Savannah Tarbet

City Council Votes in Support of American Quarter Horse Association Retention Incentive

The agreement ensures headquarters to remain in Amarillo for the next 10 years

Today, the Amarillo City Council approved a business retention incentive presented by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation (Amarillo EDC) to support the retention of the  American Quarter Horse Association’s International Headquarters in Amarillo, Texas. This ratification follows the approval of the Amarillo EDC Board of Directors on May 18, 2021.  

The Amarillo EDC has approved a $3 million incentive over a ten-year period to ensure that the AQHA headquarters remain in Amarillo, Texas. Members of the local community have also provided a donation package that has made this a public/private partnership for retaining AQHA for the future. 

“Over the past seven decades, the American Quarter Horse Association has become a part of Amarillo – part of this community and part of the Texas Panhandle,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. “The unique combination of public and private investment led by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation speaks volumes as to how much the Amarillo community values AQHA – from an economic perspective and a  cultural perspective. It is incredibly exciting to know that Amarillo is the home of the AQHA – now and in the  future.” 

The American Quarter Horse Association has registered more than 6 million American Quarter Horses since 1940 and serves more than 226,000 members worldwide. AQHA records all American Quarter Horse ownership, processes approved show and race results, catalogs performance and produces data on all American Quarter Horses,  maintains Association funds, and promotes and publicizes the industry. In 1946, the Association moved to Amarillo after being founded in Fort Worth, and in 1984, the international headquarters for AQHA opened its doors to the facility it currently occupies in Amarillo.

“The collaboration of both public and private investment demonstrates Amarillo’s commitment to keeping the  AQHA headquarters,” said Kevin Carter, President and CEO of the Amarillo EDC. “This project plays a key role  in our local economy, not only from a job retention standpoint but the economic impact of visitors to the  museum, who are staying in Amarillo hotels and eating at local restaurants.”  

“Thank you to Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson, President and CEO of the Amarillo Economic Development  Corporation Kevin Carter, the Amarillo EDC Board of Directors, Amarillo City Council, and the countless individuals who were involved in the effort for Amarillo to remain the location of the American Quarter Horse Association and American  Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum,” said AQHA Interim Executive Vice President Chad Pierce. “We are excited to continue our relationship with the City of Amarillo. As an Association of horsemen and horsewomen,  AQHA prides itself in the western heritage that Amarillo represents. Our staff is made up of more than 200 talented  individuals who share a love of the Texas Panhandle.”

“Amarillo serves as the home of the world’s largest equine breed registry, which services AQHA members and their American Quarter Horses located in nearly 100 countries,” said AQHA President  Norman K. Luba of Louisville, Kentucky. “Our efforts as an Association are focused on continuing to improve services for our customers through operational improvements and innovative services. The AQHA leadership team is working  diligently to improve AQHA business processes to make transactions easier for our members, which gives them  more time to do what they love – spending time with their American Quarter Horses.” 

“The Amarillo EDC is committed to business retention in Amarillo,” said Scott Bentley, Chairman of the Amarillo EDC Board of Directors. “The American Quarter Horse Association has been a staple in our community since  1946, and this agreement ensures that it will remain in Amarillo for many years to come.”  

“For more than 70 years, Amarillo and the American Quarter Horse Association have had a great partnership and common identity. Now, we have individuals and businesses interested in the next step of that partnership, with a fundraising campaign that will take the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum, Foundation, and operation to the next level,” said Richard Ware, Chairman of Amarillo National Bank.