Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Getting Up On A Soapbox

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the NRHA Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies.  The setting was the beautiful National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, and it was great to see everyone all dressed up to honor the importance of the night's events.  The awards given were fantastic; leather jackets, bronzes, and even embroidered hide pillows!  The dinner that was served to us was delicious, and everyone in our group thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie, and the pomp and circumstance that the evening brought.

I especially enjoyed some of the Hall of Fame Induction speeches.  Carol Rose and Tim McQuay speaking about Shining Spark was both hilarious and poignant.  The speech about Collena Chic Olena was bittersweet, and endeared her owner to me, as she seemed like someone I would know - down to earth, and someone who truly loves her animals.  Bob Kiser's speech was pure class; he embodies the dedication and commitment to both the sport of reining and his family, that we all should emulate.

And then came Boomernic's induction ceremony.   Instead of focusing on the stallion himself, it became clear that Boomernic's owner was using this opportunity to lecture the audience on what he sees as social infractions within the reining community.  He ranted that everyone needs to support Craig Schmersal, despite being caught on video using questionable means to school a horse at the FEI World Championships.  He lectured that the reining community needed to embrace his trainer Brett Stone, even though, "everyone knows that he has had drug and alcohol problems, but he is trying to make a come back."  He pounded the podium with his fists, and demanded respect, and the audience sat in stunned silence.  While all the other Hall of Fame inductees received multiple standing ovations, when Boomernic's was over, the applause was subdued and no one left their seat. 

Getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is a BIG DEAL.  Something that should be accepted with a huge amount of humility and respect.  It is not the time or place to hold an audience of your peers hostage, and try to force your opinion on them, and thus bend their future behavior, because of your momentary position of power behind the podium.  Having a microphone in front of you does not make you any more important, or your words any more palatable.  It only makes your opinion LOUDER, and allows more people to see you as you really are.  Everyone I have spoken to was appalled that Mr. Miola would use the honor and the opportunity of having a horse inducted into the Hall of Fame to push an agenda, and certainly, an agenda that many of us do not share.  People will not forget this type of hot-headedness very quickly.

Perhaps Mr. Miola has some things he needs to get off of his chest.  I have a few suggestions; first, he should confine his venting to those around him that can just listen.  Maybe even find a trustworthy therapist to do this job.  Second, he needs to consider that his peers in the reining industry are capable of making their own decisions and his spouting off is just a great big turn-off.  And third,  he should understand that there are consequences to this type of behavior, and most likely, his stallion's books will reflect how his 'speech' was received by the reining community.  In the polls of public opinion, we will vote with our checkbooks.

While I have not seen that NRHA has released a video of the Hall of Fame speeches, I have hopes that they will.  It is, after all, part of the public record of the National Reining Horse Association.   But, given that Mr. Miola's stable, Silver Spurs Performance Horses, is a corporate sponsor, perhaps they will feel the need to cover up this rant to protect their own image.  We'll see....

1 comment:

  1. I too would very much like to see a video of the Awards ceremony. As they say - "sunshine is the best dis-infectant"!