Cinch AZ Fall Championship and Pinnacle Circuit Prepares to Be Bigger Than Ever

Horse people want to show and are getting ready to haul from all over the country to be part of one of the largest Quarter Horse events of the year. With the cancelation of the American Quarter Horse Congress in Ohio, record numbers of AQHA and NSBA exhibitors have changed their travel plans and are heading to Arizona’s already popular fall show this September. The Cinch AZ Fall Championship and Pinnacle Circuit promise to be a 10-day horse show spectacular running from September 25 through October 4th at WestWorld in Scottsdale. Show management had already expanded the Fall Championship to include a second circuit in response to the pent-up demand of exhibitors who sat home for months in COVID lockdowns. Once The Congress and its coveted futurities were cancelled, AzQHA CEO Doug Huls worked creatively to adjust the schedule to add a full slate of NSBA Futurities with generous added money. Sponsors enthusiastically jumped in, ensuring the shows will be a highlight of the year.

The format has exhibitors showing 2 times to 3 judges during the Fall Championship and showing once to 4 judges for the Pinnacle Circuit. Cow horses will show 2 times to 2 judges during the Pinnacle Circuit. There are Circuit Awards for each, along with over-all high point and best of show awards. The majority of classes will be held indoors with 4 climate controlled arenas.

Youth classes have been split into 4 divisions, offering more opportunities for youth of all ages and levels. A Small Fry 9 & Under (walk/trot) division has been added for the first time and the kids will show once. Youth 11 & Under will show 2 times during the Fall Championship and 1 time during the Pinnacle Circuit. The 11 & Under classes are AQHA approved. Buckles will be awarded to Champions in both Small Fry and 11 & Under classes, along with ribbons for 1st through 9th. These youngsters will be even more stoked about showing as the High Point Small Fry and the High Point 11 & Under Champions will each receive a Az. Fall Championship Trophy. Moving on to the older kids, Youth 12-14 and 15-18 divisions will offer leveled classes. The youth classes will be held on the same days as the amateur and select divisions for those classes rather than in a separate youth pen.

The expansive array of Futurities will certainly be a highlight of this year’s show. To date, over $73,000 in added money has been pledged by generous sponsors. A full slate of NSBA Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle Futurities and Maturities are on the schedule. Three Trail futurities and a Western Riding futurity round out the mix.

Ranch Riding and Ranch Horse classes have become some of the most popular offerings at the Fall Championship. This year, new and returning awards await exhibitors.  The Ranch Horse Challenge Awards are back with High Point Champions in L1 Open Ranch, Open Ranch, Amateur and Select Amateur Ranch all receiving $500 and a buckle. Points will be calculated over all 10 judges over both circuits. Farnam is the sponsor of the $5,000 added 3 & 4 Year Old Ranch Horse Futurity.  It will be a simple lead change class. In addition to Futurity Champion awards, the top three 3 Year Olds will receive separate awards.

Cow horse exhibitors have a lot to be enthusiastic about with 2 full slates of NRCHA classes and a total of $3,800 in added money during the Pinnacle Circuit. Additionally, many of the best cow horses in the country will be competing in the $10,000 Added Rogers Heaven Sent Ranch NRCHA Futurity. Amateur cow horse exhibitors have a shot of big money too in the $5,000 Added Non Pro Derby.

Even more exceptional awards and prizes are on the line. Superior Saddlery saddles will be awarded to the High Point Non Pro champions in L1, L2 and L3. High point champs in Youth Horsemanship 15-18, L3 Amateur and L3 Select Amateur Horsemanship will be carrying home a new Bob’s Custom saddle award. Best of Show awards for All around and Ranch and Cattle divisions in Open, Amateur and Youth. Buckles, Rod Patrick Ostrich Boots, Cinch Jean and Shirt Certificates and Professional’s Choice Bob Avila Collection gift certificates will be awarded. Keeping the show lively, the Prize Patrol will be roaming the grounds with a dizzying array of give aways. Gift certificates, electronics, hats, boots, supplements and more will be handed out to winners of fun games and challenges.

Arizona Quarter Horse Association will be hosting its 4th annual scholarship show and IEA competition on Sunday the 4th. Youth members can compete for scholarship funds in Horsemanship and Reining classes. The unique format has riders paired with horses they have never ridden to show the extent of their skill and horse knowledge. There will also be a scholarship interview process with $1,000 awards for several exceptional youth. Funds are held by AzQHA until the youth goes to college or other higher education. This allows them to accumulate winnings year after year.

Horse shows have had to adapt to new realities like every industry. Show management is working closely with the City of Scottsdale and WestWorld to ensure all COVID-19 safety protocols are maintained. It is fortunate that outdoor facilities and stall areas at WestWorld are well spaced to naturally promote social distancing. Additionally, the four voluminous, climate control arenas are ideal for minimizing risk. Exhibitors will use the HorseShow Tracker for entries and result, eliminating almost all need to spend time in the show office. Show Management will also be upholding all local mask ordinances that are in effect at the time of the show. It is important to note that due to public gathering restrictions, spectators will not be allowed at this year’s show. Only exhibitors, trainers and family will be on site.