NCHA launches Challenger Shows

New format offers fun, affordability

Challenger SeriesThe National Cutting Horse Association has launched the Challenger Series, a new format of Weekend Shows aimed at giving  weekend cutters a fun and affordable entryway to the sport. Challenger Shows will complement the existing NCHA Championship Shows, with lower cost and more flexibility for show producers.

The time-tested features of the traditional Championship Shows will continue, with a few new features.

Beginning with the 2017 point year, an awards and recognition program will be introduced for the new Challenger Shows, but Affiliates and other show producers may begin offering Challenger Shows (with no added money) even during the remainder of the 2016 point year. Added-money Challenger Shows will be allowed starting December 28, with the new point year.

Chuck Smith

Chuck Smith

“The Challenger Series is a brand new format, building on the foundation of the Grassroots Program.” said NCHA President Chuck Smith. “The Challenger Series will make it easier for show producers and affiliates to create shows tailored to their unique situations.
“It also gives new people and current members who are just cutting for fun a better experience, while being rewarded for their efforts.”

Challenger Standings based on points
NCHA will establish Regional Top 15 Standings for the new Challenger shows. The Challenger Standings will be based strictly on points, rather than money earned. However, money won at Challenger Shows will count toward lifetime earnings, rider and horse eligibility and achievement awards.

Points awarded for any Challenger Show class will be based on the number of entries, with one point for every two entries, to a maximum of 10 points. No half-points will be awarded. If there is an odd number of entries, points will be rounded up.

So placings in a 20-horse class, would be awarded as follows: 1st = 10 pts., 2nd = 9 pts. and down to 1 pt. for 10th place. All entries that mark a score of at least 60 will receive at least one point, which will help encourage ongoing participation. So in this example, places 11-20 would each receive one point.

In the case of ties, each entry will receive the points awarded to the highest tied placing, with the normal points going to any contestants following the tie. This is similar to the way points are currently awarded in Youth classes at Championship Shows.

Buckles for money or points
NCHA Achievement Buckles will be awarded based on combined earnings of $1,000 from Challenger and Championship Shows, or for 100 points earned at Challenger Shows. Dollars and points can not be mixed for awards.

Upgrade Medallions for Achievement buckles can be earned with additional points. For example, 250 points would earn a $2,500 Medallion; 500 points would earn a $5,000 Medallion, and so on.
Participation in the jackpot will be optional for the contestant. So a cutter can enter without participating in the jackpot, but still receive whatever points he or she earns in the class.

Points are recognized only for Challenger Regional Standings, Achievement Buckles and other awards. For the purpose of achievement awards, points carry over from year to year. Points do not count toward lifetime earnings, or eligibility.

Flexibility for show producers
The new Challenger Shows offer greater flexibility and cost savings for show producers. (See What’s new in the NCHA Challenger Shows?).

A low show approval fee, flexibility in staffing shows and setting purses, and the option of a two-cow/two-minute format will all appeal to show producers. Challenger Shows can offer any combination of classes, and do not necessarily need to include an Open class, as traditional Championship Shows do. For example, a Challenger Show could consist of just a $15,000 Amateur class with $150 in added money, if that format met the needs of  show producers and cutters.

The flexibility will enable breed shows and other established events to enhance their programs by offering an approved NCHA Challenger class or classes.

New incentives for cutters
The new Challenger Shows will offer cutters additional opportunities to participate, typically at a significantly lower cost.

Cutters in Challenger Shows will earn points toward Achievement Buckles and year-end standings, with a new year-end awards program established. Even cutters in a slump will be able to earn participation points to make progress in the standings, and bring them closer to awards.

Beginning in 2017, for riders entering an approved class for Challenger Shows, NCHA will offer a free introductory membership to new members and to former cutters who have not been a member for more than one year.

What’s new in the NCHA Challenger Shows?

Here’s an overview of the new features of the NCHA Challenger Shows.

