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Rodeo Insider: Cutting horses’ Triple Crown starts this week at Will Rogers

Like thoroughbred horse racing, the cutting horse industry features a compelling Triple Crown Series.

In thoroughbred horse racing, there’s the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. All three shows take place in different cities, and a five-week period separates the first and third jewels.

In the cutting horse industry, all three jewels are conducted at Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Coliseum, and the third jewel is conducted seven months after the first jewel.

The Futurity open division final round is the first jewel. This year, the finale is scheduled for Dec. 13, and the performance will cap the 3 1/2-week show, which features the sport’s most promising, debuting 3-year-old horses.

The other two jewels are the April Super Stakes and the July Summer Spectacular.

The 2014 Futurity begins its 24-day run on Thursday with the open division first round. The opening round will last six days and will conclude on Nov. 25. According to nchacutting.com, a field of 599 horses are scheduled to compete in Round 1.

“One of the unique things about the NCHA Triple Crown Series is a horse is going up against several hundred of its peers at each show,” said Jim Bret Campbell, the NCHA’s executive director. “At the Futurity, a horse is going up against about 600 of the best cutting horses to set foot in an arena, and then that horse has to follow that up against about 400 horses at the Super Stakes in the spring. And then a horse has to follow that up again at the Summer Spectacular Derby.”

The Futurity open division second round will be Nov. 26-28. The semifinal round will be Dec. 12 after a two-week rest, and the horses that advance to the final round will compete for the $200,000 prize on Dec. 13.

During the open division’s two-week break, fans will watch non-pro and amateur competitions. They also can take in the NCHA World Finals, which is the sport’s World Series for weekend warriors.

The World Finals will be conducted at the W.R. Watt Arena. The first and second rounds of the open and non-pro divisions are scheduled for Nov. 28 and 29. The second and third rounds are Dec. 4 and Dec. 6.

Another highlight is the Careity Foundation Celebrity Cutting, which will be Dec. 5 at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum. Country music star Tanya Tucker and former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek are among the field of competitors. Novacek is the defending champion.

For a complete schedule of the Futurity and the other two shows, visit nchacutting.com.

Miller elected

PRCA member and renowned roping horse owner Sid Miller of Stephenville is the newly elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Miller, a former Texas state pepresentative, earned a solid victory over Democratic opponent Jim Hogan with 60 percent of the vote.

According to prorodeo.com, Miller is the owner of two-time American Quarter Horse Association/Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Tie-down Roping Horse of the Year Big Smokin Wonder “Pearl” (2009, 2013).