The futurity season for reining horses is nearing completion, and on Thanksgiving Day, the best riders in the world will begin the intense preliminary competition at the National Reining Horse Association’s premier and most prestigious event, the NRHA Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships.
The event, which begins Nov. 24 and runs through Dec. 3, draws exhibitors from around the globe, who will vie for a piece of a purse that exceeds $2,000,000, highlighted by a life-changing $350,000 check for the Level 4 Open Champion.
Under the lights of the historic Jim Norick Coliseum, the mettle of talented 3-year-old reining horses will be tested as they navigate through the signature circles, spins, and sliding stops the event is known for. At the same time, top riders and horses of all ages from across North America compete for major titles in the Adequan® Arena, hoping to nab a coveted championship and take major strides to clinch a year-end title as well.
While there are several futurities throughout the year, only one is known simply as “The Futurity.” Since its debut in 1966 in Columbus, Ohio, the show has grown from a handful of entries to more than 600 in the main event alone.
The payout has expanded, and to say it has done so significantly would be an understatement. This year’s L4 Open Champion will leave Oklahoma City $350,000 richer and in possession of one of the largest limited-age event championship check in the western performance horse industry. Not only that, but the L4 Open Reserve Champion will win a guaranteed $150,000, and third will take home $100,000.
Winning the Level 4 Open Championship is a three-step process. All Open entries compete in the first round, with the top 75 (plus ties) advancing to the L 4 Open Semi-Finals sponsored by Not Ruf At All on Nov. 30. There, the top 30 (plus ties) move on to the clean-slate MS Diamonds TX L4 Open Futurity Finals on Dec. 3.
Some big changes have happened in the payouts for Open Levels 3, 2, and 1. The L3 Open Champion will receive $70,000, the Reserve titlist will take home $50,000, and third $35,000. The guaranteed payouts continue in Levels 2 and 1, with the L2 Champion pocketing $50,000, the L2 Reserve Champion winning $25,000, and the third-place finisher in the L2 pocketing a cool $15,000. The L1 Open winner will win $13,000, and the L1 Reserve will receive $7,000.
Open riders in Levels 1, 2, and 3 who are in the top 75 of their levels (but not in the top 75 of the Level 4) will compete in the Semi-Finals on Nov. 29. The top 30 in each of those levels (plus ties) will earn a spot in the first section of the Open Finals on Dec. 3.
Non Professional riders will also win big, with the L4 Non Pro title being accompanied by a check for $75,000, the Reserve Champion winning $45,000, and third taking $35,000! The top three in the L3 Non Pro will also be guaranteed big checks, with $40,000 going to first, $25,000 awarded to second, and $15,000 to third. The CINCH Non Pro Finals will be held Friday, Dec. 2, beginning at 9 a.m. with Levels 1, 2, 3, Youth, and Prime Time, and the CINCH Non Pro L4 Finals beginning at 4 p.m.
In addition to world-class competition, the NRHA Futurity boasts an impressive trade show with vendors ranging from clothing to furniture, western tack, décor, and more. In fact, the first three days of the event feature free admission so that everyone can come to enjoy some post-holiday shopping to prepare for Christmas.
One of the best, largest, and most exciting shopping opportunities will be on Dec. 1. That’s because the NRHA Markel Futurity Sales will be held in the Sale Arena. It’s a great opportunity to see some of the best horses the industry has to offer, from prospects to producers and everything in between. Last year the high seller – a yearling mare named Deja Vue (Gunnatrashya x Dun Its Déjà vu) commanded an impressive $170,000! Find more information about the NRHA Markel Futurity Sales at nrha.com/sales
Tickets for the 2022 NRHA Futurity & Adequan® NAAC are on sale now and can be purchased here.
Complete information, including draws, results, and more, can be found at NRHAFuturity.com.