In spite of a slow economy and a plethora of other activities vying for individuals’ time, there are still plenty of horse owners who can bolster your regional Paint Horse club’s membership roster and event numbers, if you’re willing to think outside the box about how to attract them.
The October 2014 Paint Horse Journal brought you tried-and-true tips from five APHA regional club leaders: Mike Short of the Oklahoma Paint Horse Club, Karen Kennedy of the Arkansas Paint Horse Club, Shannon O’Dell of the Inland Northwest Paint Horse Club, Kim Evans of the Dixie Paint Horse Club and Stephanie Reed of the Pennsylvania Paint Horse Club. Get a taste of their tips below, and check out the full article, “Let the Creativity Flow,” for even more suggestions.
If you don’t subscribe to the Paint Horse Journal—the industry’s ONLY magazine dedicated to the Paint Horse community—you’re missing valuable articles like this one. Subscribe or renew to the PHJ by October 31, and get a free 2015 calendar—along with month-after-month of award-winning Paint Horse-specific content, beautiful photography and real tips to help you improve as a horseman. Visit phj.apha.com to subscribe, renew or give a gift subscription, or call (877) PHJ-4YOU. APHA members save $5 or more on their PHJ subscription!
1. Think small to grow large.
Bigger isn’t always better—offering a one- or two-judge show might be more beneficial for your club. Besides being more cost effective to exhibitors and show management alike, smaller shows help you attract a new, local base of exhibitors, Mike says. Combo packages that include APHA and club memberships and some freebie class entries can prove successful, too. Mike’s two-judge shows have proved not only profitable, but a great way to cultivate new members who continue to come back, thanks to the show’s laid-back, fun, welcoming atmosphere.
2. Put the focus on fun.
Flat fees, free snacks and exhibitor parties and prizes for all help make exhibitors feel appreciated, Karen says. Make them feel welcome and foster a good time—and you’ll see your show grow by leaps and bounds.
3. Use APHA Special Events to reach new customers.
Any class offered by APHA can be rolled into an APHA Special Event, which helps you target Paint Horse owners competing in specific events. These events are easy to do, cost-effective—especially if you partner with an existing show—and lets you tailor classes to the interests of your region’s exhibitors. Meet them where they’re already competing, show them what APHA and your club can offer, and you might find yourself with a bevy of new members.
4. Partner with other organizations to host events.
Coordinating with another organization to share the costs of putting on an event can be a win-win, Kim says. Check with your city’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and sports commission to see if they’ll offer grants or incentives for the business your event brings to the area. You don’t have to be a “big fish” to be attractive to those groups, Kim says—small groups’ consistency through multiple events can be just as compelling.
5. Offer dual-approval to give exhibitors more bang for their buck.
Give exhibitors at your show more options by offering dual-approved classes with another organization, like the National Snaffle Bit Association. This can help attract more exhibitors, and can even help your show generate extra income via incentives from NSBA (get the scoop in the Paint Horse Journal).
6. Think beyond the horse show.
The Pennsylvania Paint Horse Club raised more than $4,000 in only about two months by finding sponsors and innovative fundraising that included a lottery raffle, stallion service raffle, jewelry sales and more.
Get connected with regional clubs in your area—or discover some valuable resources—at clubs.apha.com.
[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]