Special to the Empire-Tribune

Riders from all over the United States as well as France, Canada, Sweden, Germany, and Mexico will compete for more than $100,000 in cash and prizes at the Cowboy Capital Classic Reining this weekend at Lone Star Arena.

This fourth annual event, produced by Paul and Marcie Sullivan at Lone Star Arena, is one of the top 30 reining competitions in the nation. The Sullivans were able to bring this caliber of an event to Stephenville through the support of the Stephenville Chamber and Commerce and Downunder Horsemanship.

World class reiners, including several riders that have represented the USA at the Olympics, will be converging on the Cowboy Capital of the World to compete for braggin’ rights, prize money, points and unique awards. One competitor to keep your eye on this week will be Tim McQuay, 2008 National Reining Horse Association Futurity Champion. McQuay, who also trains horses for singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett, came to town with four trucks and trailers to haul 24 horses and all his helpers. It is rumored that Lovett will be in attendance Saturday.

Reining is a western riding competition for horses where the riders guide the horses through a precise pattern of circles, spins, and stops. Reining requires the horse to be responsive and in tune with its rider, whose aids should not be easily seen, and judges the horse on its ability to perform a set pattern of movements.

Action started on Monday with riders warming up and practicing for their big competitions. An American Quarter Horse Association Open Reining was held all day Wednesday followed by Open, Junior and Rookie reining classes on Thursday. The competition picks back up Friday morning at 8 a.m. with the Novice, Non-Pro and Amateur reining classes. The Youth classes will all be held Saturday morning beginning at 8 a.m. The Open Derby, which is for four, five and six year old horses, will start at noon Saturday and will be followed by a Cowboy Slide Contest at 8 p.m. Trophy pistols will be awarded to the Open Derby Champions on Saturday. The show will conclude on Sunday with more reining competitions. Admission is free.