The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) welcomes newly elected Board of Directors and Executive Committee members to guide NRHA in growing the sport of Reining worldwide in 2015. The first meeting of the board will be held the weekend of Feb. 7 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The weekend’s agenda also will include Executive Committee, committee and Reining Horse Sports Foundation meetings.
The following newly elected Executive Committee members join President, Rick Clark of Catlettsburg, Kentucky, Officer, Jim Blumer of Spring Brook Township, Pennsylvania, and Officer, Rick Ramsey of Rush, Kentucky.
Mike Deer • Vice President
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Mike Deer served NRHA as a regional director for two years, vice president of the Reining Horse Sports Foundation (RHSF) for one year, and most recently on the Executive Committee for three years. He’s a former chairman and current member of the Non Pro Committee and an active member of the Compensation Committee, Affiliate Committee and RHSF Board of Directors.
His wife, Rita, and he have been active participants of the NRHA for over 15 years. They both continue to show on a limited basis and are NRHA money earners. They have also been buyer and sellers of horses at the NRHA/Markel Insurance Futurity Sales.
In addition to his NRHA experience, Deer is a Colorado Licensed Commercial Insurance Agent and Broker for a Ranch Real Estate Company covering most of the U.S. He has been a resident of Garfield County, on the Western Slope of Colorado, for the past 30 years. During that time, he has served the community as past president of the Glenwood Springs Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Board and past president and director of the Western Slope Reining Horse Association.
Deer believes he is an example of the average NRHA member, a small breeder/participant with a passion for the reining horse. He’s proud to have served the NRHA on the Executive Committee for the past three years, and looks forward to supporting President-Elect Rick Clark and Commissioner Gary Carpenter as NRHA’s Vice President and plans to continue to work toward ever-greater transparency for the membership, continue to define and improve NRHA’s existing programs, be fiscally responsible and work to find common ground for all. He feels NRHA especially needs to continue to review the governance structure, improve and expand the grass-roots affiliate programs, create an active Aged Events Committee to guide and support the staff at NRHA events, domestically and internationally, and continue to embrace common sense animal welfare.”
Casey Hinton • Executive Committee
Joining the Executive Committee for a one-year term is NRHA Professional, Casey Hinton. Hinton joined the National Reining Horse Association in 1991 and became a Life Member in 2006. While serving on the NRHA Board of Directors during the 1990’s, he was Chairman of the Youth Committee. It was during his tenure that the Youth Scholarship Program kicked off with the memorable Town Talk luncheon at the NRHA Derby.
He again answered the call to serve NRHA and its membership by returning to the Board when he was elected in 2012. He has served as Chairman of the Nominating Committee and Vice Chair of the Professionals Committee. Hinton believes strongly in the NRHA and the programs it offers and believes there are even greater things to come in the future for NRHA and its membership.
As an NRHA Professional he has been a Top 20 NRHA Rider multiple times as well as winning AQHA, APHA, and PHBA World Championship titles. As an owner and breeder he has been on the NRHA Top 20 Owners list for 2012 and 2013. His commitment to the Reining discipline is further stated, as he is also an NRHA Judge. Hinton and his wife Kathy own and operate Cedar Ridge Ranch in Whitesboro, Texas, where they stand some of the top stallions in the industry and train world-class competitive horses and riders.
Jennifer Hoyt • Executive Committee
Manlius, New York
Jennifer Hoyt is 54 years old and has an A.A.S. degree in Agronomy from the State University of New York Cobleskill, Cobleskill, New York. She is an NRHA Professional and currently owns and manages Hoyts Training and Showing.
Hoyt has served six years on the NRHA Board of Directors. She has served on the NRHA Youth Committee and Affiliate Committee and was chair of the Managed Events Committee. In her six years serving on the NRHA Board of Directors and NRHA Executive Committee, she has been an integral part of the formation of the Entry Level Program that many exhibitors now enjoy.
Serving on the Executive Committee for the past two years she feels she has gained much knowledge of both national and international issues, and feels she has been an integral part of moving the sport of Reining forward, including helping in the process of finding NRHA’s Commissioner.
She worked diligently on the NRHA Affiliate Committee to help ensure NRHA Affiliates get the support that they need to grow. As a founding member of the Central New York Reining Horse Association, she has a deep appreciation for the hard work, dedication and volunteerism that it takes for an affiliate to keep growing and be successful.
Working with the Youth Committee she has been very proud to represent NRHyA at such events as the IEA Nationals and to help coordinate the NRHA Regional Clinics and RHSF Rookie Days presented by Classic Equine. “There are exciting things in the future for our youth, and I am grateful to be a part of programs and events to help our youth reach as far as they can imagine,” she says.
