Check out these past contests (2016 to the present) and links to the winning stories. The most recent contests are listed first. If you have future contest ideas, let Mrs. M know in a comment, or contact her >>
2022 Writing Contests
Spring “Mystery Horse” Reader’s Choice Contest (April 1-30)
Contestants chose a photo “prompt” to jumpstart a story of their own imagination. There were 19 entries in the ages 9-12 category and 24 entries in the ages 13-17. All six of the runners up received a digital audio book or their choice. The top winner from from each category was chosen by a Reader’s Choice Voting. Prizes included the winner’s choice of (1) any book (autographed by me), (2) a fun drinking tumbler and flashlight key chain, (3) a Circle C journal of your choice (with pen), or (4) horse gummy bears, horse socks, and Circle C Milestones keychains.
Spring “Mystery Horse” Reader’s Choice Contest (April 1-30)
Contestants watched a video about a “mystery” horse that shows up on the ranch (Circle C or Memory Creek) and are prompted to write what happens. Any age of the characters was accepted. There were twenty entries in each age category (9-12 and 13-17), forty total! The winner from from the Top 3 stories in each category were then chosen by a Reader’s Choice Voting. Prizes included an art set for each winner, as well as a fun, new Circle C flashlight/keychain.
Milestones Writing Contest (Feb. 14-March 1)
Respond in 500 words or less to one of these prompts:
- The moment Andi woke up, she knew something wasn’t right.
- Andi looked out the window and couldn’t believe what she saw!
- Andi is hiding a big secret. What is it and what happens?
Prizes (books provided by Kregel Publications)
- Gold Star: Memory Creek 2-book set, Circle C tote bag, horse socks, keychains
- Silver Star: Memory Creek 2-book set, Milestones journal, keychains
- Bronze Stars: Memory Creek 2-book sets
Winter (February) “Choose a Winter Setting” writing contest
Write any Circle C or Goldtown story you like. The only requirement is that you set the story in a winter setting. For California, settings with rain and floods are good in the lowlands or the valley. However, if you want snow, blizzards, falling through ice, or other winter problems, you will need to take the characters up into the mountains.
- Ages 9-13 Trinity Santoro, “Storms, Searching, and Snowball >>”
- Ages 14-17 Christiana Thomas, “Once Upon a Blizzard’s Tale >>”
Note: “Once Upon a Blizzard’s Tale” was originally an entry in the 2021 annual contest but did not place. The author revised and resubmitted her story, and this time (with a different judge), she won. Lesson? Just because you do not place does not mean that your story does not have merit. Keep on writing and never give up.
Prizes included a Circle C tote bag, a Circle C black pen, and a Circle C journal.
The runners up receive the honor of having their stories listed on this page with links.
2021 Writing Contests
Christmas (December) “Andi’s Best Gift” writing contest
In 50 words or less, what is the best gift Andi could receive for Christmas (or the best gift she could give to someone else)? Seventy-seven entries! Prizes included the never-published Circle C Christmas short story collection and red horse socks. And the winners are . . .
- First Place – Fallyn Christie, “I think that the most meaningful gift that Andi could receive would be a lost letter from her father. A letter from her father would be meaningful because she would have something that he wrote just to her.” (Note from Mrs. M. When Fallyn learned she had won first place, she sent the letter to go along with Andi’s most meaningful Christmas gift. Enjoy!
- Second Place – Susannah Shutt, “The best gift I could give Mother is obedience. She asked me to stay with Aunt Rebecca over Christmas since she couldn’t come to Fresno. I didn’t want to, but I decided that my gift to her and Auntie would be to obey happily. I think Jesus is happy too.“
- Second Place (tied) – Arabella Waugh
“If I could have her back,
Just one more time,
One more day,
If I could hear her tender, delicate neigh,
If I could stroke her flowing, silvery mane,
If I could once more hug her,
Embrace her golden neck,
This gift would surpass any other . . . Oh, Taffy, my horse.”
Fall (October/November) “Wanted Ads for Orphans” writing prompt.
Contestants from two age categories (ages 9-13 and ages 14-18) wrote “what if” stories about an orphan from the 18th or early 19th century being put up for adoption (or a distraught parent giving up a child). Prizes included any two of the following: Long Ride Home expanded edition, Circle C Christmas short-story collection, Circle C journal & pen (striped), a Circle C hat, Circle C journal and pen (blue), or a large Safari Ltd. horse.
Summer (June) Reader’s Choice “Pick a Picture” writing prompt.
Contestants from two age categories (Ages 8-13 and Ages 14-18) chose one of the pictures shown below. Prizes included a Circle C ceramic mug and an audio book, as well as a vial of gold or a plastic horse. The judges presented the top 3 stories and then readers voted for the winners.
2020 Writing Contests
Fall Reader’s Choice “Gentling Whirlwind”
Contestants watched the video then wrote stories about gentling the big, dappled gray horse from Dangerous Decision. Prizes included (first place) a Circle C Journal, a Circle C ceramic mug, and an art engraving kit. (Second place: A journal and a pen). The judge presented the top 5 stories and then readers voted.
May: Andi’s Birthday Gift in 50 Words or Less
107 entries! And the winner is . . . Martha E. Prize: choice of any Circle C book in the Circle C store >>
Andi is turning sweet 16. I would like to present her with one more day with her father. Whether or not I am transporting her into the past or bringing her father into the future, Andi will have a whole day to see her father again and have all of her family around her for her birthday.
Spring: Reader’s Choice: Finish San Francisco Smugglers
Contestants wrote an epilogue to San Francisco Smugglers, based on the promise the young Mexican stable boy made earlier to Andi about taking her riding along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. Prize: a $10 gift certificate to the Circle C store. A judge found the top 5 and then readers voted and chose these winners.
2019 Writing Contests
Spring: Reader’s Choice: Andi’s Orphan Calf
Contestants in TWO age categories wrote stories based on a writing prompt and a picture of Andi finding and raising an orphan calf. After the top 4 stories were selected by the judge, readers chose first and second places for both age groups. Prizes: AGES 7-11, a suncatcher to paint, and your choice of any audio book; AGES 12-16: Art Engraving kit and any audio book.
June: Photo Fun Contest
Fans begged for a Circle C photo contest for a change. There were over 34 beautiful photos! You can see them ALL here: Photo Fun Contest >> The winner was Brooklyn N. with her photo: ROSES ARE RED
June 2016 Photo Contest: Andi, Sadie, and Horse
Contestants wrote stories based on this photo prompt of Andi and Sadie with a paint horse. Prize: Art Engraving kit and any Circle C Adventures or Stepping Stones book. Winner: Braden Andi and Sadie Get Rich >>
Valentine’s Days Photo Contest: Riley’s Point of View
Sixteen contestants created stories from Riley Prescott’s point of view, based on a photograph. First place won a mini-jewel box and a plastic horse. Three tied for an honorable mention as second place. Sixteen great entries.
June Contest: Caring for Andi
Contestants created stories based on the photo and writing prompt above. Prize: Horse Art Etching set and the Circle C book of her choice.
Winner: Sadie Parker A Long, Long Day >>