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Reined cow horse trainer Erin Taormino and roper Jackie Crawford work together on the finer art of reined cow horse. * Photo by Tammy Sronce/Western Horseman

Ropers Set To Rumble in Class at NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Show

Some of the nation’s best ropers are about to try their hand at reined cow horse in the new Cow Horse For Ropers Invitational.

Multiple world champions and National Finals Rodeo qualifiers accepted the invitation to compete in the event on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s (NRCHA) flagship event, the Snaffle Bit Futurity: Jackie Crawford, Cole Davison, Lane Ivy, Dakota Kirchenschlager, Junior Noguiera, Cade Rice, Cade Swor, Wesley Thorp and Kollin VonAhn. 

Ropers will be paired with NRCHA’s top Open trainers including NRCHA Two Million Dollar Rider Corey Cushing, Million Dollar Rider Chris Dawson, three-time World’s Greatest Horseman Champion Russell Dilday, Brad Lund, Million Dollar Rider Kelby Phillips, Million Dollar Rider Boyd Rice, Erin Taormino and Clay Volmer. 

New Experience

Instead of running down a steer that breaks from a chute, World Champion breakaway roper Jackie Crawford will be taking it down the fence, and she isn’t the only one. Crawford, a 20-time Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion, is working with NRCHA professional Erin Taormino. The two previously rode together when Taormino wanted to work on her roping skills. Now, the teacher is the student. 

“Erin said that she couldn’t wait until I was not pregnant and the one put in this position [to learn something new] and be vulnerable,” Crawford said. “I’m nervous, like someone who has never roped a calf or steer out of the box! Number one, I don’t do reining patterns on my horses. Number two, boxing and down the fence has me nervous! It is going to be fun, though!”

First, the riders will complete in a rein work pattern and then call for the cow to box it on the end and take it down the fence before switching to a skill they know best—roping and stopping the cow. 

Cow Horse For Ropers

Ferron Lucero will join NRCHA announcer Darren Moore to call the event. Moore is known to the reined cow horse crowd and understands the intricacies of the sport, while Lucero’s voice has called the action for most of these roping competitors, including voicing the United States Team Roping Championship Finals, the BFI and the George Strait Team Roping, and more. The dynamic duo will be sure to entertain and inform the varied crowd. 

“We’ve partnered with the American Rope Horse Futurity Association to hold their World Championship during the Snaffle Bit Futurity for several years,” said Anna Morrison, NRCHA executive director. “There are many cow horse-bred horses that make a career in the roping arena, and inviting ropers to compete in the cow horse pen seemed like a perfect next step for this event!”

With experience handling and reading cattle, moving into the cow horse arena is a natural fit for many ropers, as well as cutting horse competitors. The event follows the Cow Horse for Cutters Invitational event on Oct. 20, and precedes the Open Bridle finals. The event is open to the public and not ticketed. 

For more information on the Snaffle Bit Futurity, visit NRCHA.com