The numbers are in and the 2003 NRHA statistics leave no doubt that Reining continues to experience phenomenal growth; setting new records and reaching new milestones remains the norm. NRHA memberships grew by 36 % in the last five years. The largest growth was in International memberships, which increased by 64 % in the same time period.
The trend of International growth also carried over in the show statistics. In 1999 there were 317 NRHA approved shows – that number grew to 480 in 2003 reflecting a five-year growth of more than 50 %. International shows grew by an amazing 213 %! NRHA events now award more than $6,700,000 annually. In 1999, that total was just over $3,044,000.
Duane Latimer topped the 2003 and 1999-2003 Leading Money Earners Lists. Latimer earned the NRHA Open Futurity championship riding Lance Griffin’s The Great Whiz. Latimer and Griffin are both Canadians. Shawn Flarida and Latimer became the first riders to achieve NRHA Million Dollar Rider since Bill Horn and Tim McQuay earned the distinction in 1995 and 1997, respectively. Latimer is the first International member to claim Million Dollar Rider status.
At the 2003 NRHA Futurity, Italian Andrea Fappani rode Juston Palmer’s NQH Little Jac to the NRHA Open Futurity reserve championship. In the four NRHA Open Futurity divisions there were nine finalists and money earners that were either ridden or owned by International members.
The Leading Non Pro Money Earner for 2003 was Jose Vazquez while Mandy McCutcheon maintained her hold on the Leading Lifetime Category 2 and 1999-2003 Non Pro Money Earners Lists. Bonnie Hippensteel is the Leading Lifetime Money Earner in Category 1 Non Pro events. The All Time Leading Money Earning Non Pro Horse is Steadys Dude owned by Brad Hattig.
RR Star, ridden by Tim McQuay, became NRHA’s All Time Leading Money Earning Horse by virtue of his 2003 NRHA Derby win and the first horse to win the NRHA Futurity and the NRHA Open Derby. Owned by Lundin Farm, the stallion also has an international connection. In 2001, Italian Andrea Fappani became the first European to win the NRHA Open Futurity and his partner was RR Star. For the first time ever, horse earnings topped $200,000 and three horses exceeded the milestone – RR Star, $222,751.66, Custom Pistol $217,232.71, and The Great Whiz $202,274.18.
NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Topsail Whiz, owned by Bob Loomis Quarter Horses, Inc., was the Leading 2003 Sire and NRHA’s only Three Million Dollar Sire, Hollywood Dun It, owned by McQuay/Easton, remains the All Time Leading Sire. Carol Rose’s Diamonds Sparkle remained at the top of the All Time Leading Dams list.
Another historic milestone was reached at the 2004 NRHA Convention when Eleuterio Arcese became the first European to be inducted into the NRHA Hall of Fame. The NRHA and the sport of Reining were truly changed for the better by virtue of Mr. Arcese’s involvement and support.
There is more good news - the 2004 NRHA Futurity & Championship Show will host a new international competition of major importance, The FEI World Reining Masters Finals. It is expected that 15 countries will send their top riders. The sky remains the limit as Reining continues on its meteoric rise in popularity and growth worldwide.
The National Reining Horse Association is the governing body of the sport of Reining, responsible for promoting the sport, working to ensure the highest standards of competition. With corporate support from Cinch, Cowboy Central, Horse & Rider magazine, Markel Insurance, Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Quarter Horse News, Kiser Arena Specialists, Houston Embryo Transfer Center, Classic Equine, Bloomer Trailer Mfg., Cowboy Tack, John Vance Auto Group, and LaQuinta Inns and LaQuinta Inn & Suites, the NRHA continues to educate its members and the public about Reining. For information on the NRHA or the sport of Reining visit www.nrha.com or call 405-946-7400.