San Antonio to kick off Mercuria NCHA World Series

San Antonio Stock ShowThe San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo will host the first event this year for the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting. Star-studded fields will ride to the herd in the first round of the Open and Non-Pro, with the finals of the $25,000-added events scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 14.

World Champion Riders Matt Gaines, Pete Branch, Lindy Burch, Chubby Turner, Kobie Wood and Faron Hightower are among the 41 entries in the Open division.

The Open field includes Super Stakes Champion Olenasduallyfeather, recent NCHA Futurity Reserve Champion Bet Shes Smooth, NCHA Non-Pro Futurity Champions Donas Suen Boon and Woodys Bad Boy, and two-time Mercuria NCHA World Finals winner CR Sun Reys,

Highlighting the Non-Pro division are Joe Howard Williamson, Mary Jo Milner, Constance Jaeggi and Dan Hanson, who own a combined 15 NCHA Non-Pro World titles.

Williamson, Milner and Jaeggi will be riding Sweet Little Cats, Saguaro Ichi, and Smooth Asa Zee, respectively, horses the played a role in their most recent World Championships.

Offering a total of $50,000 in added money at each series event, the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting has become a highlight of the annual cutting horse competition year attracting highly competitive horses and riders to the event in their quest for NCHA World Champion and Horse of the Year honors.

2016 Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting Tentative Schedule:

  • February 13-14, San Antonio Stock Show, San Antonio, Texas
  • February 26-27, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston, Texas
  • June 17-18, PCCHA Derby – Classic Challenge, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • July 11-13, Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • August TBA, Las Vegas CHA Futurity, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • August 29-30, Idaho Futurity, Nampa, Idaho
  • September 15-16, El Rancho Futurity, Rancho Murieta, California
  • October TBA, All American Quarter Horse Congress, Columbus, Ohio

Congress hosts Mercuria World Series event

MercuriaWorld Champions and champion contenders have converged on the All American Quarter Horse Congress this week for the final event in this year’s Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting.

Twenty-seven Open horses will go in Wednesday’s first round of the Open, with 31 Non-Pros riding Thursday morning to qualify for Thursday evening’s finals.

In the Open, all eyes will be on Matt Gaines riding Barker Ranch’s Special Nu Baby. The mare has built up a big lead in the 2015 World Standings, and she has won the last three Mercuria World Series finals in a row.

Challenging her will be two-time World Champion One Time Choice, ridden by Chubby Turner for J Five Ranch; World Champion Stallion Auspicious Cat, ridden by Ed Dufurrena for Dos Cats Partners; World Champion Stallion Mississippi Cat, ridden by Josh Dozier for Vick Etheridge. Former World Champions Kobie Wood, Austin Shepard and Lindy Burch will also be in the hunt.

In the Non-Pro division, World Champions Mary Jo Milner, Joe Howard Williamson, Stephanie Haymes, Brandon Dufurrena, Constance Jaeggi and Paula Wood will be in the spotlight, along with Hall of Famers Kelsey Conn and Alexis Stephas.

Watch the webcast Wednesday and Thursday.

Cutters take to Calgary

The 2015 Calgary Stampede welcomed NCHA’s top horses and riders competing in the NCHA Mercuria World Series of Cutting this week as they vie for $50,000 in added money offered at the event. Many of these riders are battling it out to secure their World standings as they prepare for the Mercuria NCHA World Finals to take place in Fort Worth in November during the NCHA Futurity.

With nearly $45,000 in earnings for 2015, Special Nu Baby a dynamic mare owned by Gary and Shannon Barker, has been piloted by Matt Gaines to top the field thus far as they hold the No.1 slot headed into the Canadian competition. Other popular teams ready to take on the Stampede include Lindy Burch and Stylish Bet, who currently sit No. 4 in the Open standings, and One Time Choice and Chubby Turner the 2013 and 2014 NCHA Open World Champions that also claimed the Open win in Calgary last year. The competition has also attracted numerous highly skilled riders from the Canadian area including Dustin Gonnet and This Cats Got Style, the pair that finished second during last year’s Mercuria event.

In the Non-Pro, Constance Jaeggi and her gelding Saguaro Ichi, who were last year’s Non-Pro World Champions and are fresh off a victory at the PCCHA Derby Mercuria in Las Vegas, marked 221.5 for second in the first round of the Non-Pro. Multiple World Champion Joe Howard Williamson led the Non-Pro go-round with a 222 on Sweet Little Cat. Two-time World Champion and current leader in the World standings, Dan Hansen will also show in the finals on Play Corn.

For more information on the 2015 Calgary Stampede and the Mercuria cutting, click here.

Rodeo Houston Sets the Stage for Stop No.2 of the World Series of Cutting

hlsrIt’s rodeo time in Houston and that means the second stop for the 2014 Mercuria World Series of Cutting Tour. The Open and Non-Pro draws are posted and are proof that this is one cutting you won’t want to miss.

