Can you imagine that this organization that I am so proud to be a part of is entering our 50th anniversary? It seems like yesterday our founders were setting the pattern at the first Futurity at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. We have made so many positive strides the last 50 years, and this past year has been absolutely outstanding.
A new international headquarters. A new membership card that you have or soon will be receiving. A pinnacle event that horse enthusiasts make special plans to come sit in the stands that once awarded $10,500 to now awarding more than $2 million in prizes and cash. A membership that once was less than 100 to now finishing 2015 with a 4.6% increase in membership, and the largest membership since 2008. NRHA has come a long way and you should be celebrated for all of these accomplishments and the future success of this outstanding organization.
In a time where the horse industry was hurting from the downfall of the global economy, you helped keep NRHA prominent, popular, important and healthy. With the changing times, change of the economy, change in domestic and international inflation, your Board of Directors has been steadfast in keeping NRHA as one of the leading equine organizations on the planet. At times, this creates an opportunity to make decisions that frankly at face value, seem negative.
One change that I want to discuss is the new Futurity entry fee of $2,500. The last time the NRHA increased the Futurity entry fee was 2002. Using the U.S. Department of Labor Consumer Price Index inflation calculator, $2,000 in 2002 has the same buying power as $2,639 in 2015, which is over 30% inflation. NRHA for over a decade priced the entry fee lower than the general rise of consumer goods and services. In order to maintain our ability to acquire goods and services our fee needed to be adjusted to keep up with inflationary pressures that had accumulated for over a decade.
During our budgeting process this past year it was evident our Association needed to adjust our entry fee and retainage in order to offset the inflationary pressures the Association was experiencing. I want you to know your Board of Directors considered all options and reviewed an enormous amount of data to allow them to make an informed decision, one in which would least impact the NRHA Futurity payouts and your ability to compete with the NRHA. Our goal was to maintain our payouts, allow participation, provide the NRHA with the resources needed to both maintain and grow the event, and to continue to provide the level of service you desire and expect from the NRHA.
I welcome your comments and continued feedback, but sincerely, I want you to know that your Board of Directors are strictly looking at the future of this organization and to maintain the level of service your staff has provided to compete at one of the largest events in Oklahoma City, and the largest event in the reining industry to advance the sport of reining.
Don’t forget the first Futurity payment deadline of February 1!
More information is available at nrha.com.