Regional Championships

AQHA regional championships are your gateway to championship shows.

AQHA regional championships are your gateway to championship shows.

Regional Championship
2011 Region 10 Championship. Journal photo.

By Larri Jo Starkey for The American Quarter Horse Journal

The staff of The American Quarter Horse Journal is a little rabid on the subject of AQHA Regional Championships: We love them.

They’re a fantastic forum for our exhibitors to dip their toes (or hooves) into the AQHA show pool, earn nice prizes from AQHA corporate partners and for us to meet our exhibitors.

That’s why we were more than excited that Regional Championship season began in March, with the Region Nine Championship in West Monroe, Louisiana.

Personally speaking, the 2005 Regional Championship in Jackson, Mississippi – then known as the Region Nine Experience – was the first story I traveled to cover for The American Quarter Horse Journal.

I met people who became my friends, learned from some great clinicians and took a lot of photos of a lot of nice horses.

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That’s also where I ate my first crawdad.

From the beginning, each show had a unique regional flavor, and that trend continues. Some championships are adding regular shows to their show bills, giving exhibitors a chance to earn points along with their prizes, and some championships are still Regional Championships only. Some championships have moved around their regions, while other championships have found success in staying in one spot.

The Journal staff is particularly fond of one feature the Regional Championships all have in common: parties. We like to eat, and we assume you do, too, judging by the number of you we have been able to meet through the Regional Championship exhibitor parties.

For 2012, the Regional Championships become more than a celebration of each region’s American Quarter Horses and exhibitors – they’re chances for Novices to qualify for the inaugural Nutrena AQHA Eastern and SmartPak AQHA Western Novice championship shows, which are October 5-7 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Las Vegas.

Novices can qualify in three different ways:
1.    By showing at 20 AQHA shows during the national qualifying period that ends June 30
2.    By qualifying through your state or provincial affiliate
3.    By placing in the top 10 in a Novice class at a Regional Championship

How easy is that? And if you qualify in one class, you can enter any extra classes you like once you get to the Novice championships. Not only that, but you can pick which destination is most convenient for you – west or east – but you can’t go to both.

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If you try to qualify through your Regional Championship, look up the dates and guidelines on AQHA’s website where you can also learn more about the Novice championships and how to qualify.

The Journal staff is looking forward to the Novice championships, and we hope you are, too. If they’re half as much fun as the Regional Championships, they should be a blast.

Come on! Take a chance, newbies! These shows are for you.

6 thoughts on “Regional Championships”

  1. I understand that the Regional shows are trying to get novice exhibitors to try the AQHA show experience but for those of us who have shown AQHA shows for quite some time, its still a fun experience. It allows novice and experienced exhibitors to visit and share ideas and knowledge of shows and show grounds through out the region. Each year we are stalled around strangers and we leave as friends. I think this is one of the AQHA best ideas.

  2. I just recently attended the Region 9 Championships. I had a blast! I’ve only shown at a few local AQHA shows here in Texas, and that experience made me excited for the future! I met some awesome people and had a wonderful time! Thanks for offering these opportunities!

  3. Just be careful which Regional Experience you attend if you’re trying to qualify for the Novice championship. I’m part of Region 4, which falls OUTSIDE the cut-off date, and depending on who you talk to at AQHA it either counts or it doesn’t. I have talked to five different people there, and the tally so far is 3-2 that the 2012 Region 4 DOES NOT count for the 2012 Novice championship. So I’m doing it the hard way – getting 20 Nov Am judges…

  4. After a few years of not attending an AQHA show, my husband and I decided to drop by the Region 9 Championship in our neighboring city (Monroe, LA.). We arrived during the gelding halter classes. We were sorry to see that not much had changed since the last time we were at an AQHA show. We watched as the (4) judges placed a yearling gelding that was so over at the knees that he was trembling
    ahead of the other two in the class that, if not better conformed, at least were sound. Several other geldings in the other classes were being shown with lip chains. We left and will not attend another one. We raise and love our American Quarter Horses and use them in several disciplines. And after forty plus years in this business we are not naive about abuses in all areas of it. But we had hoped that things had started to change at that level of competition. We are just glad we didn’t get there in time to see the pleasure classes.

  5. Sue an,
    That’s sad and should be unacceptable, that someone with forty plus years in the business, would attend an AQHA show, intended to encourage youth involvement in AQHA showing, leave that show and vow to never return to another! If you feel that way… I wonder how many youth were showing and left feeling the same way? I don’t “think” thats how AQHA wants to be portrayed, I certainly hope not. I don’t have the clout within AQHA to address your concerns but I hope someone that does, will make contact with you and get your feelings out on the table, for honest discussion, founded or unfounded, they need to be address and resolved. Again that is really unacceptable in my opinion. I’m actually sorry that happened. I hope you reconsider and stay involved.
    AQHA Professional Horseman
    Tom Baker

  6. I agree with Sue on the Halter classes. I have usualy see horses at the top of the placement that I would question whether they could be ridden at all, let alone for the kind of work the QH is so famous for. The ideal QH is clearly written out, but seems to be ignored in favor of the current fashion. I really want to get into Ranch Versatility and am hoping the halter/conformation section is realistic.

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