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March 01, 2009 - Sunday -

The Affiliate Program: Everything You Need to Know!

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By Wendy Deans

Everything you ever need (or want) to know about an affiliate.

If you’ve never taken part in the regional championships or received a circuit champion or reserve champion pewter or plaque you may not be familiar with what the NRHA affiliate program is all about. So, just what is the purpose of an affiliate circuit?

Every month in the Reiner magazine the Adequan North American Affiliate Championships & NRHA Affiliate Circuit Series is explained in detail. NRHA states that its aim is to increase the emphasis in ”grass roots” reining and continue to promote our sport at all levels.

The NRHA is the governing body of the sport of reining. Under its watch are the local or statewide affiliates. There are approximately 55 affiliates in the U.S.

For years reiners in Montana showed at one or two shows a year. That was it. In the 1990’s NRHA started to offer more to the grass roots reiners by offering regional championships. To be a part of this, the local club had to offer at least three shows to have an affiliate circuit. At first the top four riders in each NRHA class would qualify to go to the regional championships. NRHA found that not enough folks were coming to the regional championships so they increased it to the top seven riders and recently to the top 10 riders in each class. This gives riders a huge opportunity to ‘dial it up’ and compete at a larger venue for more prizes.

Reining involves a growing process for a rider. Everyone starts at the beginning, learning patterns, rules, training, showing and schooling techniques. What an affiliate circuit offers a rider, when they are ready and if they so choose, is a place to broaden their horizon, seek the next level of showing and reach higher in the sport of reining.

The 2013 Mountain Affiliate Championships were held in Denver last September. They will be held in Denver again this year, September 24 – 28, 2014. Riders will have a chance to compete for a Pard’s saddle, Morrison bronzes and tons of great prizes!

There have been numerous articles written on the web, in the Wrangler newspaper and in the Reiner magazine about how well the riders from Montana have done at the regional championships. Besides individual accomplishments there is team competition. The top three point earners per class for each affiliate are used to determine each team’s total points per class. The affiliate with the highest placing team is awarded $500.

Every rider who goes to the regional championships for the first time comes back saying the same thing, “You really need to go. It’s so much fun!”

It costs YRHA $100 to host an affiliate circuit each year. We have to meet a deadline of December 1st, and tentatively commit to our next year’s show dates. Once we’ve finished out the year, NRHA will actually send YRHA a $500 check for participating in the circuit.

If your goals are even loftier than the regional championships and you place in the top five of your class at the regional affiliate finals, you can go on to the North American Affiliate Championships. This competition is held in conjunction with the NRHA Futurity and Championship show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the end of November.

If you are a rookie rider and are in the top five in the rookie class at the regional affiliate finals (this will be the Rookie l category for 2014) you will be eligible to compete for the coveted Rookie of the Year title and trophy at the NRHA Futurity and Championship Show. Montana took the spotlight in 2005 when RaeAnn Svedberg won this title and Coral Maxwell was reserve champion. The two were separated by a half point! What an accomplishment for these talented riders from Montana.

Here’s what you the rider have to keep track of: JOIN YOUR LOCAL CLUBS! Do it as soon as you get your membership forms in the mail, or go online and download them. Local clubs give away saddles, boots and many other goodies in addition to making you eligible for the regional and national championships. If you’re not a member, you’re not a player in what the clubs have to offer. NRHA requires that you be a member of your chosen affiliate PRIOR TO THE FIRST CLASS ENTERED AT THE FIRST SHOW OFFERED BY YOUR CHOSEN AFFILIATE. If you only belong to one affiliate you don’t need to designate your choice. But in Montana the majority of riders belong to multiple affiliates (YRHA, MRHA, CSRHA, NRRHA). CHOOSE THE AFFILIATE YOU WANT TO RIDE FOR BEFORE AUGUST 1.

Once designated, designation stays active from year to year until you notify the NRHA office otherwise. If you chose to change your designation and ride for a different affiliate, no problem, but you must fill out a new designation form and it must be received by NRHA before August 1. Affiliate standings and designation forms are on the NRHA web site, www.nrha.com.

If you have questions, contact the NRHA Affiliate Program Services at 405-949-7400 ext. 113 or by email (see NRHA website for specific email address). Read the affiliate page in the Reiner every year because what they offer, where they hold championships and some rules change from year to year.

The upshot of all this information is: Join your local clubs (it’s cheap), designate an affiliate and if you qualify, you really should go to the regional championships. Go have fun with your horse and lots of other reiners!

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