The 2018 NRHA Derby – More Than Reining

For Immediate Release – June 28, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – During the last week of June each year, Oklahoma State Fair Park is filled with the world’s most talented 4-, 5- and 6-year-old reining horses and competitors vying for a prestigious National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby championship. This year, however, a new crowd was seen walking through the barns—taking the Derby to a whole new level.

Youth from Toby Keith’s OK Kids Korral, a place for families to stay while their child is undergoing treatment for cancer, came to the event for the inaugural Hay Day at the NRHA Derby hosted by the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA). The event was an opportunity to showcase our sport and give back to the youth of Oklahoma City.

The day started off with a trip to the NRHA office, where each honorary guest teamed up with a member of the NRHyA officer team to make pool noodle ponies and change into their new cowboy and cowgirl shirts, courtesy of NRHA Corporate Partner, CINCH. They then sat down and enjoyed a pizza party and watched videos about what the association is all about.

The real excitement began when the group headed over to State Fair Park where they got to meet our great event vendors and sponsors, took a behind-the-scenes look at how reining is judged and watched a horse get a brand new pair of shoes. To end the day, each kid had the opportunity to sit in the saddle atop a reining horse!

Lerin Thomas, NRHA Youth Programs Advisor was thrilled with the success of the event. “The kids who came from the OK Kids Korral to hang out with us during Hay Day were fantastic. The number of smiles I saw on their faces and our NRHyA officer team was enough to light up a room for days! These kids go through things that no one should ever have to go through, and it was our pleasure hosting and teaching them all the great things about the reining industry!”

Hay Day at the NRHA Derby would not have been possible without the help and support of the generous sponsors and volunteers who gave up their time and energy to make this event the best it could be.

During the NRHA Derby, the world’s best 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old reining horses and competitors come to Oklahoma City to compete for an estimated total purse and cash prizes of more than $1 million. For more information on schedules, live video coverage, hotel accommodations, sponsors and more visit