NCHA World Finals offers record $256,400 purse

Nothing tops the John Deere/NCHA World Championship Finals, held in the Astroarena during Houston's world famous Livestock Show & Rodeo, for drama and excitement. But this year's event, February 15 Ð 18, will set a new record, with a purse double the size of last year's and showdowns for the title of World Champion in both open and non pro divisions.Nothing tops the John Deere/NCHA World Championship Finals, held in the Astroarena during Houston's world famous Livestock Show & Rodeo, for drama and excitement. But this year's event, February 15 Ð 18, will set a new record, with a purse double the size of last year's and showdowns for the title of World Champion in both open and non pro divisions.

Story originally posted by Horsecity.com Staff

Nothing tops the John Deere/NCHA World Championship Finals, held in the Astroarena during Houston’s world famous Livestock Show & Rodeo, for drama and excitement. But this year’s event, February 15 Ð 18, will set a new record, with a purse double the size of last year’s and showdowns for the title of World Champion in both open and non pro divisions.

Less than $2,500 separates number-one-ranked open horse Bet Yer Blue Boons, owned by Oxbow Ranch of Weatherford, Texas, and Dont Hava Cow, owned by Kay Floyd of Stephenville, Texas. Ridden throughout her career by Lindy Burch, 11-year-old Bet Yer Blue Boons was recently installed into the NCHA Hall of Fame. Her lifetime earnings of more than $296,000 place her among cutting’s 50 all-time leading money earners. In 2000, she won $57,817.

Dont Hava Cow, a 6-year-old mare ridden by Glen Blankenship, earned $55,453 in her quest for the 2000 World Championship title, and she still has a chance to topple Bet Yer Blue Boons, if she earns enough money during the Finals. Featuring the top 15 money earners in each division, the Finals consists of four go-rounds. In a race as close as this year’s open competition, and with a hefty $256,400 purse, the lead for World Champion can change from day to day. If a horse wins all four go-rounds, it will add a whopping $32,050 to its year-end total – $6,410 per go-round plus the high cumulative total award.

Lindy Burch, one of cutting’s top 15 all-time leading riders with more than $2.3 million earned primarily in limited age events, is seeking her first World Championship title. Burch, however, is no stranger to Houston. In 1999, she shattered a Finals record when she scored a 233, topping the previous high mark by 2 1Ú2 points. The coup was one in a long list of accomplishments for Bet Yer Blue Boons, whose dam, Royal Blue Boon, is cutting’s all-time leading producer.

Bet Yer Blue Boons and Dont Hava Cow are both sired by Freckles Playboy, cutting’s number three leading sire, with nearly $19 million in foal earnings. Both Dont Hava Cow and Freckles Playboy, now 28-years-old, are owned by former Non-Pro World Champion Kay Floyd.

While the race among non-pro competitors is not as close as the hotly contested open division, Mary Jo Milner, currently ranked second with $51,107, still has a chance to bump Don Boone, with $62,172, out of the top spot. Milner’s husband and NCHA President, Jim Milner, also has a shot at upsetting Boone. Jim is sitting in third place with earnings of $41,353. The Milner’s, whose son Joey is also a Non-Pro Finals competitor (currently ranked 11th), live in Southlake, TX.

Don Boone, of West Columbia, TX, has placed among non pro top ten contenders eight times in the last nine years and was reserve non pro World Champion in 1993. Mary Jo Milner is a two-time non pro World Champion (1981 and 1986) and was reserve World Champion in 1973, 1974, and 1978. Jim Milner was non pro World Champion in 1974, and reserve Champion in 1977 and 1981.

For more information about the NCHA or the World Championship Finals, call the NCHA offices at (817) 244-6188 or visit the NCHA website at www.nchacutting.com.