Cowtown Showdown

The National Cutting Horse Association has selected four NCHA Hall of Fame Riders to represent the Association at the 2015 Markel AQHA Cowtown Showdown, presented by the City of Fort Worth,  March 7 at 5 pm at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in celebration of the American Quarter Horse Association’s 75th Anniversary.

The NCHA will be joined by the National Reined Cow Horse Association and the National Reining Horse Association as each group celebrates the talents and versatility of the American Quarter Horse by showcasing the skills of their specific disciplines. Their performances will be judged by past AQHA Professional Horsemen and Horsewomen of the Year. Also joining this elite group of talented professionals will be horses and riders from six historic ranches, including Burnett Ranches, the King Ranch, Pitchfork Land & Cattle Co. and more,  that have consecutively bred American Quarter Horses for the past 75 years. This group will compete in a class similar to AQHA Ranch Versatility by showcasing their skills in cow work, roping and ranch-type trail obstacles.

Adding to the excitement of this exclusive equine event, Grammy award winner Lyle Lovett will perform the National Anthem before he displays his own riding talents in the NRHA group.

Lloyd Cox
lloyd-coxLloyd Cox is a member of the NCHA Rider Hall of Fame and NCHA’s No.3 leading money earner with more than $6.6 million to his name. He recently claimed the 2014 NCHA Open Futurity Reserve title on Smooth Talkin Style, owned by Gail Holmes. Cox also won the 2010 NCHA Futurity Open Championship aboard One Time Royalty. His mount for the Cowtown Showdown, RW Rockin, is a 2010 mare (Dual Rey x Boon San Kitty) that has more than $150,000 in lifetime earnings. RW Rockin was Reserve at the 2014 Breeders Invitational and fifth at the 2014 NCHA Super Stakes with trainer Cox. RW Rockin is owned by Monty Johnson of Weatherford, Texas.

John Mitchell
mitchell_johnJohnny Mitchell, originally from Australia, resides in Weatherford, Texas. Mitchell, also an NCHA Riders Hall of Fame inductee, has lifetime earnings of more than $3.3 million. In 2014, Mitchell piloted Junie Wood to win the NCHA Super Stakes with a 229. Junie Wood is a 2010 mare (Nitas Wood x Tuffs Junie) owned by the Slate River Ranch. The great mare also earned the 2013 NCHA Non-Pro Futurity Championshiop with Craig Crumpler. Last year, she was awarded the 2014 NCHA Open Horse of the Year honors after closing in on lifetime earnings of more than $260,000.

James Payne
payne_jamesNCHA Riders Hall of Fame Member James Payne started his career in the reining industry, but soon changed to the cutting horse business. Payne’s lifetime earnings exceed $1.4 million, which includes his win at the 2014 NCHA Classic Challenge Open on Once In A Blu Boon. Payne now resides in Overbrook, Oklahoma. Once In A Blu Boon is a 2008 stallion (Peptoboonsmal x Autumn Boon) owned by Charlotte Farms of Rosston, Texas. Once In A Blu Boon has lifetime earnings of more than $318,000, and was bred by the legendary Bill Freeman.

 Clay Johnson
clay-johnson-mugshotClay Johnson was the 2013 NCHA Open Futurity Champion aboard Dual Smart Kitty. Johnson’s lifetime earnings have reached more than $775,000 with numerous Open Championship titles under his belt. Dual Smart Kitty (Dual Smart Rey x Cats Peptolena) is owned by Rusty and Shelley Simpson from Nemo, Texas, and, at the age of 5, has already earned $314,000 under Clay Johnson. She was also a leading contender for the 2014 NCHA Horse of the Year Award after winning the Abilene Spectacular and making numerous other Open finals in 2014.

The NRHA will be represented by Lyle Lovett, Shawn Flarida, Dell Hendricks and Tim McQuay. Boyd Rice, Jake Teleford, Todd Crawford and Todd Bergen will represent the NRCHA.

The Cowtown Showdown Auction will offer unique AQHA 75th Anniversary commemorative items, including: a limited-edition AQHA 75th Anniversary sporting rifle by Cimarron Firearms Co., a custom made Double J Saddle signed by AQHA Hall of Fame Inductees, a custom AQHA 75th Anniversary buckle, an AQHA 75th Anniversary John Deere Gator and an all-expense-paid trip to the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

General admission tickets can be purchased for $7.50 (kids under 12 free) by clicking HERE.

