Markel Insurance returns in 2016 for the fifth consecutive year as the sponsor of the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) Non-Pro Draw Party. The popular event is slated for April 20 in the Texas Children’s Hospital Arena Club at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas. This year, the draw party will include the presentation of a new award, the Non-Pro Commitment Award, also sponsored by Markel.
For Markel’s Director of Western Disciplines Frank Costantini, attending the NRBC each year is a regular stop on his spring travel schedule. He noted, “The NRBC is truly a special event. The atmosphere is great and Great Southwest Equestrian Center offers a place for everyone to show, from the green as grass beginner to the industry elite. Using golf as an analogy, it is just like the Masters, the first major event to begin the season, the first place for reiners to be!”
Of course, Costantini is much more than just the representative for Markel. He’s also a former president of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), NRHA Hall of Fame member, chairman of the Reining Horse Sports Foundation and has been a long-time breeder, owner and non-pro exhibitor of reining horses.
“Reining today at the highest level has gotten so tough. The horses, horsemen and horsewomen have reached unparalleled heights in what they are able to accomplish. Consequently, so have our non-professionals,” Constantini said. “Their importance can be somewhat taken for granted, but it’s like the chicken or the egg, almost. If the pros are the soul of our industry, the non-pros are our heart. Their success, at whatever level they are comfortable, is paramount to the future of our industry. Markel’s support of all the non-pro activity is a given, and we don’t ever want to discount their importance. That is why we are honored to be a sponsor, with the NRBC, of a new award.”
NRBC President Tom McCutcheon agreed, adding, “It’s true that the non-pross are the core of this industry and for that reason – with Markel – we have created a new award this year, the Markel NRBC Non-Pro Commitment Award. It will be given annually at the Markel Non-Pro Draw Party. The recipient will be chosen by a special panel that will recognize all the qualities that make up incredible non-pros who willingly contribute their time and resources to make reining and the reining industry even more special.”
Costantini will present a crystal trophy to the recipient, and it’s easy to see that this new award is dear to his heart. He said, “Most non-pros contribute in so many different ways. It is easy to recognize the higher level professional or even the higher level non-pro. We, at Markel, along with the board of the NRBC, wanted to do something for the individual that never says no, is always pitching in to help at an event, the person that you are always glad to see and that you know is genuinely glad to see you when you walk down that aisle. Maybe not the biggest winner, but darn sure an extremely important participator!”