Got Cow? The ND Cutting Horse Association Going Strong

by | Jan 24, 2023 | Shows, Working Cow Horse/Cutting

Mya Wicks in action.  [Photo: Craig Maley Photography]

Mya Wicks of Richardton, N.D. has been riding cutting horses since she was 13. Currently a sophomore for the Raiders, this cowgirl carries her own form of hooks, and that’s being a top ranch hand at her families’ ranch, Wick’s Cattle, and a competitor in the North Dakota Cutting Horse Association’s (NDCHA) show pens.

Whether it be cutting herd bulls out of the pen or punching cattle, Mya is a Dakota cowgirl through and through. It is only suitable that she has been named ‘Most Improved Cutter of the Year’ at the NDCHA Annual meeting and banquet, which was held Saturday, January 21 in Bismarck.

The NDCHA has a long history of encouraging interest in cutting horses and competitions while promoting the cutting horse business across the state of North Dakota. As an affiliate of the National Cutting Horse Association, the organization hosts cutting horse events annually throughout North Dakota, thanks to Walt and Evelyn Neuens who founded the NDCHA back in the early 1960s.

“This association has been supportive and so helpful. I’m newer to competing in the cutting but use ranch experiences and horse experience in the cutting pen. I also transfer the cutting pen back to ranch work,” said Mya.

A cowgirl’s job is never done. Mya Wicks atop her palomino mare ‘Honey’ [Photo: submitted]

The cowgirl rides ‘Sneakin By Too’ by ‘Sneakin Lena’ also known as ‘Splash’, a legend in the cutting horse world of Nebraska. “I love competing in cutting and ranching. They are both all about trying your hardest and giving your all,” smiled Mya.

NDCHA Board of Director/Officer Mikaela Gawley of Bismarck said, “The NDCHA holds shows from the entry level to trainer classes. This year we had a lot of entry level cutters and fortunate to have 5 members win their first cutting buckle. On the other end of the spectrum, we had a show in Bismarck in July where many of the horses shown were in the National Cutting Horse Association World Standings where they went onto compete in the 2022 World Finals show in Fort Worth, Texas.”

Mikaela Miller Gawley Riding ‘Tazs Nifty Freckle’ [Photo: EM Photography]

“The adrenalin rush I get in the cutting pen, or even in the practice pen on our cutting horses, never gets old. I especially enjoy this, because my whole family is involved. I have two sons and grandchildren, and it is something we can be involved in together,” said Val Bahm, Burlington.

Bahm said she has been involved in the NDCHA since she was 10. Her father, Dorvan Solberg of Ray, N.D., has been instrumental to the NDCHA. Her and her husband, Bob, have a remuda of mares and have been raising horses west of Minot for more than a decade, along with their sons. The horsewoman’s biggest win this summer was getting through a lack of preparation in the practice pen, due to relocation of their home, and winning the $25K novice non-pro cutting at the August show (Walt Neuens Arena, Bismarck).

Four genertions of cowboys & cowgirls (left to right) Bob Bahm, Zach Bahm & son Conway, Tyler Bahm & daughter Harper, Val Bahm, and Dorvan Solberg [Photo: submitted]

“It all comes down to family with the horses — we ride and raise. My dad gave me ‘Metallic N’ Blu’ by Metallic Cat for my birthday,” said Bahm. The cowgirl has a reputation amongst her peers of being fun to watch in the show pen and said she is excited to ride the blue roan mare they call ‘Daisy’ this upcoming season.

With classes like ‘Never Won a Buckle’ and a bit series held in conjunction with the shows, Gawley said she was thankful to highlight the following, “Contestants earned points based on the number of entries in the class for the bit series. Circle 5 Quarter Horses and Cattle (Ty and Sarah Neidhardt) and ‘Tale of the Cat’ (National Cutting Horse Association cutting stallion in Texas) were grand prize sponsors. Pennington Bit and Spurs of Medora commissioned the custom bit and headstall prizes. Hall Performance Horses of Wyoming sponsored the reserve prize, which was a set of spurs from Sheridan Saddle Co. Prairie Rein Leather (in Montana) made spur straps for 3rd place sponsored by Hovde Horsmanship, Bob and Val Bahm, and Neshem Horseshoeing.”

 Sportsman of the Year Mert Hansen (right) with NDCHA President Chase Dauenhauer (left) [Photo: courtesy of NDCHA]

Many North Dakota competitors have worked their way through this association to World Finals ranks including Jim Neshem of Des Lacs, Mikaela Miller Gawley of Bismarck and Dorvan Solberg of Ray.

NDCHA President Chase Dauenhauer, Bismarck, said, “What I enjoy about NDCHA is that it offers opporunity to showcase and improve the horse and riders abilities and talents. From first timers, beginners, to some of the best in the world (horses and riders), participants come to show at NDCHA events. We all compete in the sport of cutting to help each other improve and, more importantly, have fun.”

NDCHA President Chase Dauenhauer (left) pictured with Matt Schlegal (right) awarded with Turnback Horse of The Year [Photo: courtesy NDCHA]

Gawley said the association is looking forward to a 2023 summer of shows that are being confirmed. A highlighted show will take place at the historic Bohnsack Ranch in Sheldon, N.D.

For more information and full list of results, visit or their Facebook page North Dakota Cutting Horse Association.

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