Backcountry Horsemen of California

Header Image of BCHC Members on a Trail.

Special Awards Program

BCHC is an all-volunteer organization. People volunteer because they believe in an organization’s mission and they want to help and make a difference. The BCHC Special Awards Program recognizes members for their efforts, time and contributions to the organization. Awards encourage future effort, increase members’ sense of belonging and feeling of accomplishment. Special recognition is also given to members who donate money over and above their annual dues. BCHC appreciates their monetary contributions.

Ben York Trailblazer Award

This award is presented as determined by accomplishments to the member who, in the eyes of the judges (BCHC Past Presidents), blazed new trails in some facet of the operations of the organization. Any member may nominate, by letter, anyone he or she feels has demonstrated qualities of a “trail blazer”.

The award was created in honor of Dr. Ben York, Jr., DVM, who rode the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail in the spring, summer and fall of 1992. His ride took place during the last year of his BCHC Presidency. Dr. York rode the PCT to promote trail riding and the goals and purposes of Backcountry Horsemen.

Nominations for this award are due to the VP of Public Lands no later than February 1.

The award is presented at Rendezvous.

The winner of the 2022 Ben York Trailblazer Award was Lynn Joiner, Kern Sierra Unit.

BCHC Public Lands Ann Lange Award

Anne Lange was a founding member of BCHC. Her focus was always on trails and maintaining them for pack stock use. She was a powerful voice with BCHC, BCHA and in Washington, D.C. - always advocating for trails and to keep them open.

This award is presented annually to a unit member who goes above and beyond in the Public Lands arena, and has consistently worked in Public Lands, improving trails, meeting with agencies, and advocating for trail improvement. The nominee should have a true passion for preserving Public Lands.

The awards selection process is as follows:

A letter and the nominating form will go to all Unit Presidents and Public Lands Chairs two months prior to Rendezvous. The form will be due February 1 to BCHC VP of Public Lands and Award will be given at Rendezvous. A committee headed by the VP of Public Lands and two other members will review the nominations and chose the recipient. The specially selected, personalized award will be presented at that year’s Rendezvous.

The winner of the 2022 Ann Lange Award was Marily Reese, High Sierra Unit.

Unit Volunteer Service Award

This award is presented to the unit that completed the most outstanding service record for the year. Each unit prepares a complete report of the year’s activities, using the Volunteer Service Hours Report form. Highest Dollar Value Per Capita and Highest Dollar Value are the two awards given.

Unit Volunteer Service Hours Reports are due to BCHC 2 nd Vice President (Service) by February 1.

Awards are presented at Rendezvous.

2022 Highest Dollar Value Per Capita Award - not presented

2022 Highest Dollar Value Award - not presented

Max and Irene Cochran Journalism Award

The unit and its newsletter editor are selected for the quality of their newsletter based on the following criteria: Content 70%, Appearance 20%, Consistency 10%. Content includes Substance, Interest, Variety, Completeness (Unit’s name, Issue month/year, list of Officers, a calendar, etc.), Timeliness, and Accuracy. Appearance includes Overall, Format, and Type. Consistency includes Frequency (monthly quarterly other).

All units are invited to send copies (paper or digital) of their year’s newsletters to the BCHC Newsletter by the established deadline. A panel of judges reviews each paper and scores the newsletters.

Entries for 2023 newsletters are due to the BCHC Editor by February 5, 2024.

First, second and third place awards are presented at Rendezvous.

The winners of the 2022 Max and Irene Cochran Journalism Award were:

1st Place – Michele Machado, Top of the State Unit

2nd Place – Kathy Zumbrunn, Vicki Morales, Sue Flagg and Kaitlyn Rumsey, Mid Valley Unit

3rd Place – Jim Laber, San Joaquin Sierra Unit

BCHC Education Awards

The education efforts of individuals and units throughout the state are deserving of special recognition. Education is a cornerstone and integral part of the organization’s purpose.

Individuals and units who go the extra mile in their education efforts should be rewarded. The Backcountry Horsemen of California are proud to sponsor annual awards given to the outstanding individual and the outstanding unit for their education programs. The awards program is as follows:

• A letter and the nominating form will be sent to all Unit Presidents and Education Chairs two months prior to Rendezvous along with the nominating form.

• An awards committee will make the selection. This committee will be made up of three individuals from the BCHC Education Committee, selected at random.

• The nominations will be submitted to the Education Steering Committee by February 1st.

The awards will be presented at the Rendezvous.

The Selection Criteria for the awards is:

Individual Award

  • Someone who has demonstrated unique, creative, and innovative education programs.
  • Someone who has used different methods or made a variety of presentations.
  • Someone who has reached a variety of age groups.

The 2022 Individual Education Award Winner was Anna Baglione, Eastern Sierra Unit.

Unit Award

  • Someone who has demonstrated unique, creative, and innovative education programs.
  • A unit that promotes education using teamwork.
  • A unit that participates in a variety of events, such as (but not limited to): parades, fairs, pack clinics, special events, etc.
  • A unit that has members who have participated in state-sponsored programs such as the Leave No Trace/LNT Program, the Wilderness Rider Program, the LNT Masters program, etc.
  • A unit that has members who contribute articles for unit, state and/or the education newsletters.

