Albert K. Mitchell did not volunteer to help AQHA, but once given the reins, he changed the Association forever.
Mitchell was born in 1894, in Clayton, New Mexico. His father was a sheep and cattle rancher. He partnered with his father in 1917, forming the T. E. Mitchell & Son ranch, later renamed Tequesquite Ranch. The ranch was among the first in New Mexico to run registered Herefords.
Mitchell attended the opening sessions of the 1946 AQHA Convention, but returned home to New Mexico before any of the officer elections. However, his departure did not stop the Association from calling.
AQHA was almost bankrupt, and tensions were running high. Two other Quarter Horse associations had formed – the American Quarter Racing Association and the National Quarter Horse Breeders Association. Hard feelings were circulating between the three groups.
The entire AQHA Executive Committee resigned and a whole new slate of officers had to be elected. Mitchell had only attended meetings, but this did not stop the newly elected executive committee from asking him to take the job of president. He said he would if there were no other way to save AQHA.
In 1947, Mitchell accepted the presidency for a second term. He was elected for a third term in 1948. During his third term, Mitchell negotiated with AQRA and NQHBA, and the groups consolidated with AQHA in 1950. He was re-elected in 1957 to settle the issue between the “bulldog” men and the Thoroughbred-Quarter-cross supporters.
He strongly supported the development of AQHA promotional clinics and youth programs, which he thought would allow people to meet the Quarter Horse for the first time and learn its superiority to other breeds.
Mitchell died in 1980 at age 85. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1984.
Biography updated as of March 1984.