Level 1 Championships
The AQHA will cancel its three Nutrena Level 1 Championship shows, but still plans to hold the Cattle Level 1 Championships later this summer. • Photo by Molly Montag.

AQHA Cattle Level 1 Championships Still A Go, Nutrena Level 1s Canceled

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) still plans to hold its Cattle Level 1 Championship show. However, officials say they had to cancel three Nutrena AQHA Level 1 Championship shows slated for this spring due to COVID-19.

Officials say the association made the decision to cancel the three Nutrena AQHA Level 1 Championships, which were scheduled for April and May, and will not reschedule the shows.

The canceled shows are the Nutrena Central AQHA Level 1 Championships, April 8-11, at OKC Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City; Nutrena West AQHA Level 1 Championships, April 15-19, at the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center in Las Vegas; and Nutrena East AQHA Level 1 Championships, April 29 – May 3, at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, Ohio.

Cattle Level 1 Championships

Unlike the other Level 1 Championships, which had been scheduled to take place in the next few months, the AQHA Cattle Level 1 Championships will not be held until later this summer and, as of today (March 17), are still expected to be held as planned.

The Cattle Level 1 Championships are to be held June 23-27 in conjunction with the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships, AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Finals and National Ranch and Stock Horse Alliance National Championship Show. That event is at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

AQHA Director of Communications Sarah Davisson said the association’s staff will continue to monitor coronavirus (COVID-19) developments in regards to the Cattle Level 1 Championships.

“AQHA will work with the facility management and respects decisions made by local authorities as the situation evolves,” she said via email. “The Association will be in direct contact with exhibitors if any changes are made and as more information becomes available.”

Information will also be posted on www.aqha.com/versatility.  

Host Site Reactions

AQHA leadership said it has been closely monitoring information issued by the Centers for Diseases Control & Prevention (CDC) and local health districts regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) for the three Nutrena AQHA Level 1 Championships scheduled this spring. The CDC is now urging a nationwide halt to gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, citing the risk of spread of the virus.

The cancellation of the AQHA Level 1 Championship shows is one of many announced in the industry. Quarter Horse News has compiled a master list of all industry cancellations and postponements related to COVID-19.

In addition, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt late last week declared a state of emergency for Oklahoma City and suspended events with 50 or more participants through April 12.

In addition, the Southern Nevada Health District has reported new confirmed positive cases of the coronavirus in Clark County. Las Vegas resorts have also announced that they are closing temporarily and entertainment companies are suspending operations for approximately two weeks, beginning on March 17.

On March 12,  Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, signed an order to prohibit mass gatherings of 100 or more in the state of Ohio. This order will remain in effect until the state of emergency declared by Gov. Mike DeWine has been rescinded or modified. And, an Ohio Department of Health has issued an order closing all Ohio bars and restaurants to in-house patrons effective March 15. 

“For the protection of our members, spectators and AQHA staff, we fully support the decisions made by Mayor Holt, Gov. DeWine and the local authorities in Oklahoma and Ohio. We are also mindful of recent recommendations made by the CDC and local heath districts, in addition to the fact that several Las Vegas resorts are temporarily closing,” said Craig Huffhines, AQHA executive vice president. “We greatly appreciate the professionalism and courtesy the management of OKC Fairgrounds, the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center and World Equestrian Center have shown AQHA with open lines of communication as we evaluated the status of this worldwide pandemic and the effect on the Nutrena AQHA Level 1 Championships. After careful consideration and the extraordinary unprecedented circumstances this pandemic is causing worldwide, AQHA will not reschedule these events, due to the impact on AQHA-sanctioned events scheduled for later this year.”

Officials with the association say exhibitors who were entered to compete at the Nutrena Level 1 Championship shows will be refunded in full for their entries. Refunds will be issued to the original payment method.

Additional Details

Nutrena AQHA Level 1 Championships attendees are responsible for cancelling additional travel arrangements. The South Point Hotel & Casino will waive room cancellation fees for Nutrena West attendees. Please contact the South Point Hotel & Casino at 866-791-7626 to cancel your room reservations.

Eligibility to compete at the 2021 Nutrena AQHA Level 1 Championships will be based on 2020 Level 1 and Rookie eligibility requirements.

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