Oklahoma here we come!

So all you “old timers” out there….what are any tidbits you can share with the 1st timer here on my trip to OK to help make my trip even better than it will already be, and as inexpensive as it can be?  Would love to hear from you all!

27 Responses to Oklahoma here we come!

  1. anonymous says:

    This will be my 1st trip to OKC too, so I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye out for this post!

  2. Jan says:

    Great question!……I would suggest that you immediately buy the program. Go through it and note the classes that you want to be certain to see. Find the parties (almost nightly/daily) and be certain to make it a priority to meet other exhibitors when you do. Go visit other farm’s stalls. Remember, many other exhibitors are just like you…..they don’t know EVERYBODY either. You’ll see the same people through the week and by the end of the show, you will have many more friends. I think the people make the show.
    #2 wear comfortable shoes.
    #3 take raincoat.

  3. colwilrin says:

    When you are in buying the program, ask about the raffle tickets. You don’t have to be an exhibitor to buy…and they award prizes daily. It also enters you to win the grand prize, a golf cart.

    Check out all the cool vendors…and don’t be afraid to “haggle.”

    As for other fun shopping check out Sheplers on Meridian and (my favorite) Teners on West Reno.

    There is also Langstons down by the Stockyards. It is across the street from Cattleman’s restaurant…another OKC visitor favorite.

    Definitely take time to go to the memorial. I finally got there on my 4th trip to OKC and wondered why I hadn’t been there before. It is VERY powerful…bring Kleenex.

    Pack some dressier comfortable clothes for the last 2 nights. Though it is not mandatory, many people get a bit more “dressed up” for the Championship nights.

    For the more adventurous there is a bar called “Club Rodeo” on Meridian. Every Friday and Sat nights they have LIVE bull riding. I haven’t been yet, but I heard it is fun.

    Some of the most intersting goings on during the last weekend happen off-session in the various rings. Lots of buying and selling going on…so keep your eyes open!

    Finally, one word of caution. Last year they had problems with the locals stealing purses from tack rooms…so lock up your valuables if you don’t need them with you. Hopefully they have either caught the nasty bandits…or have increased security this year.

    Have a great time, and hopefully we will see you there!

    I’m sure that I’m forgetting at least 100 things!

  4. amie9191 says:

    I have to second the word of caution. Last year I had a brand new $250 scooter stolen from our stalls…..lock up EVERYTHING!

    The first year I went out I didn’t get a room with a frig or microwave…BIG mistake! You can save lots of money by eating leftovers….heck they serve so much food there is no way you can eat it all!

  5. garishar says:

    If you are trailering yourself, be sure to lock your hitch or do something to secure your trailer, even if it means removing a tire. My family’s two-horse trailer was stolen on our first trip to OKC and was never found. It was our first decent trailer, and we had only had it a few months. After many laps around the lot confirming we didn’t just forget where we parked it, we spent the last part of the show shopping for a different one, not nearly as nice, to get home. The police didn’t seem to think it was a big deal and said it’s common for trailers to get stolen at that fairgrounds. We had no idea or we would have taken precautions. This was a number of years ago. I do hope things have improved, but better to be safe than sorry.

  6. GraceMorgn says:

    I have been going to Nationals for 25 years, every year of my life. There is truly no other experience like it. You are going to have a wonderful time.

    I am not sure if you are showing or just going to watch, but one of the most emotional moments for me was entering the colesium ring for the first time. I didn’t even show, I was there for Youth of the Year, but when I started down the chute, I lost it. Every champion I had ever admired or strived to be like had taken the same path and I was overwhelmed. A friend had a similar experience when she made her first trip 2 years ago and she was just walking in on foot. Even if you don’t ride in on a horse, I encourage you to take a walk down the chute and into the ring for a look around. There is something really special about it.

    Make sure to check out all the different arenas. At any given time, there are 3 arenas/events going on. Most of the equitation is in Show Arena 6, there is reining, dressage and jumping in Show Arena 8, carriage is everywhere and the colesium has a bit of everything. There is a lot to see, but it is fun to catch a little bit of everything the Morgan can do.

    In no way do I want to scare you, but I would be careful of you or any girls walking in the barns alone at night. Many of the grooms are temporary help and have no affiliation with a barn other than for the week. They can be intimidating/ somewhat harassing late at night. Just make sure you use the buddy system.

