The Washington Ladies Riding Club Association is an organization of coed mounted drill teams based in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The WLRCA holds a minimum of four meetings per year, January, March, June and September, with the annual Convention in October.
In 1980 the Washington Ladies Riding Club Association was born and included four women's drill teams in the state of Washington. Since that time the Association has grown and now in- cludes eighteen clubs and drill teams from Washington and Oregon.
Along the way the Association has developed a drill team handbook which has become a reference tool for other drill teams and associations. We are proud to have been used as a model and have enjoyed sharing our experience with others in the drill world.
In the beginning the four founding teams wanted to get together once a year to enjoy a friendly competition. They would select one person from each team to act as a judge and perform their Free Style, or Performance drill, along with a Parade Drill. The overall high point winner was proclaimed State Champion. Performance and game classes were included, which were judged by professional horse show and games judges.
Over the years several other types of activities were included and the competition developed into a two-day event as more teams participated. The Compulsory Drill was added in 1983 and combined with the Free Style Drill points to proclaim the Drill Champion. From 1984 through 1998 an Inspection was required with points going toward the Overall-High Point Champion. The last inclusion of the Performance and Games classes was during the 1994 competition. The Inspection requirement was stopped after the 1998 season.
From 1992 a Short Program Drill has been included in the yearly competition, and 1994 was the last year the Free Style Drill and Compulsory Drill were combined to acknowledge a Drill Champion. The popular Team of Four Drills, or Quads, were added in 1999, however points awarded do not go toward Overall High Point. Now each event winner is awarded a Championship Flag to carry for the year with the Overall-High Point winner being declared our State Association Champion. We now enjoy a three-day competition and employ three professional drill judges, with the following classes: Parade, Compulsory, Free Style, Short Program, Teams of Four, and Impromptu Drills.
As our teams became so very competitive it became necessary to find and employ judges who were knowledgeable about drill. Beginning in 1990, because we were unable to find people who knew what was expected, we decided to train our own judges and offered Drill Judge Clinics. These clinics were offered every two years and on an average we certified, or carded, forty or more judges. These clinics have also become a model for other associations, and many of our judges and clinicians have assisted them in preparing and presenting their own clinics.
The high level of competition in our area has driven the style of drill to change over the years from slower follow-the-leader drills to higher speed quick-transition, complicated maneuver drills. Most of the member teams perform in exhibitions and rodeos, as well as competitions. The association members look forward to many more years of assisting the nation to promote our sport. The "Thrill of Drill" is alive and well in Washington State!