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May 13, 2003

There’s nothing that creates more excitement than a top professional riding a reining horse. Two top NRHA professionals were on a mission at the Derby Kick-Off Express Ranch Bar-B-Que, hosted by Express Ranches and sponsored by the Reining Horse Sports Foundation (RHSF): Dell Hendricks riding Sir Smart Whiz and Troy Heikes riding Master Boot Jac.  Their mission was to show the team players in the community why reining creates so much excitement nationwide, worldwide and right here in Oklahoma City.


As community leaders watched the reining demonstration, then took turns riding Master Boot Jac; Hendricks and Heikes achieved their goal.  Malea Bennett, Director of Communications for the Oklahoma State Senate was all smiles after a “spin” on Heikes palomino stallion, noting that Master Boot Jac was a lot more fun than any other horse she’s ever ridden.


Bob Funk’s Express Ranch, home to Express Personnel Clydesdales, was the perfect place for this get-together: beautiful barns, horses and terrain. Pake McEntire provided entertainment, as everyone enjoyed delicious food provided by the ‘Rib Crib’.  The RHSF President, Frank Costantini, welcomed all and introduced NRHA Hall of Fame members Bob Loomis and Tim McQuay and the 2002 NRHA Open Futurity Champion Shawn Flarida. NRHA Executive Director Dan Wall shared emcee duties with the coach of the Central Hockey League’s Blazers, Doug Sauter.  The coach introduced NRHA President Tom Sumpter and President Elect Kim Sloan, as well as Leslie Baker, Director of Marketing for the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Bobbie Steenbergen from the OKC Convention and Visitors Bureau, Bill Allen from the Oklahoma State Fair Park, and radio personalities Drew and Teresa from ‘The Bull’.  Following the introductions, Executive Director Wall presented Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys with an Honorary NRHA Membership.  Mayor Humphreys expressed his appreciation for the contributions that the horse industry makes to the Oklahoma economy and advised of more than $100,000,000 in anticipated renovations to the State Fair Park in support of the horse.


Vonda Langle, Director of Express Personnel Services, and her husband Don, the Manager of Express Personnel Clydesdales were instrumental in planning the event. Don hitched two nineteen-hand black Clydesdales to an antique stagecoach, which took partygoers and their families to the reining demonstration.  It was impressive and fun, as was the reining demonstration by Hendricks and Heikes.  There really is nothing like an NRHA professional to get people excited about reining. 


The NRHA 2003 Derby (for four – five – and six–year-old reining horses) is in progress at the Oklahoma State Fair Park and will continue through Sunday, May 18.  A fun filled Invitational Freestyle Reining will kick off the evening performances on both Friday and Saturday evening.  Come see what all the excitement is about.


The National Reining Horse Association is the worldwide governing body of reining, responsible for promoting the sport, working to insure the highest standards of competition.  With corporate support from Cinch, Saddlesmith, Profile Nutrition, Horse & Rider magazine, Markel Insurance, Pfizer Animal Health, Quarter Horse News, Kiser Arena Specialists, State Line Tack, Houston Embryo Transfer Center, Classic Equine, Bloomer Trailer Mfg., Cowboy Tack and John Vance Auto Group the NRHA continues to educate its members and the public about reining.















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