Dale Wilkinson, whose name is synonymous with the sport of Reining and known to many as the "Father of Modern-Day Reining," passed away Thursday night, March 11, in Georgia. He was recovering from recent hip surgery and was on dialysis in Augusta. He was 84.
Dale was honored in 1986 as the first inductee to the National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame for his many accomplishments such as the winner of the first NRHA Futurity in 1966 aboard Pocorochie Bo. He was also an AQHA and NCHA Hall of Fame inductee and the only rider to win both the NRHA Futurity and NCHA Futurity.
With all his accomplishments, he is probably best known as a mentor to many of today’s top trainers. He took the education of horsemen and -women to a new level when he became the founder and developer of the University of Findlay’s horse program. In 2005, the university recognized Wilkinson by naming an indoor arena in his honor. The arena was one of the original buildings Dale built when he started working there in 1976.