Inaugural NRHA Affiliate Summit Ends with a Bang

The first National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Affiliate Summit, presented by NRHA Corporate Partner Montana Silversmiths, concluded on March 16 after two days of networking and learning. Held in Las Vegas, Nevada, at Boyd Gaming’s newest property, Aliante Hotel Casino and Spa, the 2019 NRHA Affiliate Summit brought NRHA Affiliates together to discuss plans for the continued success of the Affiliate Regional Championships (ARC) in 2019 and beyond.

The Summit kicked off with a welcome reception on Thursday, March 14. Representatives from eight of the 11 North American Affiliate Regions met on Friday and Saturday to discuss the current structure of the Affiliate Regional Championships (ARC) and determine an approach to restructuring the existing program in the Adequan® North American Affiliate Program Conditions.

Affiliate attendees included:

George King, Great Western Reining Horse Association, Northwest Region

Leigh Latham, Great Western Reining Horse Association, Northwest Region

Guy Vernon, Eastern Plains Reining Horse Association, Mountain Region

Val Vernon, Eastern Plains Reining Horse Association, Mountain Region

Kathy MacKenzie, Reining Alberta, Western Canada

Janice Hepburn, Reining Alberta, Western Canada

Mike Power, Quebec Reining Horse Association, Eastern Canada

Ben Drushal, Ohio Valley Reining Horse Association, East Central Region

Beth Henderson, Ohio Valley Reining Horse Association, East Central Region

Kelli Brummett, Chair of the Affiliate Committee, West Coast Reining Horse Association, Northwest Region

Heather Powell, Vice Chair of the Affiliate Committee, Eastern Pennsylvania Reining Horse Association, Northeast Region

Shannon Rafacz, Florida Reining Horse Association, Southeast Region

Mark Rafacz, Florida Reining Horse Association, Southeast Region

Rosie Irish, Oregon Reining Horse Association, Northwest Region

Brett Walters, NRHA Board of Directors member, Indiana Reining Horse Association, East Central Region

Marilyn Scheffers, California Reining Horse Association, Southwest Region

Rae Stambuck, California Reining Horse Association, Southwest Region

Also in attendance were NRHA President Mike Hancock, several NRHA staff members, and Montana Silversmiths representatives: Steve Miller, Lou Riley, Callie Adams, and Usiel Vargas.

Furthermore, the core group identified the positives of the current program and evaluated its shortcomings . Of the established difficulties, the top four issues were selected by the group as the main focus for this year. The selected action topics were:

  • Make the ARC special; increase host ownership of the ARC
  • Captivate the road to the ARC; educate on the process
  • Protect the ARC dates
  • Evaluate the designation process

Members voiced opinions of which topic they felt required improvement so summit attendees could identify a goal and form an action plan to achieve the solution. The Affiliates who attended responded positively, deeming the inaugural event a success.

“Thank you to the NRHA staff and board members for supporting this seminar, not only in your time and efforts but also with NRHA financial support and by encouraging Montana Silversmiths to help sponsor such an event,” George King said. “Not only did it exceed my expectations, but there’s something about getting a group of people together who are passionate about the NRHA, ARC, and their local affiliates—it’s inspiring! Way to go! If nothing else, every attendee now has a fact to take to the Affiliates in their region and entice them to help financially offset the ARC deficit, and take advantage of the Affiliate Incentive Program reimbursement for doing so. Thanks once again for everyone attending and sharing the passion they have for this sport.”

“It was great to find out that all of our ARCs are in the same boat,” Brett Walters said. “Great points.”

“Thank you to everyone! Absolutely enjoyed the workshop and everyone involved. Great way to ‘kickstart’ our show season,” Janice Hepburn said. “I came back to Alberta with so much positivity and a new outlook. Thank you NRHA and Montana Silversmiths for your continued sponsorship.”

A list of 2019 Affiliate Regional Championships can be found on the NRHA website.

2019 NRHA Convention & Awards Recap

2019 NRHA Convention & Awards Banquet Photos Available for Purchase: View Now

Photo by Jana Thomason

2019 NRHA Convention & Awards Concludes in Oklahoma City

For Immediate Release – February 25, 2018 –  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The fourth annual National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Convention & Awards Banquet concluded February 9. After four days of education, constructive discussions, and networking, the event was deemed a success. The convention started with meetings of the NRHA Executive Committee and NRHA Board of Directors, which set a productive precedent for the remainder of the week.

The NRHA Board of Directors conducted their first review of the proposed rule changes for 2020, received an update on the 2019 European Summit held earlier this year, and enjoyed a presentation about the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA). NRHA Directors approved new deadlines for both Hall of Fame nominations, now May 31, and elections, more about which can be found here.

Other items of discussion included:

  • Approval of a change in the Affiliate Regional Championship (ARC) open class which will base qualification on horse/owner combination and designation rather than horse/rider combination and designation.
  • Addition of Prime Time Rookie to the ARC and North American Affiliate Championship (NAAC) class list.
  • Alterations to the European Nomination Program conditions were endorsed, changing the monies allocated in the European Futurity and Derby to a 40/30/20/10 (L4/L3/L2/L1) ratio starting with 2020 events.
  • Sanctioning of 2019 Election procedures and deadlines, with the following positions up for election: director-at-large on the executive committee and director for the South Central, North Central, Northeast, Northwest, and East Central regions. The first affiliate nomination deadline is July 1.
  • Authorization of updates to the Youth Incentive Award Program to allow correspondence with the current NRHA Youth age splits of 14-18, 13 & Under, and 10 & Under.

