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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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!