Augusta Futurity amateur cutting
The Augusta Futurity will offer several special events and some big incentives for amateur riders, including a new event called the East Coast Swing. • Photo by Molly Montag.

Augusta Futurity Offers $10,000 Incentive for Amateurs, Non-Pros

The 2020 Augusta Futurity will offer $10,000 in bonus money to encourage amateurs cutters to also enter in a Non-Pro class. Called the East Coast Swing, the incentive will dole out the money to amateurs and non-pros in the 5/6-Year-Old classes at the leveled show.

The incentive is one of several special events at this year’s Augusta Futurity, which runs Jan. 18-25, 2020, in Augusta, Georgia.

Individual & Team Competition

The money is split into two separate incentives: $5,000 is available to the three amateurs who advance the highest in any 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro class; and another $5,000 is available to the three two-person teams of non-pro and amateur riders who earn the highest composite in the first go-round of 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro classes. 

The teams, which pair one non-pro rider with one amateur who is cross-entered in a Non-Pro class, will be assigned randomly. There are no additional fees to be a part of the East Coast Swing. It is funded by sponsorship from Synbiont Global and the stallion Dealnwithacoolcat, a son of High Brow Cat owned by Frank and Ora Diehl, of Ruskin, Florida.

Diehl, who also is vice president of the NCHA, said the goal of the East Coast Swing is to encourage amateurs to enter up into the Non-Pro while also fostering camaraderie between amateurs and their non-pro counterparts. The concept was well received when it made its debut earlier this year at the Metallic Cat West Texas Futurity, where it was called the West Texas Two Step, she said.

“When you go to West Texas or you go to Augusta, it’s like a family reunion anyway,” said Diehl, who collaborated with fellow cutter Denise Seiz to spearhead the East Coast Swing. “Everyone gets to see people they haven’t seen for a very long time, and that’s the part of it that we as an industry need to, in my opinion, stroke a little bit more than we have in the past.”

Levels = More Choices

The 2020 Augusta Futurity will be leveled in the format vetted by the NCHA Competition Committee, and it does not matter which 5/6-Year-old Non-Pro level an Amateur enters.

The format Augusta will use is the one vetted by the NCHA Competition Committee: there are three earnings-restricted levels within each division — a top level for those with the most earnings, an Intermediate level for those with fewer earnings and a Limited level for those with the fewest lifetime earnings.

“There’s no additional cost for [amateur riders] to become eligible,” Seiz explained. “All they’ve got to do is be an amateur that’s entered in an Amateur [5/6-Year-Old] class at the Augusta Futurity, and has also entered a [5/6-Year-Old] Non-Pro class.”

The 41

Amateurs in Augusta also have another shot at big cash in The 41. The any age cutting – a reprisal of last year’s The 40, which was held in honor of the show’s 40thanniversary – in 2020 will add a $4,100-added Amateur division. The 41’s Non-Pro and Open divisions will cut for a total of $41,000-added, or $20,500-added in each class. Sponsors include Miles and Becky Elliot and the Atlantic Coast Cutting Horse Association.

Augusta Futurity Show Manager Sherry Fulmer said officials added an amateur class to The 41 at the urging of amateur cutters. The show is always looking for ways to improve each competitor’s’ experience and add excitement to the mix, she said.

“We just feel like it gives a little fun thing to do,” she said. “Gives them one more chance to cut.”

She said special events like The 41 and the East Coast Swing are part of the tradition of the Augusta Futurity. Other additional programs and events planned for this year include a Pat Parelli clinic, the Wrangler Family Fun Fest and the ACCHA Subscribed Stallion Stakes Auction. The show kicks off on Jan. 18 with a championship bull riding competition.

“Everybody’s got an Augusta story,” Fulmer said. “And, you always hear people say, ‘Oh, we had the best time when we used to go over there.’ And, I just think, come on back to Augusta. We’ve got a lot of ways to make money, and a lot of ways to visit with old friends.” 

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