Dangerous road conditions, in part due to freezing rain, forced officials to cancel the 2021 Bonanza Cutting. • Photo by Molly Montag.

Bonanza Cutting Halts Mid-Show

Icy roads and dangerous travel conditions forced officials to pull the plug on this year’s Bonanza Cutting in mid-event.

The show, which started Wednesday, Feb. 10, will conclude at the end of the day on Thursday, Feb. 11. It had been slated to continue through Feb. 19 at the Taylor Telecom Arena in Abilene, Texas.

Though the weather is unseasonably cold, Bonanza Cutting Show Secretary Terry Shelton said the biggest factor in the decision to cancel the rest of the show was bad road conditions.

Crashes were reported across large portions of North Texas, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported at least 5 people were killed in a crash Thursday morning on Interstate 35W.

Freezing mist or rain in the Abilene area overnight left a slippery film across the roads that made for difficult driving, Shelton said.

Officials worried about people traveling to the arena from surrounding areas, as well as those who planned to fly in to airports and then drive to the facility.

“With this weather for the safety of the cutters and the horses and the people and all, we just decided to call the show off,” Shelton said midday Thursday. “There’s so many people trying to get in, and they’ve had a 100-car pileup today in Fort Worth already.

In addition, weather conditions are expected to deteriorate throughout the week. Unseasonably cold temperatures will continue to fall, and some areas are expected to experience freezing rain, freezing drizzle, sleet and/or snow.

“It’s supposed to be down in the 20s, 18, 12, it just keeps getting colder and colder and they’re calling for 8-10 inches possibly of snow here,” Shelton said. “That would not be good either.”

Classes that were scheduled to be held on Thursday will go to pencil finals if they don’t meet the minimum number of horses to hold a finals. Entry fees will be refunded for classes that won’t be held this year.

Last year, the Bonanza Cutting was among a short list of limited-age cutting events that were not canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. In 2020, the 4-Year-Old Open Championship went to Hit That Flo and Matt Miller.