Merle Wood Humanitarian Award

Edward McNelis of Nampa, Idaho received the 2018 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award from the American Quarter Horse Foundation at the 2019 AQHA Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Established in 1997 in honor of the late Merle Wood, this award recognizes individuals who exemplify an ethic of kindness and benevolence in providing opportunities for young people to be involved with the American Quarter Horse.

Edward McNelis
Ed McNelis worked in banking for 34 years and is currently involved in real estate, cattle, ranching and horses. He has traveled across the state of Idaho in support of youth, showing, racing and fundraising. Over the years, he has become the voice of the industry to the legislature in Idaho. McNelis is an AQHA director emeritus, and has served on the amateur, public policy, membership and marketing, Hall of Fame selection, and nominations and credentials committees, as well as the affiliate and Foundation councils. He is a past president of the Idaho Quarter Horse Association and Idaho Horse Council, member of the Governor’s Appointed Idaho Horse Board, racing steward in Idaho, and chairman of various committees.

McNelis organized, developed and chaired the Idaho Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. He also chaired and organized the first induction of individuals into the Idaho Hall of Fame. He has helped raise record amounts of money, grown the number of new members and held clinics for youth. McNelis has always been a writer and has written for state, regional and national publications. He understands the value of communication and informing people. He donates all income derived from his writing to youth-related programs and has helped raise thousands of dollars for American Quarter Horse youth, 4-H, FFA, Youth Day at the races and other youth programs. McNelis continues to live by his motto, “I will not be a part of programs that do not benefit youth.”

The deadline for nominations for the 2019 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award is May 1, 2019. For more information, call 806-378-5029 or email

The Merle Wood Humanitarian award is awarded by the American Quarter Horse Foundation. The award exemplifies the Foundation’s mission to connect horses and people through charitable giving in order to develop and support programs and initiatives that preserve our horse’s legacy and further the overall wellbeing of the American Quarter Horse and the people who comprise the Quarter Horse family.
For more information on the Merle Wood Humanitarian Award, visit


News & Events


2018 Level 1 Championship Show

Level 1 Youth and Level 1 Amateur exhibitors must have the following criteria in place before qualifying points can counted for the 2018 show: Eligibility is determined on the class-by-class basis (i.e. you may be eligible for some classes but not others.) A couple of our Idaho Show Associations are holding their shows out of states for lack of facilities in their local area. Those out of state shows. Re: Kaniksu; will be considered “IN” state shows for qualifying. Your IQHA membership and Idaho Quarter Horse participation is important to us


2017 Magazine