History of the EXCA

The American Cowboy is a heritage that is not only in the hearts of many from childhood westerns such as John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. The cowboy-way may have been forgotten by many, but it is not dead! There are many cowboys in the 21st century that still live by this way of life. There is no doubt that our world has changed since the days of the long cattle drives and gun fights in the town squares that fill our hearts with nostalgic memories of Lonesome Dove and Tombstone. Although our culture has changed dramatically, the heritage and pride of this lost lifestyle is still alive and well in the modern day American cowboy.

The culture of Extreme Cowboy Association (EXCA) developed around the personal energy and beliefs of Craig Cameron. Through his processes of teaching clinics and starting colts at the Bluff Dale, Texas  ranch - in the arena and on the Challenge Trails - his mind was busy thinking of ways to make his teaching more dynamic and the lessons more meaningful for his students. An important goal that makes Cameron very delighted is when he can create learning opportunities that make people understand and improve their horsemanship skills between rider and horse. Cameron is a master teacher who knows well that when people strive toward a common goal they bond and grow closer through the shared challenge. As a result, he designed and assembled numerous obstacles that would give people an incremental challenge test of their skills with their horse partners. Time and again, he set the definition of performance at higher levels. Cameron is always cognizant that the goal of these obstacle courses, was not only to go fast but to go "in perfect unity" as horse and rider "with one mind".

Cameron televised the first extreme race at the Bluff Dale ranch location in 2005. That first race became a starting block for beginning a television show that was all about Extreme Cowboy Racing. From week to week for five years he showed people all across the country a multitude of different challenges that could be performed. Entertaining and educational commentary provided by Cameron for racing participants and viewers alike helped each see what was good horsemanship and what it was all about. To have visual and auditory reinforcement happening before their very eyes is what has made Cameron's success.

He added his own sense of fun, entertainment and excitement through his charismatic style of color commentary. Positive ratings from people across the country indicated they loved the program. As Cameron had more races filmed for TV, people began to build obstacles and courses like they'd seen on his show. And, they began to call and ask for help with how to put on races and for Cameron to come and lend to the fun and excitement with his own personal color commentary. From this, leaders emerged.

Those who put on early races became the natural leaders within their area and as Cameron started the EXCA, the identified leaders were pulled together from across the country to help with the organization of each region within the U.S. These early leaders would become the foundation of the National Advisory Board.

These united individuals shared the vision and value of the importance of excellence in horsemanship - no matter the riding discipline or the task at hand. They also embraced the concept that people have fun when they have clear goals to work toward and a way to recognize where they are improving and what they need to work on more. Add a bit of competition, a few minor prizes, and the opportunity to come together with others who are all working to be better horsemen - and you have an emerging culture - organization wide. Extreme Cowboy Association.

Cameron believes that learning is the key to success. Cameron's EXCA races on RFD-TV provided an accurate and entertaining description-pairing the language with horse/rider actions to give viewers repetitive opportunities to perceive the nuances that make the difference between better horsemanship and less appropriate examples.

Cameron's training methods teaches his students to prepare them to compete to higher levels of success. These methods carry over allowing parents to teach their children as families practice between races, with both parents and children competing in their respective EXCA divisions.

The culture of the EXCA is reinforced by its rules, rewards and the influence within the organization. The EXCA created organizational by-laws in a rule book that all members and contestants must abide to in order to remain in competition. These rules govern each event and specify what good horsemanship looks like and what indicators are a reflection of poor horsemanship. Those most successful in demonstrating the values through good horsemanship experience success at higher levels in races - frequently resulting in prizes, trophies and financial rewards.

Race organizers continue to be the prime factor in the rising popularity of EXCA. Each year race organizers put together races in their hometowns. This allows members to compete in their backyards rather than having to haul long hours to competitions. Race organizers must pay a fee to the association to sanction the race, and $10 for each individual contestant. Race organizers continue to bring the EXCA success across North America.

Each race is designed with difficult obstacles that the riders must complete with advanced horsemanship methods while remaining calm and poised with their horse. These obstacles can become extremely difficult and will separate good horsemen from the great horsemen.

These courses are the soul idea which the organization was built around. Contestants join the organization to compete, but ultimately they join to win. The EXCA is a newer organization, however, competition is tough and being an EXCA World Champion means everything to competitors. Underlying assumptions help define the goals for the EXCA. The organization is based on good horsemanship and family values. Good horsemanship can be defined as doing the right thing for the right reasons for horse and rider alike. The EXCA believes that activities that work for the whole family will have the strongest impact and investment. The goal of EXCA was to create a strong organization that requires balance between the work required to achieve and the rewards of achievement.

The EXCA Hall of Fame is a rite created for the competitors. Competitors work hard to be honored with this induction. Since the creation of the organization in 2008, only a few members have been inducted. These race commentaries have become very popular due to Cameron's fun, yet inspiring commentaries. Members work hard year to year for their rewards whether it is winning their first buckle or being crowned the new world champion and possible induction into the EXCA Hall of Fame.

The members and contestants of the organization are the supreme factor to the overall success of the business. Race organizers must have the knowledge and skill to be able to organize races and keep them consistent with the "core technology" of the organization. In many ways, the goals of the organization share the same goals as the members. They are both trying to preserve a spirit that is rich in American culture.

Craig Cameron created this business on the ideas and values based in American Cowboy tradition and the ranch lifestyle. Cameron, who considers himself one of the last American cowboys, believes that within the EXCA, western (American) beliefs and values are preserved. When asked what these values are, Cameron replied, "Within the EXCA, the old cowboy traditions are still alive and well. Honesty, integrity, strong work ethic and the state of mind to never quit are a few beliefs that I built the EXCA around." Some races have included mounted shooting events that have brought the difficulty of competition to the next level. When asked why this event was added, Cameron said, "The EXCA is a proud defender of patriotism. As Americans, we have the right to bear arms. We are honored as an organization to defend this constitutional right." The EXCA is a defender of old cowboy traditions, rich with American pride.