Peach State Futurity
Continued Growth for the Peach State Futurity
When thinking of the south, Southern hospitality often comes to mind, and the Peach State Futurity is no exception. This annual show, held the second week in August in Perry, Georgia, has solidified its place on the summer show schedule for cutters far and wide.
Since its inception, the Peach State Futurity and Region 5 Youth Scholarship Cutting has seen tremendous growth, nearly doubling in size from the original three-day schedule with just under 470 entries in 2015 to boast six days of competition and almost 950 entries in 2020. Eager to get back in the show pen, exhibitors came from as far away as Canada and Texas to attend the 2020 event.
“There’s something for everybody at the Peach State Futurity,” said Jeff Fehrman, president of Area 18 Cutting Horse Association. “We’ve got classes for the Youth, we’ve got aged event stuff and we’ve got weekend competition. I think that’s been one of the successes of this show.”
Offering Southern hospitality in abundance, Jeff and his wife, Ashley, and the entire Peach State Futurity staff have remained committed to providing attendees and sponsors a great experience as the show continues to grow.
“Getting the support of the trainers has been really huge,” Ashley said. “From day one, Jeff called trainers to ask what we could do get them to come out and what would make it a good show for them and their clients. Everything we hear, we try to implement, and I think it’s really catching on.”
Moving into the brand-new Purdue Arena at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, the 2020 Peach State had an increase of 192 entries from 2019. The new arena also provided a new location for the popular VIP lounge—this year with views of the show pen —allowing for sponsors to enjoy food and drink each night while simultaneously watching the tough cutting competition unfold.
“The cutting is good here, but you go to a lot of good cuttings,” Walt Erwin, Area 18 Cutting Horse Association board member and NCHA trainer said. “Everybody you ask that comes [to the Peach State] says, ‘Yes, I’m coming back to Perry because that’s the most fun I have at a cutting all year.’ It’s a very competitive, good cutting, both inside and outside the arena.”
The Region 5 Youth Scholarship Cutting has remained a stronghold of the event with $20,000 awarded annually in scholarships. In addition to the scholarship cutting, a stallion auction is held each year with all proceeds directly benefitting the scholarship fund.
“We have to thank Cathy Varnadore, [the scholarship cutting is] her baby. She has really worked tirelessly for these youth. It’s been a blessing,” Ashley said.
First becoming involved when her son, Joey, showed in the Youth, Varnadore has remained an integral part of the scholarship cutting even after her son aged out of Youth competition.
“I have a special place in my heart for these kids,” Varnadore said. “Showing has been a really incredible experience for Joey and our family and being able to give [the Youth] scholarship money is a really great thing. That’s why I keep doing it, because I just know how special it is to these kids.”
With planning already underway for the 2021 show, the team looks forward to continued growth. The schedule has been extended to add an additional day in hopes of avoiding the late night cutting that happened this year, often well past 2:00 a.m. The scholarship cutting, stallion auction and Open and Non-Pro Shootouts that took place this year will return, and the 2021 show will see the addition of an Amateur Shootout.
“In 2021, we’re going to take the top three money earners in the $15,000 Amateur, $35,000 Non-Pro and $50,000 Amateur and do a shootout with the amateurs,” Jeff said. “This is really trying to help our weekend shows throughout the year and give the amateurs another way to compete.”
Even with the new additions in 2021, the event promises to provide the same welcoming family atmosphere and fierce cutting competition that attendees have come to expect year to year.
“We can’t do it without all the support, and I’d like to say thank you to the sponsors and thank you to the competitors. We look forward to seeing you next year, and we’ll try to let you get a little more rest,” laughed Erwin.