Monday, August 21st 2017

 
STORY
 

Two Decades of Distinction

The NRBC was born in the fall of 1997 when an elite group of reiners - Tom McCutcheon, Tim McQuay,

Colleen McQuay, Pete Kyle, Dick Pieper, Carol Rose, Gary Putman, and Robert Chown- got together and created the National Reining Breeders Cup. Other early members of the team were Mike Christian and Cheryl Magoteaux-Cody.

The first NRBC, in April of 1998 in Guthrie, Oklahoma, paid over $210,000 and featured a $10,000-added Open NRHA Reining– the largest National Reining Horse Association-approved Open Reining at that time, as well as a $5,000-added Youth Reining. The ambiance of the show helped to mold its eventual identity, with a mariachi band for entertainment, and a live trumpeter to perform the call to the post. In fact, trumpeter Vicki Friedman has performed the call to the post at every NRBC since! And in a forecast of things to come as far as trying innovative moves, the NRBC hosted the first Prime Time division.

In 1998, the organization's name was changed to National Reining Breeders Classic to reflect the growing prominence and importance of the event. The NRBC set out to provide a place to show 4-and 5-year-old (and later, 6-year-old) reining horses for lucrative purses that pay deep into the placings. The NRBC has done just that and more.

In 1999, it paid $345,000 and featured over $200,000 in added money. Also in 1999, the NRBC Show was chosen as a qualifying show for the first-ever Cosequin $100,000-added United States Equestrian Team Reining presented by Bayer, held in Gladstone, New Jersey, in June.

Both the added money and the designation as a USET qualifier held constant in 2000 when the event returned to the Lazy E Arena, with a total payout of $346,494.The innovative event also held the first-ever Prime Time Non Pro class, for the more seasoned competitors, and the first NRBC Media Award recipient was recognized.

The show moved to Katy, Texas, in 2001. It was the first year of maturity for any enrolled foals, and the added purse soared to over $450,000. Plus, the NRBC payout zoomed past the half-million dollar mark to exceed $646,000! A Lee Greenwood concert was held during the event, and reiners also got to show off their golf skills in the inaugural NRBC Golf Tournament.

In 2002, the show payout exceeded $700,000. New for 2002 were the NRBC Double Time awards and the first ever NRHA Town Talk meeting was held at the event. Country singer Brian Black entertained owners, exhibitors, and fans, and the younger participants were able to hunt Easter Eggs.

In 2003, the total payout was over $820,000, and the live entertainment provided by rodeo clown and entertainer Bill McEnany added even more fun to the event.

At the 2004 NRBC, the payout surpassed $900,000. The event also hosted its first $20,000-Added NRHA Open, and created the Curtis Burlin Award. The show also set a precedent, where the NRBC Finalists were able to select the judges for the finals. A Reiner Look-A-Like Dummy contest was held, and trainer Carolyn Scott and her dancing dog wowed the crowd.

2005 was the banner year, when the NRBC payout officially passed the $1 million mark. The NRBC was featured for the first time on RFD-TV, and it was the first year that there was a live-feed on the Internet.

Jimmy Pierce sponsored the first-ever Texas Hold'Em Poker Tournament, and everyone was able to keep up with the action thanks to the Slide Street Journal, which was available each morning with news from the previous day. The NRBC also hosted its first Collegiate Judging Contest that year.

The payout continued to grow in 2006, and surpassed $1.1 million. Lightening the mood was the Dressed to the Nines game, where competition moved out of the arena and into the show barns. Exhibitors stall fronts were judged, with the winners receiving great prizes. The NRBC also introduced the first ever Rookie Professional class to its ancillary lineup.

The 10th anniversary of the event in 2007 held true to tradition, paying out an impressive $1.2 million, including $75,000 to the Open Champion! More entries qualified for the finals, and the optional Mare

Bonus program paid big! The first Short Stirrup class for 10-year-old and under riders debuted, and it was the first year for NRBC Youth Scholarships. Contestants received even more perks, with the new

Drag Awards and the Concert in the Practice Pen, which featured Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, and Randy

Paul. The show was also featured on the award winning TV show, Wide World of Horses.

In 2008, the NRBC set yet another record, with the unofficial largest Non Pro Limited Age Event in history. The high entry numbers pushed the payout to exceed $1.3 million. Another record was set in 2008, as the stallion program produced it's first-ever NRBC Million Dollar Sire. Topsail Whiz was recognized for producing foals that won over $1 million at the NRBC alone! NRHA Ancillary class participants had even more to compete for, as the NRBC began to award Gist Silversmiths buckles to the champions. The NRBC showed its support for the fight against cancer in 2008, hosting a “Pink Day” for Rein In Cancer.

In 2009, that support continued with the “Strut Your Mutt” contest, which raised thousands of dollars for Rein In Cancer. With the addition of three more divisions – the Open Prime Time, Level 1 Open, and Level 1 Non Pro – the 2009 event awarded over $1.25 million, and the NRBC's total payout since the inaugural event in 1998 surpassed $10 million!

In 2010 the NRBC created the Spring Games to support Rein In Cancer. Exhibitors competed in a variety of contests, including a spur race. The big news though, had to do with the already monstrous payout, which soared higher, and exceeded $1.4 million!

The NRBC introduced the new Classic Challenge classes in 2011, giving horses seven years of age and older a continued chance at big money. The new classes again put total payout just a few thousand short of $1.4 million.

The economic downturn a few years earlier meant fewer foals were enrolled in the NRBC, resulting in a payout slightly over $1.35 million in 2012.

The Great Southwest Equestrian Center received a facelift prior to the 2013 event with the new Tellepsen Arena, while the East Arena was renamed the Wheless Arena. With more room and time for competition, the NRBC welcomed USA reining to its lineup. Also new to the NRBC was Reiners U, offering free clinics to new reiners, as well as Green Reiner classes for the newest competitors. The total money at the event exceeded $1.2 million.

Rein In Cancer Ride with a Ribbon debuted at the 2014, where riders created cancer awareness by sporting a number of colored ribbons while showing. Many also chose to donate a percentage of their earnings to the charity. Total payout once again neared $1.2 million.

A new partnership with the American Paint Horse Association in 2015 meant that exhibitors competing on registered paint horses had even more opportunities to win. Special Gist Silversmiths buckles were awarded to the highest placing paints in several of the NRBC divisions, as well as a multitude of ancillary classes. In the past, the NRBC has offered kids' activities for various special occasions, and in 2015 created an expanded program dubbed the Reiner Kids Academy.

The event paid out $1.1 million in both 2015 and 2016. Last year saw the creation of a new division for Open Horses – the $10,000 Added Development Division. Eligible horses that had not won more than $2,000 at any reining competition were automatically entered in the division for no additional fee. Markel Insurance continued its support of the NRBC with the creation of the Non Pro Commitment Award, to be presented annually. And in spite of a 500-year flood, the show went on!

The NRBC has now officially enjoyed two decades of success. Along the way, the show has grown from a four-day event in one arena to one that has competition spanning seven days with classes going on simultaneously in three separate arenas.  There were even more winners in 2017, as the top 30 in every Open and Non Pro division advanced to the clean-slate finals. By the time the dust settled in the arena in 2017, this prestigious event has paid out $20 million over the span of 20 years!

 
National Reining Breeders Classic ~ 13181 US Hwy 177 ~ Byars, OK 74831 ~ 580-759-3939