Members Hall of Fame Nominations

NCHA LogoThe NCHA Members Hall of Fame was established to recognize those individuals who have made outstanding and unusual contributions to the NCHA basic purpose, which is the public exhibition and constant promotion of the Cutting Horse. We are proud to honor these individuals who have exhibited a high moral character, good sportsmanship, fairness, and an exemplary contribution of time, effort and interest in NCHA and its basic endeavors.

The criteria and form for submitting nominations to the Members Hall of Fame were recently updated. Nominations may be submitted at any time but should be received in the NCHA offices by no later than March 1 of each year to be considered for induction that year. Nominations are kept on file and included for review for five years.

The Members Hall of Fame was specifically established to recognize individuals for accomplishments out of the cutting pen. In order to honor those individuals, we need help in locating those deserving persons. If you feel you know of someone that qualifies for the NCHA Members Hall of Fame, please review the criteria, complete the nomination form, and send in a maximum of five letters of support to the NCHA outlining their accomplishments.

Here is a list of previous inductees in the NCHA Members Hall of Fame on the NCHA website. Please look it over and see who you feel is missing! If you need any further information or have any questions, please contact Pam Robison in the NCHA offices at (817) 244-6188, ext. 111.

NCHA Members Hall of Fame

The recognition as a member of the Members Hall of Fame is the highest recognition the National Cutting Horse Association can bestow on an individual.

The eligibility requirements and nomination form will be available for members to submit nominations to the attention of the Executive Director in the NCHA office. The Executive Director will review the nomination packets to determine those individuals who have met eligibility criteria.  Names and nomination information are then forwarded to the selection committee who recommend the selections after careful examination of the packets. The Chairman of the Members Hall of Fame committee will present those selected members to the Executive Committee for final approval to the Members of Hall of Fame.

Nomination Criteria for entering into Members Hall of Fame:
The inductees will be selected based on the totality of their contributions to the National Cutting Horse Association. These will include, but will not be limited to, the consideration of the individual’s quality and years of service and/or contributions that resulted in significant improvement to the association, or caused significant growth and improvement, leading to the betterment of the Association.

The contributions to the Association should extend through, but will not be limited to, all levels in the NCHA: Affiliate, Area, Regional, and National. The committee will carefully consider the nominee’s character and integrity and the consistency with which these qualities are exhibited.

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. The contributions must have been influential to and supportive to the growth of the NCHA.
  2. The individual must have made both outstanding and significant contributions to the NCHA.
  3. The individual should display leadership qualities as exemplified by being an ambassador for the NCHA and the sport of cutting by participating and exhibiting leadership in civic, community, state, regional, and national public service or business related activities. Additionally, the individual should demonstrate a concern for the welfare of others, especially as related to NCHA activities that may directly or indirectly benefit the NCHA.
  4. Nominee may be either living or deceased.

Non Eligibility exceptions:

  1. If, in the opinion of the Hall of Fame committee, an individual has been detrimental or harmful to the good character and welfare of the association, the nomination will not be considered. Additionally, if an individual is on probation or suspension list at the time of nomination and/or commits an infraction of the association, the nomination will not be considered.
  2. An individual cannot be inducted into the members Hall of Fame while currently serving on the Executive Committee.
  3. An individual cannot be inducted into the members Hall of Fame while currently employed by NCHA.

Vice President candidate Dick Mulligan

As a child I always wanted a horse. It didn’t happen. As a young man, through my family’s involvement in the Thoroughbred horse racing industry, I had the opportunity to observe the equine athlete and the people who owned, trained and rode those superb athletes.

When I moved to Wyoming 37 years ago, I discovered the cutting horse on which the owner could compete. I was hooked! I wanted to show, which led me to become a member of the NCHA. Eventually, at the urging of friends, I was nominated and elected as a Director of the NCHA representing Wyoming. My commitment to the NCHA has been and continues to be as follows:

  • Member of NCHA since 1983.
  • Lifetime NCHA member.
  • Director representing Wyoming since 2007.
  • Member of Long Range Planning Committee for 6 years.
  • Chairman of Long Range Planning Committee 2012 to 2014.
  • Vice Chairman Long Range Planning Committee 2010 to 2012.
  • Nominating Committee for Selection of Candidates for Vice-President 2013.
  • President’s Governance Task Force Member 2014.
  • Member of Wyoming Cutting Horse Association since 1983.
  • Director, Past President and Past Vice President of WCHA.