    Most of all, enjoy the week. It will fly by and you will wonder where all the time went. Hope your first trip out is wonderful!


  7. colwilrin says:

    How could I forget???

    At the Biltmore Hotel (which is “horseshow headquarters” or at least has been the past few years), they have 2 lounges. One is the Bombay Club. This place is very laid back and is popular after the evening sessions with certain exhibs and trainers. Probably because it has the BEST shrimp cocktail platter. They also make a mean white russian for those 21 and over.

    The other club is Chisolms. It is a honky-tonk type bar with country dancing. It is especially crowded the last two nights of the show and you will see many horse people there, celebrating, commiserating, and dancing their feet off.

  8. Bananas says:

    Hon, Take a couple of days and stand by the exit gate, ask if you can ride that horse or drive that horse back to the stalls….always a great way to make new friends fast!! another fun thing is too ask if that horse is for sale and how much, you don’t have to buy it, just “wondering,” will always open the conversation up…have lots of fun…

  9. anonymous says:

    I so agree with you….be very careful around any “foreign” help or trainers. I have hear so many girls having unwanted advances and being harassed they had to sue. Those people are still out there so be very careful.
    Club Rodeo is awesome!!! A definate must see!
    Downtown is something to see to if you have the chance.
    Remember to lock up all of your stuff

  10. Amanda says:

    Chisolms is def. a lot of fun to catch up with everyone after a long day.

    Someone else mentioned it, but there is lots of buying and selling going on and trying out horses. Don’t be afraid to walk around and check out all the practice area’s, you never know who you might see out working.

    It really is an experience, enjoy it!

  11. amie9191 says:

    This is going to be my first time horse shopping at Nationals and I really have no idea how to go about doing it! I’m in the market for a western pleasure prospect so I’m looking to stay in the 3 year old and under range.

    So you guys just go up to a trainer if you see a horse you like and ask if its for sale? I don’t have a huge budget so that seems intimidating to me.

  12. colwilrin says:


    Do you have anyone to help you shop for prospects? If you know a trainer, you may want to ask them to help you with introductions.

    Avoid just hopping up to trainers and asking prices, especially if it during the running of a session. Trainers are being paid to get their client’s horses in and out of the ring and many are on a tight schedule. They may not have any time to talk to you.

    I would start with western trainers you admire. Find their stalls. When you see that they are hanging out in a lull, introduce yourself. Ask if they know of any prospects. Trainers are often looking for young stock, and will know who has what to sell. The best prospect for you may be sitting in someone’s pasture…but you’ll get the lead you need from another trainer who heard about it.

    Another avenue is to look at bloodlines you like. Do a search through the magazines and websites to see who is breeding it. Then, again when there is a lull in activity, introduce yourself to the breeders and ask what they may have.

    Be blunt and honest about what you can spend. People will respect that and point you in the right direction. Most breeders have horses that fall in different price ranges. You don’t want to waste time looking at 30K horses when you are budgeted for 5K.

  13. Mocha Mom says:


    For inexpensive lodgings, try the Regency. They have an ad in the prize list. I have stayed there twice. The rooms have a microwave and mini-fridge and wireless internet access (so that you can continue to blog from OKC.) If you don’t have a wireless modem, there is a computer you can use in the lobby. Their signal isn’t all that strong, so internet service isn’t very reliable, but you can just walk next door to the Clarion lobby and use their computer. The Clarion also has a printer next to the computer. The Regency is clean, but not luxurious. They have a free cold breakfast bar and an outdoor pool.


    I have a 2, coming 3, year old western pleasure prospect who is reasonably priced. Her picture was on an AboveLevel ad last month. It may still be up if you wait long enough. Her name is Cum Laude Philadelphia, affectionately known as Philly. She has been trained to drive by Tim O’Gorman. She won’t be in OKC, but Tim and I will be, and you can stop to visit us in Barn 1 and ask questions. I’ll bring a copy of her papers.

  14. Black Eye Beth says:

    I still remember my first trip to OKC. I decided I wanted the “whole” experience and rode along with my trainers as they followed the semi. That in and of itself was an experience. Apparently Missouri is the place to go if you need dentures or certain parts of the male anatomy fixed (this is according to the billboard…not personal experience!)

