Downtown Augusta is home to hundreds of horses and cows this week. But not for a livestock show. It’s the 40th annual Augusta Futurity cutting horse competition, a ranch necessity that’s now a sport.
To accommodate the event, the cement floor of James Brown Arena is covered in brown dirt. Cows rush through a gate, where they’re met by a line of horses trained to separate, or “cut,” a cow from a herd.
Show chairman Billy Morris III explained the competition in a 2014 interview.
“The contestant goes in, gets a cow out...drops his hand because this is something the horse must do," he said. "The rider cannot steer the horse with his reins once the competition starts. He can use his reins to make the cut. But once the cut is made, then he gotta put his hand down on the neck of the horse.”
Morris said the Augusta Futurity is the city’s second largest sporting each year, behind The Masters, and the largest event of its kind east of The Mississippi River.