2021 NRHA Markel Futurity Sales Update

The National Reining Horse Association Markel Futurity Sales have long been recognized for leading the industry and providing the annual value benchmark for top reining horses. The 2020 edition continued that successful tradition, with averages and gross sales up across the board.

The Futurity Sales Task Force is not resting on those laurels. Early this year, its members began firming up details for the 2021 event with twin goals of increasing convenience for consignors and expanding the avenues of purchase for buyers.

The group simplified consignment requirements and selection criteria for yearlings:

  • Video and photograph requirements will not be compulsory as part of the yearling consignment application procedure. Please note that videos, photographs, and radiographs will still be required prior to the NRHA Markel Futurity Sales for marketing materials and to be available for buyers.
  • New guidelines will now govern yearling placement. Foals of dams with $25,000 or more in progeny and/or lifetime earnings will be placed in the Select Yearling Sale, while those not meeting that threshold will sell in the Marketplace Sale.

The Task Force will continue the all-on-one-day concept begun in 2020, so all the Markel Futurity Sales will be held on Thursday, December 2.  Also in 2021, look for modified two-year-old preview opportunities. Those have expanded into two-hour sessions in Arena 6. To provide ample time for consignors to present their horses in a controlled environment, these sessions will be held on November 30 and December 1 at the conclusion of each day’s Futurity Semi-Finals.

Other important announcements from the Task Force were the return to Barns 3 and 4 where the Sales have been traditionally held, and continuation and enhancement of online bidding through DVAuction.com.

Capitalizing on its success in introducing broodmares, the Task Force will continue to include embryos and weanlings. Those have enjoyed tremendous success with weanlings selling as high as $40,000 and embryos as high as $45,000.

The Sales will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, December 2 with the Futurity Prospect Sale, followed by the Select Yearling Sale and the Select Breeders Sale. The Marketplace Sale will finish out the day.

The consignment deadline for all Markel Futurity Sales is August 31. For more information, visit NRHAFuturity.com/Sales or contact NRHA Senior Manager of ReinerSuite and Futurity Sales Angie Honeywell at ahoneywell@nrha.com.

2021 NRHA Futurity Open Champion to Win $350,000!

National Reining Horse Association Announces Massive Futurity Payout Increase

Andrea Fappani’s victory at the 2020 National Reining Horse Association Futurity on All Bettss Are Off was more than memorable; it was historic. Dedication and generosity from a committed group of NRHA members determined to raise the stakes at the world’s biggest reining resulted in the largest championship payments in the event’s history.

Not only did the Open Level 4 Champion receive $250,000, the CINCH Non Pro Champion took home $60,000, and added money for the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships was doubled.

With that accomplished, the Futurity Challenge task force members did not rest on their laurels and began working to raise the bar even higher. At the May 2021 NRHA Board of Directors meeting, their proposal to increase the 2021 MS Diamonds TX Level 4 Open Championship payout to $350,000 was unanimously approved. That will make the NRHA’s Futurity Open Championship the highest paying aged event title in the western performance horse world!

The additional money earmarked for the Level 4 Open Championship is fully funded by private investors. Rick Clark, NRHA President and member of the Futurity Challenge Task Force is proud of those people who “believe in the future of the reining industry and have pledged their support.” Initially the brainchild of the late Doug Carpenter and former NRHA President Frank Costantini, the Futurity Challenge concept grew quickly. Initial seedstock funding came from Clark along with John and Nancy Tague, Tim Anderson and Kim Niven, and Bob and Arlene Santagata, who were joined by Mark and Julie Blake, Craig and Ginger Schmersal, Mike Hancock, Joao Marcos, Rosanne Sternberg, and Shane Brown. Other investors came on board in the ensuing months and additional commitments are still being received.

Clark said, “I am proud to be President of the NRHA during this time of amazing growth. I applaud the members of the Futurity Challenge group for their commitment of both time and money. Our goal continues to be to increase earning capabilities for both professionals and owners, which will ultimately raise the value of reining horses and create a great future for our industry.”

Because the Futurity Challenge investors have pledged a five-year commitment, the Level 4 Open Champion payout is ensured to not decrease over that time. “The members of the Task Force aspire to enhance participation at all levels of reining by building the NRHA Futurity and Adequan® NAAC to the show of a lifetime,” Clark concluded.

The guaranteed payouts in the MS Diamonds TX Level 4 Open Finals have been further expanded. In 2021, the Level 4 Open Reserve Champion will take home $150,000, while the third-place winner will receive a check for $100,000. There will also be substantial increases in the payout for fourth through tenth places in the Level 4 Open Finals.

Those boosts, as well as the doubled added money for Adequan® NAACs and the secured $60,000 for the L4 Non Pro Champion that will continue in 2021, are funded by NRHA’s monetary commitment.

For more information on the NRHA Futurity Challenge, email Sammi Miller, NRHA Senior Director of Corporate Relations and Communications at  smiller@nrha.com. For information on the 2021 NRHA Futurity and Adequan® NAAC visit NRHAFuturity.com.

NRHA Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award Nominations Due June 1

Named for the man known as the “father of modern-day reining,” the National Reining Horse Association Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award is a prestigious accolade.

Dale Wilkinson stood out among his peers as his technique and willingness to teach transformed the sport of reining into the model of collection and finesse that we know today. Wilkinson was one of the founding members of the NRHA and the first Hall of Fame inductee. During his lifetime, he was an educator, promoter, and mentor to all reiners. He set an example of how riders should conduct themselves, train and exhibit a horse. Due to his unmatched lifetime of accomplishment in reining, the NRHA Hall of Fame Committee created the NRHA Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award, supported by the Reining Horse Foundation.

