The 440: Welcome Your New AQHA Executive Committee
MARCH 20, 2017
A communication of important AQHA and industry news to AQHA Board Members.
Wrapping Up AQHA Convention
What an outstanding few days it has been in San Antonio for the 2017 AQHA Convention. We welcomed 1,025 participants from 32 countries to take part in the decision-making processes that shape our industry and our Association.
Thank you to everyone who poured their time and energy into convention, and congratulations to the dozens of individuals who received awards and recognition during our evening banquets. I wish you all safe travels home.
President Ralph Seekins Ralph Seekins of Fairbanks, Alaska, has been an AQHA director since 2006 for Washington/Alaska and was elevated to director emeritus in 2016. Seekins has served on the AQHA Marketing and Membership Committee, the Foundation Council and the AQHA Public Policy Committee. Seekins has owned American Quarter Horses since 1995, when his daughters convinced him and his wife, Connie, that they really needed horses. His early horse years were spent in Wyoming and Montana and included ranch work and sprint racing. The family’s first two American Quarter Horses were home-trained and went on to earn AQHA Open Champion titles, Youth Champion titles, Youth Supreme Champion titles and one Youth Versatility award. Over the years, the Seekins family has raised and trained horses that have earned nine AQHA Champion titles, three AQHA Supreme Champion titles and two versatility awards. For more than 15 years, the Seekins family has used their American Quarter Horses in the Helping Hooves therapeutic riding program for riders with disabilities. Ralph and Connie have four children – two sons and two daughters. All the children and their families live in Fairbanks. Aaron Seekins has four sons – Austin, Brandon, Gabe and Zachary – along with one daughter, Shelby. Ben Seekins and his wife, Tamie, have sons Christian and Caleb and daughter Larissa. Daughter Andrea and her husband, Ryan Reinheller, have twin boys, Jakan and Logan, as well as three daughters, Rebecca, Tricia and Sarah. Daughter Beth and her husband, Paul Austin, have three daughters – Emma, Leah and Madison – and son Isaac.
First Vice President Dr. Jim Heird Dr. Jim Heird was an AQHA director for Colorado in 2009 and became a director for Texas in 2011. He has served on the judges, international and show committees, and on the show council and AQHA Animal Welfare Commission. Dr. Heird was the chairman of the judges committee, 1989-1991; show committee, 2008-2010; international committee, 2013-2015; show council, 2008-2011; and the Animal Welfare Commission, 2011-2015. He was the former extension horse specialist at North Carolina State University, a former instructor/professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and held various dean/director positions at Colorado State University for the colleges of agricultural sciences and business and equine sciences program. Dr. Heird is currently executive professor and coordinator of equine initiatives at Texas A&M University. He also holds the Dr. Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair at Texas A&M. Dr. Heird was on the executive committee of the National Western Stock Show and is an ex-officio director of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Dr. Heird is an honorary vice president of the Uruguayan and Argentine Quarter Horse associations. He was an AQHA judge from 1977 to 2015 and has judged 13 AQHA World Championship shows, multiple international championships and two National Reining Horse Association futurities.
He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee and has a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. He and his wife, Dr. Eleanor Green, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M, live in College Station.
Second Vice President Stan Weaver Stan Weaver of Big Sandy, Montana, has been an AQHA director since 2011. He is a former member of the studbook and registration, public policy and Hall of Fame selection committees; Foundation, marketing and ranching councils; and served as chairman of the ranching council. He was also instrumental in developing the AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders program.
Weaver has bred American Quarter Horses for more than 30 years and has registered more than 1,500 foals with AQHA during that time.
Weaver and his wife, Nancy, began a Quarter Horse production sale in 1996 under Weaver Quarter Horses. Through the production sale, horses from the Weaver Ranch have sold to all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces, South Africa, Australia, Germany and Mexico. Weaver has shown his own horses in cutting, reined cow horse and working cow horse. Weaver is involved with the Montana Quarter Horse Association (past president), Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, Montana Land & Mineral Owners Association, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, Montana Stockgrowers and the Chouteau County Livestock Protection Association.
