man riding a horse
• Photo by Waltenberry

$1 Million Reining Invitational Coming To Vegas

A $1 million invitational reining featuring 12 of the sport’s top riders will headline a lucrative new show planned for this August in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Billed as the richest event in the history of equine sports, the Run For A Million was created by Academy Award-nominee Taylor Sheridan. In addition to his credits as writer of Hell Or High Water and Sicario, as well as writer and director of the movie Wind River, Sheridan is the co-creator of Yellowstone, a television series on the Paramount Network that has prominently featured Western performance horses.

Show Producer Amanda Brumley, of Brumley Management Group, said the Run For A Million – planned for Aug. 15-17 at the South Point Equestrian Center — will be a one-of-a-kind competition. In addition to the million-dollar invitational, there also will be a $100,000 shootout open to all reiners and horses. The top five riders in this year’s shootout finals will earn a guaranteed position in the million-dollar invitational at the 2020 Run For A Million.

“The goal in creating and producing The Run For A Million is to introduce new people to the world of Western performance horses while supporting all of those who have made Reining their life’s passion,” Brumley said in a statement.

Participants in this year’s $1 million invitational will be nine riders with at least a million dollars in earnings, as well as three additional wild card riders. Brumley said the million-dollar riders will be: Andrea Fappani, Casey Deary, Shawn Flarida, Jordan Larson, Franco Bertolani, Jason Vanlandingham, Craig Schmersal, Tom McCutcheon and Duane Latimer. The wild cards are Abbey Lengel, Cade McCutcheon and Matt Mills.

Riders in the $1 million invitational can bring up to three horses to the competition, and ride any of the three. There are no age restrictions on the horse, and no entry fees for the riders. The rules have generated a lot of buzz about who will ride what horse, and if any big-name horses will come out of retirement to compete for such a large prize.

“There’s a lot of anticipation there as far as what horses will actually be shown, and by what riders,” Brumley said.

Riders will be allowed to bring three horses, because it gives them an option to have a back-up horse should something go wrong with their first choice.

The classes will be approved by the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) as Category 11 events, Brumley said. 

Other classes at the Run For A Million include the Rookie Championships, a $50,000 Non Pro Championship and a $50,000 Invitational Freestyle. Riders can qualify for these events at this month’s National Reining Breeders Classic in Katy Texas; the National Reining Horse Association Derby in June in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and this summer at Reining by the Bay in Woodside, California.

To be invited to participate in the $50,000 Freestyle, riders must submit a video of a reining freestyle performance to [email protected].

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