Our earliest picture dates back to 1970 when Sid Griffith won the NRHA Reining Futurity at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Photo © Dalco

View Slideshow: Celebrating 50 Years of the Congress in Pictures

When looking back on the past 50 years of the Congress, we spoke to no other than Clark Bradley of Findlay, Ohio, who has more experience at the Congress than just about anyone. He actually has 50 years worth of experience and memories. Bradley has not just attended all 50 years at the Congress, he has competed every year, including this year.

Bradley’s story with horses began when he was fourteen. It is said that his father, Stretch Bradley, had the first Quarter Horse in Ohio during the 1940’s. He followed in his father’s footsteps and was inducted into the Congress Hall of Fame in 2008 for his lifelong dedication to the Ohio Quarter Horse Association, a director representative for Reining and Roping for 25 years, and his commitment to Congress. The award was undoubtedly deserved.clark bradley 2

Bradley is someone who has had the rare opportunity to experience Congress as it has grown even larger and evolved with the industry. He says that “Nobody could have imagined that the Congress would have grown, and become such a large show. Trainers and exhibitors feel they have to show at the Congress because it is prestigious! They want to watch the top horses and riders compete.”

After 50 years of showing at the Congress, we couldn’t resist asking Bradley what his yearly ‘rituals’ are. “I have to get a hot fudge brownie from the Sweet Shop, buy a year’s supply of Wrangler jeans, and new shirts that I like,” he said. We think that sums up the Congress perfectly.

View the flashback slideshow below from 1970 to 2010. Many thanks to the Congress official photographers throughout the years including Dalco, Harold Campton and Jeff Kirkbride.

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