He was a high school teacher for nine years before he turned to training and won the single biggest payout in cutting history. He is also one of the sport’s all-time leaders with over $4.2 million in NCHA earnings.
In March 1987, at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Bill Riddle earned $1 million for his winning ride aboard Poco Quixote Rio in the Gold & Silver Stakes. Poco Quixote Rio wasn’t Riddle’s best horse that year, but he was his best that day, out-scoring a field that included High Brow Hickory, who had already earned over $100,000 under Bill Freeman and that same year would plant the seed that produced High Brow Cat.
Riddle’s best horse in 1987 was Aglows First Rio, who he rode to third place behind Smart Date and Miss Katie Quixote in the NCHA Futurity, and who he would show to win the 1988 Super Stakes, after claiming co-reserve titles in the Augusta and Memphis Futurities.
On April 23, 1988, Isaam Fares, owner of Poco Quixote Rio and Aglows First Rio, who had decided to concentrate on his thoroughbred racing program, held a cutting horse dispersal at Fares Ranch in Fredericksburg, Tex. Following the sale, Riddle moved to Lexington, Ky. to manage Fares Thoroughbred Farm.
Although he treasured his Kentucky experience, Riddle, who grew up in North Texas and competed in rodeos as a youth, was eventually drawn back to his roots. His brother, Terry Riddle, is also an NCHA Hall of Fame competitor.