SWRHA Futurity returns to Ardmore's Hardy Murphy Coliseum
One of the biggest annual events at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum, The Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity, will soon be returning for its 36th year. The event will begin in earnest starting next Tuesday and run through the following Sunday. However, people and horses have already started to trickle in.
Event Manager Cheryl Cody said last year’s futurity was the largest one they have had to date, and this year is going to be even bigger.
“Because we sold out last year, we ordered a tent, and we actually got some additional stalls beyond that,” Cody said. “We have 59 more than last year, and we ended up selling out again.”
Even with the additional stalls, some of the horses that will be competing will actually be staying at private barns around the area and only heading to the coliseum to compete. In total, Cody expects around 640 horses to be a part of this year’s event, an increase of approximately 100 horses over last year’s event — and all of these horses will be accompanied by two or more people.
“We estimate that around two and half people will be with each horse,” she said. “That’s a ballpark figure, but by the time you add in all the riders, the trainers, the grooms, the people that clean the stalls, the owners and their families, it averages out to around that.”
While some of these people will be staying in RVs at the coliseum, many will be lodging at local hotels.
“With some events people come in, compete in their competition and leave, but with ours these people are literally here for a week and a half or so,” Cody said. “They’ll stay here, go out to eat here, and go shopping here.”
Cody expects most of the participants to be in town by Saturday in preparation for the events to begin on Tuesday. A wide range of divisions and competitions will be taking place each day with everything leading up to the Futurity itself on Saturday evening. Over $135,000 in prizes will be awarded throughout the course of the week.
Cody described reining horses as a bit like figure skating because the horses are required to make a compulsory pattern. A team of judges will then give each horse a score, and the highest scoring horse will be named the winner of their event.
A full schedule of events can be found at www.swrha.com.