Volunteer of the Year

Volunteer of the Year

The AVA Volunteer of the Year award was started in 1997 to recognize our most active and dedicated volunteers.


2013: Robin Bowman, Littleton, CO

Robin Bowman is so deserving of the AVA’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year award! She is not only a vaulting mom, but also an apprentice judge, the competition manager for Region IV, an AVA board member and the volunteer coordinator for Nationals. Robin helped organize and run three AVA camps at Ft. Robinson, stepped in and took over the Nationals competition manager job when the position was vacated at the last minute, and has served on the AVA executive board as secretary. She is always willing to help out with a positive attitude and incredible work ethic. Congratulations, Robin, and thank you for all that you have done for the AVA!


2012: Suzanne Detol, Cornelius, OR
Suzanne Detol has played almost every conceivable role possible in her thirty years as an AVA member. She has been a vaulter, lunger, horse trainer, horse owner, coach, club founder, judge and vaulting parent. Yet what sets her apart if the breadth and depth of the volunteer positions that she has held during that time. Sue spends thousands of hours every year contributing to the sport from the grassroots to the international (FEI) level. Her tenacity, her consistency, her selflessness, her intelligence and her thoughtfulness make her a national treasure not only for the American Vaulting Association specifically, but for vaulting worldwide.


2011: Bill Brown, Soquel, CA
Bill Brown is known for his infectious smile and for being a true Southern gentleman. He has filled many roles within the AVA – father of a vaulter, club volunteer, gate manager at local and national competitions, USEF steward at CVIs and the World Equestrian Games, member of the Board of Directors, as well as serving on countless committees. He also worked tirelessly to organize and spruce up a competition with decor for the arena. As gate manager extraordinaire, Bill was a constant whose presence always helped calm nervous vaulters, coaches, horses and lungers. At ringside, he was always prepared with tape and a Sharpie to make those last minute armband numbers for those vaulters that forgot theirs, as well as extra numbers for horses, too. You name it, Bill had it – and all this with a smile and cheerfulness to keep everyone calm. Bill and his wife Nancy would drive thousands of miles with their truck and trailer, arriving a day or two before the competition. Together they would set up the arena, check out the footing, and make sure that everything ran smoothly. Then, they would tear it all down and drive it all home. Bill truly deserves to be named Volunteer of the Year and is an inspiration to all!


2010: Priscilla G. Faulkner, Covington, GA
Priscilla started out as just a mom whose children tried vaulting at a USPony Club event and got hooked. With no vaulting clubs in her area, she soon started the Falconwood Vaulters and eventually found herself serving onthe AVA Board of Directors. She founded the AVA Friendship Team fifteen years ago. Sheri Benjamin commends her, “As a volunteer, what has struck me most about Priscilla is her fearless ‘I’ll figure it out’ attitude, even when she’s trying something brand new. And when she says that, we just step back and let her do her thing.”


2009: Linda Bibbler, Woodside, CA
Vaulting has been an important part of Linda’s life for more than 25 years. She has been involved as an enthusiastic parent, horse owner, AVA supporter, AVA and USEF Committee and Board member and USEF Competition Manager/Licensee. As V.P. Competitions she has reached out to all regions and clubs to encourage more, safer, and better competitions. She has set a high standard for excellence by vaulters and by competition managers.


2008: Sydney Frankel, Woodside, CA
One of Sydney’s children started vaulting 25 years ago.Very quickly she became more and more involved. It is because of her generous nature that she volunteered to be the first home of several new clubs, California Carousel, Woodside Vaulters, Kings Mountain Tiny Tots then her own club, Pacific Coast Vaulters. Her facility has been used by countless other clubs for practices and by the AVA for camps, clinics and training sessions, and her horses have been used by numerous individuals over the years. Not has she consistantly offered her facility and the use of her horses, but she opens up her heart and her home to those who need a place to stay for the night. She serves on boards and committees within the AVA and the USEF. All her volunteer work that has resulted in a second and third generation of Frankel family members involved in our sport. Behind all of these wonderful people is a mother and grandmother that supports the world of vaulting in so many ways.


2007: Noel Martonovich, Golden, CO
Noel has been an AVA member since 1995. Involved in vaulting as a parent since 1986, Noel joined the AVA in 1995 when she began coaching, lunging and training for Golden Gate Vaulters. She has served as the Region IV Supervisor and V.P. of Education. Her passionate efforts toward education have made a strong impact on the AVA throughout the years.


