Mar 08, 2024

The VIP Volunteer: Jim Moyer Earns 2023 USEA Volunteer of the Year Award

By Lindsay Berreth - USEA Staff
Jim Moyer was the USEA's top volunteer of 2023. Kim F. Miller/The West Equestrian photo

While not an eventer himself, Jim Moyer has been involved in the eventing community for five decades through his late wife, instructor Jean Moyer.

When Jean died in 2020, Jim continued volunteering in the sport to stay busy in retirement and stay connected to the community he loves.

In 2023, Jim clocked in just over 687 hours in his home area of Area VI and Area VI, which earned him the 2023 USEA Volunteer of the Year award.

“I would travel with [Jean] to a lot of the events and help out and volunteer,” he said. “When she passed, I had been retired, and this is something that keeps me away from home, so I don't have to sit around and watch TV. I'm not a bowler or a golfer; I just enjoy being around the horses and the people, so it's my opportunity to help out.”

Jim, Gig Harbor, Washington, volunteered at 10 events last year, including Aspen Farms, Ram Tap, Galway Downs, and Twin Rivers.

He travels in his motorhome with his dog and spends up to two weeks helping prep for events and then volunteering during them.

He’ll help stain jumps, prep cross-country courses, paint poles, get stalls ready for overnight competitors, and put up sponsor signs.

During events, he’s helped with parking, greeting competitors, stewarding for dressage and show jumping, and cross-country jump judging.

“I truly enjoy jump judging, just because it's kind of a relaxing,” he said. “And because I've been staining and working all week, it's kind of a relaxing task to just sit back and watch the horses go by. I enjoy the ring stewarding and greeting people. You get to see friends, and the competitors, they’ve just driven for 10 hours, and they're tired and cranky, and they just don't want to do anymore. So, it's nice to be able to offer them a water or a piece of candy and get them to relax and know that they’re finally at their final destination.”

Jim recommends that everyone give volunteering a try, especially young people since you can learn so much about the sport and the rules as you do it.

“If they volunteer for one level of cross country, and they do the briefing in the morning, they can learn about the rules. And then when they're out on the course, if they're watching another level, they can learn just by watching how the upper-level riders approach a jump,” he said. “I'm not quite sure why a lot more people don't volunteer. There are some of the events that do really well. They always have volunteers. I know some of the events I’m going to, you end up judging three or four jumps because they don't have enough judges to fulfill all the jumps.”

He added that many events he volunteers at have great swag, such as shirts, hats, and jackets, and other incentives.

“Down in California, they have programs where they almost actually pay the riders that volunteer,” he said. “You put in so many hours, and you'll get a certificate towards your next event that you can use for the competition, or you can use it for buying merchandise. They even have where a barn can sign up as a group, and the group that does the most volunteer hours wins VIP stabling at the next competition.”

While Jim’s goal was to top the VIP leaderboard this year, he’s always volunteered for the camaraderie and community of eventers.

“It’s always been a sport of companionship,” he said. “Everybody roots for everybody else. In the sport there's a lot of camaraderie. You go to these to the events, and groups are always having potlucks or helping each other out. There’s a lot of horses that my wife helped pick out for clients, so I like to follow them and the progress that they're making. I love the sport, so for me, I'll always be volunteer.”

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About the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport, the unsung heroes, and the people who make it possible to keep eventing alive. In efforts to recognize the dedication, commitment, and hard work that volunteers put into eventing, the USEA formed the Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) in 2015. In 2017, an online management portal was designed for volunteers, organizers, and volunteer coordinators at, which is also available as an app for iOS and Android.

Volunteer incentives include national and area recognition, year-end awards, a top ten USEA Volunteer leaderboard, and a Volunteer of the Year award which is given to the volunteer who accumulates the most volunteer hours on at recognized events throughout the USEA competition year. Click here to learn more about the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program.

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