Buster Welch interview to be televised

Thursday, May 28th, 2020
Buster Welch.

Legendary cutter Buster Welch will visit with another legend, Red Steagall in an interview to be televised on Steagall’s West of Wall Street show on RFD-TV this Sunday, May 31 at 6:00 a.m. Central Time.

Welch, who is in the NCHA Riders Hall of Fame, NCHA Members Hall of Fame and AQHA Hall of Fame, and Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame is a four-time NCHA World Champion. He won the NCHA Futurity a record five times. His name is linked to such great horses as Peppy San Badger (“Little Peppy”), Mr San Peppy, Marion’s Girl, Peppymint Twist and many more.

Steagall is a recording artist, raconteur and student of the West whose entertainment career has spanned five decades.

They will be joined on Sunday’s show by Kelly Graham, whose larger than life-size bronze sculpture of Welch on Little Peppy was unveiled at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Center last December. This summer the sculpture will be permanently installed at Gate 42, where competitors and their horses enter Will Rogers Memorial Equestrian Complex daily.

RFD-TV is available on many platforms, including AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, and others. Follow this link to find out if RFD-TV is available in your area.

Services pending for Murlene Mowery

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

Murlene Mowery.

Murlene Mowery, of Millsap, Texas, a treasure trove of NCHA history, passed away January 21, following a brief illness.

Mowery, 86, a long-time secretary of several NCHA affiliates, had been a go-to member of NCHA’s show department in recent years. She was inducted into the NCHA Members Hall of Fame in 2009 for her years of contributions to the Association.

A 1948 graduate of Henrietta (Texas) High School, she married cutting horse trainer Bill Mowery, and worked many years as office manager for a luxury hotel’s restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. She “moonlighted” as a show secretary. But she never had time to become a cutter herself.

“I rode one once, and decided to leave that to my husband and the boys,” she said. “I really didn’t have time because I had a full-time job, plus being a secretary, plus homework.”

Arizona’s climate and cattle made it a magnet for out-of-state cutters while she worked the shows.

“In the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s, we had our Sun Circuit at the feedlot in Casa Grande,” she recalled. “We had plenty of cattle, so we had lots of entries. One year, our Sun Circuit was the biggest approved NCHA show in the United States.

“Our cuttings would go even until 4 o’clock in the morning, then we’d start over again at 8 o’clock. A few years, we had two arenas going. We had cutters from everywhere.”

For more than 20 years, she served as show secretary of the Arizona CHA.

She returned to Texas after her husband passed away. Her experience, knowledge and energy made her an invaluable addition to the NCHA staff. She enjoyed keeping in touch with people she knew from across the country.

Mowery’s sons, Mike and Rick, are well known to NCHA members. Mike was 1983 World Champion on Handle Bar Doc and won the 1997 NCHA Futurity on Some Kinda Memories. He served as NCHA President in 2005. Rick won multiple aged events, and both Rick and Mike are AAAA judges.

Pat Jacobs, 1937-2016

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Pat JacobsLong-time NCHA member Pat Jacobs, 79, passed away August 29. Jacobs was an NCHA Members Hall of Fame inductee, and he also received the NCHA Judges Distinguished Service Award.

A popular musician and raconteur, Jacobs showed against the sport’s legends, and he judged cuttings for more than 40 years, including the first monitored show. He placed the longest running advertisement in the history of NCHA’s Cutting Horse Chatter magazine.

As a teenager in Kansas, Jacobs earned walking around money by driving cattle to the rail yards and helping load them onto stock cars.

“My heroes were always cowboys, so I helped drive cattle every chance I got,” he said. “It’s all I ever wanted to do.”

He saw Buster Welch ride Marion’s Girl at a county fair, and immediately forgot about his aspirations to be a roper.

“Until that moment, I thought cutting was for old men who couldn’t rodeo,” he said. “After watching Buster, I wanted to cut.”

He got a job working for a trainer and picked up the trade mostly “through osmosis.” By the early 1960s, he was judging shows.

