Merle Wood Humanitarian Award Guidelines

The Merle Wood Humanitarian Award will be presented to an individual whose outstanding voluntary service has been marked by actions or deeds that have enabled young people to experience positive opportunities and or activities involving the American Quarter Horse. A multitude of service will be considered and is not restricted to any one type of action or deed involving youth.

Individuals nominated may be living or deceased. Nominee(s) must distinguish oneself through non-compensated humanitarian endeavors.

  • Nominations will remain on file for up to three selection years. Each selection year, nominators may submit additional materials in support of nominee.
  • Previous recipients are not eligible to receive additional awards.
  • Individuals who have received AQHA’s most honored award, Hall of Fame induction, are not eligible to receive this award.
  • Award is not designed to honor individuals who have supported youth activities primarily through financial contributions.
  • Awards or achievements received through industry show and or racing competition(s) are not a factor in the selection process.


Nominators must prepare an application developed for the nominee, which should include the following items.

1. Completed Application Form that includes any details regarding the nominee’s personal information: nominee’s family, occupation, AQHA activities and other civic honors received.

2. Letters of Support, including a minimum of three reference letters. A maximum of five reference letters will be accepted for each nominee. Letters should be at least one-page in length.

  • Suggested endorsers should include individuals with first-hand knowledge regarding the activities or achievements of the nominee and their involvement in humanitarian endeavors.
  • Should be person(s) other than a relative who are familiar with the nominee’s accomplishments.

3. Supplementary Materials (optional) to enhance the nominee’s award application. These items may include published works about the nominee through newspaper articles, feature stories, press releases, etc.

Achievements and or awards should be dated and listed in chronological order with the most recent submitted first. All materials should be submitted at the same time as a complete package. Supplementary materials are encouraged.


The Merle Wood Humanitarian Award is presented annually during the AQHA Convention. The recipient’s humanitarian achievements will be highlighted in a video presentation during the induction banquet.

The recipient is presented with a commemorative bronze bust of an American Quarter Horse, designed and donated by Marrita Black of Gainesville, Texas. This bust immortalizes the American Quarter Horse and the humanitarian achievements of Merle Wood.