Some accomplishments during my tenure as a member of the LRPC include drafting and presenting several Amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws which were adopted by the members of the NCHA in two successive years. The amendments include additional confidentiality protections to the election process and attendance requirements for Directors at the annual convention.

If elected, I would continue to support:

  • NCHA Constitution and By-Laws.
  • The Rule Book.
  • World Finals.
  • Grievance and Appeal procedures.
  • Youth Program and Scholarships.
  • Triple Crown Events.
  • Affiliate Organizations and Weekend Events.
  • Protection of the equine athlete through the Horse Welfare Task Force.
  • Transparent and Open Management.
  • I would be open to a revision to the following:
    • Restructuring of the NCHA approved classes.
    • Restructuring the Governance System.
    • Realignment of the Decision Making Process.

If elected I would bring my past experiences as a judge, lawyer and mayor of a major city to assist the NCHA and its members in furthering the goals of the membership and the NCHA.

My wife, Brenda, and I live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Our five children also live in Jackson Hole and we are the proud grandparents of 5 grandchildren. My commitment to family—both personal and the cutting family of friends—is of primary importance to me.

It has been an honor to serve the members of the NCHA and if elected, I will continue to dedicate my efforts to strengthen the NCHA. I would appreciate your vote. Thank you.

—Dick Mulligan

Vice President candidate Chuck Smith

Reasons why I am interested in serving as NCHA Vice President: I think there are three components to being an effective association leader.

  1. Know the history of the association
  2. Have a vision of what it takes to make it better.
  3. Know how to work within the system to accomplish established goals.

I have made a living in the cutting horse business as a trainer, show producer, director, judge, and teacher of cutting over the last 30 years.

Here at my cutting facility located just outside Columbus, Ohio, I have introduced hundreds of new people to our sport. Many have stayed with me for over twenty years. I have produced over 150 weekend shows at my location and 35 limited aged events at the Ohio Expo Center. I have been a director for 25 years and am also a AAAA judge. I am serving my fourth term on the Executive Committee, and have chaired the Long Range Planning and Limited Aged Events Show Producers Committees. Therefore, I have a thorough knowledge of our association, its past, and how it works.

My vision is to help our entire association maintain stability and grow.
I see the association basically in three parts; major limited aged events, seasoned hard-core weekend cutters, and others doing it just for fun (where most new people enter the sport). Each group is motivated by different goals, but all three must be functioning well for the association to grow. I think we are currently out of balance. The first two groups are solid but the third group (the new people and those doing it for fun) need attention. This group is where our future riders and horse owners come from.

A lot of work has gone into creating the great association we have. Let’s not tamper with the parts that are working. Triple Crown events, Major Events Trust Fund, Premier LAEs’, Mercuria events, and World Finals at Fort Worth during the Futurity have all been great successes. Let’s make sure we continue with their improvement and needs, but let’s now focus on our affiliates who are struggling to stay solvent and who need help in maintaining membership and recruiting new members.

Each area and even affiliates within the areas deal with different sets of problems. A few of the problems range from cattle availability and cost to show facility availability, and distance to shows. We need to listen more to the affiliate needs and try to become as flexible as possible without giving up the standards that set us apart from other associations. I think the grassroots program we started last year is a step in the right direction, but is by no means the only step.

We should do what ever it takes to give new people a good first experience, make them feel like there is a welcome place for them in our organization, and that we recognize and reward achievement and advancement.

My proudest moment in NCHA was back in 1998 when I spearheaded the Achievement Buckle program and it became a reality. Winning a buckle seems to define us as a true cutter whether at the Triple Crown level or as a grassroots cutter. The achievement buckle has been the first step for many in a long cutting journey and hopefully a first step for many yet to come.

I would appreciate your vote for Vice President and will do my best to help keep us in balance.

