Reno is the biggest little city in the world, and gambling abounds. But the high-stakes contests at the glamorous casinos aren't the only places to experience anticipation and big-time action. In fact, all the highs and lows of elation and victory can be found at the Reno Livestock Events Center during the 2011 National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity.
The Futurity is the premier event for reined cow horses, with over $1 million paid out over 13 days of grueling competition, as the horses compete in herd, rein, and cow work.
As exhibitors prepare their 3-year-old cow horses for the biggest competition of their careers, they undoubtedly feel the pressure. In some cases, as much money as would be paid for an average American's home has been invested in the health, training, and preparation of these fledgling performance horses.
While the stakes are high, the rewards are vast. Along with the winner's $100,000 check, the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Championship can cement a horse's place in history, jump-start a breeding program, and launch or revive a trainer's career.
The elite event begins tomorrow, September 20, at 8 a.m. with the Open Preliminary herd work competition. The field of 200+ Open entries will be whittled down to the top 25 during the course of the competition. Those lucky enough to earn a ticket to the big dance will compete in the clean-slate finals on Sunday, October 2.
While the Futurity grabs most of the attention, the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity features a full-slate of classes that fills the 13 days of competition. And there's much more than just a horse show. Shopping opportunities abound - and with the NRCHA Corporate Partner and NRCHA Breeder Sponsor Booths situated around the arena concourse, there will be ample occasions to peruse and purchase. Plus, the Best of the West Trade Show will be set up in the Trade Show Hall just outside the coliseum. The elite group of vendors sells everything from western décor, to clothing, to books, to tack, and trailers, plus everything else in between.
And you can find a big ticket item - like a top bred reined cow horse - at the Snaffle Bit Futurity Horse Sales, sponsored by Markel Insurance Company, held September 29-October 1.
But reined cow horse fans don't have to shell out the big bucks to take home a fine prospect. They still have a chance to win the Ward Ranch-bred filly, Pretty Prima Ladonna, for just a $10 donation with the NRCHA-Ward Ranch Raffle Colt. The winner will be drawn during the Open Finals on Sunday, October 2, and need not be present to win.
Admission is free through Thursday, September 22. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.
The NRCHA, now in its 62nd year, is the governing body of reined cow horse competition. The NRCHA is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition, and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Bob's Custom Saddles, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Cinch, Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, John Deere, Markel Insurance, Merial products ULCERGARD and EQUIOXX, Nutrena, Pfizer Animal Health, Quarter Horse News, Rios of Mercedes, San Juan Ranch - A Division of Santa Cruz Biotechnology, and the Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today's equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at www.nrcha.com.