Futurity kicks off Thursday

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In its 29th year, the Augusta Futurity has become a staple of the area's sporting scene. This year's 10-day show begins 8 a.m. Thursday at James Brown Arena.

The USC Aiken Benefit Bull Riding Championship, held in conjunction with the Augusta Futurity, is in its sixth year at James Brown Arena and is a Professional Bull Riders sanctioned event. Fifty-five riders are expected to compete for the top prize on Saturday.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
The USC Aiken Benefit Bull Riding Championship, held in conjunction with the Augusta Futurity, is in its sixth year at James Brown Arena and is a Professional Bull Riders sanctioned event. Fifty-five riders are expected to compete for the top prize on Saturday.

Here's what you need to know:

SCHEDULE: Five amateur events fill the first four days of the competition. The Classic and Futurity Open and Non-Pro events run the final seven days. The Classic Open and Non-Pro finals are Jan. 24, while the Western Horseman Cup finals are the following day. The Augusta Futurity Non-Pro and Open finals close the show, Jan. 26.

"The events seem to service the cutters very well," operations manager Sherry Fulmer said.

QUICK FACTS: More than 600 horses and 4,000 cows are expected to run in the arena. Prize money is expected to be more than $930,000.

FUN FOR ALL: The Family Fun Fest will be held from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday on 7th Street in front of the arena. The free event will feature a band, petting zoo, live bull for pictures and a Western town.

A LOT OF BULL: The USC Aiken Benefit Bull Riding Championship, in its sixth year at the arena, is now sanctioned by the Professional Bull Riders event. Fifty-five riders are vying for the top prize of $10,000. The 2007 PBR Bull of the Year, Chicken on a Chain, is expected to be in attendance.

The event will be held 8 p.m. Saturday at James Brown Arena. Tickets range from $16-22 for adults and $10 for children 12 and younger.

GET YOUR WESTERN GEAR: Vendors will line James Brown Arena on the mezzanine level and on the bottom floor for the show's entirety. Beginning Jan. 23, the adjacent Bell Auditorium will house a Western Expo with Western wear and handcrafted items.

29TH ANNUAL FUTURITY

Morning events begin at 8. All events held inside James Brown Arena, unless noted.

THURSDAY: Go-round of $100,000 Non-Pro Any Age; followed by go-round of $20,000 Non-Pro Any Age; followed by finals of $100,000 Non-Pro Any Age; followed by finals of $20,000 Non-Pro Any Age.

FRIDAY: Go-round of $50,000 Amateur Any Age; followed by go-round of $100,000 Amateur 5-6-Year-Old. Area 18 Youth Scholarship Cutting, 7:30 p.m.; followed by finals of $50,000 Amateur Any Age.

SATURDAY: Go-round of $100,000 Amateur 4-Year-Old. Wrangler Family Fun Fest, Civic Center Plaza, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. USC Aiken Benefit Bull Riding Championship, 8 p.m.

JAN. 20: First go-round of Classic Open; followed by finals of $100,000 Amateur; followed by finals of $100,000 Amateur 4-Year-Old.

JAN. 21: Second go-round of Classic Open; followed by first go-round of Futurity Open.

JAN. 22: Futurity Open first go-round continued; followed by first go-round of Classic Non-Pro.

JAN. 23: Second go-round of Futurity Open; followed by second go-round of Classic Non-Pro. Futurity Dance at Coyotes, 8 p.m. to midnight.

JAN. 24: First go-round of Futurity Non-Pro; Finals of Classic Non-Pro, 6 p.m.; followed by finals of Classic Open.

JAN. 25: Second go-round of Futurity Non-Pro. Finals of Western Horseman Cup Finals, 7 p.m.

JAN. 26: Futurity horse sale 8:30 a.m. Opening ceremonies, 5:30 p.m. Finals of Futurity Non-Pro, 6 p.m.; followed by finals of Futurity Open Finals.

TICKETS

GENERAL ADMISSION DAYTIME PASS: $6 adults, $2 children 12 or younger

GENERAL ADMISSION FOR CLASSIC FINALS, JAN. 23: $12 adults, $2 children

RESERVED SEATING FOR CLASSIC FINALS, JAN. 24: $13.50 adults, $5 children

RESERVED SEATING FOR WESTERN HORSEMAN CUP FINALS, JAN. 25: $14.50 adults, $5 children

RESERVED SEATING FOR FUTURITY FINALS, JAN. 26: $16.50 adults, $5 children

GOLD TICKET: $40 for all daytime events (today through Friday) and Thursday night

TO PURCHASE TICKETS: Call Ticketmaster at (706) 828-7700 or (404) 249-6400. Credit cards accepted, $4.50 per ticket plus $2.70 per order for handling.

Cash only at Ticketmaster outlets, $4.50 per ticket handling fee. Cash or charge at James Brown Arena, no handling fee.

ONLINE

GO TO: www.augustafuturity.com.


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