39 years at the Futurity

by Jatona Sucamele

James and Dee Bridges.

James and Dee Bridges.

James and Dee Bridges almost didn’t make their month-long visit to Fort Worth during the 2014 NCHA Futurity.

The Bridges reside in Kentwood, La., but every year they come to Cowtown for a good, long getaway. They were dating when they came for the first time in 1975. When they returned the following year they were married on December 7, at the Tarrant County Courthouse. Every year since then has been a trip to enjoy the cutting horses they both love, and celebrate their anniversary.

This year, there was some doubt that they would make their anniversary trip due to the fact that Dee has had a battle with breast cancer during the last several months.

Thankfully, there is a happy ending to this story for the Bridges. “The Lord’s blessed us to be here,” James said. “The doctor gave her word that she could go, just this past Saturday. We are so thankful for the doctors that she had, and the treatment she had, and everything working out the way that it did. Dee had surgery, but she doesn’t have to do any follow up with chemo or radiation.”

The couple have four children, but James and their daughter, Darlene Trahan, are the two family members who actively show cutting horses. Trahan was NCHA Youth Reserve World Champion in 1981 and James, who has NCHA lifetime earnings of $62,187, has had a few Futurity horses himself over the years. He said that their other children rode at home some, but Darlene took to cutting like a duck to water.

After this year’s events, James is even more appreciative of his wife’s presence and support. “We are both 68 years old and we both love coming to Fort Worth every year, together. And, although my wife never showed, she’s the best supporter you could find. Anyone who would sit and cheer you on for 38 years is pretty special.”

The couple make the most of their stay each year with never an idle moment. “We come and enjoy,” James said. “We spend four or five weeks out here watching the Futurity, shopping and see folks we only get to see once a year.”

“I’m very blessed to be here and I know that,” Dee said. “I love coming out for our anniversary, and we do all our Christmas shopping while we are here. I don’t show, but when my family does, I have just as much fun as they do. I just watch and yell for James and our daughter.”

New NCHA Senior World Tour Presented by Horizon Yachts, Inc.

horizonThe National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) is pleased to announce the new Horizon/NCHA Senior World Tour to take place during the 2015 point year. The Senior Tour will give open, non-pro and amateur riders who are 60 years of age or older and meet all other NCHA rules regarding status and membership the chance to compete for a Horizon Senior World Championship. A Senior World Champion will be crowned at the Worlds Champion Award Banquet during the 2015 NCHA Futurity, where the top 15 in all eligible classes will also be recognized. The High Point and Reserve High Point Senior Riders will receive an all-expenses paid vacation to the 2016 Horizon Yacht Rendezvous, a spring event held annually in the Bahamas/Florida Keys at a luxury yachting resort.

“We are excited to introduce this new showing concept through our new partnership with Horizon Yachts,” said NCHA Executive Director Jim Bret Campbell. “This gives us an opportunity to celebrate our Senior members as they continue to strive for success in the arena. A large portion of our senior competitors are breeders and owners at various levels in the business, and I believe this tour will play a vital role in giving back to a bracket that is deeply invested in cutting.”

Senior Open riders can earn points in the Open, $15K Novice and the $5K Novice. Senior World Champions and top-15 will also be recognized in the Non-Pro, the $15K Non-Pro, $5K Novice/Non-Pro, $50K Amateur, $35K Non-Pro, $15K Amateur and the $2K Rider/Any horse class.

“We are also excited to announce our partnership with Horizon Yachts,” Campbell said. “NCHA members enjoy a wide variety of activities in addition to competing in cutting events. Horizon Yachts is a natural fit for introducing multiple ways for senior exhibitors to enjoy their time. We want to thank Horizon for being the key to launching this opportunity for senior exhibitors to gain more opportunities to show their horses.”

For more than 27 years, Horizon Yachts has defined, perfected and consistently exceeded the standards for design and craftsmanship with its range of 52- to 150-foot luxury motor yachts. As the largest luxury yacht builder in Asia and one of the largest yacht builders in the world, Horizon focuses on seven specialized series, each unique in style and function, and each designed and built to the highest standards to suit every customer’s individual yachting lifestyle.

NCHA Judges Recertification Seminar

The NCHA Judges’ Make-Up Recertification Seminar, the final seminar for the year, will be held on November 19th at 4:00 p.m. in the Brown Upton North room in the John Justin Arena (next to the Sales Arena) Fort Worth, Texas.

