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AQHA Announces Changes to Level 1 Championships

BoxoHeavensBlue JOstrander 15KM web400The Zoetis AQHA Novice Cattle Championships is being replaced by the new Central Level 1 Championships, which will be the only one of the three Level 1 Championships to include cattle classes. • K.C. Montgomery Photography

In early October, the American Quarter Horse Association announced three locations for the 2016 AQHA Level 1 Championships, all set for the spring of 2016.

The 2016 SmartPak AQHA West Level 1 Championships will return to the South Point Equestrian and Events Center in Las Vegas, April 20-24. The 2016 Nutrena AQHA East Level 1 Championships is slated for May 4-8 at the Governor James B. Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina, with the newly added 2016 AQHA Central Level 1 Championships April 13-17 at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

The SmartPak West, AQHA Central and Nutrena East will all offer AQHA’s core and over-fences classes; the AQHA Central will be the only show to offer cattle classes.

“The AQHA is excited about this announcement, as adding a third location and moving these shows to the spring will provide more convenience for exhibitors, with less travel involved,” said Patti Carter, AQHA director of shows.
For 2016 only, the AQHA has also changed the qualifying rules. To be eligible to enter the 2016 Level 1 Championship, an exhibitor must:

  • Be Level 1 eligible in the class they wish to enter as of Jan. 1, 2015
  • Be an AQHA member at the time of entry and at the time of the 2016 Level 1 Championships

If a competitor graduated out of Level 1 in the 2015 show season, he or she is still invited to enter the event.
Level 1 eligibility is determined on a class-by-class basis. Exhibitors are encouraged to use the online level verification system at to determine if they are Level 1-eligible in a particular class.

Level 1 Championship class winners in 2015 cannot show in that same class at future Level 1 Championships, including the 2016 Level 1 Championships. However, they can still show in that class at AQHA shows (excluding the Level 1 Championships) until the point level is met. Learn more about AQHA Rule SHW245.3 in the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations.