By Bricklee MillerBulldog Classic March 27, 2014
Thiry-nine percent of the classes had 15 entries or more per judge at the 2014 MSU Bulldog Classic. (Credit: Jeff L. Homan)
The Bulldog Classic, Mississippi State University’s AQHA show, is the oldest Quarter Horse show in the state of Mississippi. But in 2010, the Bulldog Classic witnessed the lowest point in the event’s history with only 484 total entries.
This struggle stimulated a visit by a group of leaders in the industry (with two being AQHA First Vice President George Phillips and AQHA judge Dr. Jim Heird), along with representatives from the Mississippi Quarter Horse Association, to discuss the fate of the show. One of the suggestions from the visit was to assign one person to manage the show, while continuing to incorporate the MSU student groups in the production of the event. And so we did just that.
A new concept was formed for the 2011 show: an economical flat fee to draw larger numbers. This concept was something I had witness work for another event in a time when the economy was challenging. So I just kept it simple and modified their idea to work for our show because I knew if I could get 80 horses the first year, the budget would come together.
In 2011, on the first day of the show, when halter and showmanship were complete, we had already beat the total number of entries from 2010, and at this point I knew I was on the right track.
We also integrated technology with easy online entries and made customer service the top priority for our show. Since that time, we have continued to develop in our services, making each year better than the year prior. I feel based off the change from 2010 and having only 484 total entries to 2014, where we boasted a whopping 3,310 total entries for an split/combined show, that the contestants are responding positively and appreciate our efforts.
To sum it all up, the March 14-16 show in Starkville, Mississippi, was a definite success.
Bulldog Classic Highlights
Our show had a total of 3,310 entries for the weekend. This was an increase of 242 more entries than 2013 year, and is an 8 percent growth as well. Only 31 percent of total entries were from Mississippi. The other entries traveled from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas.
And one of the best parts of the Bulldog Classic? Many of the contestants qualified for an AQHA world championship show in just one go!
"Outside the Ring" shares ingenious tips that will keep your children entertained at horse shows even when they aren't showing. Look for it in the March American Quarter Horse Journal.
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