Pat Jacobs“I was just a tall, skinny cowboy and cutting horse trainer from Kansas,” he recalled. “I believe the only requirement then to be a judge was you had to belong to the NCHA for at least two years, and not have any suspensions. Back then, if you could get $25 for judging a cutting, you were pretty well paid.”

As a showman and as a judge, Jacobs was always looking for ways to improve the sport. After a weekend show, he and his fellow cutters would brainstorm, and more often than not Jacobs was the one chosen to deliver their ideas to NCHA headquarters.

“On Monday, I would call (NCHA Executive Director) Zack Wood and bend his ear, telling him about our ideas. I did it often enough where if I didn’t call him on Monday, he would call me and ask, ‘What did you come up with?'”

Jacobs once recalled a time when cattle suppliers would make sure only their best stock would be used at the shows.

“It was a showcase for them to have their cattle on display at the county fair,” he said. “A lot of times, the cattle were furnished, with the trucking and everything else, at no cost. Maybe our new members need to look back and reflect on all the efforts of the judges, the ranchers  and livestock men who tightened their belts to help a growing association.”

Jacobs’ adventures were featured in Tom McGuane’s collections of essays, Some Horses, and in his own book, Outcasts, Outlaws, and Second Chance Horses: The Pat Jacobs Story.

A viewing will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ashland Ks at 7:00pm on Friday Sept 2, 2016. The funeral will take place at 10:00 am Saturday, Sept. 3. A celebration of life will be held in this area at a later date.


Milo Sullivan, 1932-2016

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Milo SullivanMilo Sullivan of Perrin, Texas, former Secretary-Treasurer of the National Cutting Horse Association passed away May 19 at the age of 84.

Sullivan grew up in east Texas and began working in advertising sales for the Dallas Morning News and later worked for Quarter Horse Journal in Amarillo.  He became Secretary-Treasurer of the National Cutting Horse Association in the late 1950s and was editor and publisher of The Cuttin’ Hoss Chatter.  He left that position in 1960 to join Wayne Cook Associates auctioneers.

On leaving NCHA, he said, “My favorite project has been in building this publication. It is not a major magazine, except to cutting horse people, and to most of them, they’d rather cancel the Saturday Evening Post than the Chatter.”

Sullivan was succeeded at the NCHA helm by Zack Wood, who held the position for three decades.

Sullivan later worked in the oil field industry and as a real estate broker.  He worked for Bob Tomes Ford from 1983 until 1998.  He was also a regular columnist for Lone Star Horse Report for many years.

He is survived by his daughters, Debbie Cheatham of Arlington, Texas and Lynette Williams of Perrin, Texas; and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of sixty-three years, Estelena, and by two brothers and four sisters.

A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 24, 2016, at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Chapel in Allen, Texas.

Jack Newton, 1925-2016

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Jack Newton on 1959 World Champion Poco Stampede.

Jack Newton on 1959 World Champion Poco Stampede.

NCHA Hall of Fame Rider Jack Newton, 90, of Keller, Texas, passed away Sunday.

Newton was a World Champion cutting horse rider, a long-serving NCHA judge, a mentor to a new generation of trainers and a top roper. He adapted an idea from the bird dog world, lobbied against strong resistance and finally helped launch what is today cutting’s signature event, the NCHA Futurity.

Newton grew up on a cotton farm near Abilene, Texas, but at 15 went to work for his uncle, Guy Weeks, who sold Thoroughbreds as polo ponies and to the U.S. Army, and kept 5,000 mother cows.

“They made good ranch horses,” Newton said of the Thoroughbreds. “We’d use them working cattle and whatever we had to do. They were six or seven before the polo players would want them, and they knew if the horses had been working cattle, they were broke pretty good.”

Newton met George Glascock, NCHA’s first World Champion, who would buy cattle from Weeks. And Glascock mentored him as Newton took a mare named Guthrie Ann to the 1951 Fort Worth Stock Show. While he was showing Guthrie Ann for oilman G.F. Rhodes, Newton broke tradition and held onto the saddle horn and lowered his rein hand.

“Very seldom would you see anyone ride with his hand down,” Newton recalled. “He’d have his hand up over that horn.”

