AQHA convention wraps up in Vegas

The American Quarter Horse Association is an organization that works for its members. Each spring, AQHA holds an annual convention to review member-submitted rule changes, appoint new AQHA directors, induct members into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and present year-end awards. The 2016 AQHA Convention was March 11-14 at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

AQHA Executive Committee

The new AQHA Executive Committee was elected March 14. This five-person committee is responsible for implementing important decisions made by AQHA members through the board of directors.

The 2016-17 AQHA Executive Committee is President Sandy Arledge of Encinitas, California; First Vice President Ralph Seekins of Fairbanks, Alaska; Second Vice President Dr. Jim Heird of College Station, Texas; member Stan Weaver of Big Sandy, Montana; and member Butch Wise of El Reno, Oklahoma.

Learn more about each member of the AQHA Executive Committee.

Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2016 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inducted 10 legends at convention: AQHA Past President Johannes Orgeldinger of Grosswallstadt, Germany; the late Paul Curtner of Jacksboro, Texas; Floyd “Sunny Jim” Orr of Pueblo, Colorado; Ben Hudson of Morgan Mill, Texas; the 1961 stallion Mr Gun Smoke; the 1949 stallion Parker’s Trouble; the 1917 stallion Zantanon; the 1967 gelding Van Decka; the 1954 gelding Vandy’s Flash; and the 1943 Thoroughbred mare Woven Web.

In addition to the Hall of Fame inductions, Dawn Forest of College Station, Texas, was presented the 2015 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award at the Hall of Fame Banquet.

Professionals of the Year

The 2015 Don Burt Professional’s Choice Professional Horseman of the Year, Professional’s Choice Horsewoman of the Year and Professional’s Choice Most Valuable Professional awards were presented at the awards banquet March 12. The awards were presented by AQHA Corporate Partner Professional’s Choice.

Larry Little of Mebane, North Carolina, was named the 2015 Don Burt Professional’s Choice Professional Horseman of the Year. Lainie DeBoer of Forest Lake, Minnesota, was named the 2015 Professional’s Choice Horsewoman of the Year. Leslie Lange of Greeley, Colorado, was named the 2015 Most Valuable Professional. Read more about Little, DeBoer and Lange.

2015 AQHA Year-End Winners

More than 100 high-point titles were awarded at the awards banquet.

In addition to the leaders in each division, AQHA also named the 2015 year-end all-around award winners:

Markel Insurance All-Around Youth Ellexxah Ireland Maxwell and Zips Bossy Chip

Farnam All-Around Amateur Hayley Saul and Putadrinkinmyhand

Farnam All-Around Junior Horse Snap Krackle Pop, owned by Twylla Lynn Brown

Farnam All-Around Senior Horse DT Shesa Dun Whiz, owned by DT Horses LLC

Farnam World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse Heza Dasha Fire, owned by S-Quarter K LLC

2015 Lifetime Achievement Awards

The recipients of the 2015 AQHA Lifetime Achievement Awards were Greg Whalen of Rio Verde, Arizona, Pat Carter of St. George, Ontario and Wayne Jordan of Whitesboro, Texas. These individuals were nominated and voted on by the Professional Horsemen’s Council.