The 6666 Ranch is one of 11 ranches invited to participate in the $25,000 Cowboy Invitational at this year's The Run For A Million. * Photo courtesy of Chas S. Middleton And Son LLC

Historic Ranches Will Compete for $25,000

Cowboys from eleven of the country’s historic ranches will compete for big money at this year’s The Run For A Million.

Officials with the show, planned for Aug. 17-20 in Las Vegas, announced the first-ever Cowboy Invitational will have a purse of $25,000. It will be contested using the NRCHA Cowboy Class format, and riders will complete a traditional reining and cow work run, and then will come back for a second turn in the arena for steer stopping.

Eleven ranches have been invited to each send a cowboy to compete in the Cowboy Invitational. Some of the ranches chosen are American Quarter Horse Association Best Remuda Award winners and many are also involved in National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) competition.

“Last year was a great test to see how the cow horse would complement The Run For A Million event, and I think it proved to be a real fan favorite,” NRCHA Executive Director Anna Morrison said in a statement. “To add on the Cowboy Invitational, which highlights how connected cow horse is to training traditions that are so important for ranch work and ranch life, is incredibly meaningful.”

The inaugural Cowboy Invitational is sponsored by XIT Ranch, these competitors will have a chance at $25,000 in prize money.

“When I was looking at [the cowboy invitational] this year, I noticed there wasn’t any money allocated for the cowboys, so I called up Taylor [Sheridan, producer] and said, ‘We’d love to give the cowboys something to compete for,’” said XIT Ranch owner Drew Knowles. “For us, with the preservation of the American cowboy and the traditions and horsemanship, it’s really a natural extension of what we believe in and what we’re all about.”

Founded in 1885 in the Texas Panhandle, the XIT Ranch at its peak spanned over three million acres and was once considered the largest cattle ranch in the world. Knowles, who is the third-great-grandson of one of its original owners, operates the current XIT Ranch out of La Veta, Colorado. The ranch is involved in the NRCHA as owners, breeders and sponsors.

“For The Run For A Million to have reining and cow horse, and now the Cowboy Invitational, it just speaks volumes to the resurgence in the Western way of life and the global interest of Western sports,” Knowles added. “I think that in this day and age, there’s a rekindling of the romantic idea of the Western way of life. To add in the heritage ranches, which are the epitome of the Western way of life, is just the perfect way for The Run For A Million to further develop as an event.”

The 11 invited ranches are:

  • 6666 Ranch (Guthrie, TX)
  • Bogle Ltd. (Dexter, NM)
  • King Ranch (Kingsville, TX)
  • Pitchfork Land & Cattle Company (Guthrie, TX)
  • R.A. Brown Ranch (Throckmorton, TX)
  • San Lucas Ranch (Santa Ynez, CA)
  • Singleton Ranches (Lamy, NM)
  • Stuart Ranch (Caddo, OK)
  • Tongue River Ranch (Dumont, TX)
  • Waggoner Ranch (Vernon, TX)
  • Wagonhound Land & Livestock (Douglas, WY)

Prior to The Run For A Million, the Cowboy Invitational ranches will be invited to participate in a cowboy clinic at the 6666 Ranch in June to help their cowboys get ready for the big stage in Las Vegas. 

For details on The Run For A Million, visit its website at trfam.com. To learn more about the reined cow horse sport, visit the NRCHA’s website. For more information about XIT Ranch, visit their website.