the AZ State Championship Committee:
(from left to right)
Tim Horn (SACHA), Collette Strieby (SACHA),
Sarah Beth Angle (SACHA), Jade Keller (CCCHA),
Susan Baxter (NACHA), Wendy McLaughlin (CCCHA),
& Amanda Dingley (CCCHA not pictured)
The Arizona State Championship Show is a collaboration between Arizona’s most historic and competitive club cutting circuits; Cave Creek, Northern Arizona, and Southern Arizona Cutting Horse Associations. This show will highlight the top 135 riders and horses from these associations.
Cave Creek Cutting Horse Association (CCCHA) was originally known as the Cave Creek Cutting Club (CCCC) and was founded in 1996 by a group of local cutting horse enthusiasts. Their goal was to have fun competitions and to promote the cutting horse on the local level. The first shows were held in a large, backyard round pen at a residence in Desert Hills. Loping and warm-up was done in an area in the front yard. The day before the show, a couple of people would haul their stock trailers to the Maricopa Feedlot and pick up a dozen head of cattle and then return them on Monday. There were originally about 14 members, most of whom, resided in the Cave Creek/Desert Hills/New River area. In 1997, they held their first cutting clinic “How to Get Started in Cutting”. The club grew rapidly and consequently had to move their shows to venues that could accommodate the growing number of participants. In 2000, the shows were moved to Horse Lovers Park (which was just completing construction) where a dedicated cutting pen was constructed.
Fast forward to 2021, and CCCHA is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Our shows average 100 plus cuts and our membership is at 135 strong and growing. Today, CCCHA remains dedicated to providing a platform to develop cutters. In 2019, CCCHA introduced the Beginner Cutter class. Since its inception, it has consistently been one of our biggest classes. This year, the Beginner Cutter class was adopted by and is currently offered at the two other Arizona club cutting associations. CCCHA is a nonprofit 501C6 organization managed by a volunteer board of directors.
The Northern Arizona Cutting Association (NACHA) came to be in the early 1990s as the vision of Founders Cliff Schlosberg, Swaze McCrain, Dave Costello, and Skeeter Hughes. In the early years, the cuttings were held at the old Prescott Livestock Auction located on Highway 89 in the famous “Dells” area of Prescott. The show office was a pickup truck parked under a massive shade tree. Later, in 2007 the club moved to the new Prescott Livestock Auction facility off Perkinsville Road in Chino Valley where it continues today. The cutting arena still in use came from the Marana cutting facility which had two arenas. NACHA members dismantled and transported the materials back to Yavapai County and rebuilt them. The entire process took only a matter of days. Recently, the arena was named for Cliff Scholsberg in memorial.
NACHA prides itself on its grassroots vibe and its fun, friendly, family-oriented programs. Cutters come from all over Arizona to participant in our April to October show season. The club takes pride in providing good ground, good cows, and good people. Many accomplished cutters got their start in the cutting world at NACHA shows. Among these, Virginnia Kilduff (with NCHA earnings in excess of $81,000) worked her way to be an NCHA World Champion in the $35,00 Non-Pro class at the 2020 NCHA futurity in Fort Worth. Also getting her start with NACHA in the Youth class was Paige Kincaid (with NCHA earnings in excess of $ 166,000). Paige was later named to the NCHA Youth Hall of Fame. Some of our youth cutters have gone on to careers in cutting horse industry. The club is excited about its future and even more excited that after 20 plus years, we are now offering our shows on Saturdays rather than Sundays.
SACHA was founded in 1965 by a group of Tucson horsemen looking for a way to put on affordable cutting horse shows in the Old Pueblo area. Unfortunately, in the early 60’s the closest shows were in the Phoenix area, making it difficult and expensive for Southern Arizona horsemen and women wanting to learn or participate in the sport. In the beginning, SACHA started at Carl Steven's arena in Redrock, with access to feedlot cattle. The club awarded saddles and Jim Reno trophies, with the largest membership of all the Arizona clubs. The club then started having cuttings at ranches all over the southern part of Arizona, with access to fall gatherings. Jim McDonald had an indoor arena, where cuttings were also held. Fred Frye, Ken Wilson, Ron Searles, Wayland Heatley, and Dennis Van Auken were the early movers and shakers of the club. Scott Raftery was president and the cattleman for multiple years as well as the 2017 NCHA Zane Schulte award winner. His daughter, Heather, was the 2006 NCHA 3000 Novice Non-Pro World Show Champion and Western Nationals Champion, and the NCHA Todd Drummond award winner. Heather got her start and continues to show at SACHA shows. For a brief time, SACHA held their shows in Benson, AZ, where the club started having NCHA approved cuttings. The club then moved to Marana Stockyards after Parsons built a permanent arena during their children’s High School Rodeo Cutting Days. As a result, SACHA now embraces the High School Rodeo cuttings. 50 Years later, SACHA is the longest and oldest NCHA affiliate. The club continues to put on monthly jackpot shows with the same goals that the original members set.
The club’s access to great cattle and good ground still make it one of the best places in Arizona for beginners and experienced cutters alike to work their horses.