Dick Gaines. Sally Harrison photo.

Dick Gaines, 75, Byers, Tex., past president of the National Cutting Horse Association, passed away after an extended illness, on Tuesday. January 15.

As a past president of the NCHA and a longtime director, Gaines’ contribution to the growth of the association was incalculable. In 2005, Gaines became, and still remains, the only person to be inducted into three of NCHA’s Halls of Fame. He was inducted into the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame in 1980, the NCHA Riders Hall of Fame in 1992, and the NCHA Members Hall of Fame in 2005.

Admittance to the NCHA Non-Pro and Riders Halls of Fame is based on performance; however, cutters are nominated by their peers for the NCHA Members Hall of Fame, in consideration of their lasting contributions to the sport. Being held in such high esteem by his peers, Gaines said, was what made his Members Hall of Fame induction so special.

In addition to his tireless efforts and dedication on behalf of the National Cutting Horse Association, Gaines rode and bred some of the cutting industry’s finest horses. He won the 1978 NCHA Non-Pro World Championship in 1978 riding Sally Doc, but before that, in 1973, he was reserve champion of the NCHA Non-Pro Futurity on Doc Tari, one of the most significant horses in his life. In 1980, Gaines won the NCHA Non-Pro Derby riding Doc Tari’s daughter Barbi Tari and, in 1981, three of the NCHA Futurity Open finalists were Doc Tari offspring, including the reserve champion Chick Tari. Doc Tari would go on to become one of cutting’s all-time leading sires and grandsires.

In 1982, Dick Gaines was one of eight cutting horse stallion owners who formed the Super Syndicate, which resulted in the initiation of the NCHA Super Stakes, one of today’s famous Triple Crown cutting events.

From 1989 through 1992, Zack T Wood, a Doc Tari son bred by Dick Gaines, carried both Dick and his son Matt to win major NCHA championships; the story came full circle in 2001, when Matt, an NCHA Riders Hall of Fame Member, showed Nu I Wood, by Zack T Wood, to win the NCHA Open Derby. Nu I Wood, in turn, produced Special Nu Baby, who Matt rode to win the 2015 NCHA Open World Championship. Dick Gaines came down to watch his son’s final ride for the championship from the seat of the John Deere tractor used to groom the arena floor.

Services will be arranged by Davis Funeral Home, Henrietta, Okla.