Competitors at National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Premier Events will have a shot at even bigger paychecks. The NRCHA board of directors has unveiled a richer prize money structure for the year ahead, following a robust 2016 season marked by overall growth, increased participation and financial profitability.
“We are pleased with the overall success of the NRCHA and its shows in 2016, and the board wanted to re-invest back into those who have helped us get here by offering bigger payouts to our owners and exhibitors,” said NRCHA Vice President Paul Bailey, of Sparta, Tennessee.
The largest payout increase affects the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, which will be held Oct. 3-14 in Fort Worth, Texas. Historically, the Futurity Open Champion has earned $100,000, and that amount will grow to $125,000 in 2017.
In addition, each horse that qualifies for the Futurity Open finals will earn at least $10,000. The highest-scoring horse in each go-round of the Futurity Open preliminaries – herd work, rein work, and fence work – will take home $5,000, up from $1,500 in previous years.
Bailey credited a strong and growing group of reined cow horse owners for the richer purses. He said a number of individuals stepped forward with pledges of financial support to grow the Futurity if it relocated to Fort Worth in 2017. Those commitments became a reality when the NRCHA signed a three-year contract to hold the Snaffle Bit Futurity at the Will Rogers Memorial Center beginning next year.
“This is part of the original promise that we made to our exhibitors and owners, that if we made the move with the Futurity, we would have a better payout. We’re able to do that because of our owner incentive money that has been pledged, as well the association having a good financial year in 2016,” Bailey said. “We owe our owners and sponsors a tremendous round of thanks and appreciation for their support, which has made these larger purses possible. Our reined cow horse discipline is unique for many reasons, not the least of which is the level of dedication from people who truly love the sport – and I am very proud of the owners and sponsors for helping us take our Futurity, and our entire association, to the next level.”
The Snaffle Bit Futurity is one of several NRCHA Premier Events that will pay out more than ever in 2017. At the NRCHA Celebration of Champions, the added money in the Peptoboonsmal Derby (formerly the Aaron Ranch Derby) will grow to $45,000. The added money for the World’s Greatest Horseman will also increase from its previous $50,000 to $75,000, thanks to the event’s title sponsor, DT Horses, of Bend, Oregon, which has returned for a second year to present the popular four-event herd/rein/steer-stopping/fence work challenge. At the NRCHA Stallion Stakes, the added money in the Open division will grow from $80,000 to $100,000.
Bailey said there will be more announcements in the near future regarding additional changes to the NRCHA event lineup, including a revision to the Level 1 Limited Open structure and a new competitive stage for horses in the Two-Rein – a phase of the traditional vaquero training process which takes horses from the hackamore to the bridle.
For more information about the NRCHA, visit www.NRCHA.com.