On June 22, 2012, AQHA National Directors across the country received an email where they were notified that the Executive Committee approved to increase horse show approval fees to help pay for new awards and shows.
According to the AQHA press release (republished below), starting January of 2013, instead of shows having a flat approval fee of $100, approval fees will now be based on the number of entries by event code.
For example, up until this point, shows had to pay $100 for each show number/set of points they offer at a show. If a weekend show has two judges where two sets of points are offered, it would cost the show $200 to have the show approved. Now, if that same show has 1000 to 4,999 entries, then, their show approval fee would be increased to $1,000 starting in 2013.
Bottom line: Starting next year, the bigger the show the higher the show approval fee. Many show managers feel that they are being penalized for working hard to increase their numbers. In return, they will now have to charge the exhibitors more money to make up the costs.
GoHorseShow talked to several show managers and show secretaries about this issue including Pat Kress, Diane Olson, Debbie Wall, Mary Hannagan, George Kane, Barbara Fisher, and Cody Fisher.
Show secretary Pat Kress of Knoxville, Tennessee is concerned how these increases in fees will change the landscape of a weekend horse show. Kress is well known for being the show secretary for shows like the Dixie Nationals and Lucky 7.
"I called state directors from five different states and not one of them knew of this increase...they found out when the email went out," Kress says. "Also I spoke with several people on the AQHA Show Committee who did not know anything about this until the email. When did our membership or committee members get a vote? Who proposed this huge increase?"
Kress continues, "The average weekend show is just trying to get along. Not making money but just trying to break even and bring new exhibitors in with flat fees for the weekend. With flat fees, exhibitors can try classes that they might not have tried with an additional entry fee. AQHA is asking us to include Rookie classes and the leveling program--this is only going to increase the numbers, hours of a show, etc. Are we to be charged with this increase also? It appears shows are now going to be penalized for trying to increase entries. What use to be a $400 approval fee is now going to be $600 to $1000.00."
Kress' solution to the problem is simple. "You don't offer so many programs if you can't pay for them," Kress says. "AQHA has never had a Novice World Show. In 2012, we are having two--both held on the same weekend in Tennessee and Nevada. Guess the increase is paying for them, but they have a flat fee of $250 per horse. Let them live within their budget just like the rest of us do. When the times get tough, you tighten up....not expand. Give your existing customers more to show for so that they can pass the word on." (Kress pictured right)
Mary Hannagan, who runs the Gordyville Shows in Gifford, Illinois is also worried about this increase in fees. "Especially for the smaller shows---they are either going to become smaller or won't be held any longer," Hannagan says.
Show secretary Diane Olson agrees with Hannagan and told GoHorseShow that if the fees remain the same, there will be several shows in Nebraska and Iowa that won't be held next year. Olson said she will not apply to get these shows approved because with this new fee structure, several of these shows couldn't break even let alone make a profit.
"There is a huge difference between a weekend show with 1,000 entries and the Congress which is the largest show in the world," Olson says. "Yet, the fee difference is only $500. There needs to be a greater breakdown in the fee structure. There is a drastic difference between what a show with a 1,000 entries can make profit-wise versus a show with over 4,000 entries. AQHA needs to rethink these fees."
Debbie Wall, who is the show secretary for many shows in states like Alabama and Florida, states that she is also apprehensive about the increase.
"I kind of understand why they are increasing the fees, but I also feel like they do not want the shows to grow. With the new fee schedule, it is probably going to make it too expensive for the smaller clubs to afford the shows especially if they had big numbers last year."
GoHorseShow talked to George Kane who is the show manager for several shows in Mississippi. "I am very concerned with AQHA doing this as we all are trying so hard to rebuild after the slump in the economy. I can tell you about one organization that made a $300 profit at their show which now means they will lose $1200 for trying to do the same show next year. After all, have we not seen enough people exit the business because of money problems. Time to get smart and work with people that are in the industry," Kane says.
Kane states that AQHA should work towards getting new sponsors to pay for the awards, new shows and related expenses due to the implementation of the leveling program and the Novice Championship Shows-- not pass the responsibility onto the horse shows who already have enough on their table.
Barbara Fisher who has been the show secretary for the Tennessee Quarter Horse Association for over 30 years, says that she is also concerned about the newcomers in the industry.
"The flat fee AQHA will impose on shows next year will certainly have a negative impact on my five day circuit. I feel sure the grassroot exhibitors will not understand an increase in their show fees to take care of AQHA awards they never receive."
