National Reining Horse Association President Rick Clark recently issued a letter to members about changes made to stall sponsorship rates in the barns at the association’s major shows.
Clark’s letter, which was emailed to NRHA members:
Dear NRHA Members:
There has been a lot of feedback regarding the NRHA Executive Committee’s decision to update and revamp the NRHA Stall Sponsorship Program. I am writing to give you an idea of the thought process behind the changes.
The Stall Sponsorship program was created prior to 1995, and fees were adjusted at the 2007 NRHA Futurity and the 2008 NRHA Derby. There has not been a fee increase since those changes were made 14 years ago. During that time, the expense of putting on events has climbed substantially, but even more importantly, the amount of traffic in those areas has increased exponentially. As reining has grown and gained momentum, more people attend, resulting in more exposure.
The action taken by the NRHA Executive Committee (EC) was an operational change – the type of change that the EC was put in place to make to ensure the association’s stability, despite any potential backlash. The EC would be remiss if it did not assess and correct any deficiencies in operation. With the Stall Sponsor program, there was no option other than to study and correct the deficiency in rates.
In comparing the NRHA Event Stall Sponsorship rates to other shows around the country, we found that most charged substantially more than the reining industry’s two biggest and most visible events – the NRHA Futurity and the NRHA Derby. Even after the changes we initiated, our rates are still less than most premier championship events in other disciplines.
Stall sponsors who display signage in the SuperBarn and in Barn 6 know that the visibility at the shows results in horse sales, breeding sales and training opportunities because there are so many people – industry insiders and fans – who walk through the barns every day. Everyone is enjoying selling horses at a much higher price these days. Should they be only selling them for what they sold for 14 years ago? I think we can all agree that would not be good business.
Companies invest in booths so they can connect with customers and increase business. Our NRHA Corporate Partners who have booth space in these prime locations pay a substantial amount to be there because they know the benefit of being in high traffic areas. New customers and increased business are the result of getting to have one-on-one time with people who come by their booths.
Another problem has been the “landlord” process where a Stall Sponsor who brings only a handful of horses invites many others to stall in his or her area, charging them an extra $50 to $100 to offset the cost of the Stall Sponsorship. A lot of space is taken up in this way that might otherwise provide stall front opportunities for those on the waitlist.
Additionally, there exists a bit of confusion over the process of the stall sponsorship waiting list. It is true that NRHA Corporate Partners are placed at the top of the waiting list.
Corporate Partners will not displace anyone who has been a stall sponsor in good standing. They, like anyone else on the waiting list, only have an opportunity for a Stall Sponsorship when stalls are relinquished by the original sponsor.
I feel that the NRHA membership needs to hear from me that I fully support this increase, and I strongly believe that the steps taken across the board have increased the value of horses, increased the purses, drawn new people to the industry and impacted everyone’s overall exposure.
I hope this letter helps clarify the decision and the reasoning behind it. We have more momentum than we’ve ever had, and I and the rest of the EC are still working to make it better than ever!
This is a great time for the NRHA and for reining. I am looking forward to continued growth, and I will continue to support steps to make sure we stay in an upward direction.
Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions you may have.