Redbud Spectacular: June 1

The 2015 Redbud Spectacular checks in with more than 15,000 entries and millions in revenue for the Oklahoma City economy.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

AQHA staff members Alex Ross and Pete Kyle, left, presented a placque to Redbud Spectacular Show Coordinator Jackie Krshka, center, with a plaque thanking the Redbud for its contribution to AQHA's 75-year history. (Credit: Journal)

With more than 15,000 entries this year at the 2015 Redbud Spectacular, Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association Show Coordinator Jackie Krshka and the rest of her board members feel good about the growth of the show that started in 2001.

"This is its 15th year," she told the Journal. "Our first year, we had 5,000 entries. We started out with five judges and now we are up to eight judges, and we offer all disciplines. Last year, this show brought $11 million to the Oklahoma City economy."

She listed the facts that in 2015, the Redbud has some huge roping, hunter and all-around classes.

"Roping is huge and reining ... I believe last year, we had 116 in the junior reining class on the first day, so our reining is massive," Krshka said. "We had to shift it to the tail end of the show because it's so big and there was no way we could accomodate it with all of the other big classes.

"We have 91 entries in senior trail and for this part of the country, that's really a strong class. In California and Arizona, trail is predominant. But to see these kinds of numbers in the Midwest is exceptional," she said.

"Our roping classes were in the 30s and 40s, which is strong; and our hunters, looking at stabling numbers, they're going to be good," Krshka said. "We had a show here in March - a smaller regional-type show - and our hunter numbers were really strong, so we think they're going to be even better at this event.

"Everything is top-end, high quality," she added.

Growing the Show

She added that AQHA's leveling program will also help in growing the show.

"We've incorporated the Level 2 for the last two years," she said. "This show got so big and so competitive - and of course, everyone wants to be in the World Show arena - so it got so competitive that sometimes that grassroots person didn't feel like they could be competitive here, like they had a place to show.

"Now that we're offering Level 2, we're starting to see some of those exhibitors come back. We're hoping that expands."

Added Events

Then there are the added events: the Jerry Wells Memorial Scholarship Futurity and the Huntfield Derby.

"After Jerry passed, Betty (Wells) came to us and asked if she could add a halter futurity within the Redbud," Krshka said. "It's not really OkQHA's show, it's Betty's show. We absolutely wanted to honor the memory of Jerry, so she competely orchestrates that event. We sure hope the numbers get bigger because she puts so much time and energy into it."

The Huntfield Derby was added to the Redbud a couple of years ago.

"It's just another one of those events to attract the hunter horses," she said. "The courses have been phenomenal and beautiful. It gives the horse and rider a true field to compete in. It's a balance of show jumping and in-the-field jumping. So, it's been well received. We have added money and different prizes for those winners, and we allocate a morning to that event."

The Facilities

Another feather in the cap of the Redbud, Krshka said, is the Oklahoma State Fair facility.

"We haven't had any issues with the rain," Krshka said, referring to the torrential rains that had soaked must of Oklahoma and Texas in the days leading up to the start of the Redbud. "The whole area of southwest Oklahoma and northern Texas have been hard hit, but we haven't had any rain here in the city that's impeded the show."

Some closed roads in northern Texas prevented some people from getting to the show grounds on move-in day, but they waited for the roads to open and came up, she said.

"Our move-in day was Tuesday, May 26, and I had a number of people who asked if they could come in earlier to ride in an arena vs. the round pens they'd been riding in at home," she added. "I talked to the State Fair facility staff and we made some special allowances for some of those people. THat gave those people time to get set up and then have some extra time to ride and prep their horses. We didn't want them to be incumbered.

"The facility crew had just finished another show and they had a hard turn-around on getting things cleaned up and ready for us, and I have pretty high standards for how things should look when we get ready to move in. But they'll work with you and I'm so happy to have the show here.

"This is the greatest facility in the United States," she said. "It has so much room and a great staff to work with. I am so proud to be able to have the Redbud here."

Rewarding the Exhibitors

"We as a board are paying out close to $100,000 in prizes and money," she said. "We believe in giving back to the exhibitors who come here. We have great sponsors that help make that possible. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for the people who support us.

"We feel like it's not just Oklahoma's show, it's the industry's show, she said. "I'm a huge AQHA supporter - have been my whole life, so I'm here to make this show be great for AQHA, not just OkQHA."

Journal Coverage of the Redbud Spectacular

  • June 1 – The 2015 Redbud Spectacular checks in with more than 15,000 entries and millions in revenue for the Oklahoma City economy.
  • May 31 – Crutches and a sore foot didn't stop Gena Johnson from showing at the 2015 Redbud Spectacular.
  • Jerry Wells Halter Futurity – Kathy Willams and Intended Too win the best-of-show title at the 2015 Jerry Wells Memorial Scholarship Futurity in Oklahoma City.