Former NCHA President and Members Hall of Fame inductee Don Bussey, 79, of Guin, Alabama, passed away August 2.
Beginning in the 1980s, Bussey enjoyed showing both on the weekends and in limited age events. He served as an affiliate president, NCHA Director, and member of the NCHA Executive Committee before eventually becoming NCHA President in 2004.
At the same time, he was active in his community, as a banker, a member of Guin’s Industrial Development Board, and as a civic leader.
Bussey’s interest in cutting traced back to the early 1970s when he visited a friend in Oklahoma who rode cutting horses. Bussey rodeoed in high school and spent years with western pleasure horses before the cutting bug bit him for good.
“I guess I wanted to get more active riding than just going in circles,” he said. “When you ride a cutting horse for the first time and feel one or two big moves, you’re hung. It’s addictive. The second time you ride one, you’re hung worse. After that, you’re over the hill. You’ve got to have one.”
Known for his sense of humor, Bussey never wavered from his belief that cutting should be fun.
As president of the North Alabama Cutting Horse Association, he promoted an Amateur Cutting Tournament that offered Rubbermaid buckets for prizes.
“A lot of people get the wrong idea that people just cut for money,” he said. “That’s not true. Those Amateurs who won a bucket were thrilled.”
Along with James Hooper and the late Pat Earnheart, Bussey revived the Memphis Futurity, to give the sport a solid event east of the Mississippi. It continues to thrive today as the Tunica Futurity.
In his campaign in the NCHA Vice President elections, he said, “I want to do all that I can to ensure that my children and yours, my grandchildren and yours, can enjoy the thrill and excitement that I have felt while participating in cutting.”