The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) announced it will postpone one of its World Championship shows this year.
The Amarillo, Texas-based association said in a statement the 2020 AQHA Select World Championship Show will not be held as scheduled Aug. 31-Sept. 6 at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
The association did not give a date for when the show might be rescheduled, or say where it would be held.
“Several factors went into the consideration of this difficult decision, including but not limited to the health and safety of attendees, many of whom are within the largest at-risk age range and have expressed their concerns about attending the event, in addition to the total number of COVID-19 cases reported in Fort Worth,” AQHA Chief Show Officer Justin Billings said in a statement of the event, which is for riders age 50 and older.
As of Thursday, July 23, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported 351,618 cases of COVID-19 and 4,348 deaths from the disease. Tarrant County, where Fort Worth is located, reported 310 deaths, according to the state.
The state of Texas currently requires people to wear a mask in public in counties with more than 20 cases of the disease. This includes Tarrant County.
“We are currently living in a world full of uncertainty,” Billings said in the AQHA’s statement. “However, what is certain is that AQHA leadership and staff are committed to listening to our members and protecting the health and safety of our exhibitors, members and staff during this unprecedented time. This means making decisions, like this one, that are in the best interest of the well-being of our Select members, who fall within the largest at-risk age group.”
The COVID-19 pandemic — notably, the cancellation of many horse shows – had already prompted the AQHA to eliminate qualifying for World Championship events, including Select World.
AQHA leadership is evaluating the possibility of hosting the Adequan® Select World later this year. Once a decision is made, AQHA will release additional information at www.aqha.com/selectworld.
Youth World Details
Though there are changes to Select World, officials say the 2020 Ford Tough American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Championship Show will proceed as scheduled July 29 – Aug. 8 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Officials said in a statement there will be “stringent” COVID-19 health precautions in place, and that they have been in constant contact with Oklahoma City’s health department during preparations for the show.
“While there is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any setting where people are present, there are currently lower confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Oklahoma City compared to Fort Worth,” the AQHA said in its statement. “All Ford Youth World exhibitors and attendees are ultimately responsible for protecting themselves and preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
Officials urged anyone who has a fever or other symptoms within two weeks preceding the show, or have been in contact with someone else with symptoms during this time, to refrain from attending the show. It also recommended those who are immune compromised also do not attend.