On one side of the city, horses are racing every weekend. On the other side, at State Fair Park, several horse shows are coming to town, bringing a huge economic impact with them.
The Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show started Oct. 12 and will run until Sunday. The show draws more than 1,000 competitors from 45 states and four nations. There’s over $300,000 in prize money up for grabs this year. The show features riders in traditional English riding attire as well as more Western style attire, which highlights the versatility of the Morgan horse itself. Spectators can attend the show for free. More information is available at MorganGrandNational.com.
The U.S. Team Roping Championships will start Oct. 27 and run until Nov. 2. The sport that started on the ranch has turned into a competition for the toughest riders. With more than $400,000 in prize money, as well as belt buckles and custom saddles, the show also has one of the largest premier western trade shows. If you want to see what it took to win the west, be sure to check out the 30th anniversary of the national team roping finals. More information can be found at ustrc.com.
The next show coming into the stables at State Fair Park will shine the lights on the quarter horses. Nearly 5,000 riders from around the world have spent the year competing to make it to Oklahoma City for the American Quarter Horse World Championship, which starts Nov. 8 and runs until Nov. 23. During the event, 99 world champions and 90 Level 2 championship titles are awarded. In 2017, exhibitors traveled from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to compete. In the MAPS 3 Bennett Event Center, more than 100 vendors will offer goods to buy, with all the sales taxes on those purchases staying in Oklahoma City.
Five days after the quarter horse show, the working quarter horses come into the stables, participating in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Show, running Nov. 28 to Dec. 7. The NRHA has its headquarters in Oklahoma City, sitting on the same block as State Fair Park. Reining is a western riding competition, where the riders have to move the horses through a pattern of circles, spins and stops. The riders are scored on their execution of these commands. Tickets can be purchased at nrhafuturity.com/tickets.
The year will end with a new equine event coming to the stables, Better Barrel Races (BBR) OKC Futurity. BBR is based in Norman and will offer more than $100,000 in prize money at this show being held Dec. 10 - Dec. 15. This is the first time the competition has been held at State Fair Park.
While these are only the shows that come to Oklahoma City after the state fair, the equine industry loves coming here and we love having them. Over the past five years, an average of 836,000 horse show visitors have spent $175 million each year in Oklahoma City hotels and restaurants, adding $81.6 million to the city’s sales tax coffers. You can read more about what the equine industry means to Oklahoma City in this story from The POINT! publication.