LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Working ranch horses are set to compete at the fifth annual Ranch Horse Classics event April 13 in the covered horse arena at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville.

    Brent LaMaster, last year’s open division championship rider, will return to defend his title. He will ride Royal Genuine Doc for Joe Humes of Scottsburg, Ind.

    Sponsored by the University of Louisville Department of Equine Business, the Ranch Horse Classics competition is designed to showcase the value of the working ranch horse. The event is free and open to the public.

    Riders will compete in amateur and open divisions for a share of more than $4,000 in cash and prizes. Competitors will be judged in five events designed to highlight the versatility and usefulness of a true working horse. Categories include ranch horse conformation, ranch horse pleasure, working ranch horse, working cow horse and a timed ranch roping event.

    The first round of competition will begin at 8:30 a.m. The top five point winners in each division will advance to the 7 p.m. finals.

    The deadline to enter a horse is April 5. Each competition is limited to 40 horses.

    In addition, nationally known horseman Curt Pate will present a clinic demonstrating techniques for the working cow horse and ranch roping events April 14 at the fairground’s covered horse arena. Pate served as a consultant to Robert Redford for the film “The Horse Whisperer.” Admission to the clinic is $5 for spectators and $135 for riders.

    U of L students from the Equine Industry Program are producing the competition as a way to gain hands-on experience in event planning.

    John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.