Cactus Reining Classic, Sun Circuit Announce New 2017 Dates

cactus-reining-classicThe Cactus Reining Classic will be held March 15-19, 2017. • Photo by Kelsey PecsekTwo major horse shows held at WestWorld of Scottsdale have announced date changes for 2017. The Arizona Quarter Horse Association’s (AZQHA) Sun Circuit show has moved to early March, followed by the Cactus Reining Classic later that month.

On March 31, the AZQHA announced that the Sun Circuit show will be held March 4-12, 2017, marking a departure from its traditional January dates. In 2016, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA)-approved show ran from Jan. 9 to Jan. 17.

On the heels of the Sun Circuit announcement, Brumley Management Group, which produces the Cactus Reining Classic, announced its 2017 dates of March 15-19. This year, the show, which kicks off the new show season for many reining competitors, was held March 2-6.

A press release issued by the AZQHA cited scheduling difficulties at WestWorld due to the Barrett-Jackson premier auto auction that overlapped with the Sun Circuit’s traditional January dates. In recent years, more than 90 equestrian events have taken place annually at WestWorld.

“After many difficult discussions in regards to the ongoing conflict at the facility, the Sun Circuit oversight committee recommended the date change to the AZQHA board, which concurred,” the AZQHA states in the release. “The AQHA was then approached in regard to working through the many conflicts and notices needed for such a move. The board worked diligently to work through pending conflicts and negative effects to the industry. Regretfully, such a change may impact many. The board felt that due to the magnitude of the facility difficulties, that this was a change that had to happen. Plans are for the show to continue each year on the March dates.”

The AZQHA noted several positive changes that the new dates will bring, including the potential for better weather and the availability of additional WestWorld facilities, such as arenas and parking, without competition from events. A rodeo may also join the show’s varied schedule.

According to the AZQHA, plans are underway for the association to host the 63rd annual Parada Del Sol Rodeo as a part of the Sun Circuit evening schedule. The Parada Del Sol has a long history of producing an event in Scottsdale that draws many of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s top competitors.

Brumley is also excited about the positive changes the new schedule promises.

“After many years of trying to move our dates further back in March, we have actually achieved it with the help of the AZQHA,” Brumley said. “The first week of March is known to have unpredictable weather. In the past we have had rain, hail, snow or 90 degrees; its hard to ever know what is going to happen. I know it sounds silly, but Arizonians will attest to this that one week makes a big difference this time of year. I also feel it is a benefit for reining exhibitors who are looking to show for points at the Sun Circuit, then stay over to show for big money at the Cactus Reining Classic.”

The Cactus Reining Classic held its first event at WestWorld in 2005 and has grown to become one of the National Reining Horse Association’s top 20 annual events. Last year, it the No. 10 on the Equi-Stat Annual Reining Statisics Shows chart. In addition to lucrative aged events, the Cactus Reining Classic offers several social events, great food and prizes that make it a staple on the calendar of many reiners.

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