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As a first time presenter at this year’s conference, I have a whole new appreciation for what the presenters go through when they stand up in front of a room full of judges.

It was stressful, humbling and intimidating to speak to a room full of my peers – friends and judges for whom I have the greatest respect.

We are conveniently located just off the interstate, and are within traveling distance of several larger cities.

Although many judges came to the conference with negative feelings, most left feeling as though the conference did what it was intended to do.

AQHA judge Beckey Schooler said, “Judges gained knowledge – everyone learned a lot and that is what the seminar was supposed to do.” Some felt the majority of the education came before the seminar as judges gathered to study test material including taped runs in preparation for recertification.

For those who tested and were approved as new judges earlier this year, to retest so soon seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.

But most everyone left on a positive note – even if it was just to be done!

Tom Crowley, an AQHA judge from Minnesota suggested, “The process has provided AQHA with an excellent opportunity to collect information that could be used to create additional education material for future programs.” One thing is for certain, members of AQHA and AQHA’s Judges Committee are committed to making the system better and worked tirelessly to provide as best they could.

The hotel was under construction and there were a few technical glitches but with some quick modifications the show rolled on.Although the camaraderie was a big consideration, it was not the only reason judges liked meeting as a whole group.Having everyone together at once not only allowed judges to see each other, but it also kept the conversation on the same track.Our Word of the Year choice serves as a symbol of each year’s most meaningful events and lookup trends.It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the language and ideas that represented each year.There was nothing we didn't like, it was ALL a huge score.Our hotel has a lot to offer, being perfectly located in beautiful down town Fort Payne.As always, if we're missing anything please send us a note.[Below is a "10th anniversary" revised and greatly exanded version of what was published in 1994 by Signature Books.We could not decide on which sandwich we each wanted so we got 5 because they all sounded so good.We had the chicken salad, pimento cheese BLT, pesto chicken, Na Na's Roast beef, and the Brittney club.Service was wonderful, atmosphere was as unique as the food and the prices were totally acceptable.

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