The awards selection committee will evaluate the nominating forms, as well as review the Education Summary Reports, which are submitted in March and October.

Nominations forms must be submitted to the VP of Education no later than February 1st.

There were no nominations for the 2022 Unit Education Award.

Wilderness Rider of the Year Award

The Wilderness Rider program is a partnership between Backcountry Horsemen of California, the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Wilderness Riders are trained stock users who have made a commitment to educating others about the value of wild lands and the importance of Gentle Use / Leave No Trace Skills.

The 2022 Wilderness Rider of the Year was Patricia Vallentyne, Sierra Freepackers Unit.

Youth Achievement Program

When a BCHC youth completes an activity/project, a Project Completion Form is submitted to the unit’s Youth Program Leader. Each month these forms are compiled and sent to the BCHC VP of Youth Education to receive achievement medallions for that unit’s participants.

The achievement medallion is a two-inch leather medallion with leather cordage. Each activity/project category has graphics representing the project and includes the recipient’s name, unit and year. Achievement medallions are awarded to the youth at unit and/or general meetings.

Top Achiever

At the end of each year, the unit’s Youth Program Leader submits one name and a detailed explanation for the submission, for each of the four age groups. Names are placed in the running for the State Top Achiever Award, presented at Rendezvous.

Age Group Winners:

(The age is determined for the calendar year of the youth’s birthday regardless of their birth month.)

6-9 years

10-12 years

13-15 years

16-18 years

This program is brand new. No awards have been presented to date.

Unit Top Hand Awards

Every year each unit President selects an individual that, in the President’s estimation, provided the greatest service to the President and to his/her unit. The award itself is a stainless-steel cup engraved with the year and name of the recipient. The selection is not necessarily made from unit officers or Board of Directors.

Each unit President submits the selected individual’s name to the BCHC Treasurer by February 1.

This award was first presented at the 1988 Convention and continues to be a popular award presented at every Rendezvous.

2022 Top Hand winners were:

Antelope Valley Jerry Stone
Eastern Sierra Mariah Keuler
High Country Alan Cain
High Sierra Marily Reese
Kern River Valley Edward Pounds
Kern Sierra Steve Cozzetto
Los Padres Kris Pimentel
Mid Valley Vicki Morales
Mother Lode Jennifer van der Linden
Pacific Crest Jennifer Sponsler
Redshank Riders Stacy Kuhns
Redwood Jacque Murphy
San Diego Barbara Hughes
San Joaquin Sierra Jim Laber
Santa Ana River Alan Sanderson
Sequoia Wilbur Brown
Shasta Trinity Sam Burrows
Sierra Freepackers David Howse
Sutter Buttes Sue Staib
Top of the State Don Menne

(Lake-Mendo and North Bay units did not submit names)

Special Membership Recognition

Members who donate money over and above their annual dues are given special recognition in appreciation of their monetary contributions to BCHC. Names of special members are published in the quarterly Backcountry News as well as being listed on the BCHC website, and the BCHC President sends each individual a thank you letter.

The following special members are recognized for their extra donations to BCHC:

Benefactor ($100)

Antelope Valley Marge Biehl
Eastern Sierra Bill Carter
Troy Patton
High Sierra Ruth Gerson
Nancy Hamill
Jacob Hamstra
Trish Pendegraft
Kern Sierra Craig Gunderson
Larry Mumford
Lake-Mendo Tim Holliday
Richard Knox
Los Padres Kaye Bruns
Robin Cederlof
William Chaides
Eve Devine
Laura D. Wimer
Manzanita Riders Lynda & Michael Sterns
Mid Valley Tony Alamo
Karen Barindelli
Jay Barnes
Gary A. Cain
Bob Cooper
Carol Jo Hargreaves
Rian Hudson
Debra Lewis
Bob Magee
John V. Marshall
Jennifer Marshall
MID VALLEY UNIT
Randy Powell
John Schaapman
Les Weidman
Mother Lode Tom Cooper
Donna Jones Furlow
Jaede Miloslavich
Jaede Miloslavich
North Bay Lynn Cominsky
Redshank Riders Ron Robertson
Redwood Carole & Darrel Polasek
San Joaquin Sierra John Cunningham
Larry Nishma, Knapp-Yosemite Trls Pk Sta
Stephen Naylon
Cathie Walker
Sequoia Kathryn C. Bennett
Donald M. McMillan
Frank Schlitz
Jamie Wilson, DVM
Shasta Trinity Lyle Charter
Ken Hartman
Lori Henderson
George Poppic, Jr.
Laura Rodger

Patron ($250)

High Country Lynn Saunders
High Sierra Richard Cochran
Karl Pendegraft
Sonia Shepard McLellan
Kern Sierra Willi Coeler
Lynn Joiner
Los Padres Otis Calef
Mid Valley Dennis M. Serpa
Sequoia Jan Walker
Shasta Trinity Bruce McGowan

Mt. Whitney ($500)

Eastern Sierra Sarah C. Sheehan
Kern Sierra Roger Whitaker
Mid Valley Terri Arington
Lloyd Erlandson
Mother Lode Catherine Godwin
Pacific Crest Craig Bugajski
Redshank Riders Allison Renck
Shasta Trinity Dean Angelides
Sutter Buttes Kay Walters
Top of the State Sarabecca Barnett