Meet the Candidates – 2017 NRHA Elections

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Executive Committee and Board of Directors are responsible for managing the business of the Association and for representing the best interests of its members and the Association as a whole. Each year, NRHA opens nominations and hosts elections for these important leadership positions.

Members are encouraged to carefully consider the slate of candidates prior to voting in October. A current listing is provided below; however, write-in candidates can be submitted through August 2. A final listing will be emailed to eligible voters and posted in the Members Only section of

For details on the write-in process or questions about the elections, please visit the Members Only section or contact Christa Morris-Stone ( or 405-946-7400).


(TWO SEATS) To begin staggered terms as described in the NRHA Bylaws, the Board has approved that the candidate receiving the largest number of votes will have a two-year term. The candidate receiving the second largest number of votes will have a one-year term. Terms begin January 1, 2018. The following members were nominated by the NRHA Nominating / Governance Committee:

  • Shane Brown
  • George King
  • Brian Welman
  • Joe Wolfe


(ONE PER REGION) Directors will serve two-year terms begin January 1, 2018. The following members were nominated by NRHA Affiliates to represent their regions:

  • East Central – Brett Walters
  • North Central – Larry Handley
  • Northeast – Kelly Hedges and Heather Powell
  • Northwest – Jeanine Kern
  • South Central – Ann Salmon Anderman


Shane Brown • Elbert, Colo.

SHANE image1 cropped“As a member of many NRHA committees and positions, currently and in the past, I am excited to be considered for an NRHA Executive Committee position. I look forward to becoming even more involved in programs that help to grow NRHA from the grass roots level at the Affiliates to my ongoing dedication to the Professional and non pro members at the trainer/ breeder/owner level. I am an active, dedicated NRHA non pro coach so it is important to me to continue the upward track that NRHA has established, taking all members into consideration. I would be honored to be a participant and pledge to be an active, productive member of the NRHA Executive Committee to help NRHA meet its goals for 2018.” ~READ MORE~

George King • Idaho Falls, Idaho

George King 2017 cropped“At the young age of 59, I have been a member of the NRHA for almost 30 years. I remember those early years when we gathered together at an outdoor arena in Montana for Dick Pieper clinics. In those days, a reining show only lasted one day. You would drive to the show in the morning and go home that evening (sometimes quite late). I’ve seen amazing growth in the NRHA and the reining horse industry; what an incredible journey it has been. You can see the results of our prosperity in that we now have 24 NRHA Million Dollar Riders, two of which are non pros; we have 36 NRHA Million Dollar Sires and several that have turned over nine million dollars. ~READ MORE~

Brian Welman • Hastings, Minn.brianwelman

“I have been an NRHA member for over 30 years and have been an NRHA Judge since 1990.  I attended the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, and then I went on to work for a few of the NRHA Hall of Fame inducted trainers until I started my own training business Brian Welman Training Center in Minnesota. I have been an active board member of the North Central Reining Horse Association (NCRHA) from the beginning and I have been a president of the NCRHA.  I have served on the NRHA Board of Directors in 2008 and 2011 through 2015, NRHA Judges Committee, Eligibility Committee and the NRHA Executive Committee since 2016. I am actively involved with all aspects of the reining horse industry.” ~READ MORE~

Joe Wolfe • Catlettsburg, Ky.

Joe Wolfe 2011 cropped“I have been married to my wife Emmy for 46 years. We have two grown daughters and four grandchildren. We live in Catlettsburg, Kentucky where we have been involved with horses and, at times, cattle. I attended Morehead State University where I earned my bachelors and masters degrees in math. I worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield in Kentucky for 26 years in sales and sales management.  I retired in December of 1999 and started my own small independent insurance agency in January of 2000 with my current partner George Arnold. My wife and I became involved with reining in the mid 1980s and became members of Ohio Valley Reining Horse Association (OVRHA) and NRHA at that time. Both of us continue to…” ~READ MORE~



East Central • Brett Walters • Bourbon, Ind.

