RENO, NV - 70 professional and amateur riders are in town for the Rancharrah Cow Horse Classic. The three-day event is a first for the facility. The arena is ideal for stops, slides and cow savvy.
70-year-old Gary Schench gets his horse "I'm No Plain Remedy" ready for the day's competition.
This is the first time for him and his horse and all the other horse and riders to show their stuff at the Rancharrah Cow Horse Classic.
“The cow he selects and he has to keep him out there for a time to show off his horse. The horse works properly and he goes back to get another cow and he tries to get three cows out in the 2 and a half minutes,” says Schench as he describes the first day’s competition of sorting cows.
Most horses who compete in this arena are Quarter Horses.
Their riders can be amateurs like Gary or professionals who are often riding other owner's horses.
Besides herding cows, the Cow Horse Classic will also have the horses and their riders perform a set of patterns, as well as chase a cow down a fence line in a controlled manner.
“That can get real exciting, because it goes really fast,” says Schench.
The skills are literally for show, but they are also used in the real world of ranching.
A sick cow may need to be separated from the herd.
A rider may have to cover some territory quickly to locate a separated calf.
But for the next three days no such emergency exists.
What remains is the magical connection between horse and rider who together know just what to do.
Organizers at Rancharrah had hoped to have events like this at their facility since they opened it up to the public nearly a year ago.
But they didn't want just cutting horse competition.
The Cow Horse Classic fits the bill.
The cow horses and their riders hope to earn points to get the World Championships in Oklahoma City.
The professionals and amateur getting the highest points this weekend will win cash prizes.