It’s hard to imagine any aspect of the NRHA that Frank Costantini has not experienced in his more than three decades of involvement with the organization.
The NRHA Media department had a chance to sit down with Frank here at the 2020 NRHA Futurity and ask him about his various roles within NRHA, from owner to past president to working with NRHA Corporate Partner Markel Insurance as a gracious sponsor.
How did you first become involved in reining?
“I guess in the mid-1970s after I got out of active duty a very good friend of mine by the name of Bob Julien introduced me to Bill Horn and the rest is kind of history. I’ve been involved since the late ‘70s and got very active in the mid to late 80s. I was on the board when the Futurity moved to Oklahoma City and then I got elected president and I served two terms as president. I then was president of the Reining Horse Foundation and played quite a few roles within the organization over the of years.”
Favorite Futurity memory?
“My favorite Futurity memory is probably from before a lot of you were born…It’s 1987, a mare called Spirit Of Five won the Futurity with Bill Horn and I owned her. So that was obviously a special time.”
Explain some of the different capacities in which you’ve served NRHA?
“Let’s see I was on the elected board, the appointed board, I was president for two terms in the late ‘80s. I was immediate past president after that for four years when Dr. Bartlett was president. I was elected president again when we moved the office in Oklahoma City, then immediate past president. I became president of the Foundation and served roles there, so I’ve been pretty involved for a long time.”
What does it mean to you to get to have this Futurity?
“This Futurity, to have it, speaks well for the organization, speaks well for Oklahoma City, speaks well for the Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City and also for the reiners that are here and doing their best to mask up, social distance, use hand sanitizer, and hopefully as we did at most of the reinings from what I’ve gleaned, leave here unscathed. It’s been a challenge to me personally, even at home, because some friends of mine are no longer with us due to COVID-19, and as of late Doug Carpenter’s passing.”
You are part of the NRHA Futurity Challenge Group. Why is that so important to you?
“Well, every time NRHA has taken a leap of faith, we’ve been paid big dividends as an organization. When they first paid $100,000 to win the Futurity in 1983, that allowed the NRHA to achieve credibility because of the amount of money that first place paid. And then in 1986 with the Futurity moving to Oklahoma City, that opened up what was felt to be an Eastern organization to the rest of the country. Don Oates, who was president of the Oklahoma State Fair, and I negotiated a 10-year contract for NRHA to stay in Oklahoma City, and I think that was huge. When we became affiliated with the FEI and USET and NHSA, that was another leap of faith that opened up the reining industry to the rest of the world. When Taylor Sheridan with the Run For The Millionand The Last Cowboy did what he did last year in an incredible amount of time, and obviously he had some good help with Mandy Brumley and picked 12 stellar people to represent the sport, that was a huge leap of faith for the reining horse industry. I felt that if we didn’t follow up something like that with our own organization that we were going to drift further back from where we needed to be. I know there’s some controversy of whether it helps everybody, but you know, when the tide’s high all ships rise. That was the message that Doug Carpenter wanted to convey. Doug came with a fresh set of ideas and I was honored to do the presentation with Doug sitting right behind me as he was sick in February also. One thing that I’ll always be proud of is the fact that the last time Doug and I were together we accomplished a lot for the NRHA.”
Tell us about your two Futurity horses that are entered here?
“A young lady from Ohio by the name of Julia Roshelli showed Gunsdynamitesnchics (“Zeus”) for us yesterday and did a super job. She deserves all the credit in the world because she hasn’t had him that long, and she just gets along with him and goes and shows what he can do.
“Justin Michel just did a phenomenal job of getting Cee My Special Nite (“Diablo”) shown. He’s a phenomenal horse. It’s fun to have a horse that’s competitive because it allows you to really interact with your peers, the people that I’ve really come to respect for a long time. It’s nice to have something that looks like it might go to the next level rather than crying in your beer, so to speak.”
How long have you been with Markel Insurance?
“The NRHA was the second equine organization to form a partnership with Markel and we have been corporate partners for about 28 years now. Markel as an organization likes to give back to an industry that’s been so supportive of Markel as a company. It’s been really rewarding to be able to work for Markel and to represent Markel in a lot of different aspects of the Western performance horse industry. Our business is good and we’re able to be here and participate, we’re very fortunate.”