Weaver has owned and operated Weaver Cattle Co., a cattle and farming enterprise in North Central Montana for the past 40 years. He also owns and operates Weaver Order Buying, a cattle brokerage firm. Stan and Nancy raised three children on the ranch. All three children and their families continue to work on the ranch, but have also expanded their own ranching and farming interests in the area. KellyAnne and husband Casey Terry have two children, Wyatt and Avery, and live in Lewistown, Montana; David Weaver and wife Stacey live in Bozeman, Montana, with their two children, Hailey and Wesley; and Daniel Weaver, who also lives in Big Sandy, is engaged to Dr. Danielle Lindland. The Weavers received the 1997 Montana Quarter Horse Association Ranch of the Year Award, and Weaver Cattle Co. was recognized as the 2014 Montana State University Family Business of the Year in the business category for operations in existence at least 50 years.
Member Butch Wise Butch Wise of El Reno, Oklahoma, was named an honorary AQHA vice president in 2015. He was an AQHA director from 2001 to 2015.
He currently serves as the Executive Committee representative on the racing council. Wise is a former member of the studbook and registration, nominations and credentials, and racing committees, and the racing council. He was the chairman of the Hall of Fame committee from 2013 to 2015 and also served as chairman of the racing council. In 2014, he was a member of the AQHA Governance Task Force.
In 2004, Wise received the Oklahoma State University Animal Science School Graduate of Distinction award, and in 2007, he received the AQHA Racing Council Special Recognition Award.
He is a member of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse and Florida Quarter Horse racing associations. Wise owns Stone Chase Stables LLC and is the bloodstock agent and president of Wise Sales Co. Inc. His former career experience includes employment with AQHA, Ridgeleigh Farms Inc., Mel Hatley Farms and Cox Manufacturing. He is currently the manager of the Lazy E Ranch LLC in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Butch and his wife, Nancy, have two sons and two daughters. Their sons are Clay and Parker Wise, and daughters are Mallory Wise and Ashlie Blair. Blair and her husband, Shawn, have two children, Derek and Lacie.
Member Norm Luba Norm Luba of Louisville, Kentucky, has been an AQHA life member since 1995 and an AQHA director since 2011. He has served on the AQHA Stud Book and Registration Committee for the past three years. Luba has served on the AQHA Public Policy Committee and the affiliate council.
Luba graduated with his master’s degree in reproductive physiology from the University of Maryland. The former executive director of the Kentucky Horse Council is currently the executive director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council, president of the Equine Breeding Research and Development Council, and the treasurer of the Animal Welfare Council Inc.
He is the recipient of the Don Henneke Education Impact Award and the American Youth Horse Council Distinguished Service Award.
Luba is an avid competitor with numerous qualifications in trail for the AQHA Select World Championship Show, presented by Adequan® (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan), and the Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show, as well as a Superior trail horse achievement. He is a member of the National Snaffle Bit Association, Equine Science Society, Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club and the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association, where he also served as president.
Norm and his wife, Dr. Lorraine Luba, a veterinarian, have two sons – Christopher and Colin, a former AQHYA president who is married to Catherine.
Craig P. Huffhines
Hall of Fame Inductees
The 2017 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductees were honored at the Hall of Fame Banquet March 19.
The horses inducted into the Hall of Fame are the stallions Strawfly Special and Zips Chocolate Chip; the gelding Majestic Scotch; and the mares Casey’s Ladylove and Dashing Phoebe.
The horsemen are AQHA Past President Peter J. Cofrancesco III of Sparta, New Jersey; AQHA executive committee member, the late Dick Monahan of Walla Walla, Washington; Bobby D. Cox of Fort Worth, Texas; the late Marvin Barnes of Ada, Oklahoma; and trainer and horsewoman Sandra Vaughn of Hernando, Florida.
We featured the banquet on Facebook live, so check it out to relive the special memories.
Professionals of the Year
Three industry professionals were recognized by their peers March 18.
The Don Burt Professional Horseman of the Year, Professional Horsewoman of the Year and Most Valuable Professional awards were presented by Professional’s Choice during the Association’s Awards Banquet.
The 2016 Don Burt Professional’s Choice Professional Horseman of the Year is Casey Devitt of Frankfort, Kentucky. The 2016 Professional’s Choice Professional Horsewoman of the Year is Christa Baldwin of Stanton, Michigan. The 2016 Most Valuable Professional is Bennie Sargent of Paris, Kentucky.
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