It’s that time of year again! The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Vice President election is right around the corner, and we wanted to give you more background on this year’s candidates, Ora Diehl and Kirby Smith. Both candidates bring their own unique experience to the table, and we encourage NCHA members to read this Q&A to learn more about each of their plans for the future!
The ballots for the 2019 Vice President Election will be sent out to all NCHA members at the beginning of April to the email and address on file by Simply Voting. All ballots must be received NO LATER than May 10.
Q1: What made you decide to run for VP?
Ora: My first goal is to give back. I feel like it is now my turn to serve the membership. After volunteering in the accounting office of NCHA for the past 6 months, I feel like I can help in areas with skills other then just taking from the association.
Kirby: The future of our sport for my Children and Grand Children. 4 years ago, when my first grandchild was born my daughter in-law told me how excited she was for my grandson to have the same experiences as my son and she had as youth cutters. I told her I was concerned how NCHA cutting would look 10 years down the road. I hope I can help the NCHA so it is a fun, family sport like my children had the opportunity to participate in.
Q2: What has been your previous involvement with NCHA?
Ora: I currently serve on the Finance Committee and Competition Committee. In the past I have served on Producers LAE Committee. I am presently serving as affiliate Treasurer, Board Member and member in Area 16. Hosted LAE/Weekend Shows. Bred and Raised Foals. Shows WE and LAE as a Non-Pro.
Kirby: I am a national director for the State of Nebraska and have served in that role for 9 years. Currently I sit on the Competition Committee and the Non-Pro Committee and served two terms on the Amateur Committee. I am currently the VP of the Cutting Horse Association of Nebraska (CHAN), and have been a CHAN director for many years.
Q3: How long have you been involved with cutting horses?
Ora: 25+ years
Kirby: We purchased our first cutting horse in 2000, We purchased a 15-year-old gelding for my son to start following roping steers, when we got the papers, he was a son of Docs Hickory and we looked up his earnings and found out that he had was 15K dollars and was a cutting horse. After chasing a few steers, we went to town and bought the Western Horseman book on Cutting and a few months later I entered the 2000 NCHA Days cutting in the Rookie class and participated in my first cutting. Since then we have driven a million miles, and have had some of the greatest experiences and met some of the greatest people in my lifetime.
Q4: Most memorable cutting you have attended?
Ora: First Tomato Futurity. Planning and Hosting our first show was the most nerve wracking, stressful but highly rewarding cutting I have attended. Seeing haulers from across the United States show up to your facility is exhilarating. Phil Rapp riding Tap O Lena, Mary Jo Milner riding Hiccapoo, Lindy Burch, Robert Rust, etc was the ultimate. Sharing our Florida culture, tomatoes and alligators to others was the best. Southern Hospitality at it’s best was the most memorable.
Kirby: My family has made so many memories at so many great weekend shows and ranch cuttings across the USA it hard to pick the most memorable. We have competed at the National Western in Denver when you cut between events at the Rodeo, Klamath Falls, Oregon, The Non-Pro in OKC, Krebs 4th of July Cutting in Gordon, NE, Huffman Ranch cutting in Whitman NE, Kansas Futurity and Amateur Tournament. But hands down the most fun, family event we competed at for several years was the ALL-AMERICAN AMATEUR TOURNEMENT, in Columbia, Missouri. This was such a great event to get new cutters started with all the emphasis on them and great Trainers there to help all contestants.
Q5: How do you feel you can make a difference to the sport of cutting?
Ora: Hopefully, I can make a difference in our sport by listening to our membership. My motto is, “listen twice as much as you talk”. Encouraging someone to give you their opinion/concern, but ask how would YOU implement a solution.
Kirby: I have been involved with horses and cattle most of my life. I grew up in SW Missouri in a family who ranched and raised racing quarter horses. I received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Missouri and followed that with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition at the University of Nebraska. I have been a Feedlot Nutritionist for the last 35 years. In my business we are asked to evaluate and implement programs and constantly challenge for better outcomes. I would like to help the current Leadership continue with Class Restructuring, Fiscal Accountability, and growth of the organization. I believe there is a great direction for the NCHA in the class leveling structure for Aged Events giving more people a place to show their horses as our mission statement suggested, with their peers. When all the details are worked out this will be a positive step for the NCHA produced events. Let’s look at these changes and make positive suggestions to make them successful and strengthening to our sport. There are many great members to draw on their expertise to make this happen.
Q6: Membership has been on a steady decline in the last few years, name two things you would like to see implemented to turn this around?
Ora: 1. Leveling LAE Shows. 2. Lowering EF across the board. LAE and WE shows to become more affordable to show at.
Kirby: Entries at the weekend level have declined 27% since 2010. I am a weekend cutter that believes this is still the backbone of our sport. I think we can streamline the process of producing shows across the nation to meet the needs of our members. I think we need to look hard at other cutting organizations and see what they are doing to meet the needs of their members, and that we need to strive to make it easier to produce shows and to relax the guidelines so that each area or affiliate can produce shows that work for them.
Q7: What is the most important issue facing NCHA today?
Ora: Raising the bar of Integrity of our Association. Our 4 legged gifts deserve it first and our future cutters are my second concern.
Kirby: The appointment of a strong and competent Executive Director. I believe the elected officials of the NCHA are here to look into the future of our sport and guide it for future success. I don’t believe the President and E.C. are here to run the business of the NCHA those responsibilities lay with the hiring of a strong and qualified Executive Director. The EC and Elected Officials are here to make policy and rules and guide this association for future success. I believe the current NCHA leadership has made great gains in fiscal responsibility and is handing the reins of this organization over to a new director in better shape than they found it.
Q8: What do you see as the most important role for NCHA President?
Ora: Our Mission Statement in short states WE, NCHA, promotes, celebrates the cutting horse. Adhere to the rules to conduct shows, give the cutter a level playing field from the beginner to advanced competitor. Encourage members to use their talents and background to achieve goals. So, to me the role of President of this association would be, To Never, Never give UP! That attitude must be on display at all times to establish a culture that our horses deserve. Hard work, Roll your sleeves up, put your head down and let us ALL go to work.
Kirby: The President of the NCHA responsibilities are to preside at all meetings of the Association, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. The Presidents’ only agenda is to be watchful for the good of all the NCHA.
Q9: Name one thing the NCHA does really well?
Ora: Freely, WE, NCHA members bring a true meaning of FAMILY without it costing a dime. Each and everyone of us pride ourselves in displaying an environment that any parent would want to raise their family around. The true meaning of “love of the horse” is taught to all of us very innocently. The horse is truly a member of our family. After raising our boys in the “cutting horse family” it is a must for me to raise our grandchildren in this same family.
Kirby: They produce the Premier cutting events in the nation. There is no doubt that the Triple Crown Events and the Nationals are the best value and highest paying of cutting events in the World. No cutting is produced without issues, and we must be mindful to evaluate and improve these events constantly. Not to change for the sake of change, but to always improve.
Q10: Why should members vote for you?
Ora: My hope is to portray an approachable set of ears that will be easy for the member to talk to and express concerns, wishes, goals and future expectations. We have such a diverse group of members that are yearning to be heard and used to move our association into the future with new ideas that are endless. I fully plan on listening with both ears.
Ora Diehl & Family
Kirby: I am an NCHA Member. I have not been a member of the Executive Committee, I am not an insider to all the happenings of the NCHA. I am a NCHA member that believes we (the members) can make a difference. I would like to help to strengthen the NCHA and support the NCHA for future generations.
Kirby Smith & Family
To contact Ora Diehl, call 813.990.7258 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact Kirby Smith, call 308.380.0242 or email email@example.com.