But other riders began to follow suit, and now you’d be hard-pressed to find a cutter riding in the old style.

In the late 1950s, Newton showed Poco Stampede, who would become the 1959 NCHA World Champion. At a big show in Odessa, Texas, he won the AQHA cutting, the open cutting and was grand champion at halter.

“Poco Stampede could hold a real bad cow,” Newtwon said. “I would watch and if there was a bad cow in there that got away from somebody else, I’d cut it.”

Newton told the story of a cutting held on the infield of a racetrack, where Poco Stampede followed a calf over the snow fence which had been set up to hold the cattle. “We were outside the arena holding that calf,” he said. “They didn’t know whether to let me have another ride or what. Finally someone said, ‘Well, he didn’t lose the cow.'”

As a member of the NCHA executive committee in the early 1960s, Newton pushed for a new event for 3-year-old horses, the NCHA Futurity.

“We had to come up with something,” he said. “We didn’t have anywhere to go with a young horse. We could put them in a junior cutting and that was it, In a novice class, a horse might have to win against horses that were seven or eight years old.”

Newton found an ally in Buster Welch, who would go on to win the NCHA Futurity a record five times.

“We had to go out and get people to donate money for the purse at the first Futurity,” Newton said. “NCHA wouldn’t help us. But when the first one was over, they let us have money for the next one.

“When we started, Buster and I tried to figure out how to come up with $100,000 for the winner. Back then, a World Champion won less than $12,000. The Futurity is what kept us going. All these aged events are spin-offs of the Futurity.”

Newton showed Commander King for James Kemp, and he bred and trained a Commander King son named Dun Commander that won 20 all-around titles with points in halter, reining, roping, western pleasure and cutting.

He was also the first rider to put two horses, Poco Stampede and Swen Miss 16, into the NCHA Hall of Fame. Newton was inducted into the NCHA Riders Hall of Fame in 1989.

“I feel real fortunate,” Netwon told me in 1995. “There are so many people that work five days a week, and when they get a chance, they come out here and do for fun what I do for a living. I may not make much, but I’m making a living doing what I like to do.”

There will be a memorial service for Jack Newton on Sunday, May 1 at 2:00pm at Clay Johns Cutting Horse Arena, 151 Johns Lane, Millsap, Texas 76066.

Looking for a good book? Search no further…

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Parker County in North Central Texas is named for her Uncle Isaac. Yet had it not been for her son, Comanche warrior Quanah Parker, Cynthia Ann Parker’s name might have been lost to history, along with countless other victims of brutality on the Western frontier.

When Quanah Parker appeared as part of the posse in the 1908 silent short The Bank Robbery, it was a pivotal moment for the fledgling movie industry and the beginning of America’s love affair with the bygone Western frontier. In his recently released book “The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel connects the saga of Quanah Parker with the making one of Hollywood’s most iconic movies.

Directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne, and released by Warner Bros. in 1956, The Searchers was based on Alan LeMay’s novel of the same title, inspired by the story of Quanah Parker’s mother, Cynthia Ann.

In 1836, nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker and four family members were abducted during a Comanche raid on their isolated pioneer stockade, in the newly created Republic of Texas. Five others, including Cynthia Ann’s father, uncle and grandfather were savagely killed and dismembered. Twenty-four years later, having assimilated Comanche culture and mothered three children by tribal chief Peta Nocona. Cynthia Ann was discovered by Texas Rangers, following the Battle of Pease River, and released to her uncle, Isaac Parker.

Terrified by her white “captors,” Cynthia Ann more than once attempted escape with her infant daughter Prairie Flower, before resigning herself to her fate. Despite well-meaning efforts by a succession of Parker family members who took her in, Cynthia Ann pined for her Indian family until her death in 1871.

“She was virtually a prisoner among her own loving kindred, but they did not realize it until it was too late,” said Isaac Parker.

The transition to the white man’s world was much easier for Cynthia Ann’s son, who had evaded capture until 1875. Practical, as well as savvy, Quanah Parker helped enforce reservation laws and negotiate peace with the few remaining renegade bands that remained on the High Plains. He also made friends and eventually became business partners with influential ranchers such as S.B. “Burk” Burnett, E.C. Sugg, and Dan Waggoner, and even won over Theodore Roosevelt, who invited him to participate in his 1904 inaugural parade.

