Blog: Behind the Scenes

Darrell Hare: A glimpse of the folks "behind the scenes" of the Racing Challenge.

By Darrell Hare
August 13, 2012

challenge team

Malynda Reed, Marilyn Honea and Kelly Phillips

As the 2012 Bank of America Racing Challenge season reaches its midpoint, considerable credit should be given to the women who are responsible for the administration of the daily Racing Challenge details. Most Challenge supporters have talked to these ladies on numerous occasions when making Challenge nomination payments or when inquiring about other Challenge matters but have never had the opportunity to meet these important members of the AQHA/Challenge team personally. Since introducing them personally is not a viable option, we are pleased to publish this picture along with a little background about each of them.

Marilyn Honea, has worked for AQHA for 34 years, starting out in the Registration department for a few months, then transferring to the Racing department where she served as Racing Department supervisor. Because of Marilyn’s vast experience with AQHA racing and the Racing Challenge program, she remains the go-to person for Challenge historical data and many other AQHA racing inquiries.

Kelly Phillips, secretary to the director of Racing Challenge, has worked for AQHA 18 years (all in the Racing department) and assists me with my administrative duties, in addition to coordinating my travel itineraries. Kelly is also responsible for distributing and processing applications for hosting Challenge races at race tracks; processing and distributing purse distribution checks for all Challenge races; obtaining and maintaining race track approvals for streaming races on Q-Racing Video and assisting with incoming Challenge calls from Challenge supporters. When Kelly is not at work, she loves spending time with her family.

Malynda Reed, Racing Challenge specialist, has worked for AQHA for 17 years, spending the last eight-plus years working in the Challenge department. Malynda is primarily responsible for processing Challenge nominations, compiling and publishing eligibility lists, as well as maintaining current Challenge leader lists on the website. Malynda is also responsible for coordinating and shipping all trophies, blankets and buckles to race tracks hosting Challenge races, plus overseeing Challenge enrollment applications. When Malynda is not at work, she enjoys watching her beautiful daughters Makayla and Lexi play volleyball.

During the racing season, I spend considerable time away from the office visiting race tracks and attending Challenge races and other AQHA-related events. The administration of the Challenge program requires considerable daily oversight and details that I cannot always monitor because of my travel agenda. The following is a brief description of the multiple duties, deadlines and other routine details pertaining to the administration of the 2012 Challenge program:

•    Accepting entries and checking eligibility to approximately 110 Challenge races.
•    Adhering to approximately 175 nomination, sustaining/late payment deadlines (approximately 18-20 races on each 1st and 15th of the month during racing season).
•    Posting and mailing lists of eligible horses in all Challenge races.
•    Shipping approximately 100 trophies and blankets, 200 buckles (trials and finals) to horsemen and host race tracks.
•    Maintaining and updating contracts with all host race tracks.
•    Maintaining qualifier/leader lists for Challenge horses, trainers, owners, jockeys and breeders.
•    Providing purse distribution statements and checks to host tracks for all Challenge races.   
•    At the end of the year, computing and disbursing nominator award checks to Challenge owners.
•    Coordinating and processing registration packets for owners of Challenge Championship qualifiers.
•    Many other related duties.

Thanks to the excellent job that both Kelly and Malynda do in handling Challenge matters, I seldom have to get involved or worry about these Challenge administrative details while I am attending Challenge races and visiting with you all at the racetrack.  

Darrell Hare
Director of Racing Challenge