RAPID CITY, S.D. – Much has happened in the inaugural season of the United Bucking Horse Association.
“We had 11 events this year all across the country and in Canada,” said Guy French, the UBHA’s executive director. “It’s been an amazing year for us, and it’s just getting better.”
In fact, now members of the organization are gearing up for the UBHA World Finals, set for 5 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) Friday, Nov. 14, at the Central States Fairgrounds in Rapid City.
“Having this world finals in our first year of existence is huge for the UBHA,” French said. “The UBHA grew faster than we anticipated, but this is a great thing for us.”
The UBHA was created as a way to showcase younger bucking horses and to allow for anyone who is interested to be a horse owner. The colts do not have riders but are bucked with a mechanical dummy to allow the horses the opportunity to develop with age. The idea is catching on quite well.
“I feel the UBHA is the right director for breeders, especially the small breeders, because they can get their horses out there and compete against each other,” said Darcy Hollingsworth, a UBHA shareholder and board member who has raised several top horses that have performed at some of the top events in the country, including the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“We’re not relying on anybody else to show our animals.”
Now those owners will get to showcase their horses during an event specifically designed to be the marquee event in the association. At each event, the 2- and 3-year-old horses accumulate points by how well they placed. The top 25 in each age division who have earned the right through the season-long qualifying will buck during the UBHA World Finals.
“To be in the first year and to be able to have that kind of money to compete for is incredible,” said Kenny Andrews, a former rodeo cowboy who owns several horses with his wife, Keri. “Can you imagine what the next couple of years are going to be like? To have that much interest in the first year is pretty exciting.
“I’m glad we got in on the ground floor. I hope this isn’t the last year we get to qualify. You know that each year the competition is just going to keep getting tougher.”
That’s OK for the Andrewses. With a bit of interest, they took in the Simon Bucking Stock Sale in Guthrie, Okla., this past January and quickly found a passion for raising bucking horses.
“It’s addicting,” said Kenny Andrews, who raised his colts near Vernal, Utah. “I was going to start with two horses. It hasn’t even been a year since Simon’s Sale, and I’ve got probably 20 head.”
It’s that type of momentum that has helped the UBHA grow.
“The whole thing is due to Guy French’s vision,” said Hollingsworth of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. “Guy has worked very hard for this, and there have been a lot of good things happen. That’s how the finals came about. The board of directors is an upbeat, positive bunch of guys. Everybody’s working in the same direction, so it makes it easy to have a finals.”
The proof comes to Rapid City in just a few weeks.