Finalists for the Open and Youth Division have been selected! Click here to view the list of incredible talent! Come watch them compete for $22,000 in prizes during Epic Night of the Horseā„¢ on Saturday, April 22, 2017 in Madison, WI at Midwest Horse Fair!

The BIG moment has finally arrived! 

Midwest Horse Fair Star Search Finalists have been selected! We were overwhelmed by the number and quality of the entries we received. The acts showcased enormous talent, diverse disciplines, and many breeds. This is truly a one-of-a-kind competition that would not be possible without our wonderful contestants. The selection process was incredibly difficult and we are sorry that we could not include everyone. Thank you to all who entered!

Without further ado, here are the Midwest Horse Fair Star Search Finalists who will be performing in the 2017 Epic Night of the Horse™:


  • Jesse Peters of Greenville, OH
  • Ariana Sakaris of Potomac, MD
  • Madison Shambaugh of Orland, IN
  • Philip Whitmore of Orange, MA
  • Elaina Schmersey & Jordyn Delmet of Talking Rock, GA (Fan Favorite Online Voting Contest Winner)


  • Virginia Lynn Deden and Jennifer Deden of Houston, TX
  • Oralee Madison of Crofton, KY
  • Alexandra Rullman of Walworth, WI
  • Cat Zimmerman of Morristown, NJ
  • Ryan Wolfe of Dousman, WI (Fan Favorite Online Voting Contest Winner)


There are times when something does not fall neatly into a category but is still worthy of our attention.  A story or an act could have been borne from an inspirational moment or experience displaying a passion and charisma that sets it apart from the rest.  The Midwest Horse Fair received entries such as these, and decided that a new category, the Wild Card Division, would be added to our 2017 Star Search competition. With the new division comes an added $3,750 in prize money! Four additional finalists have been selected to compete amongst each other, showcase their unbelievable talent, and share their heartwarming stories, deep compassion, and strong drive to succeed, perform, and inspire! We are thrilled to extend this opportunity to the horse community, and we hope that you will be just as touched by these courageous individuals and encouraging stories as we were. 

  • Amber Buresh of Ulysses, NE
  • Aimee Schulz of Becker, MN
  • Jerry Thornton of Holladay, TN
  • Taylor VanMalsen of West Olive, MI

Congratulations to all finalists! 

Come watch them compete for $25,000 in prizes during Epic Night of the Horse™ on Saturday, April 22, 2017 in Madison, WI at the great Midwest Horse Fair! 

Tickets for Epic Night of the Horse™ featuring Midwest Horse Fair Star Search will go on sale January 4, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.. through


Who's Coming?

Ray Ainsworth"The Man Horses Talk To"

Butch CampbellRanch Riding

Sandy CollierReining

Country View Equine ClinicOfficial Veterinarians of the 2017 Midwest Horse Fair

Jerry EricksonHunter

Ty EvansMulemanship

Tommy GarlandHorsemanship

Dana HokanaHorsemanship, Showmanship & Western Pleasure

Iron Sixes HorsemanshipMounted Shooting

Irongate Equine ClinicEquine Veterinary Specialists

Keith IsleyRodeo Clown

Dan JamesDouble Dan Horsemanship - Liberty

Dena KirkpatrickBarrel Racing

Lodi Veterinary CareVeterinary Lecture

Crystal LyonsCowboy Church Presenter

Debbie McDonaldDressage

Heidi McLaughlin"Fearless Rider"

Matt McLaughlinDressage & Haute Ecole

Marcie MoreyGaited Horse

Dean MoshierOfficial Farrier of the 2017 Midwest Horse Fair

Dick PieperHorsemanship

Warwick SchillerHorse Problem Solving

Jochen SchleeseCertified Master Saddler

Barbra SchulteCutting & Cow Work

Kelley Shetter-RuizGround Pole Exercises

Teresa SpencerEquine Safety

Linda Syverson-KerrBeginner Driving

Whitewater Area Mounted Search Team and RescueEquine Rescue Lecture

Jeff WilsonCowboy Dressage