IEA Honors Retiring Co-Founder Myron Leff at Western National Finals

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The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) officially announced the retirement, from the organization, of Co-Founder and Board Member, Myron Joel Leff during the 2023 IEA Western National Finals in Fort Worth, Texas in June 2023.

Most comfortable in jeans and a cowboy hat, Leff was first introduced to IEA by his western riding instructor and fellow IEA Co-Founder, Wayne Ackerer, and is one of the original four co-founders of the IEA. Leff has served as the previous Director of Marketing and Chief Operating Officer and as a Board Member for more than 20 years. Over those years, you could always find Myron with a big smile and handshake as his favorite thing has been presenting awards to thousands of riders.

During the early years of IEA, Leff lent his decades of Marketing and Advertising expertise to the growing organization – boosting it to higher levels year after year and helping catapult IEA into the National spotlight – ultimately making it the largest youth equestrian program in the nation.

In 2021, he officially stepped down from his IEA Marketing role while continuing to serve on the Board. This past April, Leff retired from the IEA Board of Directors. He will retain Director Emeritus status along with Co-Founder Timothy J. Boone who retired in 2022.

Executive Director and original IEA Co-Founder, Roxane Durant presented Leff with a custom IEA buckle during the awards presentation of the Myron J. Leff Leading Western Rider Award at this year’s National Finals. This perpetual trophy was established in 2021 and is awarded to the top high school Western rider at each National Finals. Per usual, Leff was in center ring presenting the trophy in his name to 2023 IEA Western Leading Rider, Abbey Zawisza of KM Equestrian Black IEA Team coached by Katie Morehead.

“Myron has been an integral part of the IEA since the beginning,” stated Durant. “ I am eternally grateful for his knowledge, support, and friendship for the past 20+ years. He may be officially retiring from IEA positions, but I guarantee that he will be a lifetime fan of the organization and its riders. I am sure that he will still be following along from the sidelines- popping into shows to cheer for our riders and handing out a few awards, handshakes, and hugs along the way.” 

 A 1970 graduate of Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising and Public Relations, Leff set out on what is now a 50+ year journey of providing brand management, business consulting, and advertising expertise to a variety of nationally recognized companies in the Healthcare, Manufacturing, Banking, Restaurant, and Retail industries. While moving to Emeritus status at IEA, he continues as owner of Leff & Associates. In addition to Leff and Associates, Myron has created multiple businesses over the course of his career and has called the Columbus, Ohio area home for the past four decades. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Leff and his wife, Joyce, have been married for over 50 years and live near their son, daughter-in-law and two teenage grandchildren in Westerville, Ohio. Along with Myron, you could often find Joyce in the stands or in the office helping during many IEA National Finals.

In addition to his countless accolades and awards received over the course of his career, Leff was also the 2012 recipient of the Timothy J. Boone Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor given by the IEA to an adult member for long-term, commendable service to the IEA.

With his “extra time,” Leff hopes to improve his golf game and return to his love of western riding out on the ranges in Wyoming. Who knows, we might just see him in an Adult IEA Western class one day! Congratulations to Myron and a heartfelt thank-you to the many years of service with IEA.

Now in its 22nd year, the IEA has over 14,600 members across the United States participating in Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage disciplines. IEA’s mission is to promote lifelong involvement in equestrian athletics. IEA wishes to introduce students in grades 4-8 (Future) and 9-12 (Upper School) to equestrian sports and to develop understanding and appreciation of equestrian sports through organized competitions and educational opportunities. IEA further wishes to inspire and facilitate adults to continue their journey in equestrian athletics for a lifetime.

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Media Contact:
Kimber Whanger
Director of Marketing & Communications
509 S. Otterbein Ave, Suite 9, Westerville, OH 43081 | 614.542.9415

Images available on request