Originally created 01/26/01

Progressive show in Augusta influences change



The Augusta Futurity has undergone many changes during its 21-year run at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.

Since its inception in 1980, the show has taken a progressive stance and become an innovator in the cutting industry.

Here is a year-by-year rundown of the changes, improvements and alterations in the show:

1980

The inaugural show, known as the Atlantic Coast Cutting Futurity. It was managed by the Atlantic Coast Cutting Horse Association.

There was one division - the Futurity, for 4-year-old horses.

Number of competitors: 103.

1981

The show was increased from three to four days.

Number of competitors: 174.

1982

The show was increased to five days.

Number of competitors: 288.

1983

The show was increased to six days.

Three 100-stall stables were built at The Hippodrome on Schultz Hill in North Augusta. Before that, some of the horses where kept in the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center while others had to face the elements in open-air stalls outside the building.

A $5,000 Limit Non-Pro championship prize was introduced.

Top Gelding Award was instituted

Number of competitors: 404, which is still the show record.

1984

The Atlantic Coast Cutting Horse Association announced that the show would remain in Augusta through 2004.

Number of competitors: 512.

1985:

The Classic division, for 5-year-old horses, was added.

First work-off in a finals held.

Introduction of a judges' monitoring system.

Atlantic Coast Cutting Horse Association patrons group, known as the Champions Club, established.

Number of competitors: 439.

1986

The show increased to seven days. That meant, for the first time, it covered at least part of two weekends, something only the major cutting horse shows boast.

The number of horses advancing to the finals in the respective classes increased from 12 to 16 (and ties).

The purse, counting awards, exceeded $400,000 for the first time.

Number of competitors: 513.

1987

The name of the show was changed to the Augusta Futurity. One factor in the name change had to do with the great support the city of Augusta had shown the Atlantic Coast Cutting Futurity.

The slot system, which limited the combined number of competitors in the Futurity and Classic divisions to 425, was introduced.

Portions of the Saturday night finals were broadcast live on WMTZ-FM radio.

Number of competitors: 425.

1988

A judges' adjusted monitor system introduced. Unlike the judges' monitor system, implemented in 1985, under this system judges could - and did - change scores after viewing tapes of rides.

Number of competitors: 425.

The show was held a week later than normal.

1989

The show celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The show was increased to eight days.

The Amateur division, for 4- and 5-year-old horses, was added.

The Saturday night finals sold out for the first time.

Go-round money paid.

Number of competitors: 415

1990

The show was increased to nine days.

The America's Greatest Cowboy contest and Non-Pro Shootout were introduced. These single-elimination events brought together the top riders from the previous year in a shoot-out format. The competitors, 16 in each class, came off the previous year's national cutting money list.

The Amateur division was broken into two classes - one for 4-year-old horses and another for 5- and 6-year-old horses.

The Classic was opened up to include 6-year-old horses in addition to 5-year-olds.

The purse, counting awards, exceeded $500,000 for the first time.

Western Festival concept, which tied various activities in the area to the Augusta Futurity during the show's run, was introduced.

Number of competitors: 479.

1991

The Amateur 5-over class was opened up to horses of unlimited age. The name was changed to the Amateur Any Age.

The competitors in the America's Greatest Cowboy contest and Non-Pro Shoot-out were chosen by a combination of invitationmoney list. There were 16 in each contest.

Number of competitors: 463.

1992

Number of competitors in both the America's Greatest Cowboy contest and Non-Pro Shootout increased to 20.

A $50,000 Non-Pro Unlimited class introduced.

Area 18 Youth Scholarship Cutting introduced.

The Top Gelding Contest is dropped from the show.

As part of the Western Festival theme, a Cattle Drive and Roundup was introduced.

Number of competitors: 562, a new show record.

1993

Augusta television station WRDW broadcast the Futurity Non-Pro and Futurity Open finals for the first time.

Horses owned by the same person, Helen Groves of Silverbrook Ranches, swept the Futurity Open and Futurity Non-Pro titles for the first time.

Rodney Schumann became the first rider to train both the winning Futurity Open and Futurity Non-Pro horses.

