California Riding Magazine • January, 2013

Horse People:
George "Joey" Gadd
Multi-talented vaulter wins the
2012 USEF Youth Sportsman's Award

Photos by Sarah Miller/MacMillan Photography

George "Joey" Gadd is the winner of the 2012 USEF Youth Sportsman's Award. The 17-year-old 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, he was nominated by the American Vaulting Association (AVA).

Joey 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. He 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. Joey 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, Joey is a 4-H member and competes at high school rodeos in cutting with his 8-year-old AQHA gelding Tapatime. The pair competed at State Finals twice, and he has won the Rookie of the Year award. He is a member of the California State Horsemen's Association 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. 

Joey 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. He 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, the Youth Sportsmanship Award winner enjoys mentoring new and young vaulters and has made friends throughout the country as well as the world at national and international competitions. He 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.

He 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.       
Joey 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 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.

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