A National Cutting Horse Association competition running through Tuesday at State Fair Park has drawn more competitors than ever before.
About 1,000 cowboys and cowgirls will battle in 16 categories during the Non-Pro and Open Cutting tournament, show manager Della Hillerman said.
The tournament is in its 23rd year, with the past 18 happening at State Fair Park, Hillerman said.
Competitors from 26 states and Canada will attempt to do the best job of pulling one cow away from the herd and keeping it away as long as possible.
“This show is really unique from any other event the NCHA has,” Hillerman said. “The origin of the show was it was for non-pros and amateurs and that's how it was for years.”
Now the show lets professional trainers compete, but the emphasis is still on the non-pro riders, she said. At most cutting shows, the professional riders get the best time slots and compete first, followed by the amateurs. The Non-Pro is the opposite, Hillerman said.
Riders are scored based on how good the horse looks, how hard it is worked, how hard the cow tries to get back to the herd and how well the horse keeps the cow away.
“It's almost like ‘Dancing with the Stars' how they get so tuned up that they're moving with each other,” Hillerman said. “A really good cutting horse will be tuned so fine that he can move with the cow like that.”