LQHBA Insider - By Martha Claussen May  17, 2024


Breeding and racing are certainly top priorities for the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association (LQHBA), but one very important goal of the association is to promote education for Louisiana youth.

Since 2001, the LQHBA scholarship program has provided financial aid for students to attend a higher education institution. Over $380,000, has been earmarked for this program since its inception.

The scholarship program was the vision of the late Jim Mitchell and Executive Director Emeritus Leverne Perry, and is supported strongly by the LQHBA and its board members. Last November, on LQHBA Breeders Futurity Night at Evangeline Downs, live scholarship drawings took place in between races, and Louisiana students and their families enjoyed the million dollar futurity and four drawings for scholarship awards of $1,500. One very fortunate student, Cassie Babin was the recipient of a $5,000 drawing.

Cassie Babin
Babin, from Lafayette, Louisiana, is a senior major in Public Relations at UL Lafayette. The Babins never owned horses, but shared that her family had been to Evangeline Downs many times and always enjoyed the excitement and fun atmosphere at Evangeline Downs.

When her name was drawn, she was stunned and speechless, but extremely grateful. Babin will graduate in December. Since beginning college, her goals were to excel in academics, join clubs, meet new people, study abroad, and make the most of the college experience.

"The scholarship has definitely helped me tremendously," Babin explained. "I don't have TOPS and with the rising cost of tuition and books, it can definitely be stressful. The scholarship will be beneficial towards my academics. Words cannot express how grateful I am, this scholarship will definitely be put to good use."

Essay Contest
With the support of sponsors, Robicheaux Ranch, Inc and TRACK Magazine, three additional students will be awarded scholarships during the Mardi Gras Futurity finals, March 12 at Louisiana Downs.

A $3,500 Scholarship will be awarded for the best student essay (400 word minimum) about one or more of the 2016 Mardi Gras Futurity qualifiers and their connections (breeder, owner, trainer and jockey).

The deadline for essay submission is noon on Tuesday, March 1st. Students should email their essays to mhatwig@lqhba.com at the LQHBA office. Entrants will receive a reply email confirming receipt of their essay within 24 hours and the winning essay will be published.

"The essay is a new addition, but the concept is great!," said Leigh Lepinski, first vice-president of LQHBA. "Our primary funding is through our stallion auction, but we continue to expand ways to raise funds through sponsorships and through a option to donate on sale consignments. The generosity of our contributors is so greatly appreciated."

Live Drawing at Louisiana Downs on Saturday, March 12
Two additional $1,000 scholarships will be awarded through a "live" drawing in the Louisiana Downs winners' circle immediately following the third race on Saturday, March 12.

Students must register in person between 11:30 and 1:30 p.m. (CST) on race day, March 12, 2016. A registration table will be located inside the main entrance of the racetrack next to the program stand.

Awarding scholarships at racetracks on major racing events is on the agenda for 2016 as well as expanding the participant base to not only graduating seniors, but to those that have already graduated and are pursuing higher education.

"We take great pride in our scholarship program," said Tony Patterson, LQHBA executive director. "To further the education of the next generation is very important, and perhaps one of our scholarship winners will become the next great breeder, trainer or racetrack executive in our great state of Louisiana."

Lyle Guillory was one of the LQHBA board members organizing the live scholarship drawings and presentations at Evangeline Downs on November 28. He saw, first hand, the delight of the student recipients, in receiving the valuable funding for their education.

"The LQHBA Scholarship program is a great honor for our association and we are blessed that we are able to contribute to the youth of Louisiana," said Guillory. "It's our belief that investing back into our children will reintroduce this way of life to generations we have lost. "God Bless our youth and God Bless Horse Racing."

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The LQHBA Insider is a monthly feature written by Martha Claussen for www.lqhba.com. She served as publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park for ten years. She continues to be active in writing, fan education and Quarter Horse racing publicity in Texas, Louisiana and other regions in North America.