Road to the Horse Wild Card Challenge Judges

Road to the Horse strives to bring together the best of the best — colt starters, colts, entertainment and judges. Judging the world’s best colt starters at horsemanship’s most prestigious event, is the responsibility of five individuals who are often as unique as the event itself. Each judge on the panel is an expert in their discipline. This year’s judging lineup comes with a unique blend of talent that stretches from the show pen to the round pen and even to the cutting arena.

With an emphasis on building a solid foundation, each judge critiques every step — from beginning to end — as competitors work to build a trusting partnership with their colt. The five talented judges chosen to judge at the Road tot he Horse Wild Card Challenge are:  Barbra Schulte, Punk Carter, Eric Hoffman, Jesse Westfall. Jeff Williams will serve as Head Judge for the event. The Road to the Horse Wild Card Challenge judging panel will gather at the Cowtown Coliseum on September 22-25, 2022, to determine which competitor will walk away with the title.

Barbra Schulte

Barbra Schulte is driven by a singular desire – to help others grow their confidence and reach for the stars. She is a High-Performance Coach, cutting horse trainer, author of four books, publisher of video blogs and online programs, a clinician, speaker, and an honoree in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. As a NCHA competitor, Barbra was the first woman to win two legs of cutting’s triple crown. She was awarded the National Female Equestrian of the Year Award by the AQHA and the Women’s Sports Foundation. In 2020, she received the American Horse Publications Equine Industry Vision Award for her positive impact across the horse industry. In 2021, she received the Western Horseman & The Art of the Cowgirl’s Women of the West Award. She is the host of the popular podcast, The Barbra Schulte Show. Barbra is the CEO of the Center for Equestrian Performance. She lives in Brenham, Texas with her husband, Tom, three horses, two dogs, and their kitty.

Punk Carter

Punk Carter is a cutting horse industry icon and one of its most respected members and activist. He is a past President of the NCHA, and has been an NCHA Director for over 30 years. He was inducted into the NCHA Members’ Hall of Fame during the Futurity in 2002, and also the TX Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2018. Punk has been featured in a number of national television and magazine advertisements for NCHA, Strongid, and other products he endorses or created, including his own BBQ sauce. For Punk, cutting is literally all in the family. His family, including six generations, claim cutting as a beloved hobby, and 3 are in the family business. Punk’s father, John Carter, (NCHA Riders Hall of Fame, NCHA AAAA Judge) who Punk credits as one of his biggest mentors, and his brother, Roy and daughter Caimey, are all successful cutting horse trainers.

Eric Hoffmann

Eric Hoffmann is the Director of Horsemanship and head horsemanship instructor at the Montana Center for Horsemanship and the University of Montana Western. He has taught horsemanship classes at MCH and Montana Western since 2008.  Hoffmann holds an A.A.S. in Equine Management and Training from Laramie County Community College and has earned a B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agriculture Education from the University of Wyoming and Montana State University.  Eric currently serves on the Ranching Heritage Committee for the AQHA. Eric coached the University of Western Montana Colt Starting Team to a championship at the Road to the Horse Days of ’47 Colt Starting Competition in Salt Lake City in 2021.

Jesse Westfall

Jesse Westfall grew up watching western shows with his grandpa and knew early on that he wanted to ride horses. Through the years, Jesse has accumulated a record to be proud of including multiple NRHA and AQHA year-end awards, and as well as being a two-time Reserve Champion at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Jesse served as an NRHA judge for 14 years and presided over shows in the United States, Canada and Australia. He has a strong interest in bloodlines and breeding, and is responsible for breeding horses that have won 11 All American Quarter Horse Congress Championships. He is in his seventh year as the trainer in residence at Asbury University where he teaches training classes. He is constantly refining his skills and striving to be the best possible horseman that he can be. Jesse’s passion for horses is definitely a result of his passion for life. He serves as a constant inspiration to his wife, Stacy, and is a dedicated father to their three sons.

Jeff Williams – Head Judge

For more than 20 years, Jeff Williams has been starting colts for numerous longtime clients that include the Haythorn Land & Livestock, King Ranch, Beggs Ranch, Matador Ranch, Espuela Ranch, and the Muleshoe Ranch. Many of the colts he starts bring top bids at prestigious ranch horse sales. Jeff is also a Ranch Horse Association of America event judge. Not only does Jeff have an in-depth and lifelong understanding of the elements that create a perfect foundation for a developing colt, he is a cowboy who lives every day in the saddle. Road to the Horse 2022 will mark Jeff’s sixth year as a Road to the Horse judge.