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Reining Economic Impact

Per capita, Oklahoma has one of the highest horse populations in the nation and with that has come a tremendous growth in a sport called reining.
Reining Economic Impact

Riding a horse

For more information visit these links:

National Reigning Horse Association (NRHA)
Bell Ranch USA

Show Dates

Show 1031: Reining Economic Impact

Air date: August 1, 2010

 

Transcript

Rob:  Well per capita, Oklahoma has one of the highest horse populations in the nation.  And with that has come a tremendous growth in a sport called reining.  With more, here’s our Molly Ryan.

Molly Ryan:  Oklahoma City has been the home of the National Reining Horse Association since 1999.  And in that time the sport has grown in popularity, as well as, helping Oklahoma’s economy.

The National Reining Horse Association has had a lot more people stopping in Oklahoma these days.

[sounds of cheering crowd]

Brian Bendele is with the NRHA an international organization based out of Oklahoma City.

Brian Bendele:  NRHA started in 1966 in Ohio, but decided to move here to Oklahoma City because of the facility and the fact that, it’s centrally located so that reiners from Texas, California, and the east coast can all come to Oklahoma City to compete.

Molly:  And it’s bringing new people to the state.  Marietta’s Brian Bell now calls Oklahoma home.  A professional reiner with six world titles, Bell moved here from the east coast to be closer to the action.

Brian Bell:  The reason I set my business up here, I was originally from North Carolina and, you know, people come to Oklahoma and Texas, and it’s like a shopping mall of horses.  Because they can, you know, they can look at several hundred horses in a day’s time so that’s the reason I moved here.

Molly:  Bell has been riding reining horses for 20 years and wouldn’t think of competing any other way with a horse.

Bell:  For me reining is like uh, the best thing you can do with a horse, you get to do every drop of everything a horse can physically do and so that’s why I chose reining.

Molly:  Professionals are not the only competitors at this year’s NRHA Derby.  Recent youth competitor and now college student, Helen Lauth was invited to the derby to compete as a collegiate rider representing her schools equestrian team, South Dakota State University.

Helen Lauth:  I got chosen because of my National Reining Horse Association record. They choose four from the intercollegiate, four from NCAA, and four at-large from the reining; and I got chosen because of my reining record.  They call it the ultimate catch ride, which it really is.

Molly:  These collegiate riders draw a horse donated for the class and only get a quick warm-up before they compete against each other on who can ride an unknown horse and achieve the best overall score.

[whistling sounds]

The NRHA has opportunities for its members to win everything from championship titles to scholarships.

Lauth:  I was so surprised coming into college that I could actually get a scholarship for riding horses and all the riding I’ve done in the past.  I mean, I never dreamed I’d be going to college on an athletic scholarship, but here I am and I’m doing what I love and it’s helping me pay for college.

Molly:  Even though reining was created in Ohio, many think Oklahoma is truly the heartland of reining.

Lauth:  Well when I come to these shows I feel like I’m coming home, because these are people I never get to see all year round except at these shows, and its really great to be around these people, to see everybody again, and everybody’s cheering each other on.  We’re not overly competitive; it’s a friendly competition.

Molly:  Reining has grown in popularity and respect, allowing it a spot in the World Equestrian Games.  Brian Bell says it’s one of the greatest things to happen to the sport.

Bell:  I think it’ll finally get the recognition that it’s always needed and deserved; because, you know, reining is something that is exciting and it’s like, it’s like figure skating on a horse.  You know, you have to do your maneuvers hard, but you have to do them pretty too; and I think the sport will get a lot of respect as it becomes an Olympic sport.

Molly:  With almost 1/3 of NRHA’s 15,000 members being from out of the US, the association is gaining world-wide appeal.

[sounds of crowd cheering]

Bendele:  So what’s really unique about NRHA is our international growth.  We’ve really exploded over the last three or four years, and internationally we have grown so much.  And what, what NRHA does for the state of Oklahoma by having our Derby and our Futurity here in Oklahoma City is that we bring those international individuals to come to Oklahoma City, they look forward to our events.  We have events in Europe where they make quotes and comments that they want it to feel like it does here in Oklahoma City.  And so, it has really helped grow the sport of reining, the equine industry has grown, thanks in part to being located here in Oklahoma.

[sounds of crowd cheering]

Molly:  In addition to the summer derby the NRHA Fall Futurity can bring in upwards of 70,000 people to Oklahoma City.