Electric. Exhilarating. Exciting.
That’s a trilogy of words that could easily describe the action in the arena at the 2021 The Run For A Million presented by Teton Ridge, which wrapped up August 21 at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center in Las Vegas.
They can also illustrate the fundraising efforts between the National Reining Horse Association’s Reining Horse Foundation and TRFAM. The two entities came together to produce and host the Raise a Million Auctions to benefit the reining community. Over the course of the event, more than a half-million dollars was raised between the live and silent auctions and pledged matches from RHF donors!
According to RHF Executive Director Leslie Baker, it was the largest single fundraising effort ever for the foundation. “This is probably one of the most exhilarating and sensational moments in the Reining Horse Foundation’s history, and we’ve already had some incredible ones,” she said. “It’s tremendous to be here at The Run For A Million. To have the industry step up this way is gratifying, especially as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary. It really shows that the future for the RHF is bright.”
The Live Auction, held just prior to the Million Dollar Competition Draw on Friday evening, featured five extraordinary items, ranging from a one-of-a-kind painting to incredible jewelry.
The headline item, though, was an official TRFAM jacket donated by TRFAM presented by Teton Ridge and arranged by Brumley Management. Taylor Sheridan, creator of TRFAM and producer for Paramount Network’s Yellowstone, had originally assured the jacket would be signed by him and the two Yellowstone cast members at the event.
Then Sheridan upped the ante, promising not only to get signatures from all the cast members but also to host the winning bidder and a guest to the set to get autographs from all the cast members in person. In addition to the meet and greet, the winners and their horses, if they chose to bring them – will be cast as extras in an episode of the hit show.
The bidding commenced, and the cheering and encouragement of the crowd rose to a crescendo. When the bidding stalled at $110,000, Sheridan said whoever would match that price would get the same treatment. When it was all over four bidders – each pledging $110,000 – won the prize.
“Taylor Sheridan was honored in 2019 as NRHA’s Reiner of the Year, and it’s an honor well deserved, because of his generosity. We thank TRFAM, Brumley Management, and Mr. Sheridan, all big supporters we are grateful for,” noted Baker. “There was an incredible group of buyers for the live auction items. Thank you to each of them for showing their support in such a big way. Among the high bidders are Tim Anderson and Kim Niven, Mark and Janice Dickson, and Kevin Truax.”
Baker also added a thank you to the donors and buyers of the other live auction items.
- Lot 1 – One-of-a-kind show headstall created and donated by Bob’s Custom Saddles, an NRHA Corporate Partner. Purchased by Elementa.
- Lot 2 – Texas Rangers Tickets donated by Debbie Conway/Vaquero Midstream. Purchased by Pete Fulgham, 03 Animal Health LLC.
- Lot 3 – Sleipner Trust Harmony Bracelet created and donated by MS Diamonds TX, an NRHA corporate partner.
- Lot 4 – Remember Me original acrylic painting created and donated by MJ’s Equine Art Studios (Maggie Leverett). Purchased by Allison Thorson/ThorSport Inc. and Elementa.
The Silent Auction ran through Saturday afternoon and garnered an additional $24,495. Two items tied as the high selling lots in the Silent Auction at $2,000 each: a 2022 breeding to Spooks Gotta Spark donated by Kevin Truax and purchased by Ricardo and Kim Rivero, and an eye-catching show headstall made by Travis Stillson, donated by George & Chloe Lawrence and purchased by Laura Honstetter.
According to Baker, the generosity surrounding the Raise a Million Auctions began well before anyone connected to the event set foot in Las Vegas. When word of the auctions got out, donors pledging to match money raised began to stack up. “We had an incredible group of 15 donors pledge to match the first $19,500 the auction raised, ensuring it would be successful from the start,” she said.
Donors contributing to the match include:
Tim Anderson & Kim Niven
John & Nancy Tague
Gary & Marian Carpenter
Kevin & Amy Colston
Frank & Susan Costantini
John & Dawn Foy
John & Terri Mainey
Pro Management Inc./Cheryl Cody
Santa Hill Ranch
Andrea & Mirjam Stillo
Joe & Emmy Wolfe
With the matching dollars and both auctions combined, NRHA Chief Financial Officer John Foy says the weekend’s events generated the most net assets in NRHA and RHF history from an event.
The success of the Raise a Million Silent Auctions capped off an incredible week of charity for the RHF, as another major moment was the announcement of a $50,000 gift from the Teton Ridge Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Teton Ridge. Baker said, “The grant from the Teton Ridge Foundation is among the largest single gifts in our history. We thank Mr. Thomas Tull of Teton Ridge, and after meeting with him and other donors, it solidifies for me that every dollar raised means something, whether it’s $5, $50, $50,000, or $500,000. The RHF is going places and will continue to impact the reining community.”
The mission of the Reining Horse Foundation is to care for and honor the reining community. Core programs include the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund to benefit reiners enduring hardships such as major illness, accidents, and disasters; youth leadership development and scholarships for members of the National Reining Horse Youth Association, and perpetuation of the sport’s history through the NRHA Hall of Fame. For information on the RHF, visit ReiningFoundation.com.