NCHA Approves New Payout Guidelines

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) executive committee approved new payout guidelines for the organization’s Triple Crown events. The new structure will go into effect beginning with this year’s Lucas Oil NCHA Super Stakes, which is scheduled for March 24-April 16 in Fort Worth, Texas.

This change follows a Jan. 15 meeting of the NCHA payout task force. Member concerns regarding the payout at the NCHA’s Triple Crown events were addressed, and a Triple Crown task force was formed to create a proposal to be submitted to the executive committee. Members of the task force included: Matt Miller, Tatum Rice, Heather Stiles, Kathleen Moore, Von Sutten, Casey Green, Lloyd Cox, Tommy Neal, Terry Strange and Lach Perks.

“We started off with eight different objectives,” said Jim Bret Campbell, executive director of the NCHA. “The basic philosophy we were trying to accomplish was simplifying [the payout structure] and making the payout more transparent. We started with a holistic approach to make it [the payout] more consistent so our exhibitors, as often as possible, would be able to calculate it with an actual calculator.”

The objectives of the Triple Crown task force, which were altered slightly from the payout task force’s objectives, were:

  1.  Create simple, clear and consistent rules for NCHA events to increase understanding and transparency to payouts and awards.
  2.  Make the payout system auditable, either internally or by a third party, to ensure accountability to the membership.
  3. Eliminate guaranteed payouts to manage financial risk more effectively.
  4. Eliminate bottom loads to aid both consistency and ease of understanding of the payouts.
  5.  Retain philosophy to pay competitors as strong and as deep as practical, especially in the Non-Pro and Amateur classes. (5a) Target two-times entry fee as the minimum payout for semifinals for the Open and Non-Pro wherever practical. Target one-times the entry fee elsewhere. (5b) Use semifinals payout amounts and top loads to encourage entries and advancement through the ranks whenever practical.
  6. Use of top loads to encourage and reward both entry and excellence, especially in the Open divisions.
  7. Keep NCHA events as the best value cutting in the industry, based on entry fee versus payout potential.
  8. Eliminate wildcard rounds to save on horses’ wear-and-tear and event timing and costs.
  9. Until the organization can replace this profit with alternative sources, retain current levels of profit from our shows equivalent to approximately $2 million.

“The task force was very sensitive to the fact that we want to continue to be at the very top of the Western performance horse world and pay at the top levels as much as we possibly can through these purses, while also being sustainable,” Campbell said. “The task force was very cognizant of making sure that we were fair and balanced in all of the recommendations.”

In an email sent to NCHA members on Thursday, Jan. 28, Campbell explained the details of the guidelines that were passed by the executive committee. In light of these changes, he also noted that the grace period for the first Lucas Oil Super Stakes payment has been extended to Monday, Feb. 1.

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