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Boyd Rice and First Fletch Top World’s Greatest Horseman Herd Work Prelims

It was an exciting day of competition at the Fort Dodge Animal Health National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions as the first leg of World’s Greatest Horseman preliminaries began. Preliminary competition kicked off Wednesday, February 4, with the herd work – and prominent competitor Boyd Rice, of Spearman, Texas, rode First Fletch to an early lead. First Fletch, by Royal Fletch and out of First Peg, is owned by Burnett Ranches Ltd.

Rice, a National Cutting Horse Association million dollar rider, has made a seamless transition to cow horse competition. He earned a Reserve Championship at the prestigious NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity in 2005, and returned in 2007 to take the title. However, he has yet to earn a World’s Greatest Horseman finals berth. That could change, as his 223 score in the herd work gave him a four point lead over the next closest contender, and reigning World’s Greatest Horseman Champions, Russell Dilday and Topsails Rien Maker.

On Tuesday evening, February 3, the 31 World’s Greatest Horseman contestants received their commemorative back numbers at a special reception, held at the historic Fort Concho Stables. The elaborate reception, sponsored by Quarter Horse News and Classic Equine, hosted over 300 guests from both the San Angelo community and the reined cow horse show. Along with the back numbers, each contestant received a set of Classic Equine boots, and a jacket sponsored by Rios of Mercedes. Owners also received Rios of Mercedes jackets and thanks to sponsorship by photographer Primo Morales, they also received commemorative back numbers.

After the presentation, attendees stuck around for music from local band Clearwater, and the party lasted into the evening.

The World’s Greatest Horseman preliminary competition continues on Thursday, February 5, with the rein work, and the 10 finalists will be decided following the steer stopping and cow work preliminaries on Friday, February 6.

The Fort Dodge Animal Health NRCHA Celebration of Champions, held at the 1st Community Federal Credit Union Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas, runs through Sunday, February 8. The event begins daily at 8am, with the exception of Sunday, when it will begin at 10am.

The National Reined Cow Horse Association, celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2009, is the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes John Deere, Adequan®, Bob's Custom Saddles, Cinch, Inc., Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, MD Barns, Platinum Performance, Inc., Nutrena, Quarter Horse News & Performance Horse magazine, the Peppermill Hotel/Resort, Fort Dodge West Nile Innovator, Rios of Mercedes, Merial products ULCERGARD and EQUIOXX, Great American Insurance Company and the Silver Legacy Hotel, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at http://www.nrcha.com.


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