Do you agree with moving the Awards Celebration from the convention to during the world show? Vote in our poll and let us know. Photo © GoHorseShow

Reader Poll: Do You Like having the AQHA Year End Awards Banquet with the World Show in November?

This year at the AQHA World Show, the Year End Awards Banquet will be held in conjunction with the show on Sunday, November 11 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. This is a new development from past years where the High Point Awards Celebration was held during the yearly AQHA Convention held in March.

According to a press release from AQHA which was first published on August 24, 2017, AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines explained the decision.

“We feel holding this awards presentation as a separate event will allow us to appropriately celebrate these exhibitors and horses for their hard work and dedication to win the top honor of being named an AQHA year-end high-point winner,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines. “This move was based on exhibitor input and a desire to have the greatest participation during this very significant awards celebration.”

The press release further elaborates and explains that AQHA conducted a survey this spring to determine if Open and Amateur year-end high-point winners would prefer to modify the current awards banquet to better showcase the Association’s top athletes. According to AQHA officials, the survey was sent to the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Open, Amateur and Equestrians with Disabilities high-points, in addition to the Justin Boots Intermediates and Exhibitors of the Year.

AQHA said that the survey results showed that high-point winners would prefer the banquet to be held later in the year to ensure the winners had enough time to plan to attend and make travel arrangements. Due to the quick turnaround between the Association’s compilation of year-end award winners and the March annual convention dates, previous award winners felt there was not enough time to make travel plans and take a vacation from work to attend this banquet to accept an award they had worked hard to earn.

After compiling the data, the information was presented to the AQHA Executive Committee at its July 2017 meeting with various suggestions by the convention planning committee. Based on the survey results, the Executive Committee agreed it was time for a change.

GoHorseShow talked to some past high point winners about what they thought about this change. We also created a poll where the horse show community can voice their opinion again on this change. Please vote and let us know your thoughts.

Leigh Ann Griffith – With all due respect, the World Show and High Point titles are two very different animals, and combining them seemingly hurts the convention, and makes the high point process seem less meaningful. The formal dinner was always the peak event of convention week, and it was fascinating to meet people from around the country and world in a more intimate setting. Receiving awards is very exciting, but being recognized almost a year after the award was earned takes a lot of the momentum away from the high point victory. While winning the World Show is a great honor, high point title exhibitors put a lot of money back into the industry along the course of 52 weeks supporting shows. It also seems essential to attend the convention as policy is made there, and the high point award recipients can contribute valuable information from their experience on the road in a fresh perspective.

Sarah Lebsock – There are things I love about the AQHA awards banquet being moved to November, and things I’m not so thrilled about. I’m already in Oklahoma City, so that’s pretty convenient. It will hopefully give those who may not have been to the Open AQHA World Show an opportunity to watch and see just how incredible the competition is. I don’t love that those who win awards have to wait until November of the following year to be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments. It almost feels like by then, everyone has forgotten about it. I would also love to see AQHA recognize the amateurs as extensively as they do the youth, as they should. The Youth All-Around and Reserve All-Around get recognized and receive awards at their world show as well as at the awards banquet. The Amateur All-Around only gets identified and awarded once with no recognition to the Reserve. It’s a little disheartening as it makes the amateur accomplishments feel less valued.

Brandy Baldwin-Bunting – No, I am incredibly disappointed it moved to the world show because as the All-Around Amateur and High Point Amateur Equitation this past year, I had to wait an entire year to be recognized for these achievements. It is almost 2019, and I am just accepting my award for 2017. Furthermore, as a past multiple award winner, I loved traveling to the many places AQHA has offered the convention – Reno, New Orleans, San Antonio, etc., and it was always a highlight of winning.


Stevenson – I’m not a huge fan of both of them being together. I always thought it was fun being in a different place each year because it was more like a vacation that all your friends are going to be at. The AQHA World Show should be your primary focus, and your attention needs to be on showing and preparing to deliver your best performance. The banquet might get thrown more to the wayside, which it shouldn’t, with people focusing on the world show. I can see where some people may like both at the same place and time, but I think they should be separate where everyone has their time to shine.

Scott Reinartz
– I do not. I think celebrating something that happened 11 months ago is a moot point. We have already moved on to the current year. Let us end the year in November, have December off for the holidays. It gives everyone a month to complete year-end results and celebrate in January.




Wanda Lounder – No, I think it takes away from the prestige of those awards, and unless you’re going to attend the world show, it doesn’t work. It’s much better being held at the convention.





What do you think about this move? Vote in our poll.

Do you like having the AQHA Year End Awards Banquet with the World Show in November?

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