Rosanne Sternberg • Executive Committee
East Sussex, England
Rosanne has been a member of NRHA for over 27 years; owning, showing and breeding reining horses for the majority of that time. She divides her time between Europe and the United States, managing her breeding facility in Texas, along with several other diversified business enterprises. Sternberg travels to many shows each year in Europe and North America, having shown as a non pro and competed in FEI competitions, and represented her country at two Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
She has been an Executive Committee member for four years, serving on several committees and task forces. She is currently on the NRHA Sale Committee, working with other committee members to improve the NRHA/Markel Insurance Marketplace, Breeders Showcase and Futurity Prospect Sales, held during the NRHA Futurity. All of the above, she believes, helps her bring a global view of Reining to the Executive Committee, along with a balanced business perspective, to help move the NRHA forward.
She believes that some of the most important issues the Executive Committee can help NRHA with are keeping the association progressing with the times and continue to evolve its working practices, which will keep it competitive in the marketplace, as a horse sport-organization, which will be attractive to western riders globally.
NRHA, she feels, needs to draw riders from other disciplines into Reining, showcasing the discipline, and offering an association they want to belong to. The new Entry Level Program and Regional Affiliate Finals for Category 1 riders will help NRHA achieve this, along with the continuing development of the European Futurity and Derby programs. She helped to re-formulate the levels for riders moving between Entry Level, Rookie and Levels 1 through 4, which began implementation two years ago and she hopes to work on many more projects that will benefit all members.
Her priorities in working on the Executive Committee are to bring a more global and balanced perspective of the sport to the NRHA and hopefully help the growth in membership increase, through well-thought-out and executed programs, which will appeal to a wide spectrum of riders worldwide, from youth to prime time.
Josh Visser • Executive Committee
Josh Visser is an NRHA Professional and holds a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been an active member of the NRHA since 2000 and an NRHA Professional since 2007. He has served on the NRHA Board of Directors, NRHA Executive Committee, other committees, task forces and working groups since 2009. In 2012, he was elected to serve on the NRHA Executive Committee.
According to Visser, NRHA is constantly evolving due to the growth of the sport and with his involvement with non-pros, training professionally, and breeding, as well as his experience serving on the board, he has gained the knowledge needed to help guide all aspects of NRHA in a positive direction.
The following newly elected 2015-2016 NRHA Regional Directors join NRHA’s Board of Directors. A complete list of NRHA’s Board of Directors can be found at nrha.com.
Larry Barker • South Central Region Director
Larry Barker noted that he’d like to serve on the board in an effort to give back to the sport of Reining that has meant so much to him and his wife Kathy. Barker has a broad base of experience through his 33-year career in the oilfield service business. He was part of an executive team that grew this business from a revenue base of $350 million in 1996 to over $5 billion in sales when he retired in 2008. He was responsible for 12 acquisitions and ran a division with $800 million in sales and over 6,000 employees worldwide.
Barker and his wife bought their first reining horse after watching NHRA Hall of Fame inductee Tim McQuay show NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Hollywood Dun It in 1986. Since that time, they have competed in Reining as non pros. They have bred, raised and had many wonderful horses trained by a variety of trainers.
The Barkers currently own and operate Rock Creek Ranch in Whitesboro, Texas, where they provide facilities and full board care to Sebastian and Melanie Petroll’s training operation. They currently have horses in training with the Petrolls, Brad Giesbrecht, and a cow horse with Robert Chown. Barker looks forward to serving on the board so that he can bring this breadth of experience to further the goals of the association.
Sebastian Petroll • South Central Region Director
Originally from Germany, Sebastian Petroll grew up with horses. In 2001, he relocated to the United States after graduating from business school. Together with his wife, he owns and operates Petroll Reining Horses, LLC. They have two daughters.
Petroll has made the finals at every major reining event and coached non pros to world champion titles. The 33-year-old holds NRHA Judges and Stewards cards. He currently serves on the NRHA Board of Directors and the Stewards Committee.
Fred Thomsson • South Central Region Director
Fred Thomsson has been a reining horse trainer for 20 years. Originally from the Swedish island of Gotland, Thomsson moved to the U.S. in 1993 to work for NRHA legend Bob Loomis. Six years later he went to ride for Nedpoint QH where he was the resident trainer for 12 years. In 2011, he started his own business, Fred Thomsson Reining Horses, LLC, which is located at Kyle Ranch in Whitesboro, Texas.
Thomsson is currently the chairman of the NRHA Sale Committee and a past member of the Eligibility Committee. Thomsson has made the finals of every major NRHA event, plus he has won an American Quarter Horse Association Reserve World Championship and an European Championship.
"I would appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors because I want to give back to the association that provides a living to me and so many others," said Thomsson.
Marc Wagman • South Central Region Director
Marc Wagman has been raising horses and competing in NRHA events since 1983. He spent 10 years on the NRHA Board of Directors with six of those years on the Executive Committee. He also served as chair of the Non Pro Committee for four years and the NRHA Hall of Fame Committee for two years. He also served as a member of the Aged Event Committee and the Finance Committee.
Wagman currently serves as a Youth Coordinator for the Oklahoma Reining Horse Association (OkRHA). He is an active volunteer at all OkRHA events with his family highly involved at the affiliate level.