    All the things everybody is saying is so true, from the shopping, food and fun (Be sure to hit the “Cookie Lady”) down to using the buddy system and LOCKING UP EVERYTHING valuable. A few years ago, I went to video a class, returned to the tack stall and hid the camera in the back corner while I went back to grab something eat. I wasn’t gone 20 minutes and my camera was gone. Someone had watched me go into the tack room, went in when I left and took it. This was in the afternoon, also, so it isn’t only at night that things disappear. I now lock everything in the car if I am not keeping it with me at all times.

    I have not ever been accosted but since the fairgrounds are open to everybody, anybody can wander in whether they are associated with the show or not. Best to be SAFE, SAFE, SAFE.

    Although watching the show is fun, you can also see a lot of interesting stuff in the warm up ring. If you can hang out there some. You can learn all sort of stuff watching trainers get horses ready to go in the ring.

    One place that is good for a quick lunch is City Bites on Reno (I think). It is right down the road from the grounds. They have really good food, eat in or carry out.

    I hope you have a great time and find the perfect horse!!

  15. jjoker says:

    What are “foriegn” trainers an help mean?
    I hope its people you don’t know

  16. learning says:

    Amie9191, there are a billion pictures of horses for sale all over the barns. I would start there and if you see something you like go look at it. Check to see if it is showing and go watch the class. If it is not in your price range many times they know of some that are and can pass on names.

  17. helkat says:

    Hi…I want to share my first experience in OKC. I was in college and the Titanic movie was popular so that gives you a time frame. I had just ridden in my hunt youth class and was standing in the lineup when “My heart will go on” by Celine Dion came on through the speakers from the organist. I was just sitting there on my beloved Buckaneer gawking at the banners from past champions when “My heart will go on” just came blaring over the speakers. This immediately sent me into tears. My rush of feelings was because I had made it…and I was going to make it again. I hope everyone has a memory that is as precious as mine is to me about my first Grand Nationals.

  18. jjoker says:

    Whenever i go to any city i buy the newspaper and a city guide, they will tell where all sites and event are, along with maps to get there have fun it’s a great show. i’ve heard ksf is the tops,i’ve never been but i think the morgan to me is one heck of event.

  19. bella92290 says:

    Thank you all! I should have said, we are not showing as our trainer is a judge there. So we are going this year (my daughter and I) as spectators. Looking forward to it for sure!

  20. amie9191 says:

    Thanks for all the good advice everyone! I’m going to keep it in mind as I wonder around the show grounds :-)

    MochaMom I’m very interested in finding out more about “Philly” can you email me at

  21. Mocha Mom says:

    I have been told that judging at the GN is a grueling task. All that time on your feet making tough decisions. Your trainer is sure to appreciate your moral support and any creature comforts that you can provide. Simple things like chaufering around town or between the hotel and grounds, a bowl of hot chicken soup from City Bites, clean laundry, help choosing the right outfit to wear and tying shoes.

  22. bella92290 says:

    Mocha thanks, I was chatting with her yesterday and her outfits are all picked out lol. My daughter and I are so excited to go, it will also be good to experience it not showing this year so that when we do show next year we will have some comfort having been there, a little anyway…..We arrive half a day ahead of our friends, we are staying at the Hilton Garden, any place near there we can grab dinner then hop a taxi to the show? Our friends will be getting the car when they arrive Wed night.

  23. colwilrin says:

    Bella, check and see if your hotel has a shuttle to the fairgrounds. I think some do. As for grabbing a bite. I think your hotel has a little cafe in it. I also should be right near Zios…it is a nice Italian restaurant. Think of Olive Garden with better food!

    To kill a little more time, you could be within walking distance of Sheplers. Always a fun place to do a bit of window shopping.

  24. bella92290 says:

    Thank you!! That is exactly the type of info I was looking for!

  25. colwilrin says:


    One word of caution. The neighborhoods around Meridian contain many hotel and restaurants…but also border on some “not so nice” neighborhoods. Just be watchful if you are walking around…especially after dark. If the restaurants are right on Meridian and within a block or two of the hotel, I’d walk it…any farther and you may want to just find a ride to the show and grab a bite at one of the concession stands.

  26. stretch says:

    I would suggest that you take some time to visit the Cowboy Museum. It takes few hours to get through but is well worth the time spent. I go every time I’m in OKC

  27. Mocha Mom says:

    Is there anyone reading this who lives near OKC? I want to know if you can get Flat Tire beer there, or do we need to stop in Missouri to buy it?

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