Milestones

Peggy Hightower 1936 – 2019

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Peggy Hightower, 83, Chappell Hill, Tex., passed away on October 23. Although she did not compete in cutting events, she was an avid fan and supporter of the sport. Her late husband, cutting horse trainer Olan Hightower, who passed away in 2014, won the 1976 NCHA Futurity on Colonel Freckles, and their son, Faron Hightower, is an NCHA Hall of Fame Rider.

A memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church in Chappell Hill, Tex.

Judy Spaulding, 1940-2019

Saturday, July 13th, 2019

Long-time NCHA member Judy Spaulding, 79, passed away Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

Judy was born April 27, 1940 in Las Animas, Colorado, daughter of Basil and Opal Ruth Simpson Smith.

She graduated from Lajunta High School in 1958 and attended Otero Jr. College. She married Jim Spaulding in 1965, and they spent 54 happy years together.

Judy was involved in many business ventures, including the cutting horse and cattle business. An avid photographer, she filled in as an emergency replacement for the show photographer at the NCHA Western National Championships one year. That launched a career which saw her pictures featured in Cutting Horse Chatter, as well as on the walls and in the albums of countless cutters.

Judy enjoyed the success of their High Brow Cat son Neat Little Cat, shown by Hall of Fame Rider Sean Flynn in his aged event career, which included reserve championships at the prestigious Western Horseman Cup, and the Brazos Bash. and a win at the Texas Classic. Neat Little Cat earned over $275,000 in a career that also saw him make the Top 10 in the NCHA Open World Standings two years in a row.

The Spauldings also bred a string of major aged event finalists, including Dualin Lights, Playing Short and Neat Little Shorty.

Survivors include her husband, Jim Spaulding of Millsap, Texas; brother, Stanley Smith of Pueblo, Colo.; sisters, Bettie White of Rocky Ford, Colo. and Joy Stark of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and many other extended family members and friends.

John Rockey Sr. 1952–2019

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

John Rockey Sr., Palmdale, Calif., who showed his gelding Let Georgie Do It to the title of 2016 NCHA Amateur Horse of the Year, passed away on Thursday, June 6. An NCHA member since 1978, Rockey will be honored with a tribute on June 12, at the PCCHA Derby at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, where he had been entered to ride.

Last year, Rockey won both the PCCHA Futurity Classic Amateur Unlimited and the Non-Pro Limited titles riding Dureyngo Kid, who he also showed as reserve champion of the 2018 NCHA Super Stakes Amateur and the 2018 NCHA Derby Amateur Unlimited.

Last month, Rockey showed his 4-year-old gelding Sweet Toothe to win the Breeders Invitational Amateur championship, and collected money in seven other divisions of the event on Sweet Toothe and Dureyngo Kid.

James F. “Jim” Holmes 1936 – 2019

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Longtime NCHA member and cutting horse breeder Jim Holmes, 82, Longmont, Colo., a past president and a Hall of Fame member of the Western States Cutting Horse Association, passed away on Thursday, May 23.

Jim Holmes’s purchase of the 8-year-old stallion Wyoming Doc, in 1981, would prove to have a lasting impact on the cutting horse industry through his Wyoming Doc daughter, Nurse Rey, the dam of cutting’s #2 all-time leading sire, Dual Rey.

Jim Holmes grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and moved to Longmont with his wife, Virginia, and their family in 1971, where Holmes developed multiple business enterprises, as well as his interest in Quarter Horses. It was in Longmont that his daughters Gail and Linda became interested in cutting horses. Linda showed Wyoming Doc to place third in the 1983 NCHA Non-Pro World Championship standings, while Gail focused on breeding and selling the horses. Even after they married and started their separate careers, Gail Holmes Allen and Linda Holmes stayed hooked with cutting horses and developed their own influential breeding programs, while maintaining the heritage of their father’s foundation.

Visitation on Thursday, May 30th from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, followed by Rosary Prayers at 6:00 pm
Howe Mortuary Chapel, 439 Coffman St, Longmont, CO 80501

Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, May 31st at 10:00 am
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 323 Collyer Street, followed by Burial at 11:00 am, Mountain View Cemetery, 620 11th Avenue.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: The Steven Holmes Fund c/o Longmont Community Foundation 636 Coffman Street, Suite #203 Longmont, CO 80502.

Dan Simpson 1952 – 2019

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

NCHA member Dan Simpson, Mineola, Tex., 67, passed away on May 20, 2019, following a long illness.

Simpson was an NCHA Open World Championship Top Ten rider with Jimmy Doc, in 1986, and with Smart N Slick, in 2001. He also rode 1986 NCHA $3,000 Novice World champion Shine Bit Of Luck, as well Little Peppy Tari and Little Lightnin Doc, NCHA World Top Ten Open Geldings, and Genuine War Chips and Cayenne San, both NCHA World $3,000 Novice Top Ten horses.

Simpson is survived by his wife Danielle.

Arlis Justice 1934 – 2019

Friday, May 17th, 2019
Arlis Justice, with his daughter, Hope. Sally Harrison photo.

Arlis Justice, 84, a longtime NCHA member and father of NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame member Hope Mitchell, as well as father-in-law of NCHA Hall of Fame Rider John Mitchell, passed away, following a brief illness, at his home in Camden, Arkansas.

A cattle broker, as well as owner and operator of Justice Farms, Inc., Bearden, Ark., Arlis was drawn to cutting competition, when he began hauling Hope to weekend youth events. “What I do is Saturday play,” said Justice in 2001. “It’s a relaxing deal. We’re involved in shipping a lot of cattle and I work most of the time, but try to get away once or twice a month. Learning to pick cows was the only thing about cutting that I got pretty quick. The rest of it I had problems with because I don’t have a lot of confidence showing in a crowd. But cutting’s been good for us.”

Arlis Justice’s survivors include his wife, Barbara Ann; son Buster B. and his wife Sonya; daughter Hope and her husband John Mitchell; daughter Bobbie Jo and her husband Richard Vaughn; daughter Cindy Stafford; and step-daughter Ginger Kitchens; as well as 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Graveside services were held on Tuesday, May 14 with Rev. Joe Howard Williamson officiating. Memorials may be made to Horsemen for Christ, P.O. Box 9524, Wichita Falls, Tex., 76301.

Aaron Schwarzwalter 1928 – 2019

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

Aaron Schwarzwalter, 91, Solvang, Calif., an NCHA member since 1968, passed away on Sunday, February 3, 2019.

The NCHA non-pro earner of $35,145, Schwarzwalter last showed in 2017, when he was 89, at the Rancho Vistadores Camp Cutting. He also competed in limited age event finals, including the Northwest Ranch Festival, the Red Bluff Winter Roundup, and the Pacific Coast Challenge, and in 1999, won the Northwest Ranch Festival on Telesis Cash O Lena.

In 1984, Schwarzwalter established All American Trailers North, a prominent West Coast horse and livestock trailer dealership.

Services will be held on March 2, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church, 1825 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang. A reception will follow at the Santa Ynez Equestrian Center, Mesa Verde Road, Santa Ynez.