The association honors the stories of the sport’s legends through its Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame Banquet.

In the four short years since the National Reined Cow Horse Association moved its premier shows to Fort Worth, there’s been massive growth and interest in the sport.  Membership has increased by 20 percent, exciting new events have been added to the calendar, like the Run For A Million Invitational in Las Vegas, NV, and there’s a renewed effort to preserve the sport’s heritage and foster social responsibility with the NRCHA Foundation.

The NRCHA Foundation provides financial assistance to cow horse members in need, scholarships to youth and honors the association’s rich history through a Hall of Fame program.

Anna Morrison, NRCHA Executive Director, said “The Foundation gives members the opportunity to contribute in a tax deductible way to support charitable endeavors [of the member base].”

“Today, we provide financial assistance for our professional horsemen and horsewomen as quickly as possible to offset ongoing financial burdens brought on by medical or other crises,” the Foundation states on its website regarding its Crisis Fund.

Most crisis fund applications are received following a major medical incident. 

The NRCHA Foundation provides additional educational support to the youth through scholarships.

One fundraiser that recently occurred was the auctioning off of the Brumbaugh Box, which is a box in the stands for watching the 2021 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity finals. It was furnished by Brumbaugh’s Fine Home Furnishings, with cocktail service provided by Ghostwood Distilling Co. The auction raised $3,500 for the crisis fund. The NRCHA Foundation is hoping to make this box available at both the Snaffle Bit Futurity finals and the World’s Greatest Horseman finals.

In the future, the organization hopes to expand support for professionals beyond crisis situations by providing educational resources, insurance support, business and risk management advice and professional development opportunities. Specific details on these programs are not available yet.

The association also honors and documents the stories of the sport’s legends through its Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame Banquet. 

In the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees were: trainers Jon Roeser & Ron Emmons, Hall of Fame Horse: Johnny Tivio, Hall of Merit: The Lyles on behalf of Discount Tire, Vaquero Award: Pat Russell.

While the 2020 and 2021 banquets were cancelled due to COVID restrictions, the 2022 Hall Of Fame Banquet is planned for March in Las Vegas. The honorees are to be announced then.

“In the future, our goal is to keep these stories alive via enhanced access to artifacts and oral histories through a mobile and digital museum experience, as well as to expand awareness of reined cow horse sport by supporting educational, media and experiential resources related to NRCHA,” according to the website.

From preserving history to supporting the sport’s future, one of the Foundation’s most important jobs is to award scholarships to youth who demonstrate success in reined cow horses.

Elizabeth Ellis, NRCHA programs manager, provides support for the foundation’s scholarship programs. 

“We’re grateful to be able to award scholarships to our youth and thankful for those who donate and participate in our Youth Stallion Auction,” Ellis said.

Western Bloodstock implemented the NRCHA Youth Stallion Auction in conjunction with the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Sale as a fundraiser for the scholarship programs. It secured breedings donated by stallion owners and then auctioned them off as part of the sale. The proceeds support youth activities such as the clinic fund and scholarships. 

The Foundation assists members of the cow horse community in the event of a crisis.

World Show Scholarships are awarded at the Celebration of Champions to the Champions and Reserve Champions in the Youth Cow Horse and Youth Limited classes. 

Scholarships are also awarded in the cow horse classes at the National High School Rodeo Finals to the top performers in the Cow Horse Championships. The scholarships are awarded to the champion and high cow score and rein score. 

In addition, annually, at the conclusion of the show year, the Foundation awards a $500 scholarship to each NRCHA Affiliate Youth Bridle Champion and a $250 scholarship to each youth limited champion in compliance with Youth Scholarship Program guidelines.

To obtain the scholarship funds, there must be proof of enrollment at college or a trade school. The scholarships are performance based, but as long as the applicant is a member of the NRCHA, they are eligible. To receive the check, an application must be submitted. 

Ellis said the youth, along with their parents, appreciate any amount that can help make college more affordable. 

“In the future, our goal is to expand the scope of the scholarship program to include scholarships for NRCHA youth based on academic and personal merit in order to support and reward achievements outside of the competition arena,” as stated on the Foundation website.