Fisher mentions that maybe just like a jackpot--certain exhibitors interested in vying for particular awards can pay AQHA an extra fee in order to be eligible. "I think that would be a lot better than increasing the fees across the board and hurting the small shows and newcomers wanting to show with AQHA."
Cody Fisher who runs the Circle G Classic every year in Tunica, Mississippi says that AQHA fails to mention the revenue they receive from drug fees they collect from shows when discussing the amount of revenue they receive versus what they spend on the shows. However, Fisher says he understands why AQHA is increasing their fees. "Price adjustment is a necessary evil due to inflation and other factors, but I do not agree with linking the awards program with the increase of show approval fees."
According to AQHA, once the show managers have paid their show approval fees, events paying more than $500 in approval fees will receive a credit with AQHA's new trophy company, Awards Recognition Concepts (ARC). Three award packages--valued at $250, $500 and $750--will be available to show managers.
"I want to see what awards ARC is going to offer. If they have great prices and cool stuff, it will soften the blow. However, AQHA is a business and I suspect ARC will price its awards 'in line with industry standards', thus negating any potential good will from show management," Cody says."Forcing show management to buy a certain amount of awards was a step too far," Cody says. "Perhaps AQHA needs to allow exhibitors the option to purchase show awards from AQHA instead of forcing the shows to buy them up front. This passes the cost down without penalizing the shows when the economic environment is already tough. De-link the two programs. Allow fair market competition to determine whether ARC is a needed and complementary business for AQHA."
Let us know what you think about this topic!
Check out the full press release from AQHA below.
For Immediate Release:
A new show approval fees structure goes into
effect January 1, 2013; eligible AQHA show managers will receive credit
for customizable awards packages.
A new show approval fees structure goes into effect January 1, 2013; eligible AQHA show managers will receive credit for customizable awards packages.
From the new AQHA leveling program to the inaugural AQHA Novice championship shows, AQHA is improving the competition landscape for exhibitors, and in turn, for show managers. As a result, AQHA now offers more showing opportunities, which also means more results to process and more awards to provide, and to balance these improvements, AQHA needs to create more revenue.
In 2011, 2,703 total AQHA shows and special events were held. With the current show approval fee of $100, the revenue of show approval fees totaled only $270,300, which pales in comparison to the cost of 5,239 open awards, 6,794 amateur awards and 5,167 youth awards, plus the results that were processed for the 849,437 total show entries, including special events.
“AQHA budgets $8,500,000 annually for shows, judges, amateur, AQHA Professional Horsemen and regional shows,” says AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway Jr. “We have income of approximately $1,300,000 annually collected from show processing fees. Basically, we spend $7,200,000 each year ‘related to shows’ for some 25,000 AQHA exhibitors.
“When you do the math, that’s $288 that the Association spends per show member, or exhibitor, every year. The only requirements for an exhibitor to participate in an AQHA-approved show is that he or she must be a current member, pay a $5 per-horse show processing fee and exhibit a registered American Quarter Horse.”
Show approval fees from AQHA-approved shows are the real source of revenue for the AQHA Competition Department, Treadway explains.
“Originally, the show approval fee started at $25. In 1997, it was increased to $50, and in 2005 it increased to $100,” explains AQHA President Gene Graves of Grand Island, Nebraska. “Whether it is the largest circuit show of the year or a small one-day show, the fee has been the same across the board.”
However, as of January 1, 2013, show approval fees will increase. And rather than a flat fee, which has been protocol since the fee’s inception, approval fees will now be based on the number of entries by event code.
“Individual shows and special events are tied together by an event code,” Treadway explains. “For instance, if there is a circuit with six different show numbers and two special events, they are linked by the event code. By doing that, the individual shows are linked together so that when statistics are pulled for the circuit, all shows in that circuit are grouped together. To calculate the entries on which to base the approval fee, AQHA will refer to the previous year’s number of entries by event code.”
Show and Special Event Approval Fees*
Events with 5,000 and more entries--$1,500 Events with 1,000-4,999 entries--$1,000 Events with 500-999 entries--$500 Events with 250-499 entries--$250 Events with 249 and fewer entries--$150
*Beginning January 1, 2013
These fee changes were approved this spring by the AQHA Executive Committee.
“An important thing to keep in mind is that AQHA’s reason for changing approval fees is not to gouge show managers, but it’s to have a leveled pay schedule and to help the competition department financially, so AQHA can continue to provide more recognition and implement more programs,” Graves says.
