NCHA Western Championships Come to Reno

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RENO, Nev. -- Cowboys and cowgirls from across the west are gathering in Reno this week thanks to the National Cutting Horse Association. It's a unique event that bring together horse-lovers from around the world.

It's not your typical Sunday afternoon sporting event. It's a fascinating competition that features a horse's agility and cow sense.

"The harder the horse stops, the lower the horse gets, the more dynamics the horse has the more exhilarating it is for the crowd to watch," Al Dunning, professional horse trainer said.

For horse lovers like DeDee McWhorter, they just can't get enough. S been competing for 10 years in national and world cutting horse championships.

"I learn something every time I ride him, he just keeps getting better and better," she said.

The goal is to cut the cow away from the herd. Both professional and amateur riders have two-and-a-half minutes to showcase their horses' natural instincts.

"They have an innate ability to work a cow. They want to run after a cow, they want to stop a cow, it's bred in them," Dunning said.

Like with many other sports, athletes have to train and be aware of their situation. In the practice pen, a flag acts as a horse to practice and develop their 'cow sense.'

"It's fun, it's exhilarating, it's a thrill to have a horse react to a cow the way they do and have something inside their heads that says, 'I really like what I'm doing,'" Dunning said.

Together, the horse and his rider work as a team to take down the opponent.

"It's kind of like an addiction because each horse I get I try to bring out the best in them and I think that brings out the best in me too," he said.

Coordinators say the event will generate about $3 million dollars for the local economy.

The championships will continue through Wednesday starting at 8 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.