National Day of the Cowboy

AQHA’s celebration of the National Day of the Cowboy drew a big crowd in Amarillo.

American Quarter Horse Association

A highlight of the event was a chance to ride an American Quarter Horse. (Journal photo)

The American Quarter Horse Association hosted more than 1,800 people on July 22 at the National Day of the Cowboy celebration at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum in Amarillo.

A highlight of the event was a chance to ride an American Quarter Horse. This year, the Association facilitated more than 191 rides, which gave many youth the opportunity to ride a Quarter Horse for the first time. The test rides were part of the national Time to Ride marketing initiative by the American Horse Council called the 100-Day Horse Challenge. The goal of the Challenge is to increase awareness of the benefits of horse activities across the United States by aiming to engage at least 100,000 new people with an introductory horse experience. To find more events near you, visit

In addition to the Hall of Fame, local partners included the Amarillo Public Library, country music station 97.9 KGNC FM, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Center City, Southwest Cowboy Poet Association and the Amarillo Convention & Visitors Council. These partners were proud to participate by leading activities amidst the fun planned by the Hall of Fame.

The free event featured:

  • American Quarter Horse test rides
  • Charro led tours (Charros are skilled horsemen who proudly carry on early Mexican traditions.)
  • Stories about cowboys with readings by employees of the Amarillo Public Library
  • Cowgirl and cowboy poetry with the Southwest Cowboy Poet Association
  • Horse and actor from the “TEXAS” outdoor musical
  • Tours of the Hall of Fame, featuring the Nacidos Charros: Born Charro exhibit
  • Activities including barrel racing on the lawn, creating a stick pony, making cowboy trail mix and drawing on a Center City stallion statue

Employees from the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum also showed young visitors how to create their own brand, while Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum Director Curator of Art and Western Heritage Michael Grauer appeared as an 1890’s cowboy and taught visitors about the real west.

Thanks in part to the event’s underwriters, Plastilite, Bar H Ranch, KGNC and Ford, the event, all of the activities and lunch were free to the public.

The National Day of the Cowboy campaign was founded in 2004 to preserve, protect and promote the cowboy and western heritage. The campaign lobbies for the passage of the national resolution designating the fourth Saturday of every July a permanent celebration on the national calendar. The campaign believes in honoring cowboys and cowgirls for their enduring contribution and their courageous, pioneering American spirit. For more information on the scope of this day as a national event, go to

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHAnews on Twitter and visit