The Annual General Membership (AGM) meeting on Friday morning allowed NRHA President Mike Hancock, Commissioner Gary Carpenter, and other members of NRHA’s staff to share their outlook for the future in light of 2018’s successes. After watching Hancock receive the president’s gavel from NRHA Past President Mike Deer, attendees received updates on the Reining Horse Foundation (RHF), NRHA financials, and the strategic plan.

“We had a great Board of Directors meeting! The Committee meetings were well attended and there were good discussions among all that were present,” Hancock said. “To end it all, we were able to celebrate a successful year with exhibitors, owners, and breeders.”

Friday and Saturday also included many committee meetings which facilitated productive discussions and contribution of ideas to continue improving the sport of reining. Well-attended Eligibility and Aged Events Committee meetings, both held on Friday, included constructive dialogue regarding a recent eligibility survey, eligibility levels, and the 2019 NRHA Futurity dates.

Proposed rule changes were discussed in each committee meeting separately. Each committee can send recommendations to the board of directors who will review and vote on these rule changes at their next meeting in April.

On Saturday morning, NRHA Professionals attended the Professionals Summit where guest speaker Jamie Samples of Yellow Barn Media outlined some ways reining trainers and other equine professionals can boost their marketing efforts. The professionals also discussed new ways to raise money for the RHF Crisis Fund and give back to the reining community.

Saturday’s schedule also included the NRHA Judges Summit where committee members reviewed Futurity judge statistics, watched several runs from the 2018 Futurity, and boosted their education by judging one run together.

Saturday night concluded with a star-studded celebration as the 2018 NRHA world champions and other award recipients were honored for their achievements during the 2018 season.

NRHyA Leadership Summit
The 2018 NRHA Youth Leadership Summit took place in conjunction with the NRHA Convention & Awards Banquet. Kelly Barnes served as the facilitator, where he challenged youth members to grow as leaders in the reining industry. Summit attendees, including all five 2019 NRHyA Officers and several other members, participated in three sessions of workshops where they gained skills to help them grow in not just reining, but outside of horses in all aspects of life.

2020 Rule Change Proposals can be found under the Members Only section on Current NRHA members are encouraged to leave comments regarding the proposals. The commenting section will be open through April 1.

Pro Management Joins NRHA Team to Manage NRHA Futurity and Derby

Change is on the horizon for the National Reining Horse Association’s (NRHA) Futurity and Derby. For the first time since their premiere, a management company will take on a broader scope of planning, preparation, and implementation of those events. The magnitude of these two events requires a team experienced with big shows and high stakes, which is why Pro Management, Inc. of Byars, Okla., will be taking the reins.

This collaboration combines NRHA’s already well-established, world-class events with Pro Management’s veteran staff and event production expertise. Pro Management currently manages three of the top 13 NRHA-approved shows each year, including the National Reining Breeders Classic, the Tulsa Reining Classic, and the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity. Owner Cheryl Cody, along with key staff members, also managed the reining at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.

“Pro Management brings a level of experience to our signature events that exhibitors have come to appreciate,” NRHA Executive Director Gary Carpenter said. “Our Strategic Plan identified the prospect of outsourcing our events two years ago. I’m confident that our members will enjoy the service they will provide.”

NRHA President Mike Hancock echoed those sentiments. “We wanted to put show management in the hands of people who do it every day, which would allow us to focus what we do best – running the NRHA and serving the needs of our 15,000 members.” He added, “We are confident in Pro Management’s ability to handle shows of this magnitude.”

The NRHA Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship Show is the world’s largest reining event with nearly 4,000 entries in all classes. It includes the 3-year-old Futurity, with a guaranteed $150,000 to the champion, as well as the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships. The NRHA Derby features more than $600,000 in added money and hosts the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Western Championships.

“It’s truly an honor to be part of these events, and we are very excited about them,” Cheryl Cody said. “NRHA has done an incredible job of growing them over the years, and we are confident that our partnership with NRHA will continue that trend.”

NRHA and Pro Management staff members have spent countless hours working out the logistics of the transition, something that Cody notes will be advantageous moving forward. “Everyone on the NRHA staff has been amazing to work with, and together we are doing what is necessary to make this change as seamless as possible for the contestants and exhibitors,” she said.

Although first payments for the Futurity have already been sent to the NRHA Office, subsequent payments, entries, and questions will be handled by the Pro Management staff in the Byars office. Pro Management will also be handling the event media, trade shows, and stabling management, as well as stall sponsorships and placements. For information on the events, people can either call the NRHA number (405-946-7400) and the call will be transferred or call direct to the NRHA Events line at Pro Management at 580-759-2424.

Founded in 1966, the National Reining Horse Association is a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting and encouraging the development of and public interest in the sport of reining. The focus is on developing and maintaining suitable standards of performance and judging and in providing a fun filled, family-oriented atmosphere. 

2019 Convention & Awards Schedule Available

This year’s NRHA Convention & Awards is scheduled for February 6-9 in Oklahoma City. The event includes a Show Secretary & Management Seminar, Annual General Membership Meeting, NRHA Professionals Development Sessions, NRHyA Leadership Development, and the NRHA Awards Banquet. Also for those members looking to be more involved in the discussion and decision-making process, the event includes committee and board meetings which are open to members.

A complete schedule is available online, as well as online registration. Make plans to attend today!