The Autobahn History
During the summer of 2000, John and Diann Chase approached the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America about the possibility of starting a scholarship program for the youth showing their Texas Longhorn cattle. Don L. King, TLBAA Executive Director, was on board immediately and assigned Larry Barker the task of establishing the program in conjunction with the TLBAA World Show circuit and Texas Longhorn Breeders of Tomorrow’s National Youth Show.
John and Diann Chase funded $10,000 in scholarships the first year of the newly created Autobahn Motorcar Group Youth Scholarship Tour. It was an exciting time for all involved. Ten shows on the World Show circuit were designated Autobahn Shows and each distributed $1,000 in scholarships to the kids exhibiting their Longhorns.
As word spread, the Autobahn Youth Tour was an overnight sensation. Every qualifying youth show wanted to be among the coveted 10 Autobahn shows. The combination of kids showing their Texas Longhorn’s and scholarship money was the elixir needed to infuse enthusiasm and purpose into the TLBT show circuit. With each passing year, the TLBT show circuit experienced steady growth. That growth inspired John and Diann Chase to generously increase the scholarship through the years.
In 2007, Larry Barker left the TLBAA and went to work for John Chase as General Manager of the Autobahn Motorcar Group Youth Scholarship Tour. Armed with a “kids first” philosophy, John and Diann Chase shared a vision for the Autobahn Youth Tour and set about the task of making the Autobahn the best and largest standalone breed show in the industry.
The first show in the new independent Autobahn tour was the 2007 State Fair of Texas. The inaugural Autobahn Classic in February 2008 was the first of 4 shows on the 2008 Tour. The before mentioned Classic held in February at Will Rogers Memorial Center, the Longhorn Prairie Expo an April show took place in Lincoln, NE., back to Will Rogers for the August Super Stakes and concluding with the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. Each of the 4 shows gave $47,500 in scholarships. The $190,000 given during the 2008 Tour was a staggering amount and a harbinger of future scholarship payouts.
2009 saw a consolidation from four to two shows allowing for more scholarship money at each show. The 2009 February Classic and August Super Stakes distributed $115,000 each. Having but 2 shows allowed the exhibitors to vie for more scholarship money and save resources that would be spent on travel, lodging and entry fees and since there was less cost involved for the Tour more money could be put toward scholarships. This point was driven home when the Tour increased the scholarship amount for 2010 to $280,000.
In 2013 Autobahn went to a single show, the first Autobahnanza distributed $350,000 in scholarships as did the 2014 Autobahnanza. After the 2014 Autobahnanza, tragedy struck the Autobahn Youth Tour. The passing of Diann Chase had a profound impact on all those associated with the Tour. Beyond naming the show in her honor, we rededicated ourselves to the mission. Following are Larry Barker’s words in the welcome letter to exhibitors at the 2015 Diann Chase Longhorn Scholarship Expo.
“The yearly Autobahn Motorcar Group Youth Scholarship Tour show has a new name but our mission has not changed. Diann Chase’s words “All young people should be able to receive a college education if they desire one” are simple yet powerful. They speak to the hundreds of kids who have seen their dream of a college education become a reality, encouraged those who thought college was not possible and inspired hope in the hearts of all touched by her generosity. She left a void that I will fill with the memories of her grace. Diann’s legacy is a beacon that will shine through bright futures.”