Things are really picking up around the country for the NCHA Challenger Series and the event held in Gonzales, Louisiana, is certainly no exception!
The Challenger Event hosted more than 100 entries, the majority of which participated in the innovative team cutting concept developed by Keith Deaville. The format is an unapproved class in which participants can enter three times. Names are drawn to then form 3-man teams. Each team member gets to cut for one minute for a total of three minutes per team. Scores are then combined to determine the winner. At this event, there were a total of 19 teams that competed. This format is helpful for participants because it allows competitors to be in and out within a day.
Mr. Deaville has always had the 15k Amateur Class first at his Challenger Series cuttings and the class has never had fewer than 17 entries, generally with two bunches. He feels this is unique and important because it allows competitors in the class to compete first, have fresh cattle and good help available to them, and to have the spot light on them. “These are the beginners,” says Mr. Deaville. “They are the main target for our industry. We have also been so fortunate that some of the local trainers in the area have supported the events with their help and their clientele.”
“It reminded me of the old days,” said NCHA Executive Director Chuck Smith, who was in attendance. “It brought back the way the primary reason to go to the cutting events is as much for the fun as it is for the completion.” And that is what was so evident at the event: just how much fun everyone was having. The Challenger Series cuttings are as much about the cutting community and fostering the friendships and connections within as they are about the cutting itself. Mr. Deaville had a fresh cattle practice session followed by a clinic / workshop for the Amateurs the night before the show along with a pot luck dinner. A used cattle practice session was held the following morning.
“It appeared to be an exciting and fun time had by all,” stated Mr. Smith.
“We were so glad to have Mr. Smith in attendance,” shared Mr. Deaville. “The participants were all very happy and impressed by his visit.”