Shane Steffen celebrates after nailing his fence run with Gunna Be A Smartie in the 2021 NRCHA World's Greatest Horseman show. • Photo by Primo Morales

World’s Greatest Horseman Winner’s Check to Double in 2021

Entrants in the 2022 World’s Greatest Horseman will run for a record payout at prestigious show held during the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Celebration of Champions.

During the World’s Greatest Horseman finals, a commitment to match the current winner’s prize pot of $50,000 was made by Jeremy Barwick of Western Bloodstock. In 2022, the winning horse and rider team will receive $100,000.

Officials with the NRCHA called it an unprecedented purse that is sure to draw numbers that exceed even the 2021 record entries of 58 in the World’s Greatest Horseman, which was sponsored by DT Horses and the stallion Hashtags.

“I’ve watched that event for a long time and I feel like the horses, at that stage of their career, are worthy of a big check,” Barwick said in a statement issued Wednesday, Feb. 24 by the NRCHA. “With that caliber of trainers competing and what those horses can do in an arena, it is an impressive event.”

This year’s winning team, Shane Steffen and Gunna Be A Smartie, took home a first-place paycheck of $50,000. That was an increase from the $42,000 winner’s check received by the 2020 winner, which was courtesy of boosted payouts at this year’s Celebration of Champions.

The World’s Greatest Horseman competition involves four events: herd work, reined work, steer stopping and cow work. Over the years, it has been won by some of the most versatile cow horses and riders in the history of the sport.