In the past few months, the cutting industry has focused a lot on bringing new participants and spectators into the industry. Skip Jones, president of the West Texas Cutting Horse Association and manager of the West Texas Futurity in Amarillo, felt that the addition of the Mercuria/National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World Series of Cutting to his event’s line-up of classes was the perfect opportunity to draw a different crowd.
The energy and excitement of the Mercuria is capable of catching anyone’s attention, so Jones reached out to the public through some unique avenues. Before the Mercuria finals on Aug. 19, Jones and Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider Randy Chartier took to the radio to get the word out.
“After we attained the Mercuria, we developed all these promotions,” Jones explained. “We worked with the local visitor council and Debbie Roberts, who helps us with our promotions and helps the NCHA promote the Mercuria. There were four [radio] stations. Randy Chartier did the morning show on KGNC, I did two afternoon programs live on KPUR and KARR, and then on an AM station.”
The West Texas Futurity team even targeted patrons that were out and about shopping in the Amarillo area.
“Besides the advertising, we went to four of our local sponsors that are retail outlets,” Jones said. “We printed tickets. While it [the Mercuria] is not a charged event – it’s free admission – we printed tickets for the event. We did that to try to drive some traffic to our sponsors, but also so we’d have an idea on attendance. We think somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 were distributed.”
The promotion and effort paid off for the sport of cutting in a big way. The stands were packed during the Mercuria finals. With a record number of exhibitors at the event, spectators were not disappointed. Glitter Done turned in a final-round 226 to win the Open with Adan Banuelos, and Julie Jarma topped the Non-Pro after marking a 227 aboard SS Blacks Lil Kitty. After a show like that, cutting’s newest fans are sure to be back next year.