The Show Doesn’t Always Go On

Local regulations play a deciding role in if an NRHA-approved show can happen or not. 

By Jennifer Paulson

Karen Mills and Pale Faced Dancer at the 2019 National Reining Breeders Classic. (Photo by Waltenberry)

This weekend, reiners found two large NRHA-approved events on uncertain ground, along with other NRHA-approved shows. We spoke with Cheryl Cody and Amanda Brumley, producers of the National Reining Breeders Classic and the Reining by the Bay, respectively. NRBC’s 2020 show is uncertain; the 2020 Reining by the Bay is officially off.

But first, we’d like to offer tips for knowing the status of events of all sizes. Many show managers notify NRHA immediately when an event is postponed or canceled. You can find a regularly updated list here. However, for the most up-to-date information, it’s best to contact the show manager directly about an event’s status. If the event is actively promoted on social media, it might be as simple as watching their updates. But a phone call to the show’s producer is often the best way to know if an event is a “go” or a “no.”

Over the weekend, the NRBC, which was already rescheduled once, announced that it won’t be able to run at the end of the month at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas. Cody and the NRBC board had every intention of producing the event, and planned to institute extensive special measures to keep participants and show staff safe and healthy.

“It came down to what Harris County would or wouldn’t let us do,” Cody shared on May 4. “The judge in Harris County extended the stay-at-home order and specifically called out arenas and stadiums [as remaining closed]. We had no choice—there was no ‘should we or should we not;’ the county judge made the decision.”

Cody and the NRBC board anticipate making an announcement about the 2020 NRBC on or before May 11. 

“The NRBC board and I totally understand how much our trainers, owners—the entire industry—need a horse show right now,” Cody sympathized. “We all want our trainers to survive this economic crisis, and that’s why we’re trying so hard to have a show. We know it’s important to the industry. Many of our trainers run a very tight ship and don’t have resources to go months without income from showing. These aren’t just names who come to our shows; they’re part of our family.”

This weekend also saw the second Brumley Management event fall to COVID-19 concerns. First was the Cactus Reining Classic, which was to be held in Scottsdale, Arizona, March 18–22 and was canceled March 15 after the President’s announcement of a state of emergency. Amanda Brumley and her partners next made the tough decision to cancel the 2020 Reining by the Bay, which was to be held July 11–18 in Woodside, California.

“The Bay Area is a hotbed for the virus,” Brumley shared. “And the California Governor keeps extending the state’s shelter-in-place order. I hoped we could wait until June to make a decision, but we haven’t been able to get our event permit from the county of San Mateo, and we don’t know what the California government will do.”

Brumley shared that the Run for a Million, set to be held at the end of July, at South Point Arena and Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, is still on, as of Monday, May 4. 

“South Point plans to have a ‘soft’ opening at the end of May and plans to resume events in June,” Brumley said. “So, we are planning to move forward with the Run for a Million.”

Brumley explained that she expects that the Million Dollar Competition qualifier will be held in the days leading up to the main event in conjunction with the $100,000 Open Shoot Out, similar to a first go-round. The event will also host Rookie and Non Pro qualifiers because many of those regional host events canceled, reducing the opportunities for exhibitors to get qualified for the championships. She also expects that the supporting television series, The Last Cowboy, will be aired this year, though possibly with some changes to the format to accommodate a shortened filming timeframe.