Three former Atlantic Coast Cutting Horse Association presidents - Groves, Billy Morris and Norman Bruce - won titles.

Number of competitors: 492.

1994

The show kicked off on New Year's Day, the earliest start in its history.

Pete Branch set an arena record, marking a 225.5 in the Classic Open finals.

Cash Quixote Rio won the America's Greatest Cowboy contest, becoming the first horse to win three titles in the show's history.

Benji Neely, 20, won the $50,000 Amateur to become the youngest champion in show history. Phil Rapp had been the youngest when he won the 1991 Futurity Non-Pro title at 21.

The show lasted eight days, instead of the nine days it had run the previous four years.

The America's Greatest Cowboy and Non-Pro Shootout contests, which had 22 competitors each in 1993, were limited to 10 each.

There were 526 competitors.

1995

Pete Branch broke his arena record of 225.5 set in 1994 by marking a 227 in the Classic Open finals.

With his Classic Open win, Branch became the first rider in show history to have four career titles.

Helen Groves, 66, became the oldest winner in show history when she captured the Classic Non-Pro title.

Bill Freeman, the all-time leading money winner in cutting horse history, won for the first time in Augusta, taking the Futurity Open.

Tommy Manion beat out his son Kyle in a workoff for the Futurity Non-Pro title. It was the first time a father and son had a workoff.

Haidas Sugar Doc tied Cash Quioxte Rio for the most career wins in Augusta with three after carrying J.B. McLamb to the 7-Up Open title.

The America's Greatest Cowboy and Non-Pro Shootout contests, established in 1990, were discontinued.

The 7-up division, for horses 7 and older, was introduced.

The show was increased to nine days.

Number of competitors: 438.

1996

For the first time in show history, the same horse (Playgun) won both the Futurity Open and Futurity Non-Pro titles.

Dick Pieper became the only owner to have one of his horses (Playgun) win both the Futurity Open and Futurity Non-Pro titles in the same year.

Steve Warnell, 14, became the youngest winner in show history when he captured the $50,000 Amateur title.

The 7-up division, introduced in 1995, was discontinued.

The show lasted eight days, instead of the nine days it ran the previous year.

Number of competitors: 503.

1997

For the first time, the four major classes (Futurity Open, Futurity Non-Pro, Classic Open and Classic Non-Pro) were won by riders 50 years old or older. They were 50-year-old Terry Riddle (Classic Open), 52-year-old Tommy Manion (Classic Non-Pro), 55-year-old Billy Martin (Futurity Non-Pro) and 57-year-old Leon Harrell (Futurity Open).

For the first time, foals of former Augusta Futurity champions posted victories. Moms Stylish Laddie, the daughter of 1989 classic Open winner Docs Stylish Oak, won the classic Open. Dual Delight, a son of 1990 Classic Open champion Dual Pep, won the Futurity Non-Pro title.

Number of competitors: 516.

1998

Phil Rapp became the first rider to win the Classic Open and Classic Non-Pro titles in the same year. He won both titles on the same horse, Smart Little Jerry.

Rapp also became only the third rider to win two titles in one year.

For the week, Rapp won $50,664, the most money earned in a show by one rider.

A $50,000 Amateur 4-year-old class was added.

The show returned to a nine-day run.

Number of competitors: 537.

1999

The show celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Three new events were added. The America's Greatest Cowboy, which ran from 1990-94, was revived, the $50,000 Amateur 5- 6-year-old was introduced and the Parade of Champions, a one-time-only event for former champions, was held.

A football-field size indoor warmup arena was built adjacent to the stabling area at The Hippodrome in North Augusta.

A record 46 rides of 220-over were recorded, breaking the record of 33.

Phil Rapp became the winningest cutter in show history, taking the Classic Non-Pro title for his fifth victory.

The purse was a record $799,343.

Number of competitors: 714.

2000

Lloyd Cox became the first rider to win the Futurity Open and Classic Open titles in the same year.

Phil Rapp won another title - the Futurity Non-Pro - to extend his show record for career victories to six. The next-closest rider has four.

More than eight inches of snow fell during the week.

Number of competitors: A record 740.