Fort Worth Takes A Big Step To Steal The AQHA From Amarillo
The rumors have been swirling for a long time that the American Quarter Horse Association and Museum could be leaving Amarillo. Back in February, a statement was issued from Craig Huffhines, the AQHA Executive Vice President, saying that industry stakeholders were in the process of raising funds to move the AQHA operation to Fort Worth. Huffhines stated that those stakeholders were outside of the AQHA staff. However, he and select staff members had met with the stakeholders and a project planning group down in Fort Worth for a briefing on the project.
Earlier this week, the Fort Worth City Council moved forward in steps to steal the AQHA and Museum away from Amarillo. The council approved a 50-year ground lease between the city of Fort Worth and the AQHA. The lease is for the purpose of developing, building and operating a facility to include a museum.
From our news partners at ABC 7 KVII, the AQHA issued the following statement on its website:
In February, it was announced that a group of external stakeholders is raising funds for a possible relocation of the American Quarter Horse Association to Fort Worth, Texas.
Yesterday, the Fort Worth City Council approved a 50-year ground lease for the American Quarter Horse Foundation. This action by the Fort Worth City Council does not mean AQHA has made a definitive commitment to relocate. This is only a step in the process of the possibility of a move. There is no timeline for construction or relocation, as relocation is not guaranteed at this point. It’s important to understand that a move is not imminent and there is no plan for future staffing changes.
We greatly appreciate our Amarillo employees, who are focused on providing quality service to AQHA members around the world. We plan to keep the board of directors, members and the Association’s employees updated each step of the way as this possible relocation continues to develop.
Although the statement doesn't give a definitive yes or no to the move, it seems like key players with strong interests in the organization are fighting hard for the move. The organization has been in Amarillo since the 1940's, and while there has always been an interest in making the move to Forth Worth, it seems like the local city council there is making a serious push for it. The AQHA moved their Adequan Select World Champion Show to Fort Worth this year. The show is said to have had a $5.5 million dollar impact on the economy of Amarillo. Nobody wants to see Amarillo lose this piece of it's historic fabric and culture, I just hope we can do something to squash the move before it is too late.