And, it is big business. The Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion will receive a paycheck of $100,000 at the end of competition, and the show will pay out over $1.1 million for the fifth year in a row.
The economic prosperity isn’t limited to the exhibitors. The futurity has a monstrous monetary effect on the Reno community. According to the American Horse Council’s economic impact formula, with more than 1,100 horses coming to Reno over 13 days of competition, the event brings over $5.5 million into the community, and the economic impact on Reno exceeds $20 million.
Both because of the tremendous payoff and the “Who’s Who” list of entries, which includes the western horse industry’s top personalities, the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity is the most visible cow horse event in the world. The three distinct competitions that make up the event — herd work, rein work and cow work —offer an unequaled challenge for equine talent and horsemanship skill. In the herd work, the horse cuts a cow from the herd and shows its ability to control it with little assistance from his rider. In the reining, the horse is judged on precise maneuvers that include circles, sliding stops, spins and rollbacks. The climactic cow work demonstrates the ability to control the movements of a cow down the fence and in the center of the arena.
The Best of the West Trade Show, which opens Saturday and runs through the duration of the event, is an ideal place to get started on Christmas shopping. Vendors offer everything from jewelry to furniture to horse equipment and everything in between. If you’re interested in a bigger ticket item — like a horse of your own — the Snaffle Bit Futurity Horse Sales, presented by Markel Insurance Company, will be held Thursday, Sept. 29 thru Oct. 1.
There’s even a time set aside for remembering great riders and horses of the past, as the Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino hosts the Annual NRCHA Hall of Fame Banquet on Thursday, Sept. 29.
Free educational seminars, covering everything from equine nutrition to competition strategy, will be held throughout the show.
On Sunday, Oct. 2, the action in the Reno Livestock Events Center culminates with the Open Finals, as the top finishers from the preliminaries vie for that $100,000 first place check.
Tickets can be purchased through the Box Office, or online at www.ticketmaster.com. To keep up with the action, visit the NRCHA website at www.nrcha.com, or “Like” the NRCHA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nrcha.