The Southern Hemisphere’s largest indoor cutting horse event is now even bigger, as 500 riders from all over the globe prepare to battle it out for over $700,000 in prizes.
The 45th National Cutting Horse Association’s Futurity will kick-off at the AELEC in Tamworth at the end of the month, offering two weeks of non-stop action ranging from amateurs looking to have some fun, to the circuit professionals, looking to clean up one of the big five main events, including the $75,000 Futurity.
NCHA general manager Tim Heath has only been in the job for two weeks, after recently leaving the excitement of Sevens Rugby at the Commonwealth Games to return home to the North West.
Mr Heath claims the added extras on this years Futurity schedule are sure to bring in the crowds and raise the roof on “Australia’s best purpose built equine facility.”
“This event will bring in the best of the best, no question,” he said.
“It has been coming to Tamworth for 30 years, and the AELEC for 10 – it is the premier event.”
One of the changes this year will see the Snafflebit section contested at the Futurity, rather than the NCHA National Finals earlier in the year.
“The snafflebit has a really broad appeal – it is two handed cutting, a bit like campdraft, rather than pure cutting where your hands are dropped,” Mr Heath said.
The big news however is the all new Performance Horse Arena, which will be set up in the sale ring.
“We are going to be having live and exclusive demonstrations, led by Hall of Fame legends and various other athletes covering everything cutting and equine education,” Mr Heath said.
“They will be happening right through both weekends of the event, and the opening weekend is free entry to the public, so a great chance to come and have a look.”
Last year the event attracted over 1400 overnight visitors, who spent an estimated $1.9 million, and this year is expected to top that again.
Acting Mayor Helen Tickle said the event puts a huge focus on the city and adds plenty to the $45 million that equine events bring to the local economy each year.