Twenty-three past National Reining Horse Association Futurity champions walked the red carpet during a gala event held at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds on Thursday night, December 3. The celebration, which featured Grammy Award-winning artist Lyle Lovett and his Large Band, marked an important milestone in the association's history—the 50th running of the NRHA Futurity.
The Reining Horse Sports Foundation (RHSF) sponsored the festivities, which was also a fund-raiser for the philanthropic arm of the NRHA that provides both scholarships and financial assistance to riders and families in need. By selling 50 tables at the front of the stage—a goal that dovetailed nicely into to the 50th Futurity theme—more than $250,000 was raised. Even though the concert was free and open to every NRHA member attending the 2015 Futurity, once that initial goal was reached, members generously sponsored a second tier of tables for $1,500 each.
Another highlight of the evening was a 20-minute video that traced the NRHA Futurity back to its humble roots in Columbus, Ohio.
A Who's Who of veritable reining greats captivated viewers with their stories, film footage and photographs showing how the sport grew in sophistication and purse money without losing its spirit of fun and camaraderie. The audience roared with laughter and also shed a few tears as they walked down memory lane with the pioneers who built the NRHA Futurity into an international event that pays out more than $2 million dollars to owners, riders and breeders of 3-year-old reining horses.
Members can pre-order copies of a special DVD that commemorates the first 50 years of the NRHA Futurity through Inside Reining. This special DVD captures memories from some of the most storied professionals, competitors and owners in the reining industry – all who have helped craft this wonderful association into what it has become today. Reserve a copy now at insidereining.com/store.php.
Incorporated in 1966, the National Reining Horse Association is the standard-setting body for the sport of Reining. NRHA, with their International Headquarters in Oklahoma City, is responsible for promoting the sport of Reining and working to ensure the highest standards of competition. To learn more about the NRHA, its programs and family of corporate partners, visit nrha.com.