2006: Shari Stapleton-Smith, Tuscon, AZ
Shari was first and foremost a vaulting mom. She joined the American Vaulting Association about 13 years ago, the proud parent of Jessica Ballenger (now coaching Mt. Eden Vaulters). Over the years she has worn many hats. She helped at many local and regional competitions in California as an judges aide, announcer, gate keeper, office manager, clerk, timer or whatever else needed to be done. At the national competition level, she has been the volunteer and officials coordinator for Nationals as well as office manager for many years, innovating procedures and setting standards. She has attended many AVA Annual Meetings and has been on the AVA Board of Directors. Her help has been invaluable on the AVA Auction Committee. With her at the helm, the AVA started the Volunteer of the Year and Mentor of the Year programs. She continues to give her time and support to the AVA. We all appreciate her sweet smile and unending patience. Carol Beutler


2005: Tom Oakes, Albuquerque, NM
When Marge Oakes became AVA Vice President of Competitions, Tom was always at Nationals, waiting to help set up computers and run whatever errands were needed. He always knew where the nearest office supply store was. He did a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make Nationals run smoothly. In 2001 the Caskey/Oakes clan set up the on-line competition registration (http://vaulting.swcp.com). This was a major improvement, saving AVA volunteers hours of manual input. Tom has improved the registration and included a scoring component. Tom does it all from the goodness of his heart and his love of vaulting.


2004: Jan Weber, Groton, MA
Jan has been a force in her region (first Region I, later Region IX) and the AVA since 1993. She has served her region as AVA Supervisor and Regin IX Secretary. For the AVA, she has been VP Development, General Secretary, Publicity Chairperson, Tradeshow and Exhibits Chairperson as well as handling many special projects like insurance. “[The past Volunteer of the Year award winners are] people who have shown me their love of vaulting and our association through their dedication and committment. They are people who understand when a member says ‘the AVA should…’ it means ‘ should…’. The AVA is US.” Jan Weber


2003: Paul Caskey, Edgewood, NM
Paul Caskey served on the AVA board for two years, and has been instrumental into “taking the AVA into the 21st century” with music formats and equipment. He has been the “music man” for AVA National Championships since 1996, and has provided much of his own equipment for many of those events.


2002: Del and Doris Dyer, Blacksburg, VA
Del and Doris Dyer were the joint chairs for the 1997 AVA National Championships in Tennessee—the first national contest in the Eastern region. Del was a longeur and horse trainer for the Friendship Team for many years, and was always willing and eager to loan his wonderful horses to vaulters in need of a mount at both local and national competitions. Doris was a trusted member of the AVA board for many years. The couple founded Mt. Tabor Vaulters and hosted the team for almost two decades at their ranch in Blacksburg, VA.


2001: Bob Weber, Groton, MA
Bob Weber is the master of the competition vaulting arena—as both the guru of all-that-is-footing, and gatekeeper extraordinaire—for important vaulting events including six past national championships and a myriad of other important competitions, including US selection trial events. Although a respected specialist, Bob is also a true jack-of-all-trades, volunteering for everything from set up to scoring to judge’s aide. In his spare time, he also photographs both US and international vaulting events for Vaulting World.


2000: Gary Thwing, Soquel, CA

Gary Thwing, the parent of two Monte Vista vaulters, was always there to help with scoring at any fest, and especially at the National Championships.


1999: Marge Oakes, Albuquerque, NM
Marge has been a tireless supporter of AVA competitions. She chaired the first very successful AVA National Championship held outside the state of California, in 1991 in Albuquerque. She was Region IV supervisor from 1990 to 1992, treasurer for the 1993 National Championships, and VP competitions from 1994 to 2001.


1998: Carol Beutler, Half Moon Bay, CA
Throughout the years, Carol Beutler has worn many hats. A former AVA treasurer and a board member since 1996, Carol was also scoring manager for the National Championships since 1987, a former competition secretary, and high point committee chair from 1994 to 1998.


1997: Marianne Rose, Saratoga, CA
Marianne Rose has been involved with Vaulting World for the past three decades, as editor of the AVA’s official magazine since 1991, and as a production coordinator for a decade before that. She is also a former AVA VP, current AVA board member, Region II communications director, and manager of many local through FEI level competitions. Rumor has it that at many fests Marianne has discovered how to clone herself, so that she can play the roles of competition manager, Vaulting World reporter, and trot coach and longeur (with her trusty horse Pegasus)—all in different places at the same time!