The Ultimate 4-Year-Old Rope Horse Showcase: Badlands Bits & Spurs Futurity
There’s nowhere in all of team roping quite like the Badlands Bits & Spurs Futurity.
Organized by ProRodeo Hall of Fame Heeler Bobby Harris and his partner JD Gerard, it’s the only futurity of its kind designed specifically to highlight the best 4 year olds in the game. They add $20,000 to the 4-year-old futurity, and Priefert donates chutes to the winning head horse and heel horse. Plus, there’s nowhere like Rapid City, South Dakota to host it.
“Forever, people came to South Dakota to look for big geldings,” Harris said. “Having a futurity for 4-year-olds in this region just makes great sense. This gives everybody an opportunity to start a real nice young horse, bring him up the right way and have somewhere to go with him. A 4-year-old can still make mistakes and do well. They shouldn’t be so pressured up at 4.”
Why did the Badlands Bits & Spurs Futurity come about?
Some of the best young horses in the business have come from the Badlands, where the big, rocky country and tough climate has created hearty horses on famed working ranches for generations. From the Fultons to the Myers to the Cowans and more, the Dakotas have produced legends like A Streak Of Fling, Frenchmans Guy and Sun Frost and their hundreds of iconic offspring. Open to any horse—not just those eligible for incentives— the Badlands Bits & Spurs Futurity is the place to showcase those colts, as well as those from any other great program, big or small, across the country.
“I would like to see some more 4-year-old futurities,” Harris said. “The reining, cutting, cow horse, they all have 4-year-olds. We want the best 4-year-olds. That’s the main thing.”
What type of cattle will they rope at the Badlands Bits & Spurs Futurity?
Harris insures he has Mexican cattle for the futurity that they’ll rope at a jackpot the Tuesday before the event to sort through. Those same cattle will be roped in the $5,000-added 5- and 6-year-old Maturity division on August 24, so by the time they get to the main event on August 25, the cattle will be as even and ready-to-rope as possible.
“Everybody was really happy with the cattle last year,” Harris said. “We didn’t have any re-runs at all. The simple way I tell everybody: If you have a horse that does things right, you have a real good chance to win something. Score good, rate good, handle and face, it’s not about how fast you do it.”
What is the format of the Badlands Bits & Spurs Futurity?
The futurity is 75% payback, and it will pay out over three guaranteed go-rounds as well as an average. With everyone guaranteed three, the rounds will pay out on time, while the average pays out on the score.
“You take the time out of your average, it’s not just a roping contest,” Harris said. “A lot of the other futurities turn into a situation where you can’t beat the top guys. Our judges are not AQHA judges. They’re jackpot guys, who’ve all rode good horses.”
Judges will also insure that any horse that’s unfit to show will be DQ’d, and all judges decisions are final, Harris said.
“The way we have it set up, the judges start with a middle score with 70, and you can go 10 points up or down in every one of the categories: the box, the rate, the handle and the face,” Harris explained. “It’s not a specific where you can only lose one point. If you break a barrier it’s 5 points, if you rope a leg it’s a 3-point deduction.”