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News

Cutting: Congress Style

October 4th, 2015

By: Barbara Aitken 

“Good cattle. Good judging. Good footing. That’s what makes a successful cutting,” says Chuck Smith, the President Elect of the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA).

 Smith’s checklist for a successful cutting, along with one certified NCHA secretary, 4,000ft of portable panels, 75-100 round bales and 32 semi loads of those good cattle, the NCHA approved All American Quarter Horse Congress (AAQHC) Cutting runs without a hitch.

 Smith, a resident of Canal Winchester, Ohio is one of the driving forces behind the AAQHC Cutting. With his Ohioan roots coupled with his strong ties to NCHA, the AAQHC Cutting is booming.  

“The Congress is the cornerstone cutting show in the northeast section of the United States. Columbus is our Ft. Worth.”

Exhibitors can compete in a wide range of classes for both Non Pro and Open riders. “People come to compete for all levels,” says Smith. “Our goal is to make it with enough money for the top Non Pro and Open riders and affordable enough for the grassroots riders.”

The idea of a diverse class roster and award system broad enough for every cutter who competes at an NCHA approved event a concept that NCHA is planning to enhance in the near future. Gist Silversmith Achievement Buckles will be awarded to NCHA members who earn money at any NCHA approved show. The Achievement buckles are based on a 7 layer scale: $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, $25,000, and $50,000. Each buckle has a medallion placed in the design that reads the amount of money won by the exhibitor and a 7 notch bar. For each achieved level, the exhibitor will be able to send their buckle to Gist who will replace the medallion with the updated level and place a stone in the 7 notch bar to represent each level achieved.

According to Smith, the cutting industry experienced a shrinking effect in recent years. “The sport became expensive, young people weren’t interested, and the cattle market plummeted.”

However, Smith believes that cutting is turning toward a positive incline. “We’re addressing the cattle issue, we’re developing more non-pro options for the younger generations to get involved, and we’re making the shows more affordable for the grassroots exhibitors.”

As for the AAQHC, Smith is assured that the cutting events will continue to grow. “People put the Congress in their calendar each year. It is the place to be.”

For more information on the National Cutting Horse Association or their Achievement Buckles please visit their website at nchacutting.com.