–Chuck Smith

NCHA takes additional steps for animal welfare

The National Cutting Horse is investigating new measures at shows it produces in Fort Worth in 2014 to protect the health and safety of cutting horses. The steps the horse and cattle welfare committee are looking at include having an official veterinarian on-call during the shows, setting up an emergency treatment area, and having an equine ambulance readily available.

Plans for these new measures were advanced following an incident at the 2013 NCHA Futurity where Miss Callie Cat, ridden by Tarin Rice, colicked during her run in the Open Semi-Finals. Rice immediately ceased working the horse once he recognized her signs of distress, and walked her to the back of the arena. Numerous friends and fellow equine professionals rushed to the horse’s aid, according to Rice, for which he was grateful. The mare was promptly transported to Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, and she immediately underwent colic surgery.

“Evidently, her gut twisted during my run in the Semis,” Rice said. “I knew something was wrong, and when I walked out, she immediately started having trouble. As soon as we got her stable, we got her in the trailer and to the vet clinic. They did surgery and from the time they woke her up, everything has been right on plan.”

The surgery was done by Dr. Ty Tipton who, according to Rice, expects the mare to make a full recovery.

“The cutting horse community rallied to help the mare and make sure she was well cared for,” said NCHA Executive Director Jim Bret Campbell regarding the mare’s colic. “NCHA’s drug testing veterinarian arrived as quickly as possible, and we were also prepared to evacuate the mare from the arena within minutes, but unfortunately the mare wasn’t in a position to be loaded. From a medical standpoint, we were doing everything we could to take care of the horse.”

Lindy Burch, chairperson of NCHA’s Animal Welfare Committee, concurred that the horse’s well-being was top priority throughout the incident, and added that the NCHA is doing everything possible to ensure any future injuries can be treated promptly and efficiently. “Everybody was very concerned about the incident, and it highlighted the fact that we must always be prepared for illness or injury,” she explained.

“We’re fortunate to have some of the world’s best veterinary and surgery facilities within 40 minutes of Will Rogers Coliseum,” Burch said. “Our main goal is to have the best possible way to stabilize and transport a horse to one of those facilities.”

Immediate access to veterinary care, a treatment area stocked with veterinary supplies, and an equine medical transport vehicle are changes being made that Burch said will more than likely be in place for the NCHA Super Stakes, which begins in March. Burch said her committee is also working to develop protocols for a horse to be cleared for competition if it appears to be unsound or in distress, similar to the procedures that are commonly used at racetracks, but putting those procedures into place will take a little more time.

Miss Callie Cat’s colic was the second unfortunate incident for the horse, who had also cut her tongue on baling twine the day before. As Rice explained, the mare was tied outside of her stall while his helpers blanketed her when she grabbed the twine that held up the blanket bar with her mouth. Rice said he’s not sure how it happened, but somehow it caused the horse to cut her tongue.

“It was a very freak deal,” Rice explained of the injury. “I’ve dealt with horses my entire life and I’ve never seen anything like that. I don’t know if it got around her tongue; I don’t know what happened.”

Rice called upon Dr. Chris Ray, also of Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, who was on the show grounds at the time. According to Rice, Ray examined the mare’s tongue and said no further action was needed for treatment. The injury required no stitches, and Ray approved the horse to continue in competition as long as she was drinking and eating properly.

“There was no bleeding on the tongue when I got there,” said Ray of his initial examination of the horse. “I told Tarin that as long as she was acting herself and eating and drinking, that she would be okay to show. She was eating and drinking within hours, and it was our opinion that she was healthy.”

Ray added that the team at ESMS did not feel that the mare’s colic was in any way related to her tongue injury.

“She had a displacement [of the intestine], which is not associated with any sort of injury to the mouth. She was fine before he showed her that night. To have that much displacement that quickly, we believe it happened during her run.”

The injuries that Miss Callie Cat suffered from during the NCHA Futurity were a series of unfortunate occurrences, none of which were a result of lack of care on Rice’s part, he assured. Rice recently reported that the mare is back at his barn and is well on her way to a full recovery.

“We haven’t started riding her yet, but there’s no reason to believe she won’t come back one hundred percent and be able to show this year,” Rice concluded.

“These animals are our whole life, so we take the very best care of them that we can.”