AQHA Leadership Permanently Cancels 2020 AQHA Convention
AQHA Leadership Permanently Cancels 2020 AQHA Convention
By Craig Huffhines, AQHA executive vice president
On March 9, the American Quarter Horse Association cancelled the 2020 AQHA Convention, due to rapidly escalating health concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The AQHA Executive Committee and AQHA leadership were faced with a difficult decision but, at the end of the day, it came down to the consideration of the health, safety and wellness of our members worldwide, board of directors and staff. This was the first time in the Association’s 80-year history that convention has been cancelled. Due to the uncertainty of the current COVID-19 pandemic witnessed around the globe, the AQHA Executive Committee has opted not to reschedule the 2020 AQHA Convention, but to instead cancel the event until the 2021 AQHA Convention, which is scheduled for February 25 to March 1 in San Antonio.
Since the announcement of the cancellation this week, the AQHA Executive Committee, AQHA staff and committee chairs have been developing a plan that will allow the Association to move forward in the areas of governance and committee work that would have been addressed at convention.
AQHA holds an annual convention to review member-submitted rule-change proposals, appoint new AQHA directors, induct new members into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and elect the AQHA Executive Committee. The Executive Committee and AQHA staff have carefully studied the Association’s bylaws, which outlines the process for dealing with this type of unusual situation. Through the direction of AQHA’s bylaws, we have outlined a plan for moving forward below.
According to AQHA Bylaw Article IV Section 2, “No officer or member of the executive committee may serve on the executive committee in excess of five consecutive years.” AQHA 2019-20 President Stan Weaver has served on the AQHA Executive Committee for five consecutive years. Beginning on March 16, there will be a vacancy on the AQHA Executive Committee due to Stan’s term limit. At that time, incumbent Executive Committee members will elevate one position. F.E. “Butch” Wise of El Reno, Oklahoma, will become the acting AQHA President; Norman Luba of Louisville, Kentucky,will become the AQHA First Vice President; Dr. Scott Myers of Sharon Center, Ohio, elevates to Second Vice President; and Kenneth Banks of Schulenburg, Texas, elevates to the Executive Committee Member One position.
AQHA Bylaw Article IV Section 3 provides that the remaining Executive Committee may fill all vacancies in the Executive Committee between annual conventions.
The AQHA Executive Committee has requested the input of the AQHA past presidents regarding the appointment of the vacant Executive Committee seat. The AQHA past presidents have agreed to serve the membership in this capacity. The 2020-21 candidates are Lori Bucholz of Waterloo, Nebraska, and James “Jim” Hunt of Faith, South Dakota. The past presidents will vote for one of the two candidates as a recommendation to fill the vacancy for the Executive Committee to review. Once the new Executive Committee member is officially selected, AQHA will share more information on the 2020-21 Executive Committee on AQHA.com.
In the coming weeks, 11 of the AQHA Standing Committees are meeting via Skype, Microsoft Teams and conference calls to discuss rule-change proposals and other business-related items that were on their respective agendas. Committee reports and recommendations will be presented to the Executive Committee in April, with the exception of the reports from the AQHA Studbook and Registration and Nominations and Credentials committees.
According to AQHA bylaws, only the AQHA Board of Directors can pass registration and bylaw rules in person at an AQHA convention. Therefore, agenda items for these two committees must wait until the 2021 AQHA Convention. AQHA will notify individuals who submitted agenda items for these two committees that the items will carry over to next year’s convention, unless the Association is notified otherwise by the individual who originally submitted the agenda item.
AQHA will leave unoccupied director positions vacant until the 2021 AQHA Convention. Directors-at-large and director emeriti who would have elevated at the 2020 AQHA Convention will now be recognized at the 2021 AQHA Convention.
2020 Hall of Fame
The 2020 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the Hall of Fame Induction Banquet at the 2021 AQHA Convention in San Antonio.
The Hall of Fame Committee will not nominate a Class of 2021, but will convene a conference call to address procedural recommendations on this year’s committee agenda. The Hall of Fame Committee will reconvene at the 2021 AQHA Convention to nominate and approve the Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
More updates, including recordings of reports and educational sessions, will be available at www.aqha.com/convention.
Upcoming AQHA Championship Shows
The Nutrena AQHA Level 1 Championships are proceeding as scheduled. AQHA staff is monitoring the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health districts’ reported information regarding coronavirus cases and following guidelines and recommendations from these agencies for each event. Our priority is the health and safety of our members, staff and American Quarter Horses.
We encourage AQHA members to use necessary precautions as recommended by the CDC to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. AQHA will communicate any modifications to upcoming events as soon as decisions are made by the AQHA Executive Committee and AQHA leadership.
The decision to move forward with or cancel any sanctioned (weekend) shows would rest with the specific teams that manage those shows, which would best know the conditions in their particular area. AQHA encourages those management teams to have a plan in place and to stay in close contact with local health authorities, similar to how the Association is handling the AQHA championship shows.
For more information on the Nutrena AQHA Level 1 Championships, visit www.aqha.com/level1championships.