FAIRFIELD, Conn,– June 26, 2018 – The National Reining Horse
Association (NRHA) Derby is an annual one-week event held in Oklahoma
City, June 23-July 1. The competition showcases the world's best reining
horses and riders and attracts thousands of spectators each year. One
of the highlights of the Derby is the Collegiate Reining Championship
scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, June 29, at State Fair Park in Oklahoma
City, featuring the top college riders from North America.
This year, four standout Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA)
riders are slated to compete in the Collegiate Reining Championship. The
riders include Morgan Knerr, Danielle Paulson, Kendall Woellmer and
Travis Fortune. The draw takes place Thursday at 1 p.m. The warm-up
starts Friday at 1 p.m. with the class kicking off at 1:30 p.m.
WATCH THE LIVE STREAM OF THE NRHA DERBY
Morgan Knerr is the IHSA 2018 NRHA Individual Open Reining champion
and is a freshman at the University of Findlay studying pharmacy. From
Plain City, Ohio, her parents are actively involved in reining and she
has grown up in the sport. Before joining the University of Findlay,
Knerr rode at Autumn Rose with Ollie and Debbie Griffiths. She has held
multiple positions as an NRHyA officer, including president in 2017,
vice president in 2016 and secretary in 2015.
“Showing in the Collegiate catch ride is a great opportunity,” Knerr
said. “I’m really excited because it will be a completely different
experience. I’m really looking forward to it!”
Danielle Paulson is from Rochester, Minnesota, and is a junior at the
University of Wisconsin River Falls. She qualified for IHSA Nationals
for the first time this year
and earned the 2018 IHSA Nationals AQHA Team Reining Open Reining
championship and was third in 2018 NRHA Individual Open Reining. Paulson
has shown American Quarter Horses for 10 years, this is her first year
competing in reining. She credits her coach, Janie Huot for giving her a
leg up in the sport.
“I am so excited, it’s such a blessing to compete at this huge event,”
Paulson said. “(Competing in) IHSA is the only time I’ve reined in my
life. I hope to ride my best on some amazing horses that they’re
providing for us."
Travis Fortune is from Booneville, Indiana, and studies at Murray State
University. Fortune finished second in the NRHA Open Reining at Western
Semi-Finals and fourth the 2018 IHSA Nationals.
“I am really excited about competing at the Derby,” said Fortune. “
For me, it’s the fact that I made it there. The first horse show that I
reined at was in October for IHSA. To go to Nationals and be fourth and
qualify for the Derby for the Collegiate Championship is just really
Kendall Woellmer is a sophomore from Sedona, Arizona, and attends
West Texas A&M University where she is majoring in agriculture
communications and minoring in English. The talented rider competes in
both Western and hunter seat. Woellmer earned the 2018 IHSA
Sportsmanship Award and the 2018 IHSA Versatility Rider Award at the
IHSA Nationals. Along with top placings in the hunter seat divisions,
Woellmer finished third in the AQHA High Point Western Rider fifth in
NRHA Individual Open Reining.
“I am very honored to compete against some of the best collegiate riders in the nation,” Woellmer said
For more information about the NRHA Derby, visit www.nrhaderby.com.