OKC CVB head to receive honor from equine sport’s Oklahoma City-based organization
Following the presentation of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Hall of Fame Committee’s recommended nominees, the Board of Directors and past Hall of Fame inductees voted to approve the late Sally Brown and the late Jerry Kimmel for induction into the NRHA Hall of Fame, a project of the Reining Horse Foundation (RHF). Also announced was selection of Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau President Mike Carrier as the 2020 NRHA Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
The Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes people and horses who have contributed significantly to the sport or the NRHA. Nominees also must have a personal passion for the sport and have impacted reining in a positive way. They do not need to be NRHA members, active or former competitors, owners or breeders.
The award is named in honor of Dale Wilkinson, a multiple NRHA Futurity champion remembered as the “father of reining.” He was of the NRHA’s founding members, and an educator, promoter of the sport and mentor to reiners – professional and non pro – on how competitors should conduct themselves, and train and exhibit a horse.
The honorees will be recognized during the 2020 NRHA Futurity and then formally celebrated at a future banquet after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Impact on reining, passion for the sport, and a record for drawing people to the industry are all selection criteria for the NRHA Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2020 recipient, Mike Carrier, checks all the boxes. It’s hard to imagine where NRHA would be in recent years had he not been an advocate for the sport.
Mike is not a reiner, doesn’t own horses, and only recently got a really great hat, but he has been a champion of the association as a whole. As President of the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), Mike promoted both NRHA and the reining horse. Over the years his face has become familiar to reiners from around the world and his ebullient spirit and engaging personality have endeared him to those who have come to know him.
Mike’s retirement in the fall of 2020 marks the end of an era, and he will long be remembered for understanding the importance and impact of reining, not only to Oklahoma City, but to the entire equine industry throughout his 13 years with the Oklahoma City CVB. Whether through a corporate partnership, the NRHA Futurity Freestyle sponsorship, assisting with the NRHA Convention, or simply advocating for the association and its members at the government level, Mike has always been loyal to the association.
He was instrumental in helping secure the new Coliseum to be built at State Fair Park, and several years ago, recognized NRHA as a “Hometown Hero,” an award proudly displayed in the NRHA Office. Most recently, Mike was vital in conversations with the city and Mayor David Holt regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and pushing for NRHA to be able to hold the 2020 NRHA Derby. That was not unusual – he has consistently been a resource to the association by sharing introductions and contacts to help position NRHA as a pillar of the business community.
On a personal level, Mike has supported the nonprofit RHF and is a member of its Reiners Club recognizing unrestricted gifts. He regularly attends reining meetings and events and loves introducing his staff, friends, and family to the sport.
His contributions will have a long-lasting impact after he steps away at the professional level.
The National Reining Horse Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing the sport of reining through a core mission: “Respect the Horse. Respect the Sport.” Founded in 1966, NRHA now has nearly 15,000 members and sets the standards for reining worldwide. Reining is an international sport and continues to grow year after year by offering opportunities for horse enthusiasts of all ages.