The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) annual convention has been cancelled due to concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). The event was scheduled to begin later this week in Las Vegas.
The cancellation of the AQHA Convention, which was slated for March 13-16, is the second major event in the Western performance industry to be scuttled due to the virus, which originated in China and has spread to several countries, including the United States.
The announcement comes on the heels of a number of large sporting or entertainment events, including at least one major Western performance show, to announce similar cancellations due to the virus.
“We’ve made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s convention, based on the latest reports concerning the coronavirus,” AQHA Executive Vice President said in a statement. “We are deeply concerned for the health and safety of the convention’s registrants from around the world and AQHA staff who must travel to Las Vegas for the event.”
The AQHA said registrants will receive a full refund for their registration fees, and that the host hotel, the South Point Hotel & Casino, will also waive room cancellation fees. Officials urged convention goers to contact the South Point Hotel & Casino at 866-791-7626 to cancel room reservations.
“We greatly appreciate the professionalism and courtesy that the South Point Hotel & Casino has shown AQHA and our convention registrants with handling this situation,” Huffhines said.
European Futurity Cancellation
The AQHA Convention is not the first Western performance horse event to be postponed or cancelled due to coronavirus.
In late February, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) postponed this month’s NRHA European Futurity due to a concentration of cases of the virus near the show grounds in Northern Italy – including one in Cremona, where the show venue was located.
Over the weekend, officials in Italy have announced a total ban on people going in and out of the province of Lombardy, which is where Cremona is located. The NRHA European Futurity, which was scheduled for March 22-28, has not yet been rescheduled.
Several major non-equine events also have cancelled to help stop the spread of the virus, including major global conferences and music events, such as the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas.
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