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Held amid the picturesque Cascade Mountains of Central Oregon, the first-ever Cascades Futurity has exceeded organizers' expectations and given them hope for the event's future. • Photo by Molly Montag.

First-ever Cascades Futurity Cutting Draws a Crowd to Redmond, Oregon

When Julie Clarke thought about how many horsemen she might attract to the inaugural Cascades Futurity cutting in Oregon, she set her goal at filling 300 stalls. She got a lot more than that.

Instead, Clarke sold out all 402 stalls at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds & Expo Center and ended up buying another 60 portable stalls to house the entries for the show, which began Aug. 9 and runs through Aug. 19, in Redmond, Oregon.

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Tom Shelly rode Cowgirl In Love to a winning 223 in the Derby Intermediate Open on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, at the Cascades Futurity in Redmond, Oregon. • Photo by Molly Montag.

For Clarke, the show was about celebrating the heritage and history of cutting in the Pacific Northwest. Many cutters recall the fun that was had at the popular cutting in Fort Klamath, Oregon, an event which has since dissolved, and were ready for the return of a premier limited-age event to the state, she said.

“I think if you ask anybody here, it’s kind of about us just saying the West is important,” Clarke said. 

Organizers say the inaugural $99,500-added futurity and accompanying weekend event drew contenders from Washington, Montana, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona as well as Canada. 

The first limited-age champions were crowned Sunday, Aug. 12, with the Intermediate Open in the Derby and 5/6-Year-Old classes. 

Tom Shelly, of Los Olivos, California, took the Derby Intermediate Open with Cowgirl in Love. He and the daughter of Metallic Cat out of Reycy Cowgirl (by Dual Rey) marked a 223 to win a $3,000 check for Bruce Herber of Palos Verdes Estates, California. The mare was bred by Kathleen Moore, of Madill, Oklahoma. 

In the 5/6-Year-Old class, Oregon trainer Russell Elrod and Mr Opus Time marked a winning 222. The 2012 gelding (One Time Pepto x Opus Cat x High Brow Cat) earned $2,800 for owner Bill Grady, of Kirkland, Washington. The horse was bred by Harlan Radomske, of Weatherford, Texas.

The Futurity Intermediate Open finals and the Open finals in the Futurity, Derby and 5/6-Year-Old classes are slated for Monday, Aug. 13. The show starts at noon that day.

Additional finals are scheduled for later this week, followed by a weekend show. One of the highlights of the Cascades Futurity’s weekend show is the $15,000-added Year of the Amateur Shootout, which was patterned off a similar $15,000-added class held in February conjunction with the Mercuria/National Cutting Horse Association World Series of Cutting at Mane Event V at the South Point in Las Vegas.

“It’s time to get back to the grassroots,” Clarke said. “It’s time to give back to the owner, the amateur; make them feel like they’re special.”

Although only midway through this year’s show, Clarke expects the event to grow next year and is hopeful for the future. However, she hopes to channel that growth in a way that it can still be an event where people have time to explore the community and enjoy the destination.

“It’s gonna get bigger, I know that, but I still want people to be able to not have long days and to be able to go enjoy the community,” she said, of the Central Oregon setting. “It’s beautiful. Fly-fishing, rafting, cycling, rock climbing, hiking…What do you want to go do? We’ve got it.”

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