Show Secretaries are Human, Too!

This story originally ran in the June 1988 issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal. Of course, during the past 24 years, the onslaught of new, computerized technology has radically changed how show secretaries perform their jobs. In this story, Faye Faullin describes using a complex card filing system for keeping track of exhibitors and typing up show reports on a typewriter.

The show secretaries of today keep their filing systems online or on multiple hard drives, and print show reports directly from their laptops with a click of the mouse. But while methods differ from decade to decade, the ultimate goal of the show secretary remains the same: to maintain order in the show office, to ensure that everyone follows the rules and to keep meticulous records so that every point, placing and award goes to the right people and horses at the right time. So, exhibitors, next time you’re in the show office, remember to smile at one of the hardest-working people at the show: the show secretary.

“Whadaya mean I can’t show without my amateur card?”

“Are you the one that hired this judge?”

“I know I don’t have my horse’s papers with me, but you can call AQHA tomorrow and let me show today?”

Would you want to listen to that day in and day out? Probably not. But there are people all across America who spend hours of their own time working as show secretaries. Professional show secretary Faye Faullin of Hope Hull, Alabama, is one of them. For too many years to count, Faye has taken care of the registration, the records and the complaints. And believe it or not, she enjoys it.

“I like to go and meet different people,” said the silver-haired Faye. “Horse show people, as a whole, are good people. I’d rather do this than work in town from 8 to 5.” Show secretaries, especially if they are new to the job, are often overwhelmed by the task. Not only do they have to handle a great many people, but they have to do it diplomatically with the rules of an Association to remember.

“My job is to go to the shows, take entries, see that everything is in order as far as the paperwork is concerned, see that they get in the right classes and fill out the result forms for AQHA. Tons of paperwork. I do shows two different ways. I have people that call me up and want me to take care of everything. I hire the judges, do all the paperwork and all the secretarial work. Then I have shows where I just go and take care of the job right there and don’t have to worry about managerial things.”

But what kind of person does it take to be a show secretary – especially if that show runs all week long? Nerves tend to get frazzled, and tempers get on edge. But anyone is capable of being a show secretary if he or she has the personality and temperament to handle it.

“You have to be able to contend with people and stand up for what you think is right, and to follow the rules and regulations of whatever organization you’re working for.”

Faye will usually start to work on a particular show from 90 to 120 days before the show starts, if she has to hire the judges and fill out the necessary approval forms that must be sent back to AQHA. After the show ends, she is still on the job, finishing paperwork.

Obviously, this job requires a great deal of organization and work. But the ideas and work practices that Faye puts to use in her operation smooth out what could be some very rough ridin’.

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Photo: The show secretary is one of the hardest-working people at the show. Journal photo.