The Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas, has been home to the National Reining Breeders Classic for more than two decades. In the
past 22 years, the open-air design and sheer beauty of the GSEC, combined with the multiple schooling areas and large competition arenas, helped make the NRBC the can’t-miss event it is today, drawing thousands of participants from around the world.
The growth trend has always had an upwards trajectory, and because of that, the 2022 NRBC was bursting at the seams. The increased number of entries is precisely the reason that the NRBC Board of Directors made the difficult decision to move the event to Expo Square in Tulsa, Okla., beginning next year. The 2023 event will maintain its springtime date and will be held April 16-23.
“The Great Southwest Equestrian Center has been like home to us,” said NRBC President Tom McCutcheon. “We thank Jeff Hildebrand (GSEC owner), manager Amy Uniss, and the entire staff for being great partners, and we know this unique facility will continue to present exceptional events in the future.”
Expo Square in Tulsa was a logical choice for the move. In April of 2020, when the COVID-19 protocols caused the NRBC to be cancelled, it was ultimately held there 4 months later, creating a record-breaking event.
As in 2020, the Ford Truck Arena will be the center-stage venue for the NRBC. There are multiple other competition and warmup arenas, which allowed the NRBC to become the first reining event in history to have four competition arenas running simultaneously in 2020.
“Expo Square is excited that the NRBC Board of Directors has selected our facility to host their event,” said Brandi Herndon, Chief Agribusiness Officer of Expo Square. “We were fortunate to have the opportunity to do so in 2020 and look forward to working with the wonderful staff again. Expo Square is dedicated to positive and progressive movement for the success of all our equine partners and we look forward to NRBC being here through 2027.”
Cheryl Cody, Secretary-Treasurer of the NRBC, noted, “While it is difficult to move after so many years, the NRBC Board felt that the time had come and there was no better venue than Tulsa. The Expo Square team members are professional and completely customer service oriented. We look forward to years of growth and success in Tulsa and to welcoming our exhibitors to this wonderful facility.”
Cody added, “Along with support from Expo Square, the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau have pledged monetary and auxiliary support to the NRBC.”
Ashleigh Bachert, Interim Senior Vice President of Tulsa Regional Tourism, added, “Tulsa is thrilled to welcome such an incredible event to our community as it further adds to our focus on serving as a top-tier equine destination. Between the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau and Expo Square’s great team and facility, we are ready to put on an amazing event in 2023.”
With the news of the venue change comes the announcement of new benefits and increases for exhibitors and owners.
The NRBC Board has noted the first of several changes that will begin with the 2023 event, including a giant increase in added money for the Open Development Division (novice horse) plus the addition of the Non Pro Development division. The Open Development Division added money has tripled, increasing from $10,000 to $30,000 and the new Non Pro Development Division will debut with $20,000 added! Both the Open and Non Pro champion’s pay have been elevated as well. Beginning in 2023, the NRBC Open L4 Champion will receive $100,000 and the Non Pro L4 Champion will earn $50,000.
More news of exciting changes for riders and owners will be released soon.
McCutcheon said, “I’m excited about the future of the NRBC going forward. The entire NRBC Board is looking forward to sharing more announcements of enhanced benefits for riders and owners soon as we move into this new era for the NRBC!”