“This new fee schedule actually brings AQHA in line with industry standards and with similar approaches executed by AQHA alliance partners,” Treadway adds. “The approval fee schedule isn’t the only avenue that the competition department plans to use to create revenue, but it’s certainly one of the first.”
Additionally, a single late application fee will be applied to late show approval applications.
Late Show/Special Event Application Fees*
Shows/special events application received 90-119 days prior to show-- $200 Shows/special events application received 60-89 prior to show-- $400 If received less than 59 days prior to show date-- $1,000
*Beginning January 1, 2013
“Part of AQHA’s mission statement is ‘to provide beneficial services for its members that enhance and encourage American Quarter Horse ownership and participation,’ ” Treadway says. “As a steward of the breed and its membership, AQHA needs to start examining means for its departments to stand financially responsible on their own; a leveled approach to show approval fees is the first financially responsible step for the AQHA Competition Department.
"What AQHA wants to do is create even more activities and opportunities, giving more people more reasons to get horseback," Treadway adds. "That's really what the change in fee structure will do – it will help us continue to aggressively bring programs to the marketplace that get people showing their horses across disciplines and divisions."
Customizable Awards Packages
Paired with the new show approval fees structure will be three new customizable awards packages for eligible events.
Once show managers have paid their show approval fees, events paying more than $500 in approval fees will receive credit with AQHA’s new trophy company, Awards Recognition Concepts. Three awards packages – valued at $250, $500 and $750 – will be available to show managers. Keep in mind, however, that a show manager must spend more than $500 on their event’s show approval to be eligible.
For instance, if an event is assessed $1,000 in show approval fees, the show manager will have a $500 credit with ARC to use for awards at that event. If an event is assessed $1,500 in approval fees, the manager will receive a $750 credit with ARC.
Credits with ARC that are accrued through show approval fees must be applied only to the event by which the credits were earned. A show manager may not apply credits from more than one event code; the event code through which the credits were earned must be the event code where the awards are presented.
ARC is the new AQHA business venture housed at AQHA headquarters in Amarillo and is responsible for the assembly and shipping of AQHA trophies and awards, as well as assisting in the creation and design of new awards that will further enhance AQHA’s awards program. Bringing AQHA awards in-house to AQHA’s newly developed ARC department allows the Association to continue to provide members and competitors with quality, economical awards that come with AQHA’s first-class customer service.
Keep an eye out for more details about ARC, how to use your credit and the services they provide.
6 AQHA shows in Kentuckiana may not be held in 2013
As secretary for 6 small weekend shows in Kentucky and Indiana where there are usually 200-285 entries I know these shows cannot afford a $250 approval fee per show. Management is seriously considering not holding the shows in 2013 if that is the fee they must pay. These shows want exhbitors to have fun at reasonable fees. I don't mind AQHA increasing the current $100 fee to $150 - but $250 is unacceptable. AQHA says it needs this money to pay for AQHA "corporate (I don't think we are an association anymore)" shows, yet they added 2 Novice Championship shows this year and just announced MORE awards at the World for people who hadn't won before! Soon AQHA will be like T-leagues where every kid gets a trophy making the win/placing value zero. Winners want bragging rights - awards are secondary. Responsible adults spend only the money they have. When I bought awards for the KyQHA Awards Banquet, I bought nice awards for the amount in that fund. I don't know whose idea this increase was, but $250 dollars for 250-499 entries is NOT the way to bring in new members/exhibitors since there won't be small, close to home shows. I don't oppose a small increase and no problems with major shows paying a larger fee. Perhaps adjust fees to 499 or less entries $150, 500-999 entries $250, etc. Write/email your state directors, AQHA Board of Directors and Don Treadway! These fees need to be adjusted NOW!