Each year, the NRHA Board of Directors and past Hall of Fame inductees vote to approve a worthy candidate for recognition. Unique among its counterparts, the criteria for the award is not centered around NRHA membership, competition/earning records or even status as a breeder or owner. It is solely based on the person’s positive impact on the sport of reining.

In keeping with the culture that Wilkinson helped to form, the NRHA Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award nominee must have an inherent passion for the industry. They must have contributed to or changed the course of reining in a positive way irrespective of personal gain. Additionally, the recipient will have demonstrated the ability and desire to attract new people to the sport.

“To be nominated for and receive the Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award is one of NRHA’s highest honors,” says NRHA Executive Assistant & Governance Coordinator Liz Kelsey, who also serves as the staff liaison to the NRHA Hall of Fame Committee. “When you look at who else has received the award, you will see some of reining’s most notable contributors.”

Any NRHA member can submit a nomination which is due on June 1, 2021. All nominations should be sent to Liz Kelsey at lkelsey@nrha.com.

This year’s recipient will be formally recognized during Sliders’ Night Out presented by Toyon Ranch held on December 1 during the NRHA Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships in Oklahoma City.

Click here for the NRHA Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award nomination form.

Event Sponsor Mental Athletics Offers Workshops to NRHyA Members

Since 2001, young reiners in the National Reining Horse Youth Association have benefited from their membership through college scholarships, learning and leadership experiences, life-long friendships and a whole lot of fun along the way.

That’s why NRHA Professional Gil Friedman of Mental Athletics is now a proud event sponsor of the National Reining Horse Association and is focusing on the association’s younger membership.

“I truly believe that the youth of the NRHA are the future of our industry and will frame the competitive culture for years to come,” Friedman shared. “This group of young and passionate riders will one day be the leaders of our sport. Mental toughness is widely considered a foundation for the development of successful athletes and leaders in the world of competitive sports. The reining industry deserves those kinds of athletes and leaders.”

Mental Athletics is a mindset coaching program practiced around the globe, and Friedman will be offering two separate three-part online workshops free of charge exclusively to NRHyA members. The first workshop is set and scheduled to begin June 3, giving youth members the opportunity to complete training prior to the NRHA Derby presented by Markel.

The second workshop will be held in the fall leading up to the NRHA Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships.

The three-session workshops will provide knowledge, techniques and training tools for the personal development of every competitive rider. “We have two major goals. We want to help riders reach their peak performance and achieve a high level of wellbeing, all while living a competitive life,” Friedman said. “We hope to encourage every young rider to overcome unseen barriers and mental challenges, all while chasing their dreams.”

NRHA Manager of Youth and Professional Programs Sara Honegger says she is excited for the opportunity available to NRHyA members. “I believe it will be such a benefit to NRHyA members. The skills they will gain from Mental Athletics extend far past the show pen and I feel that our members will still use them long after their days as youth members. Gil is brilliant at what he does, and I cannot wait for NRHyA to experience it,” she said.

The scheduled dates for the first Mental Athletics Online Workshop are:

  • Thursday, June 3 at 12:00 pm CT
  • Thursday, June 10 at 12:00 pm CT
  • Thursday, June 17 at 12:00 pm CT

To sign up for the workshop email youth@nrha.com
For more information about Mental Athletics, visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mentalathletics.il/ or the website at www.Mental-Athletics.com.

Newest NRHA Corporate Partner Colston Paving, Inc. to Sponsor Non Pro Stakes

Frankfort, Kentucky’s Colston Paving, Inc., is the National Reining Horse Association’s newest Corporate Partner. Not only that, but this sponsorship helped create a new division at the NRHA Derby presented by Markel, the Non Pro Stakes.

The Non Pro Stakes, open to 4-year-old reiners, is an exceptional fit for the company, which is owned by Kevin and Amy Colston. Their son, Lane, is quickly rising in the ranks of Non Pro standings with more than $300,000 in lifetime earnings. The Colstons came onto the reining scene eight years ago following a 15-year hiatus from horses. “When my father passed, I was trying to run a construction company and didn’t have time for horses anymore, so we got out of it for a while,” Kevin shared. “When Lane expressed interest in showing, we decided to start again. Now we try to hit all the major events and show locally as much as we can.”

Kevin and Amy have been staunch supporters of their NRHA Affiliate, the Kentucky Reining Horse Association, and regularly sponsor events close to home. “We have always tried to support the KRHA and other events, and since we go to all the major events now, we believed we should support the NRHA at a national level,” Kevin explained.

That thought led to discussions with NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter and NRHA President Rick Clark. “I brought up the idea of Corporate Partnership about a year ago with Gary. I think he and Rick really wanted to find something that would be a good match for us, and the Non Pro Stakes is definitely that,” Kevin shared. “Up until now, the only Stakes we have been able to attend was at the High Roller, and we have always looked forward to that. I think the Stakes at the Derby will be great for everyone because our futurity horses will have had time to rest after the Futurity and will be ready to roll.”

Carpenter said, “From the start, I knew Kevin had a genuine interest in making a difference in our industry. He is doing this for the sport above all and is part of the growth that we are seeing. I believe we will see increased participation in the 4-year-old division. We appreciate his foresight and vision.”

The Colston Paving, Inc. Non Pro Stakes boasts an impressive $20,000 in added money. The Stakes will run concurrently with the NRHA Derby go-rounds, and while cross-entry into the NRHA Derby is allowed, it is not mandatory. Horses may be shown one-handed in any legal bridle, and the winner will be determined in the go-round.

For more information, about the Colston Paving, Inc. Non Pro Stakes, visit NRHADerby.com.