Cowboys compete in ranch horse competition at the Central States Fairground

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN TV) - Several cowboys from around the nation compete at the last qualifier for ranch horse competition today at the Central States Fairground.

Competitors of all ages from all over the nation showed off their horses' talents at the American Quarter Horse Association Versatility Ranch Horse Competition. About 70 American Quarter horses competed for the ultimate title to gain a spot in the finals. Two judges look at the horses' speed, how well they can handle trails and how well they can handle a heard of cattle. The competition allows ranchers to get into the competitive spirit and practice to one day become a professional cowboy. The competition is more of a reminder of the Mid-West culture.

"It's important because this is part of our heritage. This is part of Western South Dakota's heritage: ranching, raising cattle, raising horses. These horses is what we use to do our job. It's always important to recognize our heritage," says Dean Johnson with American Quarter Horse Association.

The winners of the competition will go to the world show in Guthrie, Oklahoma in June.