The typical 40-year anniversary gift is a ruby, usually set in a necklace or other type of jewelry. The Augusta Futurity, which will celebrate 40 years in 2019, is doing something a little different.
Its gift to the cutters who travel to Augusta, Georgia, in January will be an expanded working area, which will create 110 feet of working space instead of its original 90 feet.
“We’re doing away with four rows of portable, movable seats that we usually use, and we’re going to widen the arena,” said Lowell Dorn, competition manager for the Augusta Futurity. “The reason is, we’ve always known that our working area is small compared to Fort Worth and some of the other buildings and all, but this coliseum was not built with horse events in mind. It was built back in 1977, and we kind of had to work with what we had.
“We needed more seats back years ago when we would sell out the finals, but we don’t get the finals sell-outs like we had in the past, so we’re going to move those four rows of seats back on both sides of the arena.”
The ground crew will also be rounding out the corners of the arena to eliminate right angles and allow for a smoother transition of cattle from one side of the pen to the other. Dorn said he believes cutters will really like the new space; they just need to come out and experience it for themselves.
“We want to do everything we can to accommodate the cutters to get them to come,” he said. “Our show is going to be 40 years old this year, but back in the day when we first started, there weren’t that many major shows out there and people would travel. Now we feel like we need to do what we can to induce people to want to come to Augusta.
“We’re just trying to do whatever we can to make it nicer for folks [so] that once they come in, they’ll have a better competitive experience. That’s the main reason, to accommodate the cutters.”
In addition to the new working area, the Augusta Futurity has many fun things planned for its anniversary, including special events and activities both inside and outside the James Brown Arena. The show is scheduled to take place Jan. 12-19, 2019.