Brett Walters IMG_8300 cropped“As a current member of the NRHA Board, I would like to continue my involvement in order to help lead the NRHA in a direction that improves the association for the competitors and all of those involved. I believe that with my past experience and continued committee and board experiences I am qualified for this position. I am an active member of my local affiliates which allows me to get member feedback to bring to the board and make the best decisions for our membership. Being on the board allows me to help my local affiliates at a national level by making sure their needs and concerns are known to my fellow board members and to make sure new rules and regulations are suited for their needs.” ~READ MORE~

North Central • Larry Handley • Ankeny, Iowa

Larry Handley 2012 croppedLarry Handley, a practicing trial lawyer with over 39 years of experience, is from Ankeny, Iowa representing the North Central Region of NRHA. Larry serves on the NRHA Bylaw Committee, in addition to a special task force at the request and appointment of the NRHA President and Board. Larry has been an NRHA and North Central Reining Horse Association (NCRHA) member since 1990. During the past 27 years, he has competed at regional and national events as a non pro participant. He primarily focuses on futurity and derby horses and enjoys working with young horses everyday. He also has served as the NCRHA Sire & Dam Coordinator for several years. He currently assists the NCRHA Board regarding legal matters. He volunteers for other non-profit organizations in a… ~READ MORE~

Northeast • Kelly Hedges • Perrysburg, N.Y.

Kelly Hedges Web cropped“I am 61-years-old and have been a professional in the equine industry for over 40 years. My wife Kim and I own and operate Hedges Reining Horses in western New York. I also own and operate Hedges Custom Carpentry which specializes in custom cabinetry and custom home interiors for over 30 years. I am currently the vice president of the Yankee Reining Horse Association (YRHA), and I am on the horse show committee, as well as the Bylaws Committee. I have been a judge for over 30 years. I hold cards with the National Snaffle Bit Association, Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) and NRHA. I have judged all the ApHC’s major events in The States, as well as the Aphc’s European Championship show three times. ~READ MORE~

Northeast • Heather Powell • Chalfont, Penn.

Powell Heather HJP-2 cropped“In 1989, we bought a horse that we thought did tricks. A few weeks later we saw Richie Fisher giving a reining demonstration at Belmont Park Horse Fair and the “penny dropped.” I was introduced to trainer J.C. Daudelin from Quebec and started to learn about reining, ably assisted by our mare “April.” It has been a passion for me and the horses and people have kept me actively involved in the sport as an exhibitor (when the trainers let me have my horses back!), owner, breeder, judge, show secretary and steward since my first show at Willowbrook also in 1989. I have served as a director for Eastern Pennsylvania Reining Horse Association (EPRHA) for eight years. The past two years as NRHA Northeast Director have…” ~READ MORE~

Northwest • Jeanine Kern • Monroe, Wash.

Jeanine Kern croppedJeanine Kern is currently an NRHA Board Member representing the Northwest Region, and has been an NRHA Non Pro for over ten years. Residing in Monroe, Wash. with her husband Dan, Jeanine considers Washington Reining Horse Association (WaRHA) as her home affiliate. Jeanine has served in various volunteer capacities with WaRHA, including newsletter editor, Reiner correspondent, communications chair, board member, and is a past president of WaRHA. A lifetime member of the Washington State University (WSU) Alumni Association, Jeanine holds a bachelors degree in business administration with a minor in economics from WSU. Professionally Jeanine has been a freelance recruiter a great deal of her career, founding executive search firm EBS Northwest. Jeanine’s professional expertise is in identifying, sourcing… ~READ MORE~

South Central • Ann Salmon Anderman • Pilot Point, Tex.

