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.