Cave Creek Cutting Horse Association
History & Background (1996 : 2021 is the 25th anniversary!)
Originally known as the Cave Creek Cutting Club (CCCC), was founded in 1996 by a group of local cutting horse enthusiasts. The goal was to have fun competitions and to promote the cutting horse on the local level. The first shows were held in the large, backyard round pen at Sherry Geraci’s residence in Desert Hills. Sherry would run sprinklers in the round pen for days prior to the show to help keep the dust down, we’d park rigs in her yard and on the road. Loping area was the front yard! The day before the show, a couple people with their stock trailers would drive to the Maricopa Feedlot and pick up a dozen head of cattle from the stock contractor. We kept them fed & watered before returning them on Monday. Blew out quite a few trailer tires on these trips!
There were originally about 14 members: Bobbi Shanahan, Bill Glidden, Sherry Geraci, Floyd Brooks (trainer), Amy Looper, Cheryl Lenox, George & Lori Sargent, Tim (trainer) & Rhonda Frasier, Kim McElroy, Bruce & Lydia Dressel, David Boone, Jan Goulder, to the best of my recollection.
We had clip boards, entry blanks, judge’s cards, draw tokens and a cash box! Class winners received donated items, such as hand-made leather key chains, halters, tack hangers, grooming tools, etc. The first year end awards “banquet” was in Sherry’s carport!
The CCCC held a clinic in 1997, How to Get Started in Cutting, at Sherry’s. We did a chalk board lecture/demo, had everyone learn dry work, worked the flag and ended the day actually cutting out of the herd! Many new cutters were made that day, folks who went on to compete in club shows, NCHA and beyond. Jim & Carol Long, Scott Brems, Dr. Jennifer Miller, Mark Raines, Renee Montrachet, Terry Randall, Tammy Coats, Rebecca Tussing and many others.
The CCCC quickly outgrew Sherry Geraci’s place, so moved the shows to Glendale to the King Cutter Ranch owed by Everett Raines and his son and daughter in law, Mark and Diane. Their newly arrived trainer from Canada, Larry Rasmuson helped with clinics, turnback and coaching. Floyd Brooks and Tim Frasier (trainers) were also still active helpers. Sometime in 1998, the King Cutter Ranch moved their operation to a new facility in Rio Verde and a few shows were held there. In 1999 and 2000, the shows were held in New River at the Ocean Front Ranch, owned by Kim McElroy and husband Dave Pawel. At that time the CCCC had grown to 100 members and averaged 60 cuts a show over the season.
In 2000, the Horse Lovers Park was still under construction and while the CCCC planned to move there, when the season began in late October, we had to hold several shows at West World in Scottsdale. Finally in 2001, we moved to Horse Lovers Park and helped put in underground power to the middle of the cutting arena for the judge’s stand. (The cutting arena was named Schuff Arena after David Schuff, avid cutter and owner of Schuff Steel.) Several folks got together and built a shaded judge’s stand on skids, with room for the judge & scribe, that could be pulled in and out of the arena. The largest show in 2002 had 119 cuts, from a newspaper article covering the results.
We had added a pop-up tent for taking entries, a cargo trailer to hold all our stuff, including tables, chairs, and a laptop computer with software to help run the show! Draw board, American flag, many sponsor banners, electric eye timer clock, CD player for playing background music during the shows. We eventually had a practice flag as well.
CCCC continued to have shows & clinics at HLP through 2008, (I moved to Prescott in 2007 and was active with NACHA until 2013). The 2005-2006 CCCC season had 224 members on the books and averaged 111 cuts per show. The Club changed its name to Cave Creek Cutting Horse Association in 2005.
CCCC tried to pattern its classes after NCHA, but adding more entry level classes to attract beginner cutters. The goal was to provide a platform to develop cutters, who could go on to compete in the NCHA if they desired. Many members did move up to NCHA and went to the Western Nationals. We always held the Youth Class, even if there was only 1 entry, as we wanted to encourage the youth!
We gave Year End Awards in each class. As we grew, we acquired sponsorships from local businesses for each class. Awards usually went through sixth place. Framed photos of winners and thank you cards were presented to the sponsors each year, which developed a loyal group which supported us, year after year! We also tried to purchase awards locally whenever possible, like saddle pads from Tack et Cetra. We had Midway Chevrolet as an added money sponsor for several years, they would bring trucks to display at the shows.
Most shows had a theme and often special awards. Halloween Costume class, cutting to music. Team Challenge, Bridle-less Challenge, St. Patrick’s Circuit ( & circuit awards), Toys for Tots collections, stallion service auction, Cowboy Church before the Sunday shows. My favorite was Thanksgiving Show: winners got a frozen turkey, second a chicken, third a Cornish hen and fourth a chicken wing!
Special Year End Awards: High Point Horse, High Point Rider. Good Sportsman Plaque, Most Improved Cutter, Rookie of the Year. All volunteers received awards and Volunteer of the Year was voted on by the membership, someone who did not compete and they got a buckle! All regular Turn Back Help received saddle pads, embroidered vests or some usable gift.
Awards Banquets were held in May after the last show, at Pinnacle Peak Patio, the Satisfied Frog, and other places that don’t exist anymore!
We also held many clinics with Scott Raftery, Dan Manning, Chubby Turner, Larry Rasmusen, Larry Mahan and others. Some were dedicated to the cutter, others to turn back help.
I was honored to be the President of CCCC from 1997 through 2003, 8 great years!
Contributed by Kim McElroy
May 2, 2021