The 32nd Augusta Futurity is in full swing beginning today.
After holding five days of companion events, the show now turns to the cutting portion. The Classic Open first go-round, which begins at 9 a.m. at James Brown Arena, kicks off the first of four long days.
Because of a decrease in cutters from Texas -- the state that usually brings the most cowboys and cowgirls -- Augusta Futurity officials shortened the cutting portion to four days. Futurity operations manager Sherry Fulmer said fewer entries this year is just a part of the show's more than three-decade cycle.
"If you look at the 32-year history of the show," she said, "it has ebbed and flowed directly because of the economy."
While the Open and Non-Pro events feature fewer entries, the Augusta Futurity has seen an uptick in amateur entries. More than 130 amateurs will compete in four events, Friday and Saturday.
"I think there's even more excitement this year because the amateur numbers are up," Fulmer said. "That's a positive thing."
While go-rounds comprise today and Thursday, the Classic Open and Non-Pro finals will be held Friday evening. Before the Classic events begin, the Area 18 Youth Scholarship Cutting will commence at 6:30.
On Saturday, the Wrangler Family Fun Fest will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside James Brown Arena. The free event will feature live music, cloggers and a petting zoo. At 7 p.m. Saturday, opening ceremonies will precede the Futurity Non-Pro and Open finals.