Florida NBHA State Director Linda Jones: “Florida NHBA does not and will not endorse this endeavor.”
NBHA Southeastern Director Paul Stanley: “There is no place for betting where there are children competing.”
Gadsen County, Tallahassee, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, Pensacola, Sarasota, Florida (PRWEB) October 15, 2011
Immediately following the October 12, 2011 announcement of opposition by the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) to the Gretna North Florida Horsemen’s Association request for State of Florida approval to substitute barrel racing for Quarter Horse racing, Florida NBHA State Director Linda Jones explicitly registered her organization’s opposition to the plan in a letter to Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Secretary Ken Lawson.
As Florida legislators begin debating whether expanded gambling is right for Florida, a small group of North Florida lobbyists have partnered with PCI Gaming, owned by Alabama's Poarch Creek Indian Tribe, to ask Secretary Lawson and Florida’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Racing to declare that barrel racing—strictly a rodeo event—is the same thing as horse racing.
"The Gretna/North Florida Horsemen's Association request uses s. 550.2625, F.S., a loophole in Florida law, and lawsuits designed to challenge the Interstate Horse Racing Act, a 1978 federal law that protects Florida's $6.3 billion horse community with legal rights in issues such as negotiating with track owners on prize money," said Dr. Steve Fisch, President of the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association Board of Directors.
"Although the Gretna application was returned to its source multiple times as “incomplete,” it is presently under review by the DBPR, which will decide whether to approve the pari-mutuel barrel racing license application," added Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association Executive Director Kent Stirling. "As if already presuming authorization will be given, Gretna has indicated it will open for business on December 1."
“Florida NHBA does not and will not endorse this endeavor.” NBHA Director Jones wrote in her letter to Secretary Lawson.
With over 1,400 statewide members, the NBHA’s Florida Division is the largest in the international organization, which has 24,000 members and affiliates in 12 different countries.
Jones further added, “We wholeheartedly lend our support to the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and the United Horsemen of Florida and seek denial in allowing pari-mutuel wagering on barrel racing in the state of Florida,”
The United Florida Horsemen include the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (5,000 Florida members); the American Quarter Horse Association (7,163 Florida members); the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (439 Florida members); the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association(630 members); and the U.S. Trotting Association (25,000 members).
“We have provided the people of Florida a place to compete and win money and prizes for years without the benefit of betting,” NBHA Southeastern Director Paul Stanley wrote in his October 12 letter to Secretary Lawson. “The NBHA promotes a family atmosphere at these events and feels there is no place for betting where there are children competing.”
The NBHA estimates that a majority of its competing members are under 18.
Headquartered in Augusta, Georgia since 1992, the NBHA revolutionized the barrel racing industry by pioneering the divisional format, which allows riders of all skill levels a chance to win money and prizes in barrel racing competition.
To date, its official events have paid out $12,157,330 in prize money to competitors, with over $2.5 million in added money. In contrast, prize money offered at Gretna, which is neither compliant with State of Florida pari-mutuel regulations, nor sanctioned by the NBHA, is an aggregate $38,000, all of which is underwritten by out-of-state Indian gambling interests.