AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Aug. 30
The entry form for the AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge in Rapid City, S.D., is now available online. The challenge, the second event of its kind this year, will take place on Aug. 30 at the Kjerstad Event Center. Entry fees are $285, including office and cattle charges and a $50 stall fee for the entire event; the deadline to enter is Aug. 15.
Exhibitors will compete for their share of the $15,500-added in purse money. The open and non-pro will split $10,000 of the purse, and an extra $3,500 will be added to the limited open class, courtesy of Open Box Rafter Ranch.
For Rapid City, the AQHA Ranching Council also added a cowboy class for family members and full-time employees of AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders. The council also included a Novice amateur class for those who are just getting started in ranch horse competition. Each of the new classes will have $1,000 added to the purse, making the total added money for the event more than $15,000.
Any 4-year-old horse that was bred by an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder can compete in the open or limited open divisions, while any 5-year-old or older horse that was bred by a Ranching Heritage Breeder can compete in the non-pro, amateur or Novice amateur classes.
"The first AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge was an exciting contest, and we expect just as tight a competition in South Dakota," said Jim Bret Campbell, AQHA senior director of marketing and publications. "There are sure to be some great professional cowboys on some athletic 4-year-olds, but the challenges are also a chance for non-pros and amateurs to show off older ranch horses that have been working day-in, day-out for a few years--the kind of horses that have some solid experience."
Each competitor will be asked to complete a short reining pattern, which will be followed by the release of a cow into the arena. The competitor is required to box the cow at the short end of the arena before taking it down the fence and turning it both ways, similar to working cow horse. The open riders must then rope and stop the cow, while the non-pros and amateurs have the option of circling the cow. Riders have six minutes to complete the class. For full rules and information, visit www.aqha.com/ranchingheritage.
The Ranching Heritage Challenge has big goals for future challenges.
"We're excited about this year's success, and our goal is to grow the AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge into six regional events, each with a purse of $100,000," Campbell said. "We anticipate four Ranching Heritage events in 2013 that will include classes for nominated horses and entry fees for older horses."
The AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders program has been growing consistently since its start-up nine months ago. There are approximately 170 Ranching Heritage Breeders, a number that continues to rise.
"We know our ranchers are the grass-roots producers of American Quarter Horses, and we hope that the Ranching Heritage Breeders program will provide opportunities for them to market their good ranch horses," Campbell said. "AQHA and the ranching community have always known the value of a ranch horse. Now we're going to let the rest of the world know."