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Three Riders Chase $1 Million in Super Stakes Earnings

mattgaines ehMatt Gainespaulhansma swPaul HansmaThere’s a good chance two and possibly three Open riders will top $1 million in career money earned solely at National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes limited-age events during the March 28-April 20 show in Fort Worth, Texas.

Matt Gaines, Paul Hansma and Phil Rapp, all based in Weatherford, Texas, are all within range of topping $1 million in combined Super Stakes rider earnings heading into Thursday’s start of the 2013 NCHA Super Stakes Classic Open. This year’s show, presented by XTO Energy, offers purse payouts totaling more than $3.25 million in Open, Non-Pro, Limited Non-Pro, Amateur and Unlimited Amateur divisions.

This year’s Super Stakes Open division for 4-year-old horses offers more than $920,000. Last year’s Super Stakes Open Champions, 2008 mare KR Isadora Dual (Smooth As A Cat x Araceli Dual x Dual Pep) and Clay Johnson, Perrin, Texas, earned $115,613 with a last-draw 226 score.

The NCHA Super Stakes started in spring of 1981. It has paid out a combined $58,320,813 through its first 32 annual shows, according to Equi-Stat records.

Gaines ranks as the Super Stakes’ all-time top-earning rider, by a slight margin, out-earning Hansma $981,688 to $981,068 heading into this year’s event, according to Equi-Stat. Rapp ranks third among the show’s all-time earners with $895,688 earned at its prior events. The only other rider to attain more than $800,000 thus far at Super Stakes shows is the late Bill Freeman, Rosston, Texas, with $810,379 earned during his legendary career.

Super Stakes competition starts Thursday at 8 a.m. in Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Coliseum with the first day of Classic Open competition. It continues through Saturday, April 20, with Super Stakes 4-Year-Old Non-Pro and Open finals that day.

In addition to daily cutting horse competition, the NCHA Super Stakes also features the Best of the West Shopping Spectacular, open Saturday, March 30, starting at 9 a.m. each remaining day of the show. It includes unique gifts and clothing and high quality tack and equipment.

There is no admission fee to attend the Best of the West Shopping Spectacular. All Super Stakes cutting events are also free to the public, aside from the April 20 Open finals. More information on the Super Stakes is available at