Proud of his white blood, Quanah Parker tracked down his mother’s unmarked grave in 1910 and had her reburied near his home in Comanche County, Okla. According to his son-in-law, Aubrey Birdsong, at the reburial, Quanah Parker said, “I love my mother. I like white folks….When people die today, tomorrow, ten years, I want them be ready like my mother. Then we all lie together again.”

Quanah Parker died in February 1911 and was buried next to the grave of his mother and Prairie Flower. The funeral was attended by 1,200 people, evenly divided between Indians and whites. His headstone bears the inscription: “Resting Here Until Day Breaks and Shadows Fall and Darkness Disappears Is Quanah Parker Last Chief of the Comanches.”

Connections: High Brow Cat and the self-starter

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Jack Waggoner was just a toddler, when he accidentally locked himself inside the tack room of the horse barn on the farm of his grandfather, Edward A. Deeds, near Dayton Ohio.

“I don’t know how long I was locked up,” Waggoner told me in a 2003 interview. “I was only three and when they found me, I had scratched grooves in the door trying to get out and all of my fingernails were torn off.”

Edward A. Deeds

Waggoner thinks the incident might have triggered the asthma attacks he suffered whenever he was near horses. Fortunately for the Western performance world, Waggoner outgrew his allergy to horses and developed a program with a 1988 colt by High Brow Hickory that made Waggoner the all-time leading breeder of cutting horses and High Brow Cat the all-time leading sire of cutting horses.

In 1945, when Waggoner was three, Edward Deeds’ barn was famous not because of horses, but because of horse power. It was there, in 1908, that Deeds’ partner and co-worker Charles Kettering began work on an ignition system that would revolutionize the auto industry.

After Cadillac ordered 8,000 of the new ignition sets, Deeds and Kettering founded Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO), and developed the first reliable automobile self-starter, in 1911. At the start of World War I, DELCO expanded to include the Dayton-Wright Company, with Orville Wright and H.E. Talbott. Dayton-Wright manufactured the DeHavilland DH-4, the only American-built bomber to see action in World War I, and the plane in which Orville Wright, who made the first ever manned, powered flight, in 1903, made his last flight, in 1918.

Jack Waggoner

“When they sold Delco to General Motors, they drew straws to see who would stay and run the power (company) for Dayton and who would go to General Motors,” said Waggoner. “My grandfather won and he stayed in Dayton and we all heard of Charlie Kettering because he lost.” Kettering became vice president of General Motors Research Corporation in 1920, a position he held for 27 years.

Born in 1874, in Granville, Ohio, Deeds worked his way through nearby Denison Univsersity and upon graduation, studied the relatively new science of electrical engineering at Cornell, one of the first universities to offer a degree in the field.

By 1899, Deeds was working in Dayton for the National Cash Register Company, where he oversaw the building of that company’s first electrical generating system. He left NCR for two years to design and build the famous Shredded Wheat factory at Niagra Falls, known as the “Palace of Light.”

Deeds returned to NCR in 1902, as a vice president and assistant general manager, and hired young Charles Kettering, an electrical engineer from Ohio State University, to work on his idea for an electric cash register. It proved to be an inspired and enduring relationship, with Deeds as the “idea man” and business mind and Kettering as the inventor and technical genius.

Deeds retired from NCR in 1914. At the time he returned as the company’s president, in 1931, he was serving on the boards of 28 corporations, from the General Sugar Company to one of the most powerful banks in the world. He served as president of NCR until 1940, then as honorary chairman, until his retirement in 1957.

Moraine Farm, Edward and Edith’s sprawling home and site of the famous Deeds barn, was the first private home in the United States to have an airstrip, and the Deeds’ yacht, “The Lotosland,” was the first private boat in the world to carry an amphibious airplane.

Edward Deeds died at Moraine Farm in 1960 and is buried at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, also the final resting place of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Charles Kettering, and NCR founder John H. Patterson.