Today marks the opening of the 22nd annual Augusta Futurity, which runs through Feb. 3 at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. It's a fun and exciting time when our Southern town becomes "Westernized" as amateur and professional cutting horse competitors from all over the country come to display their horses and skills.
If you've never attended, check it out. You'll be impressed at the precision and teamwork that must occur between horse and rider to separate a single cow from a herd and then block it from returning.
There are a couple of changes from last year. For example, there are new National Cutting Horse Association rules that restrict the number of horses shown in a day. But there are more than 600 entrants - and officials stress that the daily shows are now more manageable.
This year's purse is a whopping $778,544 - it was just $550,000 in 1998. And everyone ought to mark their calendar (and bring their wallets) to see all of the beautiful horses on display at the Feb. 3 horse sale.
Check out all these details, and many others, in today's Futurity special section in this newspaper. Then pull on your boots, put on your Stetson and go watch all the great Western-flavored cutting at the biggest professional Futurity east of the Mississippi River.