TAMWORTH is ready to kick off its biggest horse flesh invasion as cutting horse cowboys and cowgirls, trainers, spectators and commentators arrive for this year’s National Cutting Horse Association Imax Gold Tamarang Futurity which begins tomorrow.
The largest equine event in the southern hemisphere comes to town every year and is arguably the biggest show the AELEC hosts.
After a highly successful event last year and record-smashing entries this year, the NCHA has had to extend the program to 14 days of cutting competition.
They have also had to extend the facilities with an extra 120 portable stables brought in from Sydney – and a huge tent put up over the top of them.
Operations manager Sam Potter said this year was the biggest event they had held and was excited to get it under way.
“We had a late boom in entries last week,” Mr Potter said. “Especially in the Jack Daniel’s Gold Cup.”
The Gold Cup is one of the most popular events, with horses of any age and any sex competing against each other.
The NCHA took entries right up until last Monday when the draws were completed.
The late peak has brought the total entries up to a record 735.
“A lot of horses go in several events but that is a massive number,” Ms Potter said.
“It has all been going really well and we can’t wait to get it started.”
The futurity will use 6000 cattle over the fortnight, with their health and wellbeing at the top of the agenda.
Rules state the cattle have to come from a 200km radius of the event.
“It can be a real problem for horse sports, especially in tough times,” Ms Potter said.
“We have got great guys transporting them and the suppliers in this area have been really good.
“It is amazing to think that we will move 6000 cattle through that door over the next 14 days.”
Full houses are once again expected for the final few days of the event.
The main event will be the Open Futurity with over 160 entries and $200,000 in prizemoney.
The final will be the last event of the futurity on the Sunday.
Rodeos, stockman shows, live music, sales and a huge amount of stalls are also part of the event, plus plenty more.
The entrants were completing pre-works yesterday and today, before tomorrow morning’s official start.
Tickets are available at the door or from www.entertainmentvenues.com.au. Tickets to the events on June 1,2 and 3 are free.