In 2021, the National Reined Cow Horse Association invited 10 of the industry’s top ropers to try their hand in the reined cow horse arena—and they accepted the challenge! On Wednesday, October 20, the Cow Horse For Ropers Invitational event is going to rock the John Justin Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, during the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity®, presented by Metallic Cat.
Multiple world champions and National Finals Rodeo qualifiers accepted the invitation to compete at the NRCHA’s flagship event, the Snaffle Bit Futurity, are: Jackie Crawford, Cole Davison, Lane Ivy, Dakota Kirchenschlager, Junior Noguiera, Cade Rice, Cade Swor, Wesley Thorp, and Kollin VonAhn. They are paired with NRCHA’s top Open trainers including NRCHA Two Million Dollar Rider Corey Cushing, Million Dollar Rider Chris Dawson, three-time World’s Greatest Horseman Champion Russell Dilday, Brad Lund, Million Dollar Rider Kelby Phillips, Million Dollar Rider Boyd Rice, Erin Taormino, and Clay Volmer.
Instead of running down a steer that breaks from a chute, World Champion breakaway roper Jackie Crawford will be taking it down the fence, and she isn’t the only one! Crawford, a 20-time Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion, is working with NRCHA professional Erin Taormino. The two previously rode together when Taormino wanted to work on her roping skills. Now, the teacher is the student.
“Erin said that she couldn’t wait until I was not pregnant and the one put in this position [to learn something new] and be vulnerable,” Crawford said. “I’m nervous, like someone who has never roped a calf or steer out of the box! Number one, I don’t do reining patterns on my horses. Number two, boxing and down the fence has me nervous! It is going to be fun, though!”
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They may handle the stress of competing at the National Finals Rodeo or winning a world championship, but here, they have to be at the top of their game for more than 10 seconds. First the riders will complete in a rein work pattern then call for the cow to box it on the end and take it down the fence before switching to a skill they know best—roping and stopping the cow.
Ferron Lucero will join NRCHA announcer Darren Moore to call the event, together. Moore is known to the reined cow horse crowd and understands the intricacies of the sport, but Lucero’s voice has called the action for most of these roping competitors, including voicing the United States Team Roping Championship Finals, the BFI and the George Strait Team Roping, and more. The dynamic duo will be sure to entertain and inform the varied crowd.
“We’ve partnered with the American Rope Horse Futurity Association to hold their World Championship during the Snaffle Bit Futurity for several years,” said Anna Morrison, NRCHA executive director. “There are many cow horse-bred horses that make a career in the roping arena, and inviting ropers to compete in the cow horse pen seemed like a perfect next step for this event!”
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With experience handling and reading cattle, moving into the cow horse arena is a natural fit for many ropers, as well as cutting horse competitors. The event follows the Cow Horse for Cutters Invitational event on October 20, and precedes the crowd favorite event, the Open Bridle Finals. The event is open to the public and not ticketed. For more information on the Snaffle Bit Futurity, visit NRCHA.com.
Be sure to follow along with the reined cow horse action, which continues through the Snaffle Bit Futurity Finals on October 23, by visiting the show in person or watching the free, live web broadcast at NRCHA.com.
Based in Pilot Point, Texas, the National Reined Cow Horse Association was formed in 1949 in California, with the goal of preserving and educating the public about the rich history of this traditional horsemanship. The NRCHA is responsible for promoting the sport and ensuring high standards of competition and continuing to work to keep the Vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry. The NRCHA also supports numerous affiliate clubs across the United States, Europe and abroad. These groups serve as the association’s backbone, holding many NRCHA-sanctioned competitions and events each year. For more information on these events and reined cow horse, visit www.nrcha.com.