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If you attend Quarter Horse (QH) shows in the mid-south, you likely know the name Pat Kress. She’s the official Show Secretary for nearly every QH show in the area. “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years,” she said. “Do I have to admit that?” Being a Horse Show Secretary is her full-time job and her Chevy “Big Ass” Suburban has been dubbed her traveling office. Based in Knoxville, TN, she serves all the QH associations in the mid-south area: Mid-South Quarter Horse Association; Mid-South Quarter Horse Breeders’ Association; Mississippi Quarter Horse Association; West Tennessee Quarter Horse Association; Tennessee Quarter Horse Association, Regions 2, 3, and 7; the Louisiana Quarter Horse Association; and the Alabama Quarter Horse Association.
She’s popular because she’s efficient, on-time, and “I think I do a good job,” she says. “I treat exhibitors the way I would want to be treated.” Her smiling face greets exhibitors in the show office as she handles whatever may be their needs. She used to show Quarter Horses in the Knoxville, TN area, so she sees the situation from the point of view of the exhibitor as well as the show secretary. She showed in halter, Western pleasure, and team penning. Of the three, she found team penning to be the most fun.
But being a show secretary is more than just recording entries and taking in entry fees. She has to keep up-to-date on all the AQHA rules and regulations, and any changes that are made. For any show, she has to file application with AQHA four months in advance. She assists in hiring the judges and sending contracts to them. She helps put together the show bill, and loads all the information about the show into her computer.
After all the preliminary work is done from her home office, packing her “traveling office” vehicle and getting to the show is another ordeal. “I pack the car with four computers, two printers, a case of paper, multiple ink cartridges, back numbers, entry forms, judges’ cards, pens, office supplies, 12 boxes of safety pins, and candy for the exhibitors,” she said; these are just some of the items she brings. “You don’t just show up and hope it happens. The horse show is the easy part, compared to the before and after. There is more time spent in preparation work and finalizing the show, i.e., getting all the reports compiled and sent, than there is at the show,” she explained.
She uses a software program called FunnWare to manage the horse shows, and results are posted in her program as soon as they happen. Then she sends all the documentation to the association for whom she’s working, and the association handles the rest. So if you want complete results of a show, it depends on the association as to whether they’re posted online or not. “Some of the shows post results on their own websites, some don’t,” she said. “It just varies with the association hosting the show.”
Kress also sends full results to AQHA, “so people can always pull up the results at AQHA,” she said.
What brings Kress back time after time to go through all the work of horse show secretary? “I enjoy doing it!” is the bottom line for her. “I still love those four-legged beasts out there! I can stay connected with them and with my friends – and get a paycheck. I do it for the creatures I love.”
Look for Pat Kress in the show office at the next QH show you attend. You can thank her for a smooth running show – a result of all the work she puts into making it happen.
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