Big purses and rich payouts are the driving force behind two new slot cuttings being introduced this year. The Showdown in Cowtown Slot Cuttings – one in July and one in December – will pay out $1.9 million in three divisions this year.
Slot races are common in the barrel racing industry, where they have resulted in lucrative payouts. The Lance Graves Invitational Futurity Slot Race, held in February in Louisiana, paid out $115,000 to the winner. The Diamond Jubilee Slot Race, held in March in Texas, paid $110,000 to the winner. It was the latter that caught the attention of cutter Jeremy Barwick, who, along with his wife, Candace, owns Western Bloodstock Ltd. and Shadow Oak Ranch LLC.
“I was down in Bryan, [Texas], for the Diamonds & Dirt, and they had [a slot race] down there. I thought, ‘There has got to be a way to do this for cutting,’” Barwick said. “I just started thinking of different ways that we could do it and came up with this.”
“This” is a slot cutting offering three divisions – Open, Non-Pro and Unlimited Amateur – with large purses. A total of 100 slots will be available in each division, and if all 100 slots sell, the guaranteed purses will be $450,000 in the Open, $300,000 in the Non-Pro and $200,000 in the Unlimited Amateur. The Open Champion will win $100,000.
“I wanted to come up with a way that we could pay more money in our business, especially for the non-pros. It’s going to be a great cutting in the Open, no doubt, but the Non-Pro pays $60,000 to win it. The Unlimited Amateur pays $30,000 to win it. Those people need to win more money. They are the backbone of our association. They’re the ones that breed mares and pay training bills and pay entry fees. They spend a lot of money in our business – and our business is expensive – so I felt like we needed a place where they could actually win some money. We’re not spending a bunch of money on awards; there are no awards. They’re getting checks.”
Once a slot is purchased, it belongs to the owner for life, as long as the annual slot ownership fee is paid. That fee is $5,000 in the Open, $3,500 in the Non-Pro and $2,500 in the Unlimited Amateur. Slots can be transferred via private treaty in any given year.
“This year, we’re going to start selling slots on June 1 and we’re going to sell until June 15 or until it fills up,” Barwick said. “An owner can only own one slot per division per cutting. That does not mean that someone like – I’ll use Center Ranch as an example – that doesn’t mean that Center Ranch can only have one horse in the cutting, because Finis [Welch] could buy a slot, Ronnie [Rice] may buy a slot, Tarin [Rice] may buy a slot, Boyd [Rice] may buy a slot, and they may all choose to show Center Ranch horses. But Finis can only own one slot himself.
“After this year, you’ll have to pay for your July slot on March 1, and your December slot on Sept. 1.”
Barwick’s concept is built around two major cutting events – the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular and the NCHA Futurity. The Slot Cutting will consist of one go-round and a clean-slate finals in each division. A tie-breaking system guarantees no ties will be taken to the finals, and no co-championships will be awarded. NCHA rules apply to all divisions, and while the event is NCHA-approved, no Horse of the Year points will be awarded and prize money does not count toward World standings. Unlimited Amateur earnings will be applied to lifetime earnings, but do not count toward eligibility.
The July Slot Cutting is for 4-, 5- and 6-year-old horses and those horses must be entered in the Open, Non-Pro, Unlimited Amateur or Amateur at the NCHA Summer Spectacular to show in the Slot Cutting. The Slot Cutting go-round will be held July 9-10 at the Silverado on the Brazos, just prior to the start of the NCHA Summer Spectacular. The finals will be held in the Will Rogers Coliseum during the Summer Spectacular.
The December Slot Cutting is for 4-year-old and older horses. The go-rounds will be held in the Watt Arena at the start of the NCHA Futurity; the finals will be held in the Will Rogers Coliseum.
“I felt like we needed to have one for some of those great older horses to come back and win more money also,” Barwick said. “It’ll make for a heck of a finals. People are pretty excited about it already. I think these slots are going to sell really fast.”
To purchase a slot, contact the Western Bloodstock office at 817-594-9210 or call Barwick directly at 254-485-2542. For complete rules, click here.