberg

Carla has demonstrated her passion and love for horses as a collegiate equestrian team coach, a carded judge, board member, and rider. Carla has been the head coach of the equestrian team and an instructor at St. Andrews University for the past 17 years. She has taken St. Andrews to the top twice, winning the IHSA National Championship. Carla has been involved with the NSBA, AQHA, and NRHA serving as a board member for the NSBA and earning the Professional Horsewomen award through AQHA in 2008. She has judged for AQHA for 37 years, NSBA for 34 years, and NRHA for 28 years. Currently, she serves on the AQHA Judges Committee.

Chris Darnell

Chris Darnell, of Wadsworth, Ohio, has served the equine industry in a number of roles including as president of the Ohio Quarter Horse Association, Northern Ohio Quarter Horse Association and the National Snaffle Bit Association. She has served on the AQHA Show Committee and Professional Horsemen Committee, and has also processed entries for the World Championship Shows for both AQHA and NSBA. Her show management company, Simply Show Services LLC, has managed such shows as NSBA’s Show Your Colors, the Southern Belle Invitation and the Reichert Celebration as well as many other local and regional shows.

Dawn Baker

Hannah Casper

Hannah has combined her passion for jewelry and horses to create a thriving company that makes an impact in the equine industry. After competing as a youth, Hannah moved to California to earn her degree in gemology. Shortly after, she and her husband, Ronnie, began RJC Quarter Horses in 1989 in Ocala, FL. Because of Hannah’s passion for horses and jewelry, she is often a sponsor at horse shows and events across the country working closely with NSBA, AQHA, BHF, WCHA, and APHA. Outside of running her business, Hannah finds joy in volunteering her time at local therapeutic riding programs in her area. Hannah’s lifelong love of horses and her passion for jewelry are what fuel her ambition to continue to build memorable keepsakes that celebrate the industry.

Heidi Piper

Karen Boxell

Karen Boxell, of Auburn, Illinois, is the long-time ranch manager and stallion manager at Richland Ranch. Karen has consistently supported NSBA programs through her involvement as a stallion manager, a sales agent for many of Richland Ranch’s offspring and as a competitor herself. She has consistently brought interest, enrollment and entries to NSBA’s programs.

Lynne Puthoff

Lynne Puthoff, of Milton, Ohio, went from competing as an Amateur to operating her own training business in Western Ohio, and has long been a supporter of NSBA, the NSBA Foundation and its programs. From coaching her riders to compete in NSBA Dual-Approved and standalone futurity classes to supporting her clients and other riders in Heroes on Horses classes to her work as a Youth Equestrian Development Association (YEDA) coach, Lynn has played an active role in the industry in several roles. She is also active as a local clinician and has organized donations to local shelters.

Mary Meneely

Mary grew up in Issaquah, WA competing in AQHA, three-Day eventing, and dressage. She started her own equine coaching and training business in college, coaching riders of all levels and has been accredited with over 500 championship honors both personal awards and that of her clients. As a collegiate equestrian coach, her teams won a national championship every other year, the Southeastern Conference Championship, and All-American titles. Since retiring from her collegiate coaching career in May 2022, Mary began the next chapter in her life, Coach Mary Meneely Collegiate Equestrian Consulting. Mary combines her previous experience to provide a unique perspective to collegiate equestrians. She uses a variety of tools to help her young equestrian clients achieve their goals.

Pat Clements

Pat Clements, of Dallas, Texas, has been a pillar of the Texas Quarter Horse community for many years, volunteering her time in the horse industry for over  40 years. She served as Tri-Chairman of the Texas Classic, was one of three amateurs who began the Texas Amateur show now known as the Texas Festival where she still serves. In addition, she and her late husband Gill established the Pat and Gill Clements Foundation in 2008, combining their loves of the outdoors, wildlife, preservation, education and the equestrian world to provide grants for many needs throughout Texas as well as for the NSBA Foundation. Pat continues to serve on a committee at Equest, a Dallas, Texas based therapeutic riding center. 

Phyllis Harris

Phyllis of State Road, NC is the vice-president of Harris Leather & Silverworks and is also a board-certified physician assistant. She earned her undergraduate education at the University of North Carolina Greensboro followed by her attendance at Bowman Gray School of Medicine to become a PA. For many years she practiced family medicine full time, while working at Harris Leather & Silverworks attending shows on the weekends. While at many large horse shows Phyllis can be found working behind the counter in the Harris Leather and Silverworks transporter or chasing her grandsons around the grounds. She has been involved with the Surry Community College Foundation Board, the Hugh Chatham Health Foundation Board of Directors, the Yadkin Valley United Fund, and the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce holding a variety of positions.

Sandy Curl

Sandy began her journey in 1969 when she joined her county’s 4-H Horsemasters club. She showed horses and competed on judging teams where she found success at a regional and national level. 53 years ago, her involvement with the Horsemasters Club led Sandy to start an annual show that raises money for local 4-H youth. Today, they have raised approximately $500,000. After graduating from college, Sandy and her mother became the co-leaders of the Horsemasters Club until 2021 when they both retired. During her time with the club, she coached many state and regional champion horse judging, hippology, and horse bowl teams. Sandy was named the Indian River County Volunteer of the Year because of her involvement with 4-H and Horses Helping the Handicapped where she judged their Special Olympics and gave lessons to their members. She has been married for 43 years with one daughter and continues to give back to her community helping to foster and encourage youth to become successful horsemen and adults.

Susan Knapp

Susan Knapp is a community activist, equestrian, author, and award-winning baker. She rose to the top quickly in real estate, becoming one of the top producers with sales. She has been on a number of advisory boards throughout her career including the NSBA Crisis Fund Foundation Board where she assisted in promoting the Heroes on Horses event which the NSBA hosts annually. In 2002, Susan authored and published a children’s book, “Bells Goes to the Fair” which was selected by Iowa’s First Lady for her literacy program. Through this program, she made $50,000 in profits, all of which she donated to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation. Currently, Susan and her family own and operate Knapp Quarter Horse Farms breeding and raising world and congress champion horses including Cool Krysum Lady.

To give without reward, without being noticed, is a sign of greatness.  

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