After a 28-month sabbatical, the equine media industry’s best finally gathered for the 2021 American Horse Publications Seminar, aptly titled “Back in the Saddle” in Irving, Texas, Sept. 16-19. It was a weekend so many of us look forward to because it’s not only one to celebrate our industry, but also a great way to recharge, rethink and reunite with our dear friends from all over the country.
I flew in on Thursday and immediately headed to Denton, Texas, where I visited National Roper Supply, a store that I’ve always loved shopping with (online and catalog) as well as a dealer of Tough1 products. Not only was I on a mission to find some new jeans (hello, Stetsons), but to also see what Tough1 products the dealer was carrying in their store as well as see how they displayed everything.
NRS is a beautiful store, attached to a large event facility with a roping arena and a trailer sales shop a quarter of a mile down the road. When you walk into the store’s front door, you’re greeted with an homage to Roy Cooper (the “Super Looper”) on one side, with some of his trophy saddles, buckles and a rolling video. On the other side is a large tribute to “Denton’s Own” Trevor Brazile, 26-time PRCA World Champion Cowboy. I lost count as to how many trophy saddles and buckles were on display, including most of his PRCA All Around Cowboy World Champion saddles and buckles, championship rings, Lazy E Timed Event Championship buckles and Ellensburg Rodeo saddle racks, saddles and back numbers.
The rest of my time in Irving was spent learning how to free my mind to allow creativity to flow as a writer (thank you, Larri Jo Starkey), how to hone my strengths (thank you, Katie Navarra Bradley) and how to scrutinize more effectively when it comes to journalism ethics (thank you, Emily Esterson). As always, the Freelance Remuda brought together freelancers of all backgrounds and locales to not only enjoy a good dinner the first night, but also learn about time and business management (thank you, Kate Bradley Byars and Abigail Boatwright).
We celebrated the 2021 Equine Industry Visionary Award Winner, which was Breyer Horses (what horse crazy girl didn’t grow up with at least one model horse to inspire her?), as well as the AHP Student Award Winners from 2020 and 2021 and the very first NextGen Award Winner (congratulations, Catie Staszak). It’s crazy to me how young these ladies are and how much they are already doing for not only the equine journalism industry, but the equine industry as a whole.
The seminar wrapped up with the Annual AHP Publication and Business Media Awards on Saturday. I knew I was a finalist in one category, Freelance Writer Equine-Related Article, with my piece on the plight of the Australian horse industry facing the sever droughts and wildfires of 2020 for the Quarter Horse News. My next post will be about the results of the awards…