Did you know that the first Quarter Horse Congress was held in 1966? Do you know where the idea came from? Who started Congress? With this year being the 50th anniversary of The All American Quarter Horse Congress, I thought it would be worth it see where it all began, and really just how far not only the show, but the industry has come.
All year long, people of the quarter horse industry put their blood, sweat, and tears into gearing up for Congress. But where did it all begin? It began in the summer of 1966, after past Ohio Quarter Horse Association (OQHA) past president, Blair Folck, was impressed by the state sponsored Charolaise Cattle Congress. Keep in mind that the NRHA had just gone $4,000 into debt over hosting the first NRHA futurity. There was obviously mixed reactions to the idea. However, OQHA proceeded with plans for the first state sponsored All American Quarter Horse Congress November 3-5, 1967 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus, Ohio. It was initially only held as a weekend event. $15,000 dollars and 3 long show days later, the first Congress hosted over 5,000 horsemen. It was a bigger success than many had imagined it would be.
Picture from the 49th Annual All American Quarter Horse Congress
Today the event runs nearly the entire month of October every year. Planning for each Congress begins almost before the current event ends, there are countless hours, people, and organizations that come together to put this month-long event on every year! In 2014 Congress reported over 20,000 entries. People don’t just come to watch some of the most talented riders and athletes in the country preform, they come for the shopping, PBR and concerts that are hosted as well throughout the Congress.
There is much more history in the 50 years the Congress has been running, however I find it truly incredible how far the industry has come. It truly shows the world how one person’s idea can really shape the industry.
Feel free to share this blog with your non-horsey friends. Why you ask? Because if I have to explain that Congress I talk about attending every year is not the U.S. Congress, I might cry. But tears of joy obviously, as Congress can bring nothing but tears of joy to watch these equine athletes leave it all at the gate.
Have any Congress memories to share? Please feel free to share in the comments below!
Picture Courtesy of:
October 4, 2016