September 27, 2017 (Columbus, Ohio) - The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the dates and locations for the 2017-2018 Season Western Semi-Finals. One Semi-Final will be held at the Roane State Expo Center in Harriman, Tennessee on May 26-27, 2018. The other Semi-Final will be held at the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio on June 2-3, 2018.
The Semi-Finals were established because, in May 2017, the IEA Board approved the reorganization of the Western discipline, creating a Western-Only Zone structure to include eleven regions that will have more than 160 teams and nearly 2,000 riders across the United States.
During the regular season, there will be no change to the process for qualifying for Regional Finals and all active regions will hold a Regionals competition. ( A rider must accumulate 15 points during regular season competition to qualify for Regionals and a team must accumulate 20 points to qualify for Regionals. ) The change happens in that there will not be separate Western Zone Finals in each of the active Zones, as in previous years. Instead, there will be two Semi-Finals held to determine which riders will move on to the National Finals competition.
- Western riders in Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee); Region 5 South (Kentucky, Southern Indiana, Southern Ohio); and Region 7 (Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri) will be competing in Semi-Finals "A" at the Roane State Expo Center in Harriman, Tennessee on May 26-27, 2018.
- Western riders in Region 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont); Region 2 (New York); Region 5 North (Illinois, Michigan, Northern Indiana, Northern Ohio); and Region 11 (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia) will be competing in Semi-Finals "B" at the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio on June 2-3, 2018.
- For this season only (2017-2018), Western riders in Region 8 (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah) will not compete at the Semi-Finals event, but will qualify one rider in each division and one Upper School and Middle School team from their Regionals competition to move directly to National Finals.
The top three (3) qualifiers from each Regional Finals will advance to their designated Semi-Finals (see chart below). The top five (5) qualifiers from Semi-Finals A in Tennessee will advance to National Finals. The top six (6) qualifiers from Semi-Finals B in Ohio will advance to National Finals.
The IEA Western National Finals will be held in late June in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in conjunction with the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby with exact dates and schedule to be announced.
"This new format has been more than a year in the making with excellent input from Western professionals across the country," says IEA Executive Director, Roxane Durant. "There are many factors to consider and change can sometimes be challenging, however we feel that we are moving in the right direction with our Western program. We are delighted to be giving more opportunities for students to experience horse shows of this size and caliber. We anticipate both of the Semi-Finals to look and feel much like a smaller version of National Finals."
In deference to concerns this year about Semi-Finals scheduling conflicts with end-of-year school activities, the board included plans to help celebrate the season, especially for our upper school senior riders, by hosting a graduation event during our semi-finals competitions.