Nation’s Best Young Equestrians Head to Oklahoma City for the 2017 IEA Western National Finals

Columbus, Ohio – June 2, 2017 – Nearly 200 of the nation’s leading middle school and high school equestrians will converge in Oklahoma in July to compete for top prizes in the 2017 Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Western National Finals.  The 2017 Western National Finals will once again be held at the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City on July 1 and 2. Sponsored by the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), the competition will run in conjunction with the NRHADerby. IEA Western riders will display their talents in Reining and Horsemanship, as individuals and teams during the two-day event. 

Judging the IEA Western Finals will be Gretchen Mathes of Harwinton, Connecticut and Chele McGauly of Elm Grove, Louisiana.  Both judges are AQHA and NRHA certified and provide a wealth of judging and showing experience. Additional show officials include Stewards, Megan Taylor (IHSA Board Member) and Bryan Bradley (IHSA Coach), Show Committee Chairpersons, Roxane Durant (IEA Executive Director), Todd Knerr (NRHA Show Manager), and Hayley Eberle (NRHA Marketing & Outreach Manager).  Announcing the competition will be John Bahret with photography provided by Waltenberry, Inc. and videography provided by Equine Promotions.  Complete live streaming of the 2017 IEA Western National Finals will be available online and offered at no cost to viewers with links available and

Competition Schedule

Friday, June 30

  • Schooling of all Horses

Saturday, July 1

  • 6:00am Schooling of Reining Horses
  • 6:30am Coaches Meeting & Draw for Reining Classes
  • 7:00am Competition Begins – Western Individual Reining
  • 11:30am IEA/NRHyA Welcome Party
  • 2:00pm Horseman’s Knowledge Test (presented by The United States Pony Clubs, Inc.)                                    
  • 4:00pm (approximately) Competition Resumes
    Western Individual Horsemanship
  • Awards Presentation

Sunday, July 2

  • 8:00am Schooling of Reining Horses
  • 8:45am Coaches Meeting & Draw for Reining Classes
  • 9:00am Competition Begins – Western Team Finals
    Western Team Reining
    Western Team Horsemanship
    Parade of Teams
  • Awards Presentation

The IEA Western Finals competition and events are supported by the NRHA and, importantly, major assistance from the following horse providers: West Texas A&M, Halvorson Ranch, Red Dirt Riders, OK 007, Taylor Equine, Robinson Equine, Sassy Senoritas, Schwarz Reiners, Casey Hinton Quarter Horse/Cedar Ridge Ranch, Lipps Horse Training, Sliding K Performance Horses, Mike Keller, andJD/Stacey Roberson.

This is really a special event for our IEA riders because these youngsters get to compete in the same venue at the same time that the world’s best professional and non-pro western riders ride for big prizes and world-wide recognition. The excitement of the competitions transcends multiple generations and isn’t that great for equestrian sport,” said Myron Leff, IEA Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer.

Because only a fraction of the IEA’s 13,500 riders qualify for the National Finals, it is important to provide the Western Finals in real-time with live-streaming and archive viewing to the other riders, families, friends and supporters from across the world. NRHA and Equine Promotions will provide the technical capabilities so IEA’s diverse audience can enjoy the Finals competition.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, 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. 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. No rider needs to own a horse because the IEA provides a mount and tack for each equestrian at every event. For more information, please view the IEA website at:

Myron Leff, IEA Chief Marketing & Operating Officer
Kimber Whanger, Communications Coordinator

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.