* Photo courtesy of AQHA.

AQHA Granted Incentive to Remain in Amarillo

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) will be paid $3 million to keep its international headquarters in Amarillo, Texas.

The AQHA announced Tuesday that it would remain in Amarillo after that city’ Council passed a business retention incentive presented by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation.

The incentive would give the AQHA $3 million spread over a decade, or $300,000 per year, to keep the association’s headquarters as well as the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum in Amarillo for at least 10 years.

In exchange, the AQHA will agree to maintain an annual payroll of $9 million during that time.

The announcement came amid rumblings AQHA was considering a move to Fort Worth, which is home to American Paint Horse Association as well as the National Cutting Horse Association.

The American Quarter Horse Foundation – not the AQHA itself – had signed a lease agreement with the City of Fort Worth to develop a piece of land at Will Rogers Memorial Center for a future new location for the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) headquarters and museum.

In a statement announce the decision to stay in Amarillo, AQHA Interim Executive Vice President Chad Pierce thanked Amarillo’s mayor, city council members and economic development officials.

“We are excited to continue our relationship with the City of Amarillo,” Pierce said. “As an Association of horsemen and horsewomen, AQHA prides itself in the western heritage that Amarillo represents. Our staff is made up of more than 200 talented individuals who share a love of the Texas Panhandle.”

The Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, also called the Amarillo EDC, is a nonprofit funded primarily by a one half of one percent sales tax collected within the city. Its objective is to encourage economic development in the city.

“The Amarillo EDC is committed to business retention in Amarillo,” said Scott Bentley, chairman of the Amarillo EDC Board of Directors, said in the AQHA’s statement. “The American Quarter Horse Association has been a staple in our community since 1946, and this agreement ensures that it will remain in Amarillo for many years to come.”