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America's Horse Weekly reports:

AQHA Director-At-Large Homer Stude receives the 2011 Merle Wood Humanitarian award.

Homer Stude of Wright City, Missouri, is the recipient of the 2011 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award. (Photo by Becky Newell)

Homer Stude of Wright City, Missouri, was introduced to American Quarter Horses at a young age when his father bought their first horse in the 1950s. They worked hard preparing Homer for his first show. It created a strong connection with horses that would eventually cross many generations.

On June 11, 1961, Homer married the love of his life, Cookie. Together, they later introduced their passion for horses to their children, Michael and Lesa. Traveling many a mile to show after show, they began picking up other children with whom to share their family's love, generosity and knowledge of horses.

As the years went by, Homer's activities to benefit youth increased. He wore many hats, including 4-H horsemanship leader, show manager and ring steward. Homer has served both the Missouri Quarter Horse Association and AQHYA in many roles. His service to our industry's youth was instrumental as a member, and later chairman, of the AQHA Youth Committee.

Homer's 30-plus years bringing positive experiences to kids through his work with various youth programs was crucial to the growth of our industry. But his work with children didn't stop there. Homer has also touched the lives of many children through his work with Shriners, Boys Town of Missouri, Scottish Rite, the Wright City Lions Club and the Wright City Board of Education.

"I fondly remember Mr. Wood handing out awards at the youth finals and supporting what was then the American Junior Quarter Horse Association. And as I read the criteria for the Merle Wood Humanitarian Award, I could not help but think this was an award designed with Homer Stude in mind," says MQHA Past President Michael D. Murphy.

Congratulations to AQHA Director-At-Large Homer Stude, our 2011 recipient of the Merle Wood Humanitarian Award. His continued service to youth makes him an ideal recipient for this well-deserved honor. Homer was recognized for this achievement during the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame Banquet at the recent 2012 AQHA Convention in Las Vegas.