Catering to the Cutter
Catering to the Cutter
There is no shortage of cutting competitions available for both the weekend and aged event competitor alike. With only so many weekends each year, many affiliates have to make the tough decision to host shows on the same weekend as other nearby affiliates.
“We had to do something different,” East Tennessee CHA President Tracy Surles said. “Scheduling shows on top of one another wasn’t allowing any of us to be as successful as we could be if we worked together.”
Four affiliates from Area 22 decided it was time for a change. The East Tennessee, Country Music, Central Alabama Heart of Dixie and Northeast Alabama cutting horse associations all met with one goal: create a schedule with the benefit of the cutter in mind.
The group spent two years working towards a schedule with no conflicts between them. This collaboration has enabled all four affiliates and Area 22 as a whole to become more successful in terms of membership, entry numbers and finances.
“When we do work together, really great things can happen to benefit the cutting horse and the cutting horse world,” said Charlie Israel, Northeast Alabama Cutting Horse Association president.
Additionally, NEALCHA has seen an increase of entries due to another minor scheduling change. Their modified schedule begins with aged event classes on Friday afternoon. Saturday morning kicks off with the regular weekend schedule, followed by aged event competition. Finally, Sunday competition begins in the morning with only weekend competition.
By catering to the Amateur and entry level competitor from a scheduling standpoint, NEALCHA is allowing for these competitors to show in the middle of the day as opposed to late into the night. This allows these competitors to experience the entire cutting environment, especially the social and family aspects, that they may otherwise miss.
“I think it’s important that we don’t really have to reinvent the wheel to stimulate growth,” Israel said. “This was a real simple change that has been well received by the trainers and competitors.”
The NEALCHA October LAE and Weekend Show, held October 10-13 in Rainsville, Alabama, was one of the biggest shows the affiliate has had. More than 200 stalls were occupied throughout the event, and more than 315 cuts were made.
On top of the large show, NEALCHA also welcomed the ETCHA Lisa Reid Memorial Bridleless Cutting and Silent Auction. These benefits were initially scheduled during the ETCHA September show, but the show was canceled due to their facility’s COVID-19 restrictions. The reality of cutters helping cutters brought another level of excitement to the event.
In addition to the bridleless cutting and silent auction hosted by ETCHA, NEALCHA hosted a Paul Hansma clinic which ended up being a benefit as well. The facility, North East Alabama Agri Business Center, donated use of the grounds for those two days and cattle for the clinic was also donated. As a result, the full clinic fees were able to be used as a benefit.
All in, nearly $25,000 was raised from the Lisa Reid Memorial Bridleless Cutting and Silent Auction and the Paul Hansma Clinic. These funds were able to be donated to worthy causes connected to the Area 22 affiliates.
“The biggest benefit has been the affiliates working together,” Israel said. “I think people attending really enjoyed that whole environment. The idea that we were helping other people that had had some tough times helped the whole atmosphere of the cutting too.”