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The NRHA reinstated its World Championship races. Last year, Coronarita Time and Jessicah Keller won the year-end championship for the Novice Horse Non-Pro Level 2 * Photo by Waltenberry.

NRHA World Championship Races Green Lit for 2020

There will be year-end National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) champions for 2020 after all.

The association announced Thursday, July 16, that its Board of Directors decided to reinstate the NRHA World Championship races and titles for this year. All those races were suspended in June because of how many shows were canceled due to COVID-19, but the association said member feedback influenced it to reinstate the races.

NRHA President Mike Hancock said the decision allows a large portion of the membership to reach goals they created many months ago, though he said the NRHA Board realizes some people will be negatively impacted.

“At an impromptu meeting held at the NRHA Derby, people spoke of the months and months of preparation and planning that were part of hauling for a title,” he said. “They stressed how important those World Championship races were to members, noting it was the title and not just the awards – that in view of the NRHA’s budget constraints, they would pay for their own awards if the titles were just reinstated.

“The board took a lot of time with the issue – considering several alternatives – from continental championships for North America and Europe among other ideas. But the central theme of what the board tried to accomplish, in my opinion, was helping us return to some form of normalcy even though it was still not the same for everyone.”

The issue will be reconsidered for 202, Hancock said, adding that all options will be examined. For 2020, exhibitors must win money in seven NRHA approved shows to be eligible for titles.

COVID-19 Budget Constraints

An acknowledged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the drastic reduction in revenue to the NRHA from shows around the world. A barebones budget enacted by the Board and Finance Committee resulted in staff and travel cuts and in some cases, member service streamlining. With that reality, the association said funding is simply not available for a full round of World Championship awards.  

At this point, NRHA says some of the year-end awards have been sponsored by members wanting to assist and the board is hopeful that others will join suit in support of the program.

Individuals and companies wishing to sponsor different classes should contact NRHA Senior Director of Corporate Relations Sammi Miller at [email protected].

2020 Changes

Since the NRHA World Championship race has been reinstated, all NRHA event approvals received January 1 through August 1 will be considered Top Ten Events, which count for year-end standings. For these events to count toward the standings, the approval must be complete with all information required. This gives show management and affiliates the opportunity for August and September events not yet submitted to be considered as Top Ten Events.