Behind The Scenes At The Breeder's Invitational
Author: Lauren Middleton & Mark Michels
The 2017 Breeder's Invitational wrapped up another very successful show which has become the standard for this event every year. Its continued success is due in large part to the people that make up this show and the hard work that goes into producing a show of this size. The show manager, Bob O’Bannon, along with the “BI Board of Directors” made up of; Jeffrey Mathews, Linda Holmes, Dustin Adams, Billy Martin, Danny Miller, Harland Radomske, Benny Martinez and Jim Haworth, are always coming up with new ideas to keep the cutters coming back each year. Bob has also put together a great team in the BI office that ensures the smooth operation of this show including Kathryn Webb, Colleen Holt and Ricky Cox along with many other great team members outside the office.
Additional purses such as the Breeder's Sale Incentives and family friendly events such as the "BI Kids Cutting" along with the history of good cattle and big payouts are just some of the added features that make this show special each year.
Breeder's Invitational Show Producer Bob O'Bannon
The Breeder's Invitational started in 03' in Reno, NV and then moved to Las Vegas, NV in 06' for three years before the decision was made to move it to Tulsa, OK where it has been for the past nine years. BI Board member Jeffrey Mathews told us the decision was made to cancel the show in 2011 to "protect these valuable horses" due to the EHV1 Virus that impacted a large portion of the country, but since then it has been relatively smooth sailing! Like most other cutting horse shows, entries have been impacted from year to year due to political and economic speculation, but the consensus is that everyone loves this show and 2017 total entries were up over 200 from last year.
One of the main reasons for the large payouts at the BI year after year is the added money from the stallion incentive program that brings in the added money for this event. Stallion subscribers pay in an initial nomination fee based on the number of mares bred that year which all goes back into the purse for the four-year-old classes. There are over 400 stallions that have been subscribed over the years and roughly 120 stallions actively participating in the program from year to year. If the stallion has previously been nominated to the BI but is no longer active his eligible babies are still able to compete in the 5/6-year-old classes. It is only in the 4-year-old's that they must be actively nominated for their foals to be eligible for the added purses. The Sire and Dam owner of each 4-year-old finalists also receive a percentage of the purse giving them more motivation to make sure their horses are eligible to compete. It is an innovative program that benefits everyone and makes the results that much more exciting.
This year's Open Derby Champion "Cinca Im Hot" (Spots Hot) owned by Rocking P Ranch was piloted by Jesse Lennox to a $70,362.11 payday for their win!
The Non Pro Derby Champion was Samson Made Of Metal (Metallic Cat) owned and shown by Dean Holden who collected $26,200.35 for their win this year.
Another added feature of the Breeder's Invitational is the Western Bloodstock Sale Inventive. When yearlings are sold during the NCHA Western Bloodstock Futurity Sales, the buyer has the option to pay a nomination fee for the yearling to be eligible for the BI Sale Incentive program when they compete as four-year-olds. This year's Open BI Sale Incentive winner was "Metallic Alex" (Metallic Cat) owned by Scotty Rice and ridden by Tag Rice earning a check for $11,818.18 The Non-Pro BI Sale Incentive winner was "Superey" (Dual Rey) owned by Glover/ Galyean Partnership and ridden by Kristen Galyean also collecting a check for $11,818.18
2017 BI Sale Incentive winners Metallic Alex & Superey
Simpler reasons for the show being so successful are that the cows are usually some of the best we see all year thanks largely to the involvement of Bill and Dianna Helm who help locate and supply the cattle for the show. It is also worth noting how user-friendly the BI is with its entry collection, allowing cutters to enter classes at the last minute without penalty. This makes it tough to accurately plan out and schedule the show for the staff due to the uncertainty of actual numbers but allows cutters the flexibility to make last minute decisions on which horses to show.
Probably one of the most popular attractions of the show each year is "The BI Kids Cutting" hosted by Jan Seago and is something that everyone really looks forward to each year and drawing big crowds of spectators to the show. The kids have a great time dressing up and decorating their horses and often help each other in the arena purely for fun. The parents and trainers often ride along with the younger kids and enjoy this event just as much as the kids. Jan Seago is in charge of the "Practice Pens" at the BI every year and has grown the Kids Cutting to what it is now. When we asked her why she does it she told us "It warms my heart every year!". Jan is often in the arena cheering the loudest for every kid that walks to the herd and just one more example of the people that make this show what it is.
This year there were 40 kids in the lineup and it looks just to keep growing from year to year thanks in large part to Jan's dedication and hard work that make this event such a success. Kids were treated to Pizza and cupcakes thanks to the BI Show and Wes & Kristen Galyean and then competed for free showing their horses on fresh cattle provided by Bill & Dianne Helm. Jan was able to put together a special "Goodie bag" for each kid thanks to the generosity of sponsors and donators listed at the bottom of this article. T-Shirts were provided by Cutting Horse Central and a Special Quilt was donated by Jan's Aunt, Kay Hillard, which brought a winning bid the first time of $2,600 by Jeffrey & Sheri Mathews who donated it back to be purchased a second time by Austin & Stacy Shepard for another $2,000 who then gave the quilt to "Miracle Man", Lane Manion, as a special gift. Louis Pinard donated a breeding to "Bamacat" that raised an additional $825 and all this money will go into prizes and expenses for next year's 2018 BI Kids Cutting which is already shaping up to be even bigger than this year!
When speaking with Bob O'Bannon and Jeffrey Mathews about what keeps them involved with the production of this show they both agreed it was the people involved and competing at this show that make it special. It is what drives the BI staff year to year and keeps them motivated to make this show better and better. As said before the Breeders Invitational is a show to put on your calendar, we are sure that the experience will be a good one. We look forward to returning to Tulsa again in 2018 for another great event.
Donors for the 2017 BI Kids Cutting include:
- The BI Show (Pizza)
- Wesley & Kristen Galyean (Cupcakes)
- Bill & Dianne Helm (Fresh Cattle)
- Cuting Horse Central (T-Shirts)
- Matt & Megan Miller (bags)
- Kory & Jessica Pounds (Ballcaps)
- Kay Hillard (Quilt)
- Louis Pinard (Bamacat Breeding)
- Lloyd & Christina Cox (Photos)
- Anonymous Donor (Videos)
- Casey & Codie Green
- Bill & Kris Martin
- Beau & Ashley Galyean
- Dick & Cheryl Thompson
- Ken & Marcia Hanson
- Cara & Scott Brewer
- Robin Packard
- JB & Ginny McLamb
- Tom Guinn/ Metallic Rebel
- TJ & Ashley Good
- Jody Galyean
- Claudia Switzer
- Sean & Ashley Flynn
- Austin & Stacy Shepard (Auction winners)
- Jeffrey & Sheri Matthews (Auction winners)