Exhibitors will be riding, sliding, roping, boxing and fence-turning their way to an inaugural American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Novice Championship title come April. The very first Zoetis AQHA Cattle Novice Championship Show is on the books for April 17-19, 2014, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Okla.
With the entry deadline of Feb. 28 not too far around the corner, the association is taking the burden out of qualifying for this inaugural event. What that means is that any competitor looking to attend the first Zoetis Cattle Novice Championship must be Novice-eligible from Jan. 1, 2013-Feb. 28, 2014.
All an exhibitor needs to do is be Novice-eligible in the class they wish to enter, and be an AQHA member at the time of entry and at the time of the 2014 Zoetis Cattle Novice Championship. Should a competitor graduate out of Novice in the 2013 show season, he/she is still invited to enter the event.
Novice eligibility is determined on a class-by-class basis. If exhibitors would like to determine if they are Novice-eligible in a particular class, they are encouraged to visit www.aqha.com/novice to review the guidelines or contact AQHA customer service at 806-376-4811 for help in verifying eligibility.
The following classes are on the Zoetis Cattle Novice Championship line-up:
• Breakaway Roping
• Tie-down Roping
• Team Penning
• Ranch Sorting
• Performance Halter Mares
• Performance Halter Geldings
To compete in a performance halter class, the horse-and-rider team must also be entered in a performance class at the Zoetis Cattle Novice Championship. And if a horse and rider compete in performance halter or reining at the Novice Championship in Oklahoma City, they will not be able to compete in either of those classes at any other 2014 Novice Championship. Should a horse and rider compete in reining and performance halter at the 2013 Novice Championships, they will be able to enter the 2014 Zoetis Cattle Novice Championship, provided they are eligible.
“The addition of cattle events to the Novice Championship menu of shows has been greatly anticipated by AQHA competitors,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway Jr. “For the Novice Championship program to see success, association staff and the AQHA Executive Committee thought it wise to progress the events in phases, and the addition of the Zoetis Cattle Novice Championship is the latest evolution for the program.”
While the cost to attend the Zoetis Cattle Novice Championship has not yet been solidified, exhibitors will see a flat-fee-style show, like the SmartPak West and Nutrena East AQHA Novice Championship shows. Cattle fees will be in addition to the flat fee to attend the show, which includes the cost of one stall, office fees, entry fees for three classes and drug testing. For exhibitors looking to enter more than three classes, additional class fees and cattle charges will be required.
The open qualifying method for the inaugural Zoetis Cattle Novice Championship will only be offered for the 2014 event. Qualifying methods for the 2015 event will be announced in the next few months, so stay tuned to www.aqha.com/novicecattle for those updates, plus the unveiling of the awards, schedule and free Ride the Pattern clinics taught by AQHA Professional Horsemen.