AQHA regional championships are your gateway to championship shows.
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.