  • Available for Affiliates and other producers. Any NCHA Affiliate or independent show producer may hold an NCHA Challenger Show. Breed shows and other existing events can enhance their programs by adding NCHA Challenger classes.
  • Parity of purses not required. Any NCHA-approved class or combination of classes can be included in a Challenger Show. Any class may be jackpot only, or may offer from $1 to $199 in added money, without regard to added money in any other class.
  • Low approval fee. The approval fee is just $200 for an added-money Challenger Show, or $100 for shows with no added money. The approval fee must be sent when results are submitted to NCHA.
  • A Regional Awards fee of $2 per entry will be collected and submitted to NCHA with show results to fund year-end awards for leading participants in Challenger Shows.
  • Entry fee may be lower than cattle charge, to give show producers flexibility and to help make participation more affordable for cutters.
  • Judges, video personnel and secretaries do not need to be certified, with the exception that certified judges must be used for classes with added money. Video must be recorded for all classes, and retained for 180 days.
  • Two cows/two minutes format is optional. Instead of the traditional format of two and a half minutes, with two or three cows to be cut, Challenger Shows may offer a two-minute format, with two cows provided.
  • Membership dues may be paid after the show without affecting money or points earned at the show.
  • No judges protest system will be available for Challenger Shows.
  • Multiple judges may be used at a show.
  • Judges’ names do not need to be submitted to NCHA before classes with no added money. However, for added-money classes, a certified judge must be named seven days before the show.
  • NCHA will record earnings, but earnings in Challenger Shows will not count towards World Standings. Only Championship Shows with $200 or more in added money will count towards World Standings beginning with the 2017 point year.
  • Weekend limited age events may not begin until the Challenger classes are completed, unless two arenas are being used.
  • Regional Standings and Awards. NCHA will maintain Regional standings for all approved Challenger Show classes, and publish them online. Cutters will earn points in whichever Region they are competing in, so an individual could be ranked in the standings of more than one Region. Year-end awards will be presented to the leading participants in each class in each Region.

What about my NCHA Championship Shows?

NCHA Championship Shows are largely unchanged by the addition of the Challenger Series shows. They are still the cornerstone of NCHA’s Weekend Show program. Here’s a recap of Championship Show features:

  • Qualification for the Top 15 Standings will remain the same as it has been in recent years.
  • The NCHA World Finals format held during the NCHA Futurity will remain the same.
  • Area Standings will still be maintained and published online and in the Chatter. NCHA will present a trophy to the Area champion in each approved class. Beginning with the current point year, NCHA will also publish pictures of the Area champions online after the end of the year, and in a designated issue of the Chatter. The most up-to-date standings will be available throughout the year on the website.
  • Regional Top 15 Standings will be tracked and published on the website beginning with the 2017 point year. The Regional standings will be based on money earned at all Championship shows in the Region. Awards will be given to the leading participants at the end of the year.
  • Standings based on $200 or more added shows. Since shows with $199 or less in added money fall under the Challenger Series, NCHA World Standings and the Championship Regional Standings will be based on shows with $200 or more in added money. Championship Area Standings will still be based on shows with $200 to $750 in added money.

Kadee Belle Hall:
Under the influence of cutting

An Oklahoma cowgirl follows in her family’s footsteps of cutting championships.

For Kadee Belle Hall, cutting isn’t just a rodeo sport, but a way of life. She comes from a long line of notable cutters, such as her father, Shannon Hall, who has a decorated past as an Open cutting horse champion. Now, Hall has her own title: National High School Girls Cutting Champion.

Kadee Belle Hall

Kadee Belle Hall with with Senorita Spoon.

Hall, who will be a senior at Velma-Alma High School this fall, has proven that, while high school may be ending soon, her competitive drive remains. Hall traveled to Gillette, Wyoming for the National High School Finals Rodeo in July to compete for a national title.

Hall competed in the reined cow horse, breakaway and barrel racing, but ultimately, cutting was her “sweet-spot” at this finals.

“I have shown cutting horses for a while now,” Hall said. “My horse is Senorita Spoon (owned by Billy Emerson). I have become very confident and comfortable on her. We know each other inside and out…I knew that she would give me 100%.”

Hall hasn’t always been as passionate about cutting as she is now. For a while, she gave up cutting to focus on school sports and other hobbies, but when her sister won a national title of her own, all of that changed.

“When my older sister, Whitney, won Nationals, I decided to start showing again.”

Hall’s sister, Whitney, is also an extremely decorated cutter. From showing in the National Cutting Horse Association in both Youth and Non-Professional classes, as well as competing in both high school and collegiate rodeo, Whitney has established herself as a strong competitor in the cutting and roping pens. Whitney helped Kadee Belle in her early cutting days.

“When we were young, she taught me how to cut my cows by using toy horses and cows,” Hall said. “She was never a nice cow. [Whitney] has always been there to encourage me…She is the first person I call after I show.”

While her sister’s guidance and encouragement has played a large factor in where she is today, Hall’s largest influence has been her father, Shannon.

