In the fall of 1981, a small crowd gathered at Matlock Rose’s ranch in Gainesville, Texas to see two old partners reunited in the cutting arena. Seventeen years earlier, Peppy San and Matlock Rose had earned the NCHA World Championship. Since then, Rose had won three more world titles, with a Peppy San son and a Peppy San daughter. Now, the famous stallion was 22 and Rose was 57, but the years had only enhanced their luster.

“Matlock worked a few cows and after a really good cut, he stepped down and pulled Peppy San’s bridle off and hung it on his saddle horn,” remembered the late auctioneer Ike Hamilton, who was there to conduct a sale. “Sonny Rice was standing next to me and we were both crying like babies.”

Although Rose’s admirers were legion, it was the respect of his colleagues that set him apart from other horsemen and inspired his legend. As a trainer, breeder, teacher, and judge, Rose helped make the American Quarter Horse.

Matlock passed away Saturday evening, January 5 at his home in Van, Texas with his wife LaVerne at his side. Funeral services will be at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9 at Covenant Church-Crossroads, 8690 Liberty Drive, Aubrey, Texas.

Visitation will be from Tuesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at DeBerry Funeral Home, 2025 W. University, Denton, Texas – phone 940-383-4200. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Quarter Horse Foundation (PO Box 32111 Amarillo, TX 79120-9971 or on line at, the American Heart Association or Cutters in Action (