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$60,000 in incentive money to be awarded this year
American Paint Horse Association awards $20,000 in first Gelding Plus payout for 2002

FORT WORTH--The first $20,000 of a total $60,000 in Gelding Plus incentives for 2002 was paid out by the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) at the Southern Belle Invitation, held recently in Tunica, Miss.

Two horses, Slick Sensation and Rugged Zipper, each earned $10,000 for their owners in the National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA) sanctioned competition.

Slick Sensation earned $10,000 for his owners, Frank and Sandra Vaughn of Marine On Saint Croix, Minn., as the highest-advancing Paint Horse in both the 3-year-old open and the non-pro hunter under saddle competitions. In addition to being the highest-placing Paint in the classes, the gelding won the non-pro class overall, with the Vaughn's daughter Melanie exhibiting. Julie Suggs of Tomball, Texas, rode the horse in the open class.

Rugged Zipper's owner, Sara Zell of Casstown, Ohio, picked up $10,000, when her horse became the highest-advancing Paint in the 3-year-old open Western pleasure and 3-year-old non-pro Western pleasure classes. Zell rode the horse in non-pro competition, while Jon Barry of Advance, Mo., rode him in the open class.

The payouts were part of APHA's innovative Gelding Plus incentive. Open to both Regular and Breeding Stock Registry horses, the program gives Paint gelding owners and breeders added opportunities to earn cash and increase the market value of their horses. APHA paid out $60,000 in prize money last year at select events and has earmarked another $60,000 for top-placing geldings at designated futurities around the country this year.

The payouts and resulting participation in APHA's Gelding Plus program have given The Southern Belle Invitation, "a real shot in the arm," said show manager Connie Hill. "We have seen an increase in the overall number of horses participating in the show." She said 324 horses participated this year, up from 290 last year.

Mike Hachtel of Helenville, Wis., who trained both Slick Sensation and Rugged Zipper, agreed that the Gelding Plus incentive is increasing participation at the show. "You can read it on people's lips in the stands," he said. "They're saying 'five thousand dollars,' and talking about bringing a Paint gelding next year so they can try to win the money. . . . Gelding Plus is a very impressive program. I'm hooked."

This was the second year The Southern Belle Invitation was held in Tunica. Located about 40 miles south of Memphis, Tenn., the city is home to 10 casino resorts and the newly constructed, air-conditioned Paul Battle Arena and Expo Center.

More Gelding Plus money to be awarded this year
In addition to the Gelding Plus payouts at the NSBA-approved Southern Belle Invitation, APHA will award $5,000 to the owners of the highest-advancing Paint geldings in the open and non-pro divisions at the following futurities:

-- National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Futurity, Reno, Nev., Sept. 25-Oct. 6. For 3-year-olds.
-- National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity, Oklahoma City, Okla., Nov. 29-Dec. 7. For 3-year-olds.
-- National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity, Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 27-Dec. 15. For 3-year-olds.
-- Barrel Futurities of America (BFA) World Barrel Futurity, Oklahoma City, Okla., Dec. 8--14. For 4-year-olds.

To enter this year's Gelding Plus events, a horse must have been registered as a gelding prior to his 3-year-old year, or gelded and his status change reported to APHA prior to his 3-year-old year. In addition, owners of the horses must be current APHA members and their horses must meet futurity age requirements.

Prepare now for 2003 Gelding Plus payouts
Don't miss out on the chance to earn Gelding Plus prize money in 2003 at the NSBA, NRCHA, NRHA, BFA and NCHA futurities. It's easy to participate in the Gelding Plus program, and enrollment is automatic and free, and applies to horses in both the Regular and Breeding Stock registries. To qualify for Gelding Plus payouts in 2003:

-- The horse must be registered as a gelding prior to his 3-year-old year, or gelded and his status change reported to APHA prior to his 3-year-old year. Owners of horses foaled in 2000 must submit the status change to APHA in writing by the deadline date of Dec. 31, 2002.
-- Owners of the horses must be current APHA members.

For more information on the Gelding Plus program, visit APHA's Gelding Plus Web site at

To learn more about the American Paint Horse Association, visit the association's Web site at or call (817) 834-2742, extension 788.


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