man riding a horse
Nick Dowers competing at Road To The Horse 2019. • Photo by Katie Frank.

Snaffle Bit Futurity Champ Wins Road To The Horse

Nevada horseman Nick Dowers has done it again.

Dowers recently went head-to-head with elite show jumper Vicki Wilson in a display of horsemanship and sportsmanship at the Road To The Horse 2019.

The 2013 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Open Champion narrowly defeated Wilson to claim the title and the $100,000 winner’s purse at the colt-starting competition held March 22-24 at Kentucky Horse Park.

Dowers, of Dyer, won the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity title with Time For A Diamond (One Time Pepto x Diamonds With Style x Playin Stylish). He also was the 2016 NRCHA Derby Open Reserve Champion with Smooth Bellingrath, a stallion by Smooth As A Cat who he also piloted to an NRCHA Open Two-Rein National Championship. In all, Dowers has an Equi-Stat record of more than $684,000.

In addition to the overall title at Road To The Horse, Dowers was awarded the Jack Brainard Horsemanship Award for his outstanding ability to observe, analyze, and apply horsemanship methods that are best suited to each individual colt’s personality.

Dowers and Wilson proved why they are both past Road To The Horse, said Western Horseman Publisher Ernie King.  Morris Communications Company LLC, which owns both Western Horseman and Quarter Horse News, bought Road To The Horse last year from event founder Tootie Bland.

“Both the competitors and the Wild Cards demonstrated exceptional levels of horsemanship, and this was reflected in the closeness of the scores throughout the entire event. It was an unbelievable privilege to watch these master colt starters form partnerships with their Four Sixes Ranch colts,” King said in a statement.

Road to the Horse 2019 also hosted the Wild Card competition in which Wild Card competitors selected and started a Four Sixes Ranch 3-year old gelding, along with the main competitors, in the traditional Road to the Horse format. Road to the Horse 2019 Wild Card competitor Wade Black reserved his spot as a main competitor at Road to the Horse 2020 by claiming the Road to the Horse 2019 Wild Card Championship, against fellow Wild Cards Ben Baldus and Booger Brown.

During Road to the Horse 2019, Craig Cameron announced that his son, Cole Cameron, had been chosen to participate in the Road to the Horse 2020 Wild Card competition. Cole will be joined by another Wild Card who will be selected from the list of Mustang Heritage Foundation trainers who are competing in a 2019 or 2020 Extreme Mustang Makeover competition. The third Road to the Horse 2020 Wild Card competitor has yet to be announced. 

Morris Communications Company Chairman William S. “Billy” Morris, III, said in a statement that Bland, the event founder, showed dedication and boundless creativity that will be greatly missed. The media company is eager to build on and expand the reach of the event while staying true to the fundamental horsemanship principles of the event.

“I want to thank the founder of Road to the Horse, Tootie Bland, for her tremendous work and creativity with this incredible event.  She and her husband made it happen,” Morris said. “The Morris Family will carry on this tradition with the same passion and commitment to entertain and educate the fundamentals of horsemanship principles.”

Road to the Horse 2020 will take place at the Kentucky Horse Park on March 19–22, 2020. For more details or to buy tickets, visit or follow the group on Facebook.

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