Ann Salmon 2017 Web croppedAnn Salmon Anderman has been an NRHA Judge for 20 years, an NRHA Professional since 2004 and an NRHA Steward since 2011. She and her husband Monte Anderman are involved with teaching riders and horses of all levels, hosting clinics, and sharing their love of reining. They are currently based out of Cardinal Reining Horses in Aubrey, Texas. Ann is a current NRHA Regional Director and an active member and contributor on the NRHA Judges and Stewards Committees, as well as the past chair of the NRHA Judges Policy Review Task Force. Ann is a member of the NRHA Judges Teaching Panel which includes preparation and evaluation of judges teaching and testing materials. Ann has served multiple terms on the Southwest Reining Horse Association… ~READ MORE~


Read this story and watch a video on 2017 NRHA Elections or visit the NRHA Elections page!

Collegiate Reining Championship

For Immediate Release – Oklahoma City, Okla. – July  2, 2017 – The 2017 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby hosted the Collegiate Reining Championship on June 30. However the title of champion didn’t come easy, as it took a runoff to decide the winner for this year.

Hannah Mitchell won the championship with a score of 222.5 with The Boominator donated to the competition by James Hotz.

Mitchell took the victory after a run off with Julia Spreng, who ended up Reserve Champion scoring 220.5 with HR Dun By Whiz owned by Randy and Sharon Reecer. Both competitors tied after their first runs scoring 217.5.

Mitchell is a freshman at Oklahoma State University and is a native of Cuba, Missouri. Spreng is a sophomore at University of Georgia majoring in Business. A native of Port Orange, Florida qualified to compete at the Collegiate Reining Championship through NRHA.

The Collegiate Reining Championship consists of 12 riders – four from the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA), four from the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), and four that are selected by the NRHA. This year, the riders selected from the pool of collegiate NRHA members were: Holly Lansidel (Southern Methodist University), Jaci Marley (Texas A&M), Julia Spreng (University of Georgia), and Kyndal Harper (University of Georgia).

The NCEA sent its top four reiners from the 2016-2017 season to the championship: Caroline Gute (University of South Carolina), Claudia Spreng (University of Georgia), Hannah Mitchell (Oklahoma State), and Taylor Brown (Fresno State).

Representing the IHSA were riders who placed in top four places in Open Reining at the IHSA Finals this year. Riders representing the IHSA were: Kristen Wesoja (Cazenovia College), Lauren King (Middle Tennessee State University), Mark Mowbray, and Michelle McDowell (Grand Valley State University).

NRHA and the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA) would like to thank the following horse owners who donated their horses for the NRHA Collegiate Reining Championship:

James Hotz
Randy and Sharon Reecer
Angela Myer
George and Carol Bell
Patrick Schwarz
Jennifer & Maurice Robinson
Brett Walters
Daniela Picciotti
Chris Hawkins
Day Creek Ranch LLC

Photo credit: Jana Thomason

Day One of Competition Makes for Exciting Start to the 2017 IEA Western National Finals

Saturday, July 2, 2017 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Individual competition got underway at the 2017 Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals where nearly 200 riders from across the nation converged on Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to compete for National titles at the IEA Western Finals held during the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby.  In addition to competing individually, IEA Teams compete for points during team classes which will take place tomorrow.

The day began with schooling of reining horses and the individual draw, where riders select which horses they will ride in random order.  Oklahoma City State Fairgrounds has a deep history of equestrian sport competition and this week is no different.  Held in conjunction with the world-class NRHA Derby, the IEA Finals utilizes several of the available rings and barns on the sprawling campus.  As always, Announcer John Bahret kept the classes running smoothly as he effortlessly called out instructions and announcements to riders and audience members.  The NRHA has an excellent system of providing live feed coverage of reining classes, with rider, horse, and owner information identified on the screen for viewers in the arena and around the globe.

