It has come to the attention of the Board of Directors for the ABRA that various posts on social media have commented on why the ABRA finals are not a Western Fortunes approved event. The following is the official statement on behalf of the ABRA in this regard:
The ABRA unfortunately must report that the 2020 ABRA Finals will not be a Western Fortunes approved event. This is NOT simply because the ABRA missed the deadline to seek approval.
In 2019, the ABRA Finals was a Western Fortunes event. However, Western Fortunes (unlike other incentives like the CBHI) requires that the ABRA take the entries for all the Western Fortunes horses, which requires a separate set of entries be processed. For a smaller event, this may be manageable. However, this is an enormous undertaking for an event the size of the ABRA Finals. The ABRA was concerned that this would require more staffing in order to process entries at Finals time, and thus add to the expense of Finals. This expense would of course pass to the membership, which was a concern for the ABRA Board. Based on the current entry scheme, Western Fortunes shares none of the burden of the entry system, nor would it contribute to the potential cost.
The ABRA reached out to the Directors of Western Fortunes and invited them to attend an ABRA board meeting in order to discuss with them what could be done to accommodate both their needs and address the concerns that the ABRA had with the entry process. No one from Western Fortunes attended. It was the hope of the ABRA that discussions would continue, but it has become apparent that Western Fortunes takes the position that those discussions could only happen prior to their deadline, and by not participating, Western Fortunes essentially left the ABRA in a position where it either agreed to continue with the current entry process or not seek approval. The ABRA was not willing to simply accede to the entry system as it is currently, so they did not further pursue approval.
The ABRA will continue to do everything it can to enhance the sport of barrel racing and to better the industry in Alberta. However, the ABRA also prioritizes the interests of its members above all. The Board appreciates that there are many Western Fortunes horses that will compete at the ABRA Finals that stood to benefit from the ABRA Finals being an approved event, and recognizes that it is very unfortunate that the parties could not come together to find a solution that worked for all involved. However, it is the position of the ABRA that, in order to ensure its own longevity, a body in this industry must be flexible, willing to work for the benefit of its members, and realize that, as the industry grows, new challenges arise that call for new solutions. The ABRA prides itself in being such a body, but it will not be bullied into agreeing to terms that stand to benefit another body on the shoulders of ABRA members.
Any members with questions are encouraged to submit them to the ABRA in writing and will be responded to in due course.