The Reata Whippet Racing Group just completed its 29th Season (in conjunction with the USRCC in earlier years) of offering whippet sprint and oval racing under the auspices of NAWRA and NOTRA until 2008 and under IWRO until 2017; Other Breed sighthound racing under NOTRA and LGRA and all breed Singles racing under NASR from 2008. For the 2018 season we are going to take a break from the racing schedule as well as practice conditioning sessions. The time has come to refocus our efforts on restoring the infrastructure of our property and equipment and to ponder the future of our direction. Whippet racing, the original purpose of our creation of Reata Whippet Park, has declined dramatically. The North American Whippet Racing Assn has ceased operations this year and has merged with the East of the Mississippi racing association, the Whippet Racing Association(WRA), which itself has faced declining entries. Since 2012, only 15% of our 40 race meets had whippet entries and 2/3rds of those meets were only our Vinnie and Cali (who are now retired). We are also under the impression that the NASR singles racing organization sponsored by the Southern Idaho Sighthound Fanciers Assn has gone defunct as well due to the State regulatory environment there that has banned dog racing in all forms. Given this negative trend and the expense associated with preparing a superb field for competition, our decision seems to be appropriate. We are grateful to all the folks and their hounds who gave us a tremendous memory of the events that transpired at Reata Whippet Park over the past three decades. We will continue to administer the Independent Whippet Racing Organization which is still vibrant in many parts of the USA.
HISTORY OF THE RWRG
Jack and Mary Lewis moved to Utah in 1986 with our two children, Gini and Jim, and our three whippets Krystal, Beth and young pup, Cody. We had been introduced to the wonderful world of sighthound field events such as racing, lure and open field coursing by the Northern California Whippet Club. We wondered if our new home & property could be set up to handle some training for our own whippets. After much clearing of brush, trees, etc, we were first able to set up a sprint track for training and built some temporary starting boxes. Due to Mary and Jack's love of the movie, Giant, we sooned named our field "Reata". We soon met folks with similar interests who joined us in these training activities. In 1987 the Utah Sighthound Racing and Coursing Club (USRCC) was founded here. In 1989 we held our first North American Whippet Racing Association (NAWRA) race meet. By this time we were also able to clear more of the property to enable a 220 meter oval course that was approved by the National Oval Track Racing Association. Our first oval meet was held in May 1990. Thanks to David Woolf of Kentfield Whippets, he felt we could set up a more efficient and challenging oval course by modifying and lengthening it to 300 yards. David submitted the proposal to NOTRA Director, Dave Rosenstock and he approved it for our second meet weekend of 1990. Thanks to the influence of meeting up with Dr. Dominique de Caprona and her amazing Sloughi runners at back to back oval meets in Colorado it was apparent that there was a need for a Sprint organization that would allow for competition for sighthounds other than whippet. In 1995 the Large Gazehound Racing Association (LGRA) was created with the first LGRA event being held at Reata. In 1993 the USRCC hosted the NAWRA Nationals and the Western Whippet Derby (NOTRA). In 1994 the Reata Whippet Racing Group (RWRG) was formed to focus solely on racing. In 1998 the RWRG hosted the NAWRA and NOTRA National event. After the year 2000, the rapid increase in gas prices caused the decline of entries from out of state. This particularly hurt our ability to sustain whippet racing under the auspices of NAWRA & NOTRA as they require a minimum entry of 15 to earn RCh or ORC points as opposed to the minimum of 2 for other breed events under NOTRA & LGRA.
To continue the ability for local whippets to enjoy the challenge of competition in racing events, the Independent Whippet Racing Organization (IWRO) was created here in 2002 and the first IWRO meets were held in 2005. IWRO provides a sanction for whippet entries of 2 to 14 hounds to enjoy sprint and oval competition in an organized manner.