I got back into horses a few years ago. I love the quarter horse and do my very best to care for my horses and go to at least 1 show each weekend. I don't mind going to the split/comb shows with a few judges. That saves me gas in hauling to another show. I get to the local shows regularly and support my local association. My success in the ring encouraged me to recently purchase a yearling of exceptional quality to get ready to show. I just bred my show mare and intended to focus on another horse and getting the yearling ready to show. I'm not a wealthy person, I can't afford to go out and spend 10k on a saddle, 50k on a show horse, and 150k on a rig. I have a modest setup and had hoped to someday haul 2-3 horses to the weekend shows and enjoy competing with fellow horse lovers. The show managers know their expenses and if they say it will cause them to go up on their fees, then I believe it. I can't take off of work for a month to go to Congress, can't qualify for the world by just going to the little weekend shows locally, and can't afford to show 3 horses if the fees are going to continue to rise. I am beginning to wonder if I need to reconsider my plan and sell everything but one horse and just go to the open shows. This is why APHA and other breed shows are gaining in popularity. I look at the huge scandals that have rocked the horse industry this year coupled with this move, I'm not sure if their goal actually IS to shut out the small time competitor and focus on the elite. Very sad for us regular folks.
I feel that AQHA has been out of touch with its core exhibitors for several years now. We are one of the "little" people that show our horses because #1 we love Quarter horses and 2ndly because we love competition. We are in one of the most competitive states of Ohio. With that said - we have not competed at an AQHA approved event in 3 years because of all of the changes with regards to expense.
This will now become 1 more expense item that will be passed down to exhibitors that mostly are already struggling to get to a few approved shows in a season, let alone to compete at the super high levels.
We would love nothing more than to be able to return to that level of competition, but with the current economic market, overall prices it is just too expensive for us "little" people that make or break an organization to afford it. There is no justification for us to do so
AQHA - please recognize that the "little" people make this organization what it is not the people who are in the higher $ realm. Without us - as you've already lost our competitive memberships other than our registrations of our horses - there won't be a large % of AQHA overall. It will continue to diminish as it has been doing at shows for the past several seasons. Just because we don't take our horses to these shows - doesn't mean we are out of touch with the industry as you apperently are.
The increase is going to be devastaging to shows that are already struggling to keep pricing at a place that is comfortable for most exhibitors while generating sufficient revenue to cover costs. To then bundle these added fees into an AQHA awards program that requires show managemet to purchase, God only knows what, illustrates that this is nothing more than a cash grab. This isn't the sort of program that is developed in a week - it tooks months of planning. Suppliers and supply chain needed to be developed for the "wonderful" new award program. This coupled with the changes to the Incentive Fund absolutely illustrate AQHA's commitment to itself and the breeders, and not the exhibitors/buyers of Quarter Horses. AQHA is quickly becoming a wonderful case study in what goes wrong when a national organization is lead by individuals completely out of touch with their customer base.
It seems counterintuitive to increase the burden on small to mid-sized shows at a time when AQHA is claiming to be reaching out to newbies.
Between forcing IF-nominated horses to 'pay to play,' taking away IF earnings and WS qualification from Introductory shows, and--now--tacking on extra 'taxes' for small- to mid-sized shows, the association is sending a very different message to new exhibitors: stay away!
Just as the article concludes--the fee will just be passed on to exhibitors. This decision by AQHA's hierarchy is just one of the many in the past several years that have been made behind closed doors with little or no input by the membership or by the actual people these new 'rules' affect. And I really find it funny that most of the 'guidelines' that control shows are not ever in print. Just wait til they make shows start paying for the stewards that AQHA places at the shows. That'll make the show app fees look like chump change.
As a show manager I somewhat understand the raise in fees and the need of AQHA to be able to process these shows, what I don't understand is where were they when they should have been gradually raising fees to keep up with inflation, not a raise in fess in an among that consumers would totally reject in any other business transaction.
AQHA apparently thinks that we cannot comprehend what we read, but I see it as not a reporting of all the facts, all the income, leaving out the membership fees is a big ommission and laying all the expense on shows is ridiculous. If AQHA wants to keep adding programs than add what is needed to support the program to the actual program.
Listing the judges is offensive to me, we pay all the expenses the shows incur for our judges plus more than adequate daily salaries. If they are including their testing and seminar programs then the judges new and old need to pay for that, those are professional expenses. They use their cards to earn income and therefore they should realize that there is expense to keep the availability there, like most professions require in their approvals and licenses.
I have 4 circuits 2 - day single judges, 2 - 3ay single judged.
Our 3 day shows go from $300 approval to $1000 the 2 days will probably go from $200 to $750 unless when held this year they grow. We have had no real effect for the past 4 or 5 years of downward trend, staying pretty stable and actually showing growth in several areas, I only hope next year will be the same.
you have already killied many weekend shows with double and triple judged shows. shows lose money on stalls shavings hookups because people dont stay wake up aqha as an exhibitor i would rather have another chance to show tomorrow if i mess up today