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NSHA Futurity Week moves to Las Vegas

New venue, new sponsors and new energy greet tradition of the cow horse way

Special to the Horsetrader - August 8th, 2018 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

1808a_coverLAS VEGAS, Nev.—There’s deeply rooted tradition in the discipline of reined cow horse, and the horsemen and horsewomen preparing for fall aged events will surely abide by the time-honored techniques and practices that make this sport so beloved.

But innovation surrounds the events that showcase these horses, and no one has been more leading-edge than the National Stock Horse Association, which is moving its signature event from Paso Robles to Las Vegas this year.

South Point Hotel and Casino, designed and built with equestrians in mind, will host the 2018 NSHA Futurity, Derby and World’s Richest Stock Horse competition Aug. 21-26. It will be the first time this event, which began decades ago as a summer coming out party for trainers to show their 3-year-old prospects before the venerable National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity, takes place outside California—the cradle of reined cow horse. The NRCHA moved its World Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity to Fort Worth, Texas, last year.

But the old “pre-Futurity” has evolved into more than a pre-Snaffle Bit tune-up. With NSHA at the reins, each year since it branded the event in 2010 as the NSHA Futurity, there has been innovation. This year, it’s more than just the venue—there is a $20,000-added Non Pro Bridle Spectacular sponsored by Discount Tire to go along with popular derbies that show organizers expect to be bigger than ever.

We talked with NRCHA Hall of Famer Ken Wold, based in Wilton, and with three-time NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman Russell Dilday to hear their view of the NSHA’s exciting move.


What role does this NSHA show have?

This futurity is invaluable for the Western U.S. Without having the NRCHA Futurity at Reno, people on the West Coast are pretty much without anything. By the NSHA stepping up and making its futurity better, it keeps our industry rolling. It’s that important to us. Without that, there’d be a real dead-spot or a vacuum in our reined cow horse industry in California.

Now we’ve got that futurity in Las Vegas, which has a derby, and the Reno Futurity is being put on, and you have the one in Texas—it really strengthens the industry.

For myself, standing my Brother Jackson, it gives us a place to showcase the horses instead of going all the way to Texas. As far as breeding and people raising horses, the whole atmosphere is really special—and I can’t thank them enough for it.

Any thoughts about relocating to Las Vegas?

I love it. By going to Vegas, you get less expensive room rates and many don’t have to drive all over the country. It’s a beautiful facility—I can’t say enough about it.

What do you see for the future of this event?

I think it will become bigger and bigger because it is easier to get to and more affordable once you get there. You take an average trainer—when he goes, he has to take help. And, if you’ve got a big stable, you’ve got a number of horses and a number of people, so when you start looking at the hotels and the food costs, it really makes it hard. South Point facility is the best.

The show has something for everybody, no question about it. It’s not a little pre-futurity. It’s something you get ready for and you want to do well at it.


I guess the biggest thing is moving to Las Vegas at South Point. The response has been overwhelming. We don’t have all our entries yet, so we really don’t know how its going to go. But it feels like we’re going to get way more non-pro participation from Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and Utah—all those states that are a little ways out of California that don’t have to go so far this year. We’ve had several open trainers from Texas and Oklahoma say that they are going to come to the futurity this year—people who we could not get to come all the way to Paso before.

Paso is awesome from California because it’s such a great facility. But when you stack that extra eight or nine hours on that trip from Texas or Oklahoma, you turn it into a long two-day trip. Vegas they can make in one day. That’s big for them.

South Point was great to us, and we will have rooms that will be $67 per night on weekdays and $107 on the weekend. That’s helping our customers. Our cattle fees are going to be a little higher this year because we wanted to keep the same quality we had last year. They really fit the pre-futurity horses. They’re not the big, stronger cattle you might have at the Fort Worth futurity two months later—they are just good cattle. They’ll run, but they won’t run you over. It really worked out last year, so we stayed with them. It’s a little more expensive to get them out there, but the savings of the room cost will more than make up for it—it’s probably $30-35 a horse more for cattle, but you save $100 a night on the room! And the credit for that goes to South Point.

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