Las Vegas, Nevada, is famous for its bright lights, non-stop excitement and world class entertainment. During the week ahead, it will also be home to some of the best reined cow horses and competitors in the country, as the 2014 National Reined Cow Horse Association Stakes kicked off yesterday, Sunday, March 30, at the South Point Equestrian Center.
The competition was underway at 8:00 a.m. (PDT), starting with the rein work for all nine Stakes divisions. The day began with the Open riders, and the first horse to enter the arena was the 2009 mare One Shiney Pistol (One Time Pepto x Shiners Lil Pistol x Shining Spark), shown by NRCHA Million Dollar Rider Todd Bergen, Eagle Point, Ore., for owner Roxanne Koepsell.
The NRCHA’s official videographer, Equine Promotion, provides a free live webcast of all the action from the South Point. See the live stream at www.NRCHA.com.
NRCHA Stakes competitors warm up in the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
The NRCHA Stakes, one of the association’s five Premier Events, annually boasts a payout of approximately $300,000. Last year’s Stakes Open Champion, Travelin Jonez (Smart Chic Olena x Travelin With Sass x Travalena), owned and shown by Chris Dawson, Jacksboro, Texas, earned more than $32,000 for the win! Part of the event’s success is its tie to the NRCHA Subscribed Stallion program. Nominators of NRCHA Subscribed Stallions pay a fee to make each year’s foal crop Stakes-eligible as 4- and 5-year-olds.
Chris Dawson and his stallion, Travelin Jonez, took home more than $32,000 as the 2013 Stakes Open Champions. Primo Morales photo.
Stakes entries are shown in a snaffle bit or hackamore. They are judged in three events: rein work, herd work and cow work. The event attracts many top NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity horses from the past two years, as well as those who might have missed the Futurity but are now ready to perform competitively. Besides paying lucrative checks to the Stakes winners, the NRCHA also presents a monetary award to the person who nominated the sire of the Stakes Champion in each division.
The event continues through Saturday, April 5. Besides the Stakes classes for 4- and 5-year-olds, a major show highlight is the $25,000-added Holy Cow Performance Horses Bridle Spectacular. This three-event herd work, rein work and cow work contest showcases the dynamic, highly trained bridle horses – the ultimate athletes of the NRCHA.
The Stakes also offers a full slate of NRCHA-approved and American Quarter Horse Association-approved horse show classes. Admission is free to the public, and spectators are invited to shop and enjoy the Western Gift Expo, open during show hours on the South Point Equestrian Center arena concourse.