“He is one of the best. He can make a horse do anything and they do it well,” Hall said.

numberThere is no doubt that family ties have influenced Hall’s riding abilities, and they have also helped her learn to strategize and get through challenging situations inside and outside of the cutting pen. On the way to the National High School Finals Rodeo, Hall’s family stopped to honor a close family friend, Don Strain, at his funeral.

“Don was a hero to me,” Hall said. “He was a great friend. He always encouraged me. He told me at [Oklahoma State High School Rodeo Finals] that he would be at Nationals to watch me show. I put a ribbon on my back number to make sure he was there with me, and his wonderful wife, Kathy, came to watch me in the short-go, which made that moment extra special.”

With emotions running high and a last-hole draw in the final round, Hall was going to have to get her mental game prepared.

“I was dead last,” Hall said. “I knew I needed a 142 or better to win it. I tried to just calm down and go cut…When the buzzer went off, I felt so relieved.”

Hall was in shock when they announced her score of 145.5, and she knew that she was the National Champion.

“I had finally accomplished my dream…When I saw my dad, he was crying and I just couldn’t help it,” Hall said. “When I saw how proud he was, it made my whole day.”

Hall was instantly swarmed by reporters and friends offering congratulations. It hadn’t even sunken in what she had just accomplished.

Even with a huge title to her name, Hall has a rodeo motto that she is sticking to. It is advice that we could all take to heart.

“Always do your best, have fun and live with the results,” Hall said. “I went in to Nationals knowing that I could do it, but also knowing that, whatever is in God’s will, that is what I want to happen. Win, lose or draw.”

Hall doesn’t know exactly what’s next for her, but one thing she knows for sure is that she wants to continue to rodeo.

Rodeo is made easier with friends and family to support you through long weekends and performance slumps. Between her parents, sisters, friends and sponsors, Hall knows the importance of a support team in a sport like rodeo.

“Support systems are very important,” Hall said, “When…you kind of just want to quit, they are right there to pick you up and tell you to keep going. My freshman year, I didn’t even make it back to the short-go…my support system was there to…make me try again, and thankfully they did or I wouldn’t have been [back] there to win it.”

Hall wants to thank some of those members of her support team, such as her sponsors, OE Nutralics and Pioneer Cellular. She also wants to thank her friends and family for the encouragement and kind words. Lastly, she wants to thank Don Strain and Greg Welch for being her guardian angels and helping her accomplish her dreams.

Bar RR Ranches support Amateur finals

Finalists in the Rios of Mercedes Amateur classes at the 2016 NCHA Summer Spectacular presented by Great American Insurance will will find the payoffs enhanced by Bar RR Ranches of Bartonville, Texas.

Bar RR Ranches, the home of royally bred stallion Crimson Bet (Metallic Cat x Bet Yer Blue Boons), has added a total of $10,000 to the Rios of Mercedes Amateur purses. The money will be split evenly, with $2,500 going to each class:

  • Rios of Mercedes NCHA Derby Amateur presented by Bar RR Ranches.
  • Rios of Mercedes NCHA Derby Unlimited Amateur presented by Bar RR Ranches.
  • Rios of Mercedes NCHA Classic Challenge Amateur presented by Bar RR Ranches.
  • Rios of Mercedes NCHA Classic Challenge Unlimited Amateur presented by Bar RR Ranches.

In addition, Jim Haworth of Southwest City, Missouri; and James Bankston of Fort Worth, Texas, are contributing $500 each to Rios of Mercedes Amateur purse at the 2016 NCHA Summer Spectacular.

Stallion subscription, foal nominations coming due

Super StakesStallion Owners: October 1, 2016, is the deadline to subscribe your stallion for the 2017 Breeding Season for only $2,600! Subscription fees paid after the end of the grace period will be subject to penalties.

A 10-day grace period applies to this deadline. The grace period ends close of business on October 11, 2016.

This payment will make 2018 foals eligible to be nominated for the 2022 Super Stakes and the 2023 & 2024 Super Stakes Classic.

Click here for the stallion subscription form.

Foal Owners: Remember to send in your registration papers for foals that have already been nominated. (2011-2016 Foaling Years)

December 31, 2016, is the deadline to nominate your 2016 foals to the Super Stakes for only $200! Nomination fees paid after the grace period will be subject to penalties.

A 10-day grace period applies to this deadline. The grace period ends close of business on January 11, 2017.

Click here for the foal nomination form.

Forms may be submitted using one of the following options.

National Cutting Horse Association
Stallion/Foal Program
260 Bailey Ave
Fort Worth, Texas 76102

Click here to visit the NCHA website for a listing of current subscribed stallions or nominated foals.