“We train, ride, buy and sell. We do it all,” Hanson said.
Hanson said that while the desire to win is what drives her to compete each year, there are other benefits of participating.
“I think what brings most of us here is the desire to be a hero for those five minutes that we're in the show pen. We've all bought our lottery ticket. Out of those thousands of people who compete, not everyone can win, but everyone wants to,” Hanson said.
“Winning is the primary reason for being here, but beyond that there is the relationships that we make. Relationships and a sense of camaraderie bring people here too,” she said.
Event manager, Chris Potter, said he rode professionally before becoming involved in the association and becoming a father.
“At some point we will probably get our daughter a pony and continue the tradition,” Potter said.
He said horse reining teaches children responsibility and empathy.
Potter said that being involved in the association has allowed him to remain involved in a sport he is passionate about and proud of.
Morris said in addition to allowing horse enthusiasts the opportunity to compete, the 10-day event helps boost Oklahoma City's economy.
“People participate in the event but also stay in hotels here, eat out and shop here. Annually the event brings in an average of $67 million to Oklahoma,” Morris said.
Morris said event organizers hope to increase community involvement and pride by hosting “Horses Hometown Heroes Slide and Freestyle Reining” on Friday.
The event will feature professional Formula One driver Michael Schumacher as well as local firefighters and police officers.
Funds for the events will benefit the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation.