With little fanfare, the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) has discontinued its longstanding NCHA Weekend event. The cancellation of the program was mentioned during the open show committee meeting on Friday, June 24 at the NCHA Convention.
NCHA Weekend has long been a staple on many weekend cutters’ calendars, as the event featured 25 shows across the United States and Canada, traditionally on the first weekend in June. In 2012, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) began sponsoring what became known as AQHA-NCHA Weekend by providing added money as well as prizes. The shows offered dual approval, allowing weekend cutters to earn purse money and AQHA World Championship shows-qualifying points. The final AQHA-NCHA Weekend was held June 3-5, 2016.
“AQHA and NCHA leadership met to discuss the current format of the NCHA Weekend and made the decision to hold off on continuing the events until we could improve what’s being offered,” said AQHA Chief Show Officer Pete Kyle. “We are working together to create an event that is beneficial for both associations and for our members.”
According to NCHA Executive Director Jim Bret Campbell, AQHA-NCHA Weekend attendance had been declining over the past few years. Campbell told Quarter Horse News that plans are underway for new national and regional qualifying competitions for weekend cutters.
“Rather than losing something, I think the better way to look at it is that we are transitioning to something that will better fit the members,” Campbell said. “The goal is to put things in place that will best serve our members all across the country.”
Following the first successful AQHA-NCHA Weekend in 2012, an NCHA press release reported nearly 6,200 entries in 25 shows across the United States and Canada. That figure represented an increase of about 11 percent from 2010. (The event was cancelled in 2011 due to the EHV-1 outbreak.) Prior to the 2016 AQHA-NCHA Weekend, an NCHA press release estimated entry numbers at 5,000, a drop of nearly 20 percent in just five years.
“We want to make sure we are offering the right events for our members and competitors so they have the right opportunities,” Campbell said. “That is what prompted the change, in addition to being able to provide a better value to our members and give them better opportunities with adding another level where they can get a championship experience.”
A weekend regional finals proposal submitted by NCHA member Harland Radomske was extremely well received during several committee meetings at the NCHA Convention. Next year, the NCHA Convention will move to fill the dates vacated by NCHA Weekend, June 2-4, 2017. That move will help accommodate a show schedule that now includes a second NCHA Western National Championships show in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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