Weekend cutters will soon see a new Unlimited Amateur class as well as several changes over the next two years to the traditional $50,000 Amateur class, the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) announced.
According to an email sent to members on Christmas Eve, the changes were made by the NCHA Executive Committee after evaluating feedback from amateur members and were done in the interest of prioritizing a level playing field and the spirit of competition.
According to a video in the email sent to NCHA members, the Unlimited Amateur will start being offered as an approved class at NCHA Weekend events for the 2022 point year. It is open to all Amateur card holders except for members of the NCHA Riders Hall of Fame.
It will be tracked for all NCHA weekend programs in 2022-23, including the NCHA World Finals, Senior World Tour and the National Circuit Program. It will not be offered at the NCHA Eastern or Western Nationals in 2022 due to qualifying requirements, but will be offered at the NCHA World Finals, Circuit Finals and will be recognized with awards from the Senior World Tour.
Changes to the $50,000 Amateur will be rolled out in two phases, the first of which will be implemented in 2022.
In 2022, there will be two earnings eligibility requirements: one for riders younger than age 60, and the other for those age 60 and older. All participants must hold an NCHA Amateur card.
The lifetime earnings cap in 2022 for riders younger than 60 is $100,000, with $50,000 eligibility in Weekend competition. The cap for riders 60 and older is $200,000 in lifetime earnings, with $100,000 in Weekend eligibility, in 2022.
Members of the NCHA Riders Hall of Fame may not roll back into the $50,000 Amateur. The exemption for riders age 70 and older also is no longer in place.
The earnings requirements change again in 2023, when they are replaced with a straight lifetime earnings cap of $50,000 for all ages.
The $50,000 Amateur with changes will continue to be tracked for all NCHA Weekend programs, the NCHA Circuit Finals program and the Senior World Tour.