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America's Horse Weekly reports:

The American Quarter Horse Association hosted more than 1,560 people on July 23 at the National Day of the Cowboy celebration at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum in Amarillo.

A highlight of the event was a chance to ride an American Quarter Horse. This year, the Association facilitated more than 200 rides, which gave many youth the opportunity to ride an American Quarter Horse for the first time. The test rides were part of a national Time to Ride marketing initiative by the American Horse Council called the 100-Day Horse Challenge. The goal of the Challenge is to increase awareness of the benefits of horse activities across the United States by aiming to engage at least 100,000 new people with an introductory horse experience.

As a sponsor of the Time to Ride initiative, AQHA will recognize the top-three attended events held by AQHA members with a commemorative plaque and other prizes at the end of the Challenge. To find more events near you, visit www.timetoride.com.

In addition to the Hall of Fame, local partners included the Amarillo Public Library, country music station 97.9 KGNC FM, Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, Center City, Southwest Cowboy Poet Society and the Amarillo Convention & Visitors Council. These partners were proud to participate by leading activities amidst the fun planned by the Hall of Fame.

The free event featured:

•Barrel racing on the lawn
•American Quarter Horse Test Rides
•Employees of the Amarillo Public Library read children stories about cowboys at the Museum
•Create your own stick pony or cowboy trail mix
•Cowgirl and cowboy poetry with the Southwest Cowboy Poet Society
•Employees from the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum showed young visitors how to create their own brand.
•Panhandle Plains Historical Museum Director Curator of Art and Western Heritage Michael Grauer is a historic interpreter and he became an 1890's cowboy and taught visitors about the Western lifestyle.
•Horses and actors from the TEXAS outdoor musical met with visitors
•Tours of the Hall of Fame & Museum
•The Bold & Beautiful: Trailblazing Women of the American Quarter Horse exhibit was open to guests
•Make your mark on a Center City stallion statue

Thanks in part to the events underwriters, Plastilite, Ford, AQHA and the Amarillo Convention and Visitors Council Art Committee-marketing assistance, the event, all of the activities and lunch were free to the public.

The National Day of the Cowboy campaign was founded in 2004 to preserve, protect and promote the cowboy and Western heritage. The campaign lobbies for the passage of the national resolution designating the fourth Saturday of every July a permanent celebration on the national calendar. The campaign believes in honoring cowboys and cowgirls for their enduring contribution and their courageous, pioneering American spirit. For more information on the scope of this day as a national event, go to www.nationaldayofthecowboy.com.