Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Cup Finals attendees got a special treat the night of April 18 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Immediately following the $75,000 Canadian Pacific Show Jumping Grand Prix of Las Vegas, three show jumpers teamed with three National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) riders for the Duel in the Desert – a a special exhibition event.
2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ Team Bronze Medalist Lucy Davis and Tanya Levorchick, from the United States, and Olympic Gold Medalist Steve Guerdat, from Switzerland, grabbed a Western saddle horn aboard cow horses, cut a cow and then did short fence work runs, while NRCHA riders Tucker Robinson, Zane Davis and Brandon Buttars tested out their English saddle skills riding through a jumper course.
Guerdat, the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist and three-time Olympian from Switzerland, represented Europe and teamed up with Brandon Buttars. A true example of what a reined cow horse rider is all about, Buttars has made the finals in every major event in which he has competed.
Levorchick was teamed with Zane Davis, the newest NRCHA Million Dollar Rider. His diverse background includes championships in bareback and saddle bronc riding, and he has also competed in the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge.
The youngest participant in the Duel was 22-year-old Lucy Davis. Her accomplishments include winning the prestigious 2013 Grand Prix in Lausanne, Switzerland, on the Global Champions Tour, and to date, she is the youngest rider to win on that circuit. In her teens, she won four consecutive grand prix classes, including the Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert. She was teamed up with Tucker Robinson, who won the 2010 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Championship. Robinson has more than a half-million dollars in lifetime cow horse earnings.
Entertainment is a Las Vegas trademark, and the saddle-switch extravaganza did not disappoint. Each show jumper executed a sliding stop, spin, cut a cow and did a short fence work run, while each cowboy rode a jumper course of seven obstacles. The crowd cheered enthusiastically for their favorites and a good time was had by all.
Buttars, of Snowville, Utah, proved his horsemanship skills were keen when he and teammate Guerdat guided their horses to a win. Guerdat took his first ride on a reined cow horse aboard Lenas Buddy Nic (PT) (Nic It In The Bud x Dual Lena [PT] x Mister Dual Pep).