The ever-evolving Tulsa Reining Classic has changed names and faces over the years, but the success of this unique and important staple in both the Reining industry and the Tulsa community has certainly left its mark. Originally established by the Oklahoma Reining Horse Association as an affiliate-level show with a publicized admission Reining special event, the show has grown into one of the top annual NRHA events, hosting five high-level aged events, the NRHA South Central Regional Affiliate Finals, two slates of ancillary classes, and a plethora of educational and entertaining Youth Activities. Despite changes over the years, the Tulsa Reining Classic has always had one clear purpose: To provide a high-quality, enjoyable event that benefits both the Reining industry and the Tulsa community.
OKRHA representative and member of the Tulsa Reining Classic founding group, Tami Wagman, reminisces about the first-ever Tulsa Reining Classic. “Like so many firsts in life, the first Tulsa Classic was so special to so many of us. OKRHA had only $2,000 in the bank when it put on the first Tulsa Classic. We took a chance, trusted each other, believed in our mission and made it happen.” The event was certainly a surprising success for the group, as Wagman reports. “We were thrilled to exceed our budgeted stall count, that the exhibitors seemed to love the Tulsa facilities and that the event so many the OKRHA members had put so much work into was actually happening. The exhibitors were very understanding, grateful and generous. They inspired us to work hard year after year to try and make the show better and better.”
The Tulsa community has always been a huge source of support for the Tulsa Reining Classic. Wagman remembers the city of Tulsa’s response to the first special event. “We devised the “Slide Zone’ which included a sliding contest for charity, the honoring of the legends of reining, a freestyle reining and a high level open class. We had a band, video, spotlights, a script and choreographed music. No other reining event was doing in-arena video a the time, so we were taking a big risk. The Tulsa community was so receptive to the event that the Fire Marshall required us to stop admission before everyone made it in the door!”
Since the 2003 event, the show has taken shape according to the needs of the Reining industry and the Tulsa community. Beginning with the 2012 event, an increased focus on Youth and Education has been very well-received. With record entries and a stall increase of roughly 20%, the Reining industry and the Tulsa community are certainly both feeling the wake of ever-increasing support of the decade-old event.