Sliders’ Night Out presented by Toyon Ranch Honors Inductees and Raises $300k for Reining Horse Foundation

The room glittered brightly as reining industry stars and enthusiasts turned out for the shining event of the charitable season: the Reining Horse Foundation Sliders’ Night Out presented by Toyon Ranch.

Spurs and saddles were set aside in favor of sequins for the gala Nov. 29 in the historic Centennial Building at OKC Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City. The event raised more than $300,000 for the Reining Horse Foundation and honored difference-makers during the National Reining Horse Association Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships.

“This is an annual celebration to come together and honor new and previous inductees into the NRHA Hall of Fame, as well as the recipient of the NRHA Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award – the highest honors bestowed by NRHA. The second purpose is to raise funding crucial for the RHF and its core programs,” said Rick Clark, chairman of the RHF Board of Directors development committee and a foundation officer. “This is the fifth year the gala will be in this format. I’m proud to say Toyon Ranch has been the presenting donor all five years; we have great appreciation for the leadership from owners John and Nancy Tague.”

The newest members of the NRHA Hall of Fame were inducted:

  • The late Bob McDonnell, known as “Bob Mac”
  • Dell Hendricks
  • Gunnatrashya

The NRHA Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to:

  • Dave Belson
  • Jenifer Reynolds & Chris Cook

The event recognizes honorees and shines a light on history makers, said Leslie Baker, executive director of the Reining Horse Foundation, while also serving as a primary fundraiser for the Foundation.

“We raised more than $300,000 for the Reining Horse Foundation – a record for this event,” Baker said. “We want to thank all the donors and event supporters. Toyon Ranch, already the presenting sponsor, offered to match up to $25,000 in donations for the Dale Wilkinson Crisis Fund, and donors met that match.”

Since 2018, Sliders’ Night Out has been the single largest annual fundraiser for the Reining Horse Foundation, the charitable arm of NRHA.

“(The donations) give us tremendous momentum to continue growth of the Foundation’s core programs,” Baker said.

Adrianna Runzo, NRHyA president, announced on behalf of the Reining Horse Foundation that beginning in 2024, former youth members who remain active NRHA members can apply for five new Merit Scholarships, which are $1,500 each, available to students in accredited college or trade school programs.

RHF is broadening the pool, Runzo said, as these scholarships will be reserved for students who have never been awarded any scholarships by the NRHyA and Reining Horse Foundation and who have started in higher education programs.

“This is a terrific way to reach more members and help more students,” Runzo said. “There’s a good chance it may even reach some nontraditional students.”

Jeff Tebow led the live auction with six generously donated goods and services. The proceeds will go toward the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund, the Hall of Fame, and youth scholarships, among other benefits for NRHA members. The auction raised $241,500.

Would-be buyers excitedly raised the bid on the NASCAR Truck Series experience, donated by ThorSport. The experience, which included an opportunity to put a logo on a ThorSport truck for the season-opening event at Dayton International Speedway, was the high-seller in the live auction, going for $100,000 to 100X Equine.

Other items were:

$80,000 – Toyon Ranch won the bid for a breeding package featuring GeneTech ICSI Services, an embryo from Dun Dry Whiz, the dam of Mic Dropp, and a breeding to Toyon Ranch featuring stallions. The package was made possible by GeneTech, Clark Reining Horses, Cinder Lakes, and Toyon Ranch.

$19,000 – Cooper Smith bought the John Deere Ztrak Zero Turn Mower, Model Z-720E, donated by Equine Discounts.

$14,000 – Mike McFarlin purchased an exclusive VIP Offering and Premium Seating to the American Performance Horseman. This coveted package included limited edition credentials, Texas cuisine, and more. NRHA provided this opportunity

$13,500 – ThorSport purchased the second available American Performance Horseman package.

$8,000 – Spooks Gotta Whiz won the bid for an 18K white gold paved ring featuring gemstones, donated by MS Diamonds TX, a perennial RHF contributor.

$5,000 – Spooks Gotta Spark won the bid for a Reining Horse Foundation whiskey barrel bar/table, donated by Waugh Designs.

$2,000 –The folks at 100X Equine had the last bid on a custom whiskey barrel featuring a photo of the new owner’s choice, donated by Waugh Designs.