CR Sun Reys

The 2014 Houston Mercuria Champions, as well as the 2014 Mercuria World Finals Show Champions, Boyd Rice and CR Sun Reys, are entered. The mare, who is owned by Center Ranch and is by Dual Rey and out of Play Peek A Boon, has been a crowd favorite since Rice showed the mare at the 2011 NCHA World Championship Futurity. They posted an all-time record during the World Finals when they earned a cumulative 934 points through four go-rounds in Fort Worth and tied the all-time high score with a 233. The now 7-year-old mare has earned more than $275,000 with Rice, the 2014 National Reined Cow Horse Association’s World Greatest Horseman and NCHA Hall of Fame Rider.

Other top contenders on Houston’s roster include the recent San Antonio Mercuria Champions: Matt Gaines and Special Nu Baby, who wowed the audience with a 230-point run as the last horse in the Open finals a few weeks ago, which brought the mare’s earnings past the $350,000 mark.  Also on the list are: 2012 NCHA Open Futurity Co-Champions, Ronnie Rice and CR Tuff Hearted Cat; 2014 & 2013 NCHA Open World Champions Chubby Turner and One Time Choice; NCHA World Champion and National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee Lindy Burch with her great mare, Louellas Cat, and World Champion Stallion, Auspicious Cat, with rider Ed Dufurrena. Cutting’s all-time leading money earner Phil Rapp is also headed to Houston with Reyzin, a horse he and his wife, Mary Ann, have ridden to more than $275,000.

In the Non-Pro, numerous top 15 qualifiers are back on track for 2015, including World Champion Mary Jo Milner and Smooth Asa Zee. The San Antonion Non-Pro Champion Dan Hansen is also headed to Houston with Woody Be Lucky, aka “Freak”, a 15-year-old gelding that ranks as one of the top 10 money-earning cutting horses of all time with close to $700,000 in winnings.

Additionally, one of the great aspects of the Mercuria World Series is for local cutters to have their chance to compete against the world’s best for fame, fortune – and cash. Houston will highlight a host of local cutters who will give the haulers a run for their money.

The first go of the Mercuria Open & Non-Pro will be Friday morning at 8 a.m. The finals will begin Saturday, Feb. 28, upon completion of the preceding NCHA class.

Rodeo Houston has an exciting line-up of activities that cutters can enjoy while in town, including concerts, parades and the World Famous Bar-B-Que cook-offs. Visit www.rodeohouston.com for more info.

“Special” start to the Mercuria NCHA World Series

The 2015 NCHA World Series of Cutting couldn’t have had a better kick off than the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo on Feb 14 and 15. The Open and Non-Pro finals welcomed a packed house as visitors flocked to the stands, many of whom were witnessing cutting for the first time. World renowned rodeo announcer Hadley Barrett joined forces with NCHA World Champion Chubby Turner, to provide commentary throughout the finals.

Matt Gaines drew last on Special Nu Baby, owned by Gary and Shannon Barker, to take the competition by storm with a 230-point run. The 9-year-old mare added $11,094 to the her existing $342,000 record.

“Being last in the bunch, there weren’t a lot of options left,” said Gaines. “I don’t know how good those cattle were. That mare just made them good. She was spot on. The last cow worried me a little bit because it got right up under to start with. I was really proud of her. She stayed really smart and stayed where she needed to.”

Gaines said he’s not sure how much they’ll haul the mare, but that they would like to get her past the $400,000 mark this year.

He added that the finals were one of the best he’s ever experienced as far as an event that caters to the spectators and educates the public about cutting.

“It was awesome,” he said following the finals. “Last night there were a lot of people there who had never been to a cutting. Everyone did a really good job of keeping the crowd going and keeping them informed of what was going on. The Mercurias are a great way to get some great horses in front of people who don’t know much about the sport. It allows us to reach a group of people that otherwise we wouldn’t reach.”

In the Non-Pro, Dan Hansen rode Woody By Lucky, aka “Freak,” to a 221 to win the finals as the first horse out in the set. The win added $8,300 to the gelding’s $681,000 record and Hansen’s $1.6 million in earnings.

“We were fortunate to draw first. The cattle were a little testy later on,” Hansen said following his run. “We cut three that we liked when they settled. That was an advantage going in there first.”

While Hansen said he hasn’t set out to necessarily haul the gelding, which he pointed out is still on “loan” from his wife, Karen. He said is thankful for the opportunities that the World Series of Cutting events are providing for the sport and will support the shows regardless of his own agenda.

“I really love this World Series program and want to thank Mercuria for their sponsorship first off,” he said. “It gives horses this age, past their 6-year-old year, another avenue, and it shows people like the great crowd we had here today that an older horse and older gentleman like myself can still be competitive.”

Hansen said he does set out to try and make the top 15 every year and that as long as his horse is willing, he’ll keep going.

“He still loves it as much as he ever did. He’s currently in the top 10 all-time money earners,” Hansen added. “We’ll keep going and see how it goes.”