The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) has canceled four major shows due to the coronavirus, including the AQHA Cattle Level 1 Championships.
The canceled shows are: the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships, AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Finals, AQHA Cattle Level 1 Championships, and National Ranch and Stock Horse Alliance (NRSHA) National Championships. The events had been slated for June 23-27 at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Association officials, who announced the cancellation on Thursday, April 30, said they made the decision to cancel the shows due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and COVID-19, and for the safety and well-being of exhibitors, trainers, spectators and staff.
“The decision to cancel this show was not made lightly,” said Justin Billings, AQHA chief show officer, said in a statement announcing the cancellation. “This pandemic is not only affecting our daily lives, but also the livelihoods of our ranchers and professional horsemen. We are currently living in a world full of uncertainty. However, what is certain is that AQHA leadership and staff are committed to protecting the health and safety of our members, spectators and staff during this unprecedented time. Unfortunately, that means making difficult decisions, like this one, that are in the best interest of the well-being of our members. After carefully considering the feedback shared by our members and alliance partners, AQHA will not reschedule this event, but rather make plans for an even greater AQHA VRH World, RHC Finals, Cattle Level 1 and NRSHA National Championships in 2021.”
The AQHA said several factors went into the consideration of the decision, including but not limited to the health and safety of attendees; local, state and federal government guidelines and mandates; the potential economic impact the coronavirus will have on our members as this situation evolves; and shelter-in-place orders that have prevented exhibitors from competing with their horses leading up to the event. Feedback was also gathered directly from NRSHA alliance partners. In addition, AQHA disseminated a survey to AQHA exhibitors, who were qualified for the event, to gather additional feedback.
Qualifying requirements for the 2021 AQHA VRH World, RHC Finals, Cattle Level 1 and NRSHA Championships will be reviewed as the situation unfolds and announced at a later date.
Earlier this year, the AQHA announced it would waive qualification for three of its World Championship shows.
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