On May 10 and 11, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Board of Directors came together in Oklahoma City to discuss business and identify opportunities to advance the sport of Reining. Among those business discussions was a follow-up item related to the Association’s Certificate of Incorporation (COI), in addition to changes to the bylaw amendment process and governance structure.
Changes to Bylaw Amendment Process
On May 10, the board reviewed and unanimously approved proposed changes to NRHA Bylaws (Article XV. Amendments.). The approved changes kept in place member’s ability to submit bylaw amendment proposals. The approval process for bylaw amendment proposals was modified to comply with Oklahoma state statutes officially giving the board the authority to adopt, amend or repeal the bylaws of the Association. Click here for information on NRHA’s Certificate of Incorporation.
Governance Structure Changes
In June of 2014, NRHA convened its first Long Range Planning Committee in Columbus, Ohio, The group agreed on four areas of NRHA that needed considerable effort and focus. One of those was NRHA’s governance structure. Subsequently in May 2016, the board received and approved a proposal to streamline the structure including the creation of regional councils, adjustment of regional director allocations and establishment of term limits.
President Rick Clark commented, “NRHA governance has unique challenges. These include a complex, far-flung operation with a global board; maintaining engagement of a board separated by geography, local issues, language, culture and customs; communicating in a timely manner with a large group that cannot meet face-to-face; and finally, volunteer time commitment. Many boards face some of these challenges, NRHA faces them all.”
He continued, “In August of 2014, the NRHA Board of Directors approved a Global Governance Task Force to tackle these issues and to create a global governance structure and process that optimizes growth of the sport. Since that time, this task force has had several conference calls and at least four in person meetings. All of these issues received considerable attention and deliberation.”
More Details on the Changes
On May 10, 2016, the task force presented two options to the board. These options tackled the previously mentioned topics, as well as addressing board size to have a structure to have board members that are fully engaged, well-qualified, effective and focused on the strategy and direction of NRHA. As noted above, the board approved (27 to 1 vote) one of the options. Furthermore, they instructed the Bylaw Committee to develop proposed bylaws to implement this structure. The board will review and vote on proposed bylaws in August 2016.
Following a transition year in 2017, the 2018 board will include:
- 20 total board members
- 15 Directors to represent global membership*
- 11 North American directors, two European Council directors, one South American Council director, one Oceana Council (ex. Australia and Japan) director and one Reining Horse Sports Foundation President (ex-officio)
- These will be elected by the membership
- *One of these directors will be elected to the Executive Committee
- 5 Executive Committee members
- President (2-year term), Vice President (2-year-term), two members elected by the membership (2-year terms) and one member elected from the board to the executive committee (1-year term)
- Members can be re-elected to three consecutive, 2-year terms, and may be re-elected after a one-year hiatus.
2017 Transition Year
The task force presented a bylaw amendment proposal to add a provision to allow for a special transition term of one year through 12/31/17. The board approved the proposal unanimously. Therefore, NRHA will follow the new guidelines that will result in an overall reduction of the board from 38 to 27 for the transition year in 2017:
- 22 Regional Directors
- Western Canada (1), Eastern Canada (1), Mexico (1), Mountain (1), North Central (1), Southeast (1), Southwest (1), South Central (2), Northeast (2), Northwest (2), East Central (3), European Council (3), South American Council (1), Oceana Council (1), Reining Horse Sports Foundation (1)
- Regional directors with terms expiring 12/31/17 will serve the remainder of their term
- 5 Executive Committee
- President (Mike Deer) and Vice President (to be elected in October), as well as three directors at large (Mike Hancock, Brian Welman and Casey Hinton to serve the remainder of their terms)
President Rick Clark commented after the meeting, “I am proud of our directors for thinking of our future, and excited to see how these changes will move us forward globally. This work was done with the membership and our future in mind. The past 50 years of our association have been great, and the next 50 promise to be even better.”
Elections of directors and Vice President will be held in October as approved at the 2016 Winter Meeting. The deadline for nominations and specifics on the voting period will be published in the NRHA Reiner and on NRHA.com. The board will review and vote on proposed bylaws in August 2016. Following their approval, the updated bylaws also will be published online.