‘Rodney Jenkins: The Red Rider Project’ opens at NSLM

The interactive venture, which celebrates the famous horseman's career, opens June 3 in Middleburg, Virginia

An exhibit as well as a call to action, Rodney Jenkins: The Red Rider Project opens June 3 and will be on view through the end of 2024 at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) in Middleburg, Virginia.

Kicking off the event is a champagne toast to the legendary Virginia horseman at 5 pm on June 4 in the Library. The exhibit dovetails perfectly with the Upperville Colt & Horse Show, which is celebrating 50 years of show jumping and Jenkins winning the first-ever Upperville Grand Prix on June 9, 1974. 

Thousands of images

On view throughout the Library’s Main Reading Room, the exhibit draws heavily on a recently donated photographic archive. It includes a copy of every published photo of Jenkins as a professional hunter/jumper rider.

Jenkins and Idle Dice at Upperville in 1974, with Jimmy Wofford as jump judge
Howard Allen photo courtesy of Upperville Colt & Horse Show

Given that Jenkins often rode more than a dozen horses at each show, the collection includes thousands of images. Many of the photos were reproduced in sporting periodicals that cemented Jenkins’ image as the busiest, most winning rider. 

Remaining on top was no mean feat during Jenkins’ multi-decade career. His lengthy run overlapped with the adoption of rigorous Grand Prix standards in America and the transformation of show jumping as a nationally covered spectator sport.

Jenkins’ omnipresence meant his achievements were witnessed by thousands of people. Surprisingly, however, they have yet to be chronicled in a monumental biography. 

Collecting memories

The call-to-action portion of Rodney Jenkins: The Red Rider Project seeks to preserve the trove of collective memory from those who knew, competed against, worked alongside or admired Jenkins. The NSLM will spearhead this effort by conducting and documenting in-depth interviews with those who knew Jenkins. The exclusive findings will be available to NSLM Members and to those who wish to become part of the project.

After viewing the exhibit, visitors will be invited to share their memories and stories of Jenkins’ impact on them. The memories may be submitted in print or online using a Jotform survey. The recollections will be accumulated and added to the Rodney Jenkins archive at the NSLM. There they will form a vast repository and fitting tribute to a legendary, multi-faceted sporting figure. 

For more information, call (540) 687-6542 or email [email protected].




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