Free pre-Fair horse shows saddled up and raring to go

By Karissa Condoianis

Photo of the State Fair of Texas Youth Rodeo courtesy of NewsOK

Just in time to kick-off the State Fair of Texas are the 2018 pre-Fair equine events. This month-long lineup offers a series of horse shows featuring teams and riders from all over the nation. Located in the Fair Park Coliseum and the Livestock Judging Pavilion, events begin Aug. 3 and will take place every weekend through Sept. 16. With the exception of the United Professional Rodeo Association (UPRA) performance, all shows are free to the public and offer fun entertainment for the entire family.

Team Roping: Aug. 10-12

Location: Fair Park Coliseum

Starting time: Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m., Sun. 9 a.m.

A rodeo favorite, team roping originated on ranches back when cowboys needed to treat or brand large steers and performing the task proved too difficult for one man. Today, team roping requires close cooperation and timing between two highly-skilled ropers and their horses. Team ropers must correctly rope the front end and hind legs of a steer. Winners are determined by teams with the best time.

Ranch Sorting: Aug. 17-19

Location: Fair Park Coliseum

Starting time: Fri. 9 a.m., Sat. 9 a.m., Sun. 9 a.m.

Using strategy, teamwork, and stock knowledge, ranch sorting celebrates traditional skills by requiring modern riders to divide and separate cattle. A team of two riders must know and anticipate how a cow will instinctively move in order to successfully move them from one pen to another in numerical order, all while maintaining the fastest time.

NCHA/USCHA Cutting: Aug. 23-26

Location: Fair Park Coliseum

Starting time: Thurs. 9 a.m., Fri. 9 a.m., Sat. 9 a.m., Sun. 9 a.m.

Much like ranch sorting, the sport of cutting evolved from tasks performed by horses on cattle ranches. During a competition, a horse and rider team must demonstrate the horse’s ability to handle cattle during a two and a half minute performance in front of a panel of judges. Contestants are required to make at least two cuts, pulling one select cow from the group twice.

UPRA Rodeo Performance: Aug. 31-Sept. 1

Location: Fair Park Coliseum

Starting time: Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 7:30 p.m.

The UPRA (United Professional Rodeo Association) rodeo is a new addition this year, coming to the Fair as part of their “Cowboy Till You Die” tour. This competition will be held as a qualifier for the UPRA finals and involves both youth and adult participants.

Youth Rodeo: Sept. 1-2

Location: Fair Park Coliseum

Starting time: Sat. 8 a.m., Sun. 8 a.m.

Texas 4-H Club and FFA Chapter youth participate in this inaugural competition. Participants compete in different events including breakaway roping, barrel racing, pole bending, and many others. Prizes and scholarships are awarded to top competitors and all-around winners.

Arabian Show: Sept. 7-9

Location: Fair Park Coliseum

Starting time: Fri. 8 a.m., Sat. 8 a.m., Sun. 8 a.m.

Arabians are the oldest ‘purebred’ of any horse in the world and are known for their balance and agility. The Arabian show consists of a series of different classes wherein a group of horses with similar training or characteristics compete against each other.

Rhonda-Voo Appaloosa Show: Sept. 7-9

Location: Livestock Judging Pavilion in Fair Park

Starting time: Fri. 8 a.m., Sat. 8 a.m., Sun. 8 a.m.

Known for its unique and spotted pattern, the Appaloosa is an American horse used in a variety of equestrian events including western pleasure, games, and as working cow horses. This show consists of a series of different events including jumping, cattle, and ranch classes where groups of horses with similar training or characteristics compete against each other.

Donkey and Mule Show: Sept. 15-16

Location: Livestock Judging Pavilion in Fair Park

Starting time: Sat. 8 a.m., Sun. 8 a.m.

The horses’ larger-eared “cousins,” the donkey and mule, must compete in a multitude of events including hunt seat equitation, obstacle driving, pleasure driving, timed driving, course driving, western pleasure, horsemanship, reining, trail, barrel racing, stake race, scramble, and physical appearance.

For more information regarding the 2018 pre-Fair shows, visit BigTex.com/get-involved.

All times and locations are subject to change. Ending times will depend on number of exhibitors entered in each show.

Mark your calendars for the lineup of pre-Fair equine events beginning Friday, Aug. 3. Then, visit again Friday, Sept. 28 through Sunday, Oct. 21 for the 2018 State Fair of Texas, themed “Celebrating Texas Innovation.”

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