From the Office of Craig Huffhines

Outstanding Education in Amarillo

AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines shares highlights from the AQHA Affiliate Workshop and Show Management Seminar.

We are pleased and proud to have provided these high-caliber experiences to our industry. (Journal photo)

A great group of folks from coast to coast and even across the pond joined us the week of May 22 for our Affiliate Workshop and Show Management Seminar. It was a treat to visit with them between workshop sessions and participate in some fun and engaging activities that helped us learn more about each other. These folks have amazing visions for their states and affiliates, and we at AQHA are excited to do whatever we can to support those visions and make sure our affiliates and show managers have the tools they need to bring new people into our industry and keep our existing participants happy and engaged.

During the Affiliate Workshop, renowned keynote speaker Clint Swindall set the pace for a very positive workshop. One of Clint’s takeaway messages was the golden rule for life, business or community involvement. People are attracted to positive people, he told us. When you’re in a leadership position, he said, you have an obligation to be positive and make a conscientious decision to get up in the morning, making the choice to walk out the door with the understanding that you can positively or negatively influence someone based on your attitude. Powerful message!

Following Clint, we got to hear our marketing department talk about marketing affiliates more powerfully. The youth department showed us ways to reach more youth. Chief International Officer Anna Morrison gave a True Colors program to identify our key personality traits. We learned about animal welfare initiatives (and the implications of Ringling Bros. shutting down and the end of the Sea World killer whale shows), corporate partner benefits and ways to spruce up our websites and digital strategies.

We also had the opportunity to select from a variety of breakout sessions. AQHA staff taught the following sessions: Youth Huddle: Creating a Playbook to Get Kids in the Game; Q&A with AQHA Show Staff; Be the Host with the Most!; AQHA Trail Rides and Trail Challenges; America’s Fastest Athlete – Enhance and Promote American Quarter Horse Racing; How to Prepare for and Prevent Crisis Situations; and Awards, Apparel and Printing: Bring Your Events to Life with ARC.

A little more about the Q&A with AQHA Show Staff session: This session was broadcast live from Facebook and has received more than 7,500 views. Show staff talked about the addition of Level 2 classes at the 2017 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show, adding seven core 13-&-Under classes to the 2018 Ford Youth World, the growth of the Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships, Level 1 Championships qualifying and much more.

A huge thank you to ARC, the title sponsor of the Affiliate Workshop. ARC supported the event with a tour of its facility and a great reception, plus a thorough explanation of all the ways ARC can serve the needs of affiliates and show managers through printing, awards, banners and more.


The two-day Show Management Seminar that followed the Affiliate Workshop was a huge success. We certified an incredible 69 participants, which is far above our usual numbers. New this year, we offered a free, live webcast of the seminar for folks all over the world, who wanted to get certified or just learn more about putting on AQHA-approved shows. The live webcast took on a life of its own with about 350 participants and more than 600 comments and suggestions.

Online participant Kimberlee Gabel wrote,

“Thank you to AQHA staff for sharing all of your knowledge with us! The webcast offered many of us the opportunity to become certified, when scheduling travel would have been restrictive!”

“Also thank you to all of the seasoned show managers that shared so much ‘real’ experience, their do's and don'ts!! Greatly appreciated!!!!”

We are pleased and proud to have provided these high-caliber experiences to our industry, and we are glad that people went home empowered to make positive changes for their affiliates and shows in their states.