Historic Silver Spring Ranch south of Bellevue was the setting for the Idaho Cutting Horse Association's Summer Spectacular held July 12-14. 400 cutters from all over the Northwest converged on Tom O'Gara's spread for three days of action which featured the largest payout in the show's four-year history, according to organizer Nancy Enright. "It's really putting Idaho on the map," Enright said. "The show has grown every year."
A large local audience watched the local cutters take home their fair share of the loot. Local businesses and individuals chipped in $12,100 in added money for many of the classes, which was a huge draw for the riders. The total payout for the show was $40,397. "Something we are real proud of is our youth scholarship fund," Enright said. "Kids get a chance to earn money for college and it is really a big draw and something we are happy to do."
The Junior and Senior classes attracted 35 young riders competing for $1,800 in prize money, provided by the Idaho-Utah Youth Scholarship Fund. The young cutters were also able to show their horses against fresh cattle for nominal entry fees due to the generous donations by Rancher's Supply in Picabo, Atkinson's Market and Dry Nest Animal Bedding.
Enright said saddles and "other gorgeous things" were also awarded.
Lita West, on One Life Line, was the winner in Never Won a Buckle Class on Saturday. In addition to collecting a beautiful trophy buckle sponsored by Tom Buck of Picabo and KRN Bookeeping in Hailey, West qualified for the "shootout" finals in Nampa at the ICHA Futurity and Aged event.
The show featured 14 individual classes each day, all approved by the National Cutting Horse Association.
Cutting is an enduring link with the Old West based on actual ranch work where cowboys single out one cow for branding or doctoring. The judged event demands trust, agility and intelligence on the part of both horse and rider.
Also playing a huge role in the show's success were John Uhrig and Ted Uhrig. Enright estimated the local men ran at least a 1,000 head of cattle through the arena over the three-day span.
Local results are as follows:
First place money: Kade Smith, Bellevue, $3,000 Novice Non Pro 2 days. Gina Macdonald, owner, $10,000 Novice Horse.
Second place money: Gina Macdonald, Ketchum, owner Open. Cindy Mann, Carey, $50,000 Amateur. Gina Macdonald, owner, $10,000 Novice Horse. LeeAnn Ferris, Hailey, $3,000 Novice Non-Pro. Lee Ann Ferris, Hailey, $20,000 Non-Pro. Hazel and Scott Thorne, owners, Open Derby. Hazel Thorne, Picabo, Non-Pro Derby.
Third place money: Nancy Enright, Ketchum, $50,000 Amateur. John Flood, Picabo, Non-Pro Derby, 2 days. Lita West, Carey, $2,000 Ltd. Rider.
Also competing and finishing just out of the money were Corneil Therrien of Ketchum, Dolly Thacker of Bellevue, Tom Buck of Picabo and Hanna Thacker of Bellevue.
Show sponsored included AmerinInn Lodges and Suites, DryNest Animal Bedding, First Bank of Idaho, Bank of America Private Banking, US Bank Private Banking (Ketchum and Twin Falls), Sawtooth Auto Sales, Sawtooth Equine Service, Les Schwab Tire Center, Full Moon Steak House, Sawtooth Wood Products, Sawtooth Tack & Feed.
The ICHA Summer Spectacular is part of the Mountain West Champion Series, an awards series based on 2007 total earnings from seven shows in Utah and Idaho.
With one show remaining the competition is heating up for the beautiful Roohide saddles and other fine awards the top five places in each class will receive.
The growing popularity of cutting contests across the country has made this equine sport one of the four riches in the U.S. in terms of prize money. The Idaho Cutting Horse Association produces one of the top ten ranked Futurity/Aged events in the country. This year it is scheduled for Sept. 6-16 at The Idaho Center's Horse Park in Nampa.