While competing in a horse show or a rodeo, competitors can fall into making time consuming drives within the host city.
They pull onto the fairgrounds, unload their horses and place them in the stalls. Then, they drive to a hotel and move their luggage to the room. They also make trip after trip to local restaurants. They also might take in some type of entertainment while in town.
But at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, which is owned by Michael and Paula Gaughan, a competitor can do all that in the hotel. Within the South Point Hotel, there’s a state-of-the-art equestrian center with a 4,600 seat arena, 1,280 stalls, and designated areas for trade shows and exhibits.
There’s also are 11 restaurants, a spa, a spacious swimming pool, movie theaters, a bowling facility and other forms of entertainment. Most of the equestrian performances at the arena are non-ticketed events and competitors and fans can watch the action on TV in their hotel room.
“Most people say they never see their truck again once they pull in and unload,” Paula Gaughan said in a recent interview at the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center where she was heading up an annual National Cutting Horse Association show. “I don’t care if it’s team roping or cutting or whatever, once you unload, that’s it.”
The Gaughans’ careful attention to detail and customer service has been commended.
Their South Point Arena & Equestrian Center has received the League of Agricultural and Equestrian Centers 2019 Facility Of The Year award.
Paula Gaughan is a longtime cutting horse rider who learned about the needs of horse show competitors from her own experiences on the road. She said her husband, Michael, an avid rodeo fan, bought into building an equestrian center that keenly accommodates competitors’ needs.
Michael Gaughan said the facility hosts a variety of events such as basketball tournaments, but the majority of the shows are equestrian or rodeo events. In December, the arena was the site of a lucrative team roping competition (the Ariat World Series of Team Roping). Paula Gaughan produced an NCHA show there in February (the Mane Event). The Professional Bull Riders conducted a post-season show (Velocity Tour Finals) there in November. Former world champion Tuff Hedeman produced a bull riding show there in March that was a stop on his annual tour.
Michael Gaughan said some type of horse show or rodeo competition was conducted 43 of the 50 weekends at the facility within the past year.
“This place was primarily built for equestrian events,” he said.
One high-profile cutting horse rider who faithfully attends Paula Gaughan’s cutting horse shows at the facility is Lindy Burch of Weatherford who in 1980 became the first woman to clinch the NCHA Futurity open division title in Fort Worth.
“It’s probably the most elite facility that we have, that I’ve been to,” Burch said. “I think it’s fabulous. I don’t think there’s another venue like it. It’s completely climatized. You can come any time of the year. Your horses are comfortable and you’re comfortable. The Gaughans are fabulous hosts. They do everything they can to make you feel welcome.”
The May 9-11 Crockett (Texas) Lions Club Rodeo drew world class competitors. One of them was two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Bill Tutor of Huntsville who clinched the bareback riding title with an 84 on a bronc named Rags To Riches, which is owned by the Andrews Rodeo Co.
Sterling Crawley of Huntsville, a five-time NFR qualifier, clinched the saddle bronc riding title with an 86 on Andrews Rodeo's Hair Trigger.
Jeff Askey of Athens, a two-time NFR qualifier, finished No. 1 in the bull riding title race with an 88 on Andrews Rodeo's Rank Hank.
Clayton Hass of Weatherford, and his partner, Coleby Payne, lassoed the team roping title with a 6.1. According to prorodeo.com, the other champions were tie-down roper Kolt Henderson (8.4 seconds), steer wrestler Cade Goodman (3.7) and barrel racer Dona Kay Rule (15.35).
Feild in recovery
Four-time PRCA world champion bareback rider Kaycee Feild is recovering from a head injury that the Utah cowboy sustained during the finals at Rodeo Austin (Texas) on March 30, according to prorodeo.com. Feild made an 87-point ride on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Nutrena’s Killer Bee but was injured moments after the whistle. The 32-year-old cowboy suffered a skull fracture, an inline fracture of his jaw and inline fracture of his nasal cavity.
He was treated at Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin and was released on April 2. Feild, who is ranked No. 1 in the 2019 bareback riding world title race with $115,965, said he might began competing again in August.
“I went to a brain doctor (at the University of Utah on April 28) and I had great results,” Feild told prorodeo.com writer Tracy Renck.
“There was no sign of any injury. He told me that I could get back to working out and being active but to go 50 percent and take lots of rest... I have been working out every day and I feel really good and confident.”
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos and horse shows for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.