After serving on the NRHA Board of Directors for 10 years, he took time off to care for his parents. He looks forward to rejoining the board and doing what he can to chart a course for NRHA’s continued success. As an active breeder, non pro competitor, open horse owner and parent of youth competitors, Wagman believes he can speak for many segments of the NRHA. His experience with the production of NRHA competitions, large and small, gives him valuable insight into the needs of show management and affiliates hosting these events.
Jesse Chase • Southeast Region Director
Wendell, North Carolina
Jesse Chase is a lifetime member of the NRHA and has also been an NRHA Judge for the last 12 years. Chase is a full-time trainer who owns and operates Jesse Chase Performance Horses, located just outside of Raleigh. He has close to 20 years experience in training, colt breaking and coaching people of all levels in the Reining discipline.
Chase has been the Regional Director for the Southeast Region this past year and really enjoys taking constituents’ concerns and new ideas to the board. Chase would like to volunteer his time again this year because he feels his dedication; new ideas and strong sense of standards are a great combination to help keep NRHA moving in the right direction.
When he is not showing, judging or training horses, you can find him building fence, building barns or anything that is working to better his farm with his three sons.
Shannon Rafacz • Southeast Region Director
Shannon Rafacz has been a member of NRHA for 27 years. She started showing reining horses in 1987 and has seen NRHA grow from a sport with little recognition to a sport that is now a household name. As a competitor, she holds 11 world championships and 5 reserve world championships. She has seen success in the aged events and won the NRHA Derby during her senior year of high school. As a youth, Rafacz was an integral part of the development of NRHyA, serving as its first youth liaison. She worked with the NRHA staff to create and promote the NRHyA Youth Team Tournament, as well as a youth saddle series.
In 2004, Rafacz moved to Ocala, Florida, to pursue her reining career after college. She worked for Marriott International in their International sales office before heading to local hotel properties for sales and catering. She joined the Florida Reining Horse Association (FRHA) Board of Directors in 2005 and is still an active board member. Through those years she has served as show committee chair, vice president, president and now is the committee chair for the Florida Reining Classic.
Dave Belson • Southwest Region Director
Cave Creek, Arizona
Dave Belson is the founding president of the Arizona Reining Horse Association (AzRHA) which started in 1985. He served as the president for the first four years and has remained active in the organization since its inception. He has served as president on several occasions throughout the years and has been the most recent president since 2011.
Belson was inducted into the California Reining Horse Association (CRHA) Hall of Fame in 2009 and into the AzRHA Hall of Fame in 2014. He has been an NRHA, APHA, and special-event AQHA Judge for over 30 years. He has judged many major events in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, Israel, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands.
Belson is the owner/manager of the 5B Quarter Horse Ranch in Cave Creek, Ariz., and has stood many successful stallions over the last 34 years. These stallions include Boomernic, Doc N Jose, Loomis Sun, and currently Gangster Chic. He still manages the ranch, raising numerous reining horses each year. He is also working on the Performance Horse Connection magazine, which recently made its debut.
The brand, 5B, was created with his family (of five) in mind, which includes his wife Myra; and, his three beautiful daughters Andi Paul, Beth Wood and the late Deni Austin.
Guy Vernon • Mountain Region Director
NRHA Professional Guy Vernon is originally from Emporia, Kan., and has been training reining horses in Kiowa, Colo., for the past 10 years. Guy and his wife Valerie have one daughter, Lacey. Vernon has been an NRHA Judge for over 12 years and has shown at most major regional and national futurities and derbies.
He specializes in non-pro coaching and aged-event horses. Active in the Rocky Mountain Reining Horse Association (RMRHA) for many years and serving on their Board of Directors, Vernon has always been interested in serving the grass roots membership, whether locally or at the board level. His election in 2008 to the NRHA Board of Directors is a natural progression to achieve his desire to be involved on a national level in the industry.
He is a strong proponent of a more transparent organization with better communication between the Board of Directors and the members of NRHA. He feels that for NRHA to continue to grow there needs to be a balance between the grass roots level and the major events. NRHA cannot grow without both being as strong as possible.
Shane Brown • Mountain Region Director
Shane Brown is 43 years old and a graduate of Liberty High School in Colorado Springs, Colo. He is currently an NRHA Professional at Shane Brown Performance Horses.
Brown has been the chair for the NRHA Professionals Committee, member of the NRHA Animal Welfare/Stewards Committee and Reining Horse Sports Foundation Crisis Fund. He also served as president of the Rocky Mountain Reining Horse Association for two terms.
As an active member of many NRHA committees and positions in the past, Brown is excited to once again be a member of the NRHA Board of Directors. He looks forward to becoming even more involved in programs that help to grow NRHA from the affiliates level to his ongoing dedication to NRHA Professionals at the trainer/breeder/owner level. He is honored to again be a participant and pledges to be an involved member of the NRHA Board of Directors to help NRHA meet its goals for 2015.
Please join NRHA in welcoming these members to their newly elected positions. A complete listing of the NRHA Executive Committee and the NRHA Board of Directors can be found on nrha.com and in the NRHA Reiner magazine.
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.