State Fair exhibitors frustrated with management of horse show

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – By all accounts, the horse shows at the New Mexico State Fair seemed like a success. But frustration from what went on behind the scenes this year brought a number of exhibitors, and Horse Breed Association leaders to the New Mexico State Fair Commission Monday.

“We did our part and we shouldn’t be here having to ask to be paid as agreed,” said Mariah Wilson.

Mariah Wilson is president of the Arabian Horse Association of New Mexico. She and her club — Platinum Performance Horses — had a big hand in the Arabian horse show for the New Mexico State Fair.

“That is probably the largest attendance at a horse show at the state fair in a decade. We were asked to produce, and we did,” Wilson said. 

With a binder full of exhibits, she says the show was not only a mess, but she says the state fair owes her club more than $2,500.

She took aim at the show management company in charge of Southwest Show Management.

“This manager was nothing more than an ineffective filter,” said Wilson. 

And others were quick to echo those headaches. 

“If you are to hire her again, nobody will come back.”

“This show was one of the most poorly organized shows that I’ve ever been to.”

Some exhibitors say they are also still owed money.

“I know I had $645 coming to me, I received one check for $290,” one exhibitor said. 

And the buckles this year caught many people off guard, next to the new Mexico State Fair logo was a logo for “Goldmine.”

A show operated by the management company, with no New Mexico connection or sponsorship.

“The commissioners did not know of any of this,” said a state fair commissioner. 

The state fair commissioners say they plan on diving into all of those issues, but it will take time.

Meanwhile, officials with the state fair say the show was a success, and they are working to remedy this situation–including an audit of what Wilson says they still owe.

State fair officials say that extra logo on the buckle was printed erroneously and will be remaking those.

Officials also say everyone was paid– though they are working on that audit.

Meanwhile, the management company did not respond to us Monday.