NCHA Judges who do not attend a recertification seminar in 2014; will no longer be eligible to judge and will be removed from the judges list. All judges who have been removed from the list must wait twelve (12) months before reapplying for a new judge’s card. Sign up now.

Updates to Family-Owned Horse Rule and National Championships Entries

NCHA LogoChanges to the family-owned horse rule and the entry and purse structure of the NCHA Eastern and Western National Championships were approved by the NCHA Executive Committee at their meeting in Fort Worth on August 25-26.

At the 2014 NCHA Convention, several standing committees recommended changes to the family-owned horse rule. The rule that has been approved by the NCHA Executive Committee contains the same verbiage as AQHA uses. It is an established rule that has proven to work and has increased participation and entries.

Additionally, all age restrictions pertaining to a family-owned horse, have been removed at both the limited age event and weekend level. The updated rule is designed to encourage more participation in the sport.

The new Standing Rule 51.a.4 reads as follows: “If a member who holds an NCHA non-professional and/or amateur card publicly exhibits in any contest, whether approved or unapproved, a cutting horse not owned by the member or by the member’s immediate family, as defined herein, said card can be automatically revoked. Additional penalties for ownership rule violations may include loss of Non-Professional/Amateur status for up to life of the member, up to three (3) years suspension from the NCHA, up to a maximum of $10,000 fine. Any other member who aids and abets the rule violator will be subject to the same penalties depending on the severity of the incident.

“For purposes of this rule ‘immediate family’ shall mean the member’s spouse, child, stepchild, parent, grandparents, grandchild, step-parent, sibling, half-sibling, step-sibling, spouse’s parent, spouse’s step-parent, sibling’s spouse, half-sibling’s spouse, step-sibling’s spouse, sibling’s child, sibling’s step-child, half-sibling’s child, half-sibling’s step-child, step-sibling’s child, step-sibling’s step-child, parent’s sibling, parent’s half-sibling, parent’s step-sibling, parent’s sibling’s child, parent’s sibling’s stepchild, parent’s half sibling’s child, parent’s half sibling’s stepchild, parent’s step sibling child, parent’s step sibling’s stepchild, legal ward or legal guardian.”
An ownership form must be filed with the NCHA office indicating the family relationship between the owner of the horse and the exhibitor prior to showing. This rule will go into effect with the 2015 point year.

Eastern and Western National Championships
In response to concerns about costs and decreasing entries at the Four Sixes Eastern and Western Championships, the entry fee for the 2014 point year Championships (held in 2015) has been reduced from $600 to $500. Additionally, all contestants in the horse classes will be allowed to show three horses. All contestants in the rider classes will be able to show two horses. This does not include the Youth classes.

To better position the shows financially, added money for the 2014 point year Championships will be $15,000 per class, an overall reduction from $200,000 to $150,000.

To better support the affiliates, exhibitors will be required to compete at one affiliate-approved show to qualify for the Eastern and Western Championships beginning with the 2015 point year (for the Championships held in 2016).

Additional Recommendations
The Executive Committee reviewed all of the standing committee recommendations from the NCHA Convention and all of the final rules and recommendations will be distributed as soon as the minutes are completed.

Jim Hagin

NCHA member Jim Hagin, 57, died Tuesday August 19, 2014 in Weatherford, Texas following a brief illness. The Bulloch County native was a 1975 graduate of Statesboro High School and a graduate of Georgia Southern College. Jim was an avid cutting horse trainer, working throughout the Southeastern United States during his career.

Jim was an active member of his church “The Gathering at Brock” in Weatherford. He was a dedicated soldier of Christ working to bring others to know the Lord.

Jim was preceded in death his father, Edgar Hagin. Surviving are his mother, Faye Hagin of Statesboro; a sister and brother-in-law, Deborah and Mike Hatten of Statesboro; a nephew, Michael Hatten of Savannah; his aunt, Levaughn Ellis of Statesboro and a very special friend, Jima Wynn of Glen Rose, Texas. Several cousins also survive.

Visitation will be Friday, August 22 from 12:30pm until 2:00pm at Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home in Statesboro, Georgia.

Funeral service will be at 2:00pm in the chapel of Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home. Interment will be in the Bulloch Memorial Gardens.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to “The Jim Hagin Benevolent Fund” at “The Gathering at Brock”, P.O. Box 1473, Weatherford, Texas, 76086, or any Christian charity.

Friends may sign the online register book at www.joineranderson.com.