NRCHA Fort Dodge Celebration of Champions Begins January 31

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Bob AvilaThe 2009 National Reined Cow Horse Association Fort Dodge Animal Health Celebration of Champions is now underway. The prestigious reined cow horse event has moved to a new home – the 1st Community Federal Credit Union Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas. The new venue is sure to make great impressions on the exhibitors, thanks to the hospitality and support from the San Angelo Community.

From complimentary shuttle services to points of interest in San Angelo and a concierge desk to help plan excursions, to exhibitor breakfasts and help finding stalls, the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Association and its volunteers have rallied together in hopes of making this event spectacular.

The nine days of competition begin on January 31. The nation’s top 4- and 5-year-old cow horses compete in herd work, rein work, and cow work in the Circle Y Ranch SRCHA Derby, which will conclude on February 2. In 2008, the three-day event crowned champions in seven divisions paid out an impressive $107,303 to 203 entries. Corey Cushing piloted Soula Moolah to the Open Championship, pocketing $11,753.

On February 3, the preliminary competition kicks off for the 2008 NRCHA World Championship Show, presented by John Deere. All year long, contestants showed in the 12 reined cow horse classes to earn a chance to compete for the World title. Last year the show saw 289 entries compete in preliminary competition with the top 10 in each class advancing to the clean-slate finals for a chance at a title and part of the $171,299 purse. The World Championship Show Finals will be held Friday, February 6, and Saturday, February 7.

And on February 8, the final day of the Celebration of Champions, the western horse industry’s best riders and horses will team up for the World’s Greatest Horseman contest to win one very impressive title. The event tests each team’s skill in the traditional reined cow horse events – cutting, reining, and cow work – but also adds one more element, steer stopping, to the mix. The 31 entries will compete in the preliminary competition early in the week, narrowing the field to the top ten. In 2008, Russell Dilday and Topsails Rien Maker earned the Championship and $30,000 – and are retuning in 2009 to avenge their title. In fact, every former Champion rider will be competing in the event in 2009.

Admission to the NRCHA Fort Dodge Animal Health Celebration of Champions is free during the Circle Y Ranch SRCHA Derby and Preliminary week, and will be $5 February 6-7 and $10 on February 8 for the World’s Greatest Horseman Finals. There will also be a weekend package available for $15. Along with the great reined cow horse action in the arena, participants can enjoy a great trade show, which will be in the arena concourse and in the NAME building.

This year will be one for the NRCHA’s history books. Along with the move of one of its largest shows, the Association will celebrate its 60th Anniversary, and the new NRCHA Youth Association will announce its first NRCHYA Officers.

For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at www.nrcha.com.

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