Non-pro cutter Bob Kingsley could tell that Tom Holt (pictured) was in transit, when Kingsley called the show announcer at 8:30 on Friday morning, August 25.
“Where are you going?” asked Kingsley, who figured Holt would be at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, where he was announcing for the North Texas Cutting Horse Horse Association Summer Circuit.
“I’m going to bed,” said Tom, who had just completed a 24-hour marathon at the microphone.
The show, which began on Wednesday, August 23 with a $500-added open and non-pro limited age event that drew 213 entries, exploded on Thursday with 324 entries. The last class on Thursday’s schedule ended at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, which had a slate of 292 entries.
“We had no idea this was going to happen,” said co-show secretary Patti Gustin. “We had originally asked about using Watt Arena. It was booked, but Will Rogers Coliseum wasn’t.
“A lot of people thought that NCHA rules prohibited (clubs from) showing in Will Rogers. But that’s not the case. You can’t have practice works in the coliseum. So we didn’t have any 3-year-old events and our fresh cattle works were held in John Justin Arena.
“We thought this would give riders who don’t ride in limited age events an opportunity to show in Will Rogers.
And I think that’s one of the reasons so many people turned up.”
If contestants had not been required to enter one day in advance, Gustin thinks there would have been even more entries. As it was, she and co-secretary Janna Robinson had all they could do to keep up with their duties and catch a few hours of sleep.
Chris Benedict, president of the North Texas CHA had his hands full as well trying to track down cattle, especially in light of the drought afflicting North Texas. Entries demanded more than 1,000 head of cattle per day.
The round-the-clock schedule was also hard on the four judges – Jim Carr, Corky Sokol, Rick Mowery and Freddie McGee – who had to work in rotating shifts. Although the City of Fort Worth charges more for the use of Will Rogers Coliseum after midnight, judges stuck with the graveyard shift received the same rate as the daylight crew.
In light of the success of the show, North Texas CHA plans to hold another event in Will Rogers Coliseum next May, as well as the summer circuit in August.