The IEA Youth Board assisted in the presentation of awards following the reining and horsemanship individual classes as not only ribbons and NRHA trophies were presented, but for the first time in IEA history, saddles were given to Varsity and JV riders.  Saddles were provided by the IEA and Tim Bower of Equine Oasis.  IEA Co-Founder and Executive Director, Roxane Durant and Co-Founder and IEA Chief Operating Officer, Myron Leff also assisted with awards as did Co-Founder and Board Member Ollie Griffith and NRHA Commissioner, Gary Carpenter joined in for the celebration of awards presentation.  Photography is provided by Waltenberry and Videography is provided by Equine Promotion.

Exhibitors, parents and coaches enjoyed a mid-day welcome party sponsored by the NRHA complete with food, a mechanical bull, climbing wall, bungee jump and bounce house.  IEA was pleased to offer its student members the opportunity to take the Horsemanship Test sponsored by the United States Pony Club (USPC) again this year.  The USPC is one of many sponsors and supporters of the IEA National Finals. Saturday’s top winners included the following:

  • NRHA Varsity Open Reining – Individual Champio
    Morgan Knerr from Autumn Rose Farm Equestrian Team (Zone 5 – Plain City, OH) riding Whimpys Dot Tari provided by Jim Dudley Quarter Horses
  • NRHA Varsity Intermediate Reining – Individual Champion
    Luke Guynn from Rocky Mountain Wranglers (Zone 8 – Berthoud, CO) riding HighLoandInBetween provided by Jim Dudley Quarter Horses
  • NRHA Future Intermediate Reining – Individual Champion
    Benjamin Balow from Arizona Sliders Reining Team (Zone 8 – Scottsdale, AZ) riding Mickey provided by Schwarz Reining
  • Varsity Open Horsemanship – Individual Champion
    Olivia Willeke from KM Equestrian (Zone 5 – Findlay, OH) riding Lucy provided by OK 007
  • Future Novice Horsemanship – Individual Champion
    Lauren Pursley from Texas High Riders (Zone 7 – North Zulch, TX) riding Buddy provided by West Texas A&M University
  • Future Intermediate Horsemanship – Individual Champion
    Izzy Barth from Watkins Equestrian (Zone 5 – Canfield, OH) riding Pete provided Halvorson Ranch
  • Future Beginner Horsemanship – Individual Champion
    Jada Mark from IIIR Stars Equestrian Team (Zone 4 – Portal, GA) riding Buddy provided West Texas A&M University
  • Varsity Intermediate Horsemanship – Individual Champion
    Rylee Aurand from KM Equestrian (Zone 5 – Findlay, OH) riding Lucy from OK007
  • JV Beginner Horsemanship – Individual Champion
    Addison Taylor from IIIR Stars Equestrian Team (Zone 4 – Portal, GA) riding Slicker from West Texas A&M University
  • JV Novice Horsemanship – Individual Champion
    Rette Solomon from Cedar Ridge Equestrian (Zone 1 – Barre, VT) riding Bob from West Texas A&M University
  • Champion Western Rider
    Olivia Willeke from KM Equestrian (Zone 5 – Findlay, OH)
  • Champion Crossover Rider (Huntseat and Western)
    Meghan Moran from Hillside Meadows (Zone 1 – Graton, MA)

About IEA:Celebrating its 15th Anniversary year, the IEA has more than 13,500 middle and high school student-riders across the United States. The IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students and is open to public and private schools and barn teams.  There is no need for a rider to own a horse because the IEA supplies a mount and tack to each equestrian for competitions.  Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction and competition and education on matters related to equestrian competition at the middle and secondary school levels.  The IEA is open to public schools, private schools, and barn teams.  For more information, please

Myron Leff
IEA Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer
614-460-3532  |

Kimber Whanger
IEA Communications Coordinator
614-542-9415  |

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

2017 NRHA Derby: Day Eight

Deary and Shesouttayourleague Dominate the 2017 NRHA Open Derby Championship

NRHA Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary entered the arena as draw 25 in a field of 31 in the second section of the 2017 NRHA Open Derby finals. NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider Jordan Larson had just closed their pattern with a 227.5. That was the score to beat.

Both NRHA Professionals were riding past NRHA Open Futurity Champions: Deary was aboard 2015 NRHA Open Futurity Champion Shesouttayourleague. Larson had just captured the lead with ARC Gunnabeabigstar – the 2014 NRHA Open Co-Champion – between the reins.

Once Shesouttayourleague, a 5-year-old mare by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Walla Walla Whiz and out of NRHA Hall of Famer Wimpys Little Chic (by Wimpys Little Step), nominated by Arcese Quarter Horses USA and owned by Curtis Performance Horses LLC., entered the arena, she gave the Weatherford, Texas trainer all she had. Once the flashy palomino, who had $184,723 NRHA LTE prior to showing in OKC, closed her pattern #12, a 229 appeared on the score board. The title was hers.

“To me, this is nothing short of a miracle,” said Deary following the awards presentation. “At the NRBC she was giving me trouble so, for her to come as far as she did – and I give my friend Jordan Larson the credit for helping me out at the Redbud Spectacular – it was a night and day difference for my horse. I came right after Larson tonight, and I had absolutely no anxiety about having to beat his run because their performance was amazing. I was sitting there cheering on him as I was waiting for my turn. I came in through those gates telling my mare ‘just be as good as you can be and give me what you’ve got’. She did just that, and I cannot be any more thankful for this title tonight.”

Shesouttayourleague gave Deary all she had and more: the pair added another $60,000 to their earnings for the Open Derby Championship.

Larson and ARC Gunnabeabigstar, a 6-year-old stallion by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya and out of Wimpys Little Chic, is owned by HDC Quarter Horses and nominated by Arcese Quarter Horses USA. The duo added $43,918 to their earnings. “I called on him for everything he had, and he delivered,” said Larson. “[NRHA Million Dollar Rider] Brian Bell helped me with his turn-arounds, which could well be why he turned so fast, and I had a hard time controlling him, but I have to thank Brian for that. Wimpys Little Chic is the epitome of a great reining horse and what she is doing as a producer is incredible!” ARC Gunnabeabigstar is an NRHA Markel Insurance Futurity Sales graduate.

Boechat and Tremblay tie to win the Level 3 Open Derby title

NRHA Professional Thiago Boechat riding Ruf Lil Magnum (Magnum Chic Dream x Dunit A Lil Ruf), owned by Silver Spurs Equine and Heritage Farms and nominated by Ann Salmon Anderman tied to win the L3 Open Derby Championship with Dany Tremblay riding Magnums Guns R Reddy (Magnum Chic Dream x Guns R Reddy), owned by Ruth Hamlin and nominated by Mary Jansma. Both scored a 223, and both left OKC adding $19,564.76 to their earnings for the win.

“The owners brought her to me about 6-7 months ago, and we started schooling her,” said Tremblay. “I thought she was going to do so well. We came here after the NRBC with big expectations, and there you go, champion L3. I really felt like she was ready to go. I just turned up the volume a little on her and she gave me everything she had.”

“We haven’t been together for very long,” said head trainer for Xtra Quarter Horses, Brazilian Boechat, based in the USA. “I got him after the NRBC. Jordan Larson had him before me and did a great job. [NRHA Million Dollar Rider] Brian Bell had him before Jordan, and I’ve been the lucky one to get to show him here. He’s been in great hands, and people did a great job with him. I think he has it all; he’s a big turner, big stopper, great mover, and has a great mind. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

CBK Spooks Got Cash and Bobby Avila, Jr. Cash in the Level 2 Open Derby Championship

Bobby Avila, Jr. and CBK Spooks Got Cash (Spooks Gotta Gun x JR Wright On Cash), owned and nominated by William and Corliss Kellogg, rode to a 221 and a $9,839.95 check in the first section of the Open finals. “She’s a horse that was trained by Josh Murphy and is actually in training with him,” said Avila, Jr. about the 5-year-old mare. “I’ve been riding her the last few months for Josh, since we train out of the same barn at Zimmerman Performance Horses, and I’ve been showing her because I’m eligible for lower levels. We’ve won the last three derbies on her; we won the Buckeye Reining Classic in the Novice Derby and the Red Dirt Derby.

She’s a very honest, very consistent horse, and it feels awesome. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s a team effort, and that’s what makes this special.”

Tom Foran, who also qualified his mount Walla Walla Starbuck for the L3 division where they closed in 6th place, earning $8,368.49, left the arena with a 220 – enough to clinch the reserve championship, leaving Avila, Jr. in the lead. The 5-year-old stallion, owned by Sleipner LLC., who was nominated by Marc Gordon, earned another $7,778.97 for their L1 reserve title.

Shina Gun and Gibori are Level 1 Open Derby Champions

Barak Gibori rode Shina Gun, a 5-year-old stallion by Gunner and out of Shiner Light, owned by Teresa Wynn and nominated by Xtra Quarter Horses LLC., to top honors in the L1 Open Derby. The NRHA Professional who works out of McQuay Stables Tioga, Texas, posted a 219.5 for the win.

“It has been a long process, and I need to say a lot of things to the owner for trusting us because we were really close to making it to the winner’s circle, yet every time we had a little bobble here and a little bobble there, and she kept sending us to the horse shows. It worked,” said Gibori. “In the finals tonight, I just let him do his job. That’s about it. He’s a really talented horse, we worked hard to get here, and as soon as you run through that gate, it’s just about letting them do what they know how to do.”

Jeromy Lipps of Miami, Oklahoma, rode Melodie Nelson’s Revolutionary Jac (Einsteins Revolution x Kalliope Jac) to a 218 and the L1 reserve championship. The 4-year-old stallion was nominated by Rancho Sereno LLC and is an NRHA Markel Insurance Futurity Sales graduate.

Larcombe clinches the Prime Time Open Derby title riding Hang Ten And Shine

Martin Larcombe and Hang Ten And Shine (Hang Ten Surprize x Ebony Shines), a 6-year-old stallion nominated by Rosanne Sternberg, kept their perfect derby record alive by qualifying for every Level 4 finals at the major events, so it was an added bonus when the pair won the Prime Time Open Derby division with a score of 221.5 for owner Christine Brazeau of England.
“He’s been a very good, consistent horse,” says Larcombe, who collected a paycheck worth $2,070.64 for the win and added another $6,579.23 for placing 13th in the L4 Open finals. “He has made the Level 4 finals at every big event we’ve been to. That’s a pretty good achievement for a young horse.”

NRHA would like to thank all the supportive Corporate Partners and Event Sponsors for making our Derby awards outstanding this year!

All Open Level Champions received:

  • Custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle
  • Anderson Bean boots
  • Classic Equine Product
  • 4 Bags of Feed from Bluebonnet Feed
  • Platinum Performance CJ
  • SmartPak Gift card
  • Kiser Hydrext Dust Suppressant and Moisture Extender
  • Level 1 & 2 Champions will receive Shorty’s Caboy Hattery certificate
  • The Level 4 Open Champion will also receive a Sundowner trailer for the use of one year courteously of Twin Cities South Trailers the official trailer of the NRHA Derby.
  • The Level 4 and Level 3 Open Champions will receive a custom Silver Spurs Saddle
  • The Level 2 and 1 Open Champions will receive a custom saddle from Equine Oasis

The Prime Time Open Champion received:

  • Custom Montana Silversmiths Trophy Buckle
  • Bob’s Custom Saddle
  • Anderson Bean Boots
  • Classic Equine Product
  • Platinum Performance CJ
  • SmartPak Gift card
  • Kiser Hydrext Dust Suppressant and Moisture Extender