What started out in 1985 as a small horse show organized by a group of area cowboys has grown over the years into a week-long international event featuring hundreds of horses and dozens of riders. The event is the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity and Show, and Hardy Murphy Coliseum has been the venue every year since its inception.

“This is one of the largest reigning horse events in the world, and people come here from all over,” said Kathy McCutcheon, president of the Southwest Reining Horse Association. In addition to the Oklahomans, Texans and other Americans at this year’s show, contenders have also come from Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Australia. 

In fact, the event is now so large it fills both the Coliseum and Arena 2 and McCutcheon says if the facility could hold more people, they would have an even bigger show.

“Every year we are sold out of stalls,” McCutcheon said. “We actually have a waiting list.”

Events will begin today at 8 a.m. in both arenas and will take place through Sunday. The major events will be the Open Futurity all day Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. and Friday afternoon’s Non Pro Futurity beginning at noon. There are also several “just-for-fun” events scheduled for Friday evening after the Non Pro.

“We try to be innovative because we have to go by National Reining Horse Association rules for their classes, but we love to do something that no one else has done,” McCutcheon said. This includes a dog race and two classes for children.

“We have a costume class for all the little bitty kids where you can dress them up for Halloween,” McCutcheon said. The kids who are a bit older participate in the “walk and trot.”

“We really try to have something for everyone,” McCutcheon said. The event is free and